Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Southeastern Nevada & Death Valley – March 2013 - Part Two

please remember you can click on a photo to see a larger version

So what were we off to find? We were looking for a area with a different style of artwork. At the other sites we had visited, the petroglyphs had been out in the open, almost billboards. They called our attention to them. They were in high places that would catch our eyes. Today would be different. I had heard about and researched an area were the petroglyphs were hidden away in the shadows. Some were in narrow slot canyons. We set off early on a cloudy morning. We had some distance to travel before reaching our search area. On our hike there was more than enough to grab our attention.

We found the slot canyon I had been looking for, an interesting shaped slot with a rounded tunnel like lower section.

There was artwork along the walls, including the first petroglyph depicting a flower I had seen. The main artwork was far in the back, in the shadows.

What made this area special? Why were the petroglyphs back in the dark? Were there religious or spiritual reasons for this? The petroglyphs were more abstract figures here and not animal shapes. Why was that? Was that part of the answer? Was darkness scary to the ancient people or a comfort? So many questions arose.

It was time to take a break, have some snacks and water, a look at the other neat things around us.

As we were entering the area and beginning our searches, the Lady had gone ahead, in the lead. She wandered back to find us and said, “I met the Bird & Hike guy!”
“Really? Jim Boone?” I asked.
“I called him Jim Butler. He corrected me, Jim Boone.” She answered. “I told him we loved him and thanked him for all the nice stuff he has up on his website.”

Jim had camped nearby and was also exploring the area. This was a very nice chance encounter.

We continued to explore the area..............................

...................................looking in the dark and shadowy places to see what we might find.

We moved on to a different large outcropping of red sandstone.

When I first saw the upper petroglyph I thought it may have depicted a comet or a meteorite. After further review and looking at the similar images below it, I believe these are possibly depicting game trails. The small images are tracks. Either way, this was a fascinating panel.

As always, there was so much more to see than just the rock art.

Unfortunately, there were other things that caught our attention, evidence of abuses to the land caused by motor vehicles. Here this area had been extensively used for hill climbs and other destructive thrill seeking behavior.

The BLM managers are trying to stop this damaging and senseless abuse.

It could take a long time for some of this to recover and the managers and the public will need to be diligent in monitoring and reporting illegal use. We should remember to say thanks when we see necessary attempts to combat and reverse damage to our public lands and resources. It’s nice for our public employees to hear a thank you once in a while for a good job. I bet they would appreciate knowing they are not alone in the struggle and appreciated.

We took a roundabout way to return to camp. We stopped by the well known Mud Wash petroglyph panel. As we let our eyes explore the rock, we discovered high petroglyphs we had not noticed previously. We asked each other how in the world did they climb up there and then how were they able to hang on to do the artwork. Was it a status symbol to make the highest glyph? A cowboy must of thought along the same lines as he made his mark, along with the date 1894, higher than all the others.

 We thought of this as a classic Cowboys and Indians tale.

On our night walk the previous evening, the Lady and I had noticed two helicopters working below the main ridge line to our southwest at a distance of about 4 miles. They flew back and forth. We could see no spotlights so we thought it not a search for something on the ground, but possibly practicing low level night flying. As we were having dinner after returning from this day’s explorations, a Blackhawk entered the area south of us moving fast to the east. It dipped below the ridge line and disappeared from sight. A short time later as the engine noise grew it burst into sight in the Mud Wash gap and headed right at us just above ground level. My camera was on the tripod and I retrieved it just in time to get a shot before it disappeared over the red rock.

The temperature was cool and nice this night. I tried to catch some shots of the mood of the waning day.

The clouds had thinned in the afternoon leaving only wisps to catch the pinks of the setting sun.

Here is a long exposure of camp after the shadows disappeared.

I walked out a half mile or so to the north to see what I could capture with the red sand dunes at night.

We got ready for the rise of the full moon, March's Maple Sugar Moon

In the moonlight Cassiopeia was still visible above our comfortable “home away from home.”

We talked over our plans with the Spiders. There was so much more we could explore, discover, and enjoy out from our campsite here. But, the time was approaching when we’d have to start thinking of the journey home. The Spiders traveled quite a distance from home to get here, they really should see the Falling Man area and we figured the Lady and I would find even more hidden away treasures on our second visit. We settled in for our last night here. Tomorrow we would move.

We awoke well before the sun. The Lady busied herself with her usual chores. I got out of her way and out of the camper and enjoyed the new day.

This is truly a special place. Each time we’d turn around with the light at a different angle the landscape would take on a different mood or character. I returned to the red dunes.

I moved back to camp just as the sun came over the horizon.

We had an efficient morning packing up and were back on the road and reached the Falling Man area before 9 am. As I had mentioned in our story about our winter trip, the colors of the sandstone is multi-hued and astounding.

As we slowly hiked around the area the new discoveries began.

The Lady took on her role as lead explorer.

She put on her sheep horns to let us know about the new petroglyph find.

The rock art was varied and exciting to discover.

A chuckwalla came out to sun itself and enjoy the warm day with us.

 Although I tried not to decipher the meaning of the artwork, and for the most part I was able to refrain, in this instance I was pretty sure we were seeing the first episode of “Finding Bigfoot.”

The gorgeous colors in the sandstone continued to surprise us.

Under one overhang we found a fallen slab where the top surface had been decorated. Notice the large foot on top of the snake.

We found these remarkable figures on a very high panel.

We worked the terrain over to the big sheep panel.

This was a great place to sit and spend time. We snacked, napped, let our eyes wander and explore the elaborate panel, and let time pass.

Mom Spider enjoyed her time sketching.

The Lady and I took a walk exploring the high ground.

This was a wonderful way to spend the day, unhurried and relaxed. Later in the afternoon we started back to camp.

The adventure continues in Part Three.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful set of photos showing a gorgeous land and amazing petroglyphs!