Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The McConkle Ranch Petroglyphs

Sigh Me and I got back to the McConkle Ranch about 6PM.  The sun was lower in the sky but it was still hot as blazes.

There were no longer any cars in the area and no one visible at the ranch.

I was alone except for a few cows that kept their curious eyes on me.  It was a little comfort--I wasn't alone after all.  When I looked around for a bull I was relieved to see there wasn't one in the herd.

A couple of signs got me started though I had trouble discerning the trail as it wandered through the pasture.

After a while I lost the path altogether, then a sign appeared saying, "Follow the ribbons!"

After a few wrong turns through the field of sagebrush I spied a pink ribbon tied to a fence post.  Eureka!  I was on my way!

The ribbons began to appear more frequently and led towards the cliffs.

And the closer  I got to the cliffs the more I realized I WAS ALONE!  If I fell and broke something who would know?  Well, the cows were watching.  I wasn't going to turn back until I'd seen at least one petroglyph.

I was so excited when I found the first ones.

It was like a treasure hunt.  The spotting was up to the beholder.
There were no signs pointing at the proper place to look, no brochures giving directions or descriptions, no bench to sit and contemplate the historical value of these crude drawings.  There was only a tiny ledge of loose rock that curled along the cliff and my alert eye  that could make out often faint figures that were fading into history after 2000 years. 
I felt like an explorer discovering these primitive drawings for the first time.   

I knew I was missing a lot because I just couldn't see them.  

And sometimes the path appeared to climb into places I knew were far too dangerous for my inexperienced mountaineering skills.
 There were crevasses that really beckoned me but I began to worry about snake bites along with broken bones.

The first of the "Three kings" appeared.  I decided those spikes on his head were feathers and not a crown.  After all, no native Indians that I was ever aware of had ever crowned kings!

Some of the drawings seemed to tell a story...

and others became mere scratches in the sandstone.

And suddenly, two more kings--just as clear as could be.

This rock was so high up I could not figure how someone was able to do the drawings without a ladder.
But after looking at this stone for a few minutes I realized it was covered with fading drawings.

I hugged the side of this cliff and inched my way around the point to find....

More kings with different headdresses.

A buff brave with a martini?

A glass of wine?

Formal attire?

It was fun trying to guess what the artist was trying to say.

Some drawings were very detailed...

And others were almost 'other-worldly'.

And I knew, without a doubt these drawings would fade into nothing in the not-too-distant future.  I felt extremely lucky to have seen them.

  McConkle Ranch Petroglyphs is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The style of the drawings is thought to be from the Fremont Culture and dates from A.D. 1 to A.D. 1200.

When I got back to the RV I realized I was incredibly filthy and wet with sweat.  But what fun!  As we drove away I looked around--we were still alone except for the cows.

1 comment:

  1. How eerie that must have been- just you, Sigh Me and the ghosts! What an amazing place.