Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Tag: Pictographs (page 1 of 6)

Ascending Sheep Pictographs

Out in the Utah desert, we found an amazing set of Barrier Canyon Style pictographs. The panel consists of an animal spirit figure surrounded by bighorn sheep and two amorphic figures on the right. 
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Hand Painted Pueblo

These are the remains of a small pueblo village site inside Hovenweep National Monument and surrounded by the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

The pueblo was probably built in the 1200s by Ancestral Puebloans (Anazasi).  This tower is along the side of a canyon and completely below the rim.  We couldn’t see it until we were close.  It is an interesting and special place.
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Robidoux Inscription and Pictographs

On a late autumn day in 1837, a fur trapper from Santa Fe, Antoine Robidoux, stopped along a narrow canyon in the Territorio de Alta California (what is present day Utah).  Beaver pelts were surprisingly lucrative at the time and, as hard it is to believe today, the Uinta River was a haven for them.
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Cary Ranch Pictographs

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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“Pleasant Valley” Pictographs

While hiking in the backcountry of Joshua Tree over the winter, the good folks over at Peregriff and I came across this small pictograph site. There isn’t much to the site, just a simple rock shelter with a handful of red pictographs on the ceiling but it is an intriguing find. As far as I know, it was unknown to the Park Service at the time of discovery. It is in a remote and difficult to reach spot.
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“Born Again” Pictographs

Hidden a few miles into the monzogranite maze wilderness of the Joshua Tree National Park lies the “Born Again” Pictograph site. It isn’t an easy site to reach but this rock shelter was once a habitation site and is covered with faded pictographs. The rock outcrop even has a tunnel that was probably used for rites of passage rituals. It is an impressive find worth the effort to reach.
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“Sky Cross” Pictographs

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

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

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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Blue Sun Cave Pictographs

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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