Hand Painted Pueblo, Hovenweep National Monument

The 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

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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“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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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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Moreno Maze Pictograph

I made this false color image to pull out some of the detail in the maze design.

Western Riverside County has a handful of unique Native American rock art maze drawings. The most well-known of them is the Hemet Maze. It is a petroglyph of complex design carved directly into granite. There are however other lesser known rock art mazes and one of them is the Moreno Maze pictograph. The meaning behind these mazes is vigorously debated among rock art researchers but it remains a mystery.
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Piedras Grandes Pictographs, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Horse and rider.

A few weekends ago, I went out to the Piedras Grandes pictograph site. Piedras Grandes means “Large stones” and these granite boulders out in the southern part of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park certainly are that. The site is inside of the Piedras Grandes Cultural Preserve and it is a short walk from a parking area to the pictographs in the rock shelter.
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