Back in 2012, I decided to go out to Joshua Tree National Park and see if I could find a small pictograph site hidden in a boulder field in the backcountry. I had a good idea of where it was but you never know for sure and I would still have to search for it.
It was an easy hike across flat terrain and into the hills. It was a really nice day to be out as well. It wasn’t long before I was getting much closer to my destination and where the actual search for the boulder shelter began. Right away, I found a small shelter in a rock overhang that had some stacked rocks. This wasn’t the pictograph shelter but it wasn’t natural either. I looked around the boulder for anything else but didn’t see anything. After some puzzling about what this could have been, I think this could have been a water cache site.
Indians could have placed a water vessel (called an “olla”) here since there are no springs nearby. This got me wondering if I was on an old trail. I didn’t see any traces of one, but that doesn’t rule it out.
I walked around the rocks some more. It wasn’t too long before I found the site. First, I noticed what could be a grinding stone out front. It had some unnatural scrape marks across its top. Then I spotted a rock shelter. Looking inside, I saw some pictographs. They are not big or overly impressive, just a few scattered sun symbols and lines. But what an interesting site. It is remote and very quiet out here. It was nice to relax and enjoy the view.
The sun was going down however, and it was time for me to head back. I explored more of the surrounding massive grante (White Tank monzogranite) boulders for any other pictograph sites. I didn’t find any.
I began to wonder why they chose that boulder and not any others. There are plenty of other possible shelters sites here. I did come across a few pottery sherds scattered in what seemed like random spots to me. I can only assume they washed down from somewhere else. I left everything I found, of course, as you should too.
Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by Guy Starbuck