Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ride 25: "Lollipops" Hike

You know most of us who ride "the Butte" very much have been lied to so often that it shouldn't really surprise us; but, still, whenever I find something that someone has sworn to me wasn't there it is hard to believe.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 25: "Lollipops" Hike]

Such was the case when three of us riding ATV's down Mud Wash a while back stopped to… chat with an elderly couple who looked like they could use directions. As it turned out they had actually been hiking in the Gold Butte area since they were younger so were familiar with the place.

I was able to tell them some things that they hadn't stumbled upon and then asked if they had ever seen the "Lollipops" petroglyphs which were supposed to be somewhere in the direction they had just come from. They didn't know it by that name but said there were glyphs not a half-mile down the trail which resembled my description.

Even though Dad wasn't able to come, like he would have been three years ago when we started this quest, the group came back a few days later prepared to hike a bit. You see, what I had been told was that the glyphs were a good 2-mile hike (in a non-remembered direction) from the trailhead now that it had been closed. Obviously, it now seems, because he knew we wouldn't be able to hike that far.

My new acquaintance's directions stunned me and needed to be followed up. We WERE rewarded with finding ancient glyphs, NOT the Lollipops that had been described, but different ones altogether!

I will speak with a straight tongue.”
Chief Joseph

Oh, how I hate being lied to. I know that the individual was doing what he saw as his part to "protect the glyphs" but it seems that his rationale needs to be re-examined in light of the draconian measures the BLM has taken to close off nearly the entire area.

He has one of those "looky what I've seen and you haven't and I'm not going to tell you" web sites that I've spoken about before. By day he's a respected person in the community; but, flip, his "misdirection" has cost me. You would think I'd learn.

The route there is still the well defined (former) trail across the flats. Fairly nice sand dunes on the left, at the base of the cliffs, I can see would be fairly tempting to ride upon for some people.

The glyphs, however, are down at the end of the ridge and placed where they can look out upon the flats which need to be crossed in order to reach Khota Circus — probably the next stop on the journey of migration Native Americans took each spring and fall.

The people I was with didn't have time to sit and ponder the writing like one should do; but, I've got my photos which can occupy rainy days. One in particular is a great example of "rock incorporation."

The Shaman or writer of the glyphs obviously saw a unique "blip" on the surface of the otherwise flat rock which reminded him of a word, which reminded him of the story he wanted to tell, so became part of the "something here" - "mountain or hill" - at the "crossroads/crossing" - "meeting/gathering place" symbol used in his story.

Possibly it could have a deeper meaning than that as well. Four "pointer" lines coming outward are known to represent the "sacred cardinal directions," although when they do they often have bends at their ends forming something like a swastika. Surrounding a mountain would make it "THE" sacred mountain – a "creation" story of sorts.

I want the white people to understand my people.”
Chief Joseph

A timely reminder in this part of the post, that pretty much every petroglyph one sees could very well be part of a sacred writing by a Shaman. In many cultures, rocks represented "Mother Earth" or the "Underworld" where deities dwelt and from whence "The People" came into this world. In some tribes only the Shaman, or holy men, could even write on the rocks.

It should go without saying harming them in any way would be an affront not only to an ancient culture, but to any right-thinking individual and is most definitely against the law! Even touching them does damage at this time in their aging process.

Why Not Learn More

The book "The Rocks Begin To Speak" is probably the landmark text which opened this field of study to large numbers of people, and it is still in print, new or used at Amazon.

Consider how much more meaningful your trips to the "Glyphs of Gold Butte" would be if you knew the "meanings" of a few of the glyphs you saw.

If you decide to purchase the book, let me suggest that you please use the links on this page. There is absolutely no extra cost to you, however a portion will go to keeping this site going and the trails coming.


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