I found a brochure for Homolovi State Park on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.
I figured I had time on my way to the Petrified Forest State Park, so I went.
I followed a sign for Homolovi I, which ended in a parking lot with a trail.
I followed the trail, which eventually split, one way to a gated barb wire fence, and the other off into the distance.
No signs. No people. Nothing.
I went for the gate, and I found myself all alone in the ruins of a small city from around 1300 AD.
For a moment I could imagine myself with the Hisat’sinom people when they arrived at this site and chose it to build their homes.
It seems the landscape hasn’t changed much since then.
I held sherds of pottery made by these people long ago and felt the connection to them.
I later explored Homolovi II and other fancier ruins in the Petrified Forest NP, but those all seemed more like a museum display to me–roped off, no touching, and other tourists.
My experience at Homolovi I felt authentic.
It was the highlight of my day.