And Parrish notes how the ancestral lands and ruins continue to be intimately connected to today's Hopi. With the evocative Betatakin walls surrounding her, the great cavern ceiling arching high overhead, she observes that certain sites are linked specifically to the Hopi clans, and spiritual ceremonies are occasionally still performed here.
Her point is reiterated in the park's brochure. "Keet Seel/Kawestima was inhabited by Fire Flute and Bighorn Sheep clans," it reads. "Betatakin/Talastima was home to the Deer, Fire, Flute and Water clans. Inscription House/Tsu'ovi is a Rattlesnake, Sand and Lizard clan village."
Today Betatakin still gives visitors a palpable sense of how life was lived in the region 700 years ago.
As Parrish's little group trudged back to the rim, a few encountered backpackers returning from Keet Seel, farther down the Tsegi canyons. They were impressed by the ruins there, but said essentially that if you've seen one, you've seen the other because Keet Seel and Betatakin look so much alike.
Tom Bryson, from Phoenix, and Joe Carr, from Madison, Ind., were members of Parrish's morning hiking party. Both thoroughly enjoyed the experience of actually visiting Betatakin, instead of simply seeing it from high above on the rim near the visitors center, as most visitors do.
Bryson had also hiked to Keet Seel. Keet Seel is bigger, he said, but "Betatakin is excellent."
"If you've got the physical ability, it's well worth it at the end of the hike," Bryson said. "It's not just the ruin, it's the setting. This is a great time of the year to visit."
Carr seconded Bryson's observations.
"I've been to a lot of Arizona Pueblo sites, and it was quite good not restored," he said of Betatakin."I had a wonderful time."