Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Summertime Hike Into A Wilderness Canyon

During the week of July 21, I backpacked for four days into a wilderness canyon in southeast Utah. I was traveling with four of my best friends and we saw some pretty amazing things. Below are a few photos from the trip. Of course, photo's cannot capture the real beauty of a place but they can give a sense for the flavor of how life must have been for our Anasazi ancestors over 800 years ago. Enjoy the ride!

Wow - check out this huge alcove carved out of the sides of the canyon walls. Sites like this were ideal for habitation and rock art.

Here John is observing one of the best rock art panels I have ever seen in the whole southwest. The Anasazi used rock pigments mixed with organic substances to "fix" the images on the canyon walls. What they stand for we can only guess but to visit such a site is a remarkable experience.

These pictographs are perfectly preserved after 800 years. Whatever material was used to denote the head has weathered away leaving these ghostly, headless figures.

We moved to another of the seemingly endless alcoves. The scenery was surreal - a world unto itself and set within the outer world.

Here we found a fantastic ruined house. It had a split-level design and much of the roof was still intact. We were in awe.

The inhabitants had left their "signature" on the wall behind the house. It says, "I was here but you are now. Enjoy the ride".

Here's a view from above the house looking out to our camp across the way. It was wonderfully eerie to think that others had experienced this view over 800 years ago. What did they think? Did they have any idea that the earth is 25,000 miles in circumference?

The evidence was everywhere that these people left their home relatively quickly. Ancient corn cobs and pottery was everywhere. It means so much more when it is just left here in its rightful place.

I looked closely at the end of one of the roof beams. There in front of me was the evidence that someone had chopped down this tree with a stone axe - the scars were clearly visible. The center part of the wood had not been chopped, rather it looked like the people had pushed over the tree at the last moment to make the final break. On the other side of this log was the cork-filled hole where a dendrochronologist had made a determination for the exact year that the tree had been felled. Amazing.

3 comments:

don marcos y dueƱa vanessa said...

You're in your element, Uncle Wayne. Nessa and I camped in St. George and were awed by the amazing redness of it all. We had no idea about the Anasazi or early "bondo," and were still floored by the wild geology. Fascinating post.

Russell Ownby said...

Thanks for the posting, Wayne. What a sweet ruin!Definately "Enjoyed the ride"!Cheers!

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