Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Petroglyphs .... Part Deux

Searles Valley, part of the Mohave Desert, was definitely a popular place for Indians back in their day.  As hunter gatherers, tribes of Kitanemuk, Serrano and Koso, along with Southern Paiute lived in this area for thousands of years.  I rather imagine back then there was a little more water than we see now.

There are other canyons with petroglyphs, but none the likes of this one.We walked the sandy bottom of the stream bed finding pictures on literally every rock.
This would be the Northern end, a little narrower with more rock step-ups.  It's also the older portion of the images.
I'm sure there are lots of books on the best guess for translation.  Maybe he meant to show his entire family, who knows.
This seems to be a picture of an adle-adle, a spear used to kill mountain sheep (on the left).  It had a hook to attach to the spear, allowing him much more leverage when throwing.  
Goats, sheep, deer, dog, stick man, rain ... your guess is as good as mine.
This appears to be the only sign of a bear print in the canyon.  So my next question would be what did they make these drawings with?  I imagine a rock for the hammer, but what did they use to actually make the marks?
"Harold .... come and eat!!"  "I'm busy scratching out this lovely scene of animals so later people will wonder what in the world we were doing here!"  That HAS to be a really BIG ram on the right.  Look at those horns.  
I think this guy chewed up too many juniper berries, or like the trains of today, someone tried to cover up his work.
Again with the steps.  Does this mean go up here, it's an easy climb?  Is it a snake?  A waterfall?  Stairs to heaven?
This looks to be pretty self explanatory.  It appears to be two people shooting arrows at each other.
Lastly, this is the most seen scene from the canyon.  So maybe all those box-like images were the start of the family portrait.  That certainly seems to be the case here.
In no time, we had to leave.  It was an even longer ride back as the driver hit the brakes going up every hill and all the way down to the bottom.  We survived the ride and the weapons testing fields with flying colors.

Back at the Maturango Museum, we decided to walk through the Petroglyph Festival.  It's their claim to fame here in Ridgecrest California.  If you are ever going to be in this area, call ahead a few weeks and make reservations for the full day trip to the canyon.  It's definitely worth the time and trouble.  My trip on this day cost $45.
Although there was lots going on at the festival, like music, Indian dancers and food, we didn't stay long.  We made a quick trip down one side and up another to find most of the homemade foods were parked in the sun.  

BLM was there with their adopt a horse program.  The picture makes them look so pretty.
In reality, these yearlings were in less than perfect shape.  How scary for them to be caught and enclosed in fence.  
The baby burros of course are cute as buttons.  If you have a back pasture that needs cleaning up, they will eat practically anything.
If I was still at the ranch, I just might consider adopting ten or twelve!!
So that was it ... a day at the Petroglyph Festival in Ridgecrest California.  Definitely worth the trip to hike with these two wonderful people.
To make up for all my troubles on this trip, I was regaled with a magnificent sunset on the last night.
The perfect ending to a wonderful day in the desert, walking the same trails as the Indians did eons ago.


  1. So many interesting petroglyphs and trying to figure out what they are is fun. Looks like a great day you had.

    1. It was one of the best hikes I've ever done. Next time I'll sign up for the all day trip.

  2. Seeing that one rock a 'rock song' came to my mind...something about climbing a stairway to heaven... :)

  3. Again, thank you for some very interesting pictures. Going to have to remember the area to include a visit.

    1. If you're ever in the Death Valley/Las Vegas/Eastern Sierras area, it's definitely worth the visit.