Cary Ranch Pictographs

These are very interesting.

A few years ago, my friend Rick and I were invited out by Dick Cary to visit his historic Cary Ranch and examine some of the pictographs there. The ranch area was first inhabited by the Mountain Cahuilla indians. The site is near a natural pass and an old indian trail that connects inland Southern California shrub lands to Anza Borrego country of the Sonoran Desert.
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Summit Mine

Waste rock was easy to get rid of.

High up in the spires of the Sierra Nevada there lies a hidden and seldom visited mine where a trail goes through the mountain.

To get there, you have to follow a steep trail across jagged granodiorite cliffs. A thousand feet below is the old mining camp of Lundy and the views of 13,057 ft (3,979m) Mt. Dana across the canyon are quite spectacular.
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Adamson Mine

At 12,990′, the Adamson is the highest mine in the Sierra Nevada. And as you might suspect, getting there is no easy feat. It is a strenuous 8.6 mile (one-way) and 3,670 foot climb up the rugged Wheeler Ridge to reach it. This is the top of the Sierras. Altitude sickness is a real concern here so be aware of headaches and fatigue. Turn around and head down if you feel sick.
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Jayhawker Spring Petroglyphs, Death Valley National Park

That's Jayhawker Spring.

The Jayhawkers are famous for their harrowing journey through the unexplored lands of Death Valley in 1849 on their way to reach the fabled gold fields of California’s Mother Lode. They made it, but only after burning their wagons and ditching some of their possessions. They are likely the first white people to set foot in the vast alkali valley and are credited for giving Death Valley its name.
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“Sky Cross” Pictographs, Joshua Tree National Park

The ceiling of the shelter is amazing.

Deep in the wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park is a site that I call the “Sky Cross” Pictographs. This is a rather large rock shelter with unusual red lines painted across a domed ceiling. The lines form arches across the ceiling and remind me of the night sky. There is even a small sun glyph on the eastern wall. I think a few of the other small designs could also be stellar constellations. Near the rear of the room, a small tunnel leads into another chamber with only a couple of very faint pictographs. This is Serrano and Cahuilla territory and I wonder if any other similar panels of broad bands of pictographs exist?
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“Monolith Alcove” Pictographs, Joshua Tree National Park

Out in the rocks.

Not too long ago, I met up with DarthJenni and JP to do some exploring in the backcountry of Joshua Tree. We went on a slightly longer-than-normal hike into a seemingly endless maze of granite boulders, arches and spires. It was almost enough to get lost in.
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Cary’s Castle, Joshua Tree National Park

The front of the Castle in Janurary, 2016. Note the door is missing.

Tucked away in the backcountry wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park is a hidden gem called Cary’s Castle. In 1935, and at the tender age of 24, a young man named Arthur L. Cary (often misspelled “Carey”) moved from Colorado to the Coachella Valley. Besides starting a small family, he almost immediately became involved in mining. He staked a few claims, along with his father, in their spare time. This one was called the “Welcome Stranger” but seems to have been owned by Arthur alone. He spent much of his time out here from 1938 to 1941 developing the mine and enjoying the remote country. He probably built the Castle at that time.
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Spoked Wheel Geoglyph

The spoked wheel geoglyph.

At the end of a long day exploring pictographs around the badlands of Anza Borrego, we made one last stop – the Spoked Wheel Geoglyph.
This ceremonial site is a twenty foot diameter geoglyph consisting of two circles with spokes connecting them. A native trail runs nearby.
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Blue Sun Cave Pictographs, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

This is the Blue Sun Cave. My friend Don coined the term.

My friend Don Austin coined the name “Blue Sun” Cave. The Kumeyaay people once lived here. And even though there is no water nearby, the shelters created by the massive granite boulders provided a welcome home in this harsh desert.
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Freight Wagon Petroglyphs

It is a long and lonely walk into the wilderness of the Mojave desert to get to this isolated petroglyph site. Most of the petroglyphs here are of abstract design but a few are different and quite interesting. One in particular appears to be a crying face or mask. You have to look carefully to find it.
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