Friday, March 20, 2009

Ride 22A - Ivin's Petroglyphs

We took this ride in the truck today and ended up in two different areas. The first part explored the Native American cemetery near Gunlock and the petroglyphs near Ivin's. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 22A - Ivins Petroglyphs]

We had seen the petroglyphs at Gunlock a couple of days ago but were too exhausted from the hike to tackle these. So "we have returned."

Dad said for 60 years he had wanted to stop and see the Native American cemetery on US-91 at the Gunlock turnoff — so we did. It was a good experience. It seemed as though many interred there had been proud to serve their country.

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that it was the final resting place of LaVan Martineau the author of The Rocks Begin to Speak, an indispensable book for understanding petroglyphs. He was affiliated with the Paiute's and would have been someone I would have liked to walk with on a quiet stroll through the glyphs.

About 4.2 miles east on US-91 from the cemetery is a large, unmarked, rock/wrought iron gate on the south. This leads to "anazazi trailhead" the hike into archeological digs and petroglyhps.

The directions we were given were a bit confusing and misleading so we didn't accomplish what we had intended; but, what we saw was fairly extensive.

The trail leading away from the trailhead is well prepped and marked. It winds through the desert and ends up at the petroglyphs; but, it is 3.5 miles long. Shortly after the first turn to the right there is a dirt trail to the right (south) which leads toward the basalt rocks on the cliff. This trail is quite a bit more difficult (steep) but shorter.

I turned onto the trail less traveled and shortly found a set of glyphs on the right. However, much hunting in the surrounding cliff was fruitless. From there the trail continues upward to a tall chain-link fence then turns southeast.

Finally, where the fence joins to the cliff there is a small view point over the valleys on both sides and a much steeper trail continuing up the hill. that's the way you've got to go if you want to see the glyphs.

Keep going and you will run across a dig site of a Puebloean structure of unknown use. The sign whines that the area was "ruined" by ATVers, and it may have been, but their not-so-veiled implication was that it was "unauthorized." [The area only recently was "closed" but before that riding was NOT prohibited. I wonder if we all should stop walking or riding around everywhere for fear of future finding that someone else might have been there once.]

The site is really quite well marked and protected now. The BYU people have done a good, if not extensive, job. Continuing along the cliffs of black rocks you will come to some glyphs. Turn around and you will see more, and more, and more. There are a few areas where you can safely, with difficulty, climb down a ways and see a few more; but, most are well viewed from the top.

Education is hanging around until you've caught on.”
Robert Frost

That's the hike I took and it was well worth the exhausting effort. However, my feeling sorry for myself about how poor a shape and old I am was ameliorated a bit by watching a bunch of high-school boys trudge up the hill. Most had taken their shirts off and were "feelin' the burn." They seemed to welcome the chance to rest while their leaders got me to explain what I knew about the glyphs.

I had intended to go back down the main trail but decided it was TOO long and down was sure to be easier than up. Besides, part B of our ride was awaitin'.


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