Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is what all the fuss was about

Remember the bus story? How could you forget? It was the one where I was heading out to the highway to escort the hay man back to the ranch, when I ran into a tour bus smack dab in the middle of nowhere. These tourists had paid a bunch of money to see my neighborhood petroglyphs. The good thing that came of this misadventure was that I was able to get precise directions to the petroglyphs, which I had failed to find on two previous attempts.

Anyway, over the weekend I went looking for them again. Since the directions included "crawl under the barbed wire fence," I went unaccompanied, except for my camera.

The petroglyphs were not as easy to find as I was led to believe, and there was more than one moment when I said to myself "why oh why did you not tell someone where you were going, you knucklehead?" but I did find them.
So this is what all the fuss was about. Those orange and red images are actually pictographs as opposed to petroglyphs (pictographs are painted onto the surface of rocks whereas petroglyphs are etched or carved). From what I've been able find on Google, I think the images are masks of some sort. These pictographs are located on a rock overhang, and the area underneath was just about big enough for one person to take shelter. As my imagination started to run off in its usual wild direction wondering about the artist, I looked at the ground beneath the overhang. (Cue ominous music.)

What's this? A sacred offering to the gods? Nobody told me I was supposed to bring a gift.

Upon closer examination, I figured out it was just some rodent who had chosen this place to die. Still, it was kind of weird that he picked this particular spot. Moving on...


To the right of the masks, the panel of pictographs continued. The images now looked like masks wearing blindfolds. And what about the smokey blue vertical lines to the right? Where's Mr. Scientist when you need him to explain these things?


Further to the right and in the very bottom right-hand corner of the picture above, I spotted some petroglyphs. I tiptoed through some tall grass, convinced that a rattlesnake or two was lying in wait, to get a better look.


Ho-hum. As far as neighborhood petroglyphs go, this set was pretty mundane compared to the ones I showed here. However, whomever carved these drawings chose this spot for a reason. The rock face is at a unique angle that catches the wind just right.


Above and to the left of the petroglyphs, you can see how the wind eroded a cave in the rock, where a very large (or strong) creature has now built a nest. And below the nest, the wind has carved out a formation worthy of those famous ones in Utah, albeit on a much smaller scale.


Here's a closer look at mini Moab.


I walked crawled beyond the petroglyph panel for a few more yards and found one last pictograph:

It is a mask-like figure with six toes and an evil eye, who appears to be guarding a passageway through the rocks. (Note to archeaology students who may have landed here: author has an active imagination and you probably shouldn't cite her in any research papers.)

When I find stuff like this so close to home, I can't help but wonder about all the people who have lived here before me...who they were, what they wore, where they shopped, why they chose to live in the middle of nowhere. Maybe the middle of nowhere used to be the middle of somewhere? Maybe I should just stop wondering and go do my chores.

25 comments:

  1. Very interesting, and what a great way to spend a day.

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  2. Really gotta wonder how they survived living so far from a Wal-Mart. :-)

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  3. very interesting indeed!! Mr or Ms scientist were in their air conditioned office doing research via the internet ;-)

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  4. Estella from Co.7/5/11, 6:23 AM

    Ditto Pat, What an adventure...thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

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  5. Cool. Love this kind of stuff.

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  6. NEAT!!! Thank you for the tour :-}}

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  7. Those are so cool!! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Ooh, how cool is that! I love petroglyphs! Didn't know a thing about them until I was traveling out there and stumbled upon Newspaper Rock!

    I, like you, wonder about the folks that lived here before us. I live near the Chesapeake Bay and wonder what it was like 100, 200, 300 years ago as my ancestors started coming to this continent...

    Cappy

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  9. Very cool. I saw petroglyphs in West Texas once---wondered a long time about the people who had made them.
    The picture with the handprints looks like some modern folks have been messing with it a bit.
    Love that your eye found the mini Moab!

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  10. Great photos, thanks for sharing with us.

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  11. Wow! I will have to gather a busload of people and come visit some day. Maybe you can serve us lunch and let us use your toilet? Just kidding.

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  12. How cool! I wonder what was used to "paint" the figures on the rocks in those pretty colors? Too bad Mr. Scientist couldn't be there to give us all a history lesson on what, when and why. Amazing that the images have stayed on the rocks through all the weather changes over the years. Glad you made the trip safely.

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  13. Those are really fabulous. I'm so glad you went back and shared them with us!

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  14. I'd be wondering too... and would be lost in the 'story'!
    Great stuff out there! Thanks for crawling under the fence to find it!

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  15. Carol in Colo7/5/11, 8:33 AM

    How cool!! My imagination was wondering too. When I come in from my dd's house on the eastern plains of Colorado and I see Pike's Peak poking it's head through the clouds, I wonder what the pioneers in their wagons thought when they saw that majestic view.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

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  16. How interesting! I especially love to see the hands. Someone actually stood there and copied their hands. If you stood in the same spot and put your hands there you would only be separated from them by time. It makes them seem so real to me.

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  17. Does it worry you that they are bringing bus loads to the site? I can imagine going back in a year or two and finding 21st century 'tags' added to the art :(
    They are very cool, as is. thanks for sharing.

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  18. Be careful and don't end up like Mattie Ross down in a snake pit with a broken arm.

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  19. Very cool stuff!

    Yes...the ultimate question...where DID those people shop? ;~)

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  20. Wow, those are SO cool! I, too, would wonder about the past residents of years gone by and would have liked to hear some of their stories.

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

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  21. I think those are so fabulously cool! I want to go find some now. Thank you for sharing this!!

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  22. loved following the link to your "own" petroglyph! I've been following your blog for a couple of months now, and I LOVE IT! We vacationed in Bernalillo back in 2008 with my sister-in-law....and we LOVED IT THERE...so much, we seriously asked our teen-age boys if they would consider moving & finishing high school there...but, they weren't quite so hip on the idea...now, sad to say, they are moving to Austin, TX the end of this month (job transfer)...but I will keep reading your blog as long as you blog!

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  23. Ah, but citing you on their research papers would make it all the more interesting! Thanks for braving the possibility of snakes and wild animals in dark holes...!

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  24. love your wild imagination! and the mini moab is much cooler looking close up....glad you shared it...pretty wild what some wind will do....

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