On Saturday I took my inflatable kayak through part of Gray Canyon on the Green River from Nefertiti to Swaseys Rapid. It was a nice relaxing day on the river, and I also got to find some new rock art, plus revisit some sites I have been to before. I have been to this large boulder containing a few pretty large petroglyphs before, but I can never pass up the opportunity to revisit a site when I am near.
Ancient ghostly figures painted on a wall overlook Thompson Canyon in the Book Cliffs.
It took me a little while to finally find these petroglyphs after two different trips searching for them. I was just about to give up again this time when they caught my eye. I wasn’t looking quite high enough to find them originally.
Some believe that this scene depicts Coyote in the act of placing the stars. According to one Hopi creation myth, Old Spider Woman provides Coyote with with a sack filled with stars. After climbing to the top of a mountain he begins to distribute them neatly in the heavens, including creating the well-known constellations. Soon, he grows tired of this work and picks up the bag to throw its contents into the sky. This is the reason why many of the stars are not arranged in an orderly fashion.
Looking at this petroglyph site you can see many dots surrounding the coyote-like figure that could represent the stars and the bag-like object that is held in one of its hands.
Here’s a large and very interesting petroglyph panel found in a narrow slot between two big boulders. The well-defined anthropomorph and bighorn sheep are pretty cool in their own right, but the very unusual bird figure at the lower left is really interesting. Because of the narrowness of the slot, it was tough to get a photo of this site without a very wide angle lens. To give you an overview of the location of this panel, here’s a photo my friend Marty took of me as I took some photos from above.
This past Black Friday I got up bright and early but I didn’t head to the mall or to our local big box store. Instead I took a drive through Nine Mile Canyon to find some new rock art. I’m sure I had a much better day than anyone out trying to get a deal.
One of the highlights of my day was finally visiting this awesome owl petroglyph panel. I’ve wanted to get to this one for a few months and am glad I was able to make it happen this year. The details in this petroglyph are just amazing!
Here’s a photo of the Great Hunt Panel located in Cottonwood Canyon close to it’s junction with Nine Mile Canyon. This is probably one of the most well-known rock art panels around and still one of my favorites. I really like the perspective of this image and how it shows the overall setting of where this panel is located. I figured I would post a photo from the Nine Mile Canyon area today since that’s where I am right now! Hopefully I get some good new photos to post on the blog.
Here’s a large Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that I found in the Book Cliffs this spring which unfortunately has been heavily vandalized and chalked over the years. This photo shows an overview of the main panel in the large shallow alcove that it is located in. I liked the way that the desert varnish frames this panel…..the figures almost blend in with the natural colors when viewed from a distance. The largest anthropomorphic figure appears to have a snake in place of one of it’s arms. Around the corner there are a bunch of petroglyphs carved into the sandstone, but the lighting was poor while I was there, so I will have to return another time to try and photograph those.
Here’s a pretty well-known panel located in Nine Mile Canyon, among the many other rock art sites, known as the Family Panel. I guess that someone thought this lineup of figures could possibly represent a family, assuming that the family includes a scorpion, a desert bighorn sheep and some kind of shield-like figure 😉 No matter what this panel might represent, it’s still pretty cool to look at and study.
An interesting figure found in the Book Cliffs of Utah that appears to be waving. This panel is located high up on the canyon wall and is on private property, so you cannot get up close without permission from the owners. This photo was taken from the road at 400mm and then cropped some more. I have seen this figure referred to as Barrier Canyon Style before, but I’m not so sure I would classify it as such? This section of the canyon contains many different styles of rock art in close proximity, including Ute and/or Paiute, Fremont and Barrier Canyon Style. It must have been an important place! Below the waving figure there is a band of horseback riders that were most likely painted by the Ute or Paiute. The figures in this panel were created by wetting chunks of red ochre and drawing directly on the canyon wall.
Here’s another new pictograph panel I managed to find in the Book Cliffs on Sunday. I had searched for this one previously, but came up empty handed on that trip. I’m not sure what style this panel is, but if I had to guess, I would say it looks Fremont. It also appears that this panel might be depicting a ‘birthing scene’ but that’s just my initial interpretation. Whatever it is, it’s a pretty nice panel and I’m glad I was able to find it this time.
Here’s another photo I took on Sunday while exploring the Book Cliffs just over the border in Utah. These three shields, that I’m guessing might be of Ute origin, are found among many other pictographs and petroglyphs in the area. The bottom portion of these shield figures have not held up as well as the top, but I managed to bring out a little more detail in this photo.