Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ride 24A - Newspaper Rock Hike

This is another ride which needs to be split into two, not so much for distance as for things covered. The main goal was to hike to Newspaper Rock to replace photos which didn't turn out last year.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 24A - Newspaper Rock Hike]

A few weeks ago I blogged about a hike I took at Falling Man and about finding Newspaper rock 1. You see, this area contains many clusters of glyphs which have been poorly described and given confusing sets of names.

Much of the confusion is intentionally inflicted on us from "the WEB," where at least two authors I know of, try to obfuscate the truth under the name of cutting down the riff-raff visitors.

Some of these authors have only visited the area once or twice but have published "lookey what I found" photos under several names. One such "web-only" name is "Whitney-Hartman." That would be the name for this entire area; but, the people who live here only know this as "Falling Man." (Remember however only one tiny glyph is actually the "falling man.")

Another such confusing name is "Newspaper Rock" with several sets of directions on how to find it. There are actually two large panels which people call "Newspaper Rock." Both require bouldering around the cliffs and rocks, both are very large wall panels and both tell a coherent story which has been interpreted.

Verl Frehner, a local educator, has studied these glyphs extensively for many years and, using LaVan Martineau's work (The Rocks Begin to Speak) as a guide, attempted to decipher the two stories (as much as anyone currently living can.)

While the rock I spoke about in my previous post seems to be an account of how the group of native Americans came to be in the area, the panel on this hike, Frehner believes, is about a terrible incident which killed many of the tribe and caused most others significant hardship.

Dad and I visited with Verl last year and purchased his new book. [Both accounts are in print and available in Mesquite from Mr. Frehner or the local museum. I will probably explain some of them in a future post.]

The landmark is the newly created BLM blockade at the Falling Man trailhead. Ride past that a few hundred feet to another "wide spot" in the trail with an "in restoration" sign and a trail leading into the wash. That will be the hike trailhead.

Follow the trail and the wash south about 0.2 mi until it joins another wash going east. Watch carefully for washed out areas in the rocks which act as cistern's holding rain water.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by.”
Robert Frost

About 0.1 mile further the wash divides into two and there are petroglyphs in either direction. The main panel of Newspaper Rock (lower) is to the right, up another 0.1 mile. Watching carefully you can find several "marker glyphs" on rocks which point the knowing wanderer toward the main glyphs and waterholes.

Look up on the farthest cliffs (east) to see glyph clusters on several levels and surfaces. Just for bearings, although not accessible from this level, Newspaper Rock (upper) is up on the top bluff nearly directly behind these glyphs. And, Falling Man is behind that (to the northwest).

Bouldering up the wash to the right (east) of these glyphs there is an undercut which obviously has been used as a shelter. I did find one route which, to a more limber and skilled climber than I, might lead up to the upper bluff described in the previous Falling Man hike post.

Additionally, if you had taken the left-hand wash previously mentioned, you would not only have seen another small set of glyphs, but would have seen another climbing challenge at the far end which would lead eventually to the Falling Man trail area.

It's not a long hike but feels a bit longer due to all the bouldering and uneasy terrain you need to cross. However, taking the time has its rewards in finding glyphs and treasures each time you go.


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