Saturday, December 8, 2018

Big Bear & the Birthing Rock

[Mid-late September]

While we wait for our next entrance into the back country of Canyonlands (hard-to-get camping reservations on the White Rim) we go in search of rock art around Moab.  We read that some of it is >2,000 years old.  A handy guide to finding various sites is available at the visitor center.  The guide includes mileage and directions, history - and photos of the art work. 

It is a beautiful blue sky sunny day to be out exploring.  And the landscape is dramatic.
In a voice that must sound like a real know-it-all I explain that the directions that say 200 East 100 North clearly mean that we should go east.  Not so!  Moab, like other cities and towns in Utah is laid out on a grid with the temple at the center of town.  The visitor center is just off main a little north of the temple.  Ah-ha.

And that is the starting point for the guide that will allow us to see the rock art (and dinosaur footprints) in and around Moab.

On Kane Creek Rd we find the famous birthing scene.  Experts disagree about whether it represents a single event or if it is a metaphor for the birth of a clan.  That is one huge baby.

The birthing scene is on the east side of a huge boulder that sits just to the side of the road.  There is rock art on all sides.

Footprints and other anthropomorphs decorate all sides of the huge boulder.

At the Potash Rd site we find the big bear.  The guide book explains that the bear represents cultural vandalism because it is carved over more ancient petroglyphs.  Still the bear is here to be appreciated because it is also very old.

Another sort of vandalism happened in 1980 when a visitor to the Courthouse site self-assigned the cleaning and near destruction of the ancient works.  It remains impressive.
D-Stretch filters reveal more:

Each time we pass Arches National Park on our way to/from Horse Thief Campground we see many cars waiting to enter the park.  

Today the line is just a couple of cars deep.  There are just a few others parked by the entrance sign so that travelers can pose for photos at yet another magnificent national park.  Today seems an opportunity to see the big arches without masses of people competing for parking spots.  Wrong again.

←Here is what the road sign says - just in case you can't tell from the photo.  We read that by next year the number of cars entering the park will be limited because the traffic is negatively affecting the park experience for everyone.

So we exit the park and go in search of rock art that is plentiful in and around the rest of Grand County where fewer people go.

We're seeking rock art, but find some that probably was inadvertently created in the course of daily life so many years ago - dinosaur footprints - photo by Alex, as are most of the rock art photos from our travels, BTW.

As Alex climbed the steep rocky trail in 90 degree heat to find these footprints, he shared the trail with a local hiker who observed, "Those are some delicate slippers you're hiking in."  Well really, they are pretty sturdy flip-flops - a reasonable balance between hot weather foot wear and foot protection.

At Sego Canyon north of Moab we find a few other rock art viewers/photographers.  One of them offers to mark up our map to be sure we don't miss anything.  "Oh," she says, "I see you already have it all marked."  We hope our sighs aren't too obvious.  It would be a choice between being rude and a long delay if our map hadn't been already marked, such is her enthusiasm.

The rock art panels line both sides of the canyon.


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