Monday, December 16, 2013

Barker Dam and Disney Petroglyphs - Joshua Tree NP

The Barker Dam Nature Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park. It's pretty easy and if you stick to the trail, it's only a little over a mile long. It gives you another great look at what the "Wonderland of Rocks" area is all about. In addition, it gives you some glimpses of history, both old and ancient. As in most of Joshua Tree, there are many climbing and bouldering spots in the area. Also a rock shelter contain ancient Indian Rock Art.

Barker Dam, also known as the Big Horn Dam was built in 1899 by local cattlemen (including one named Barker). It was originally nine feet high until another rancher/miner, William Keys added an additional six feet 50 years later. Today, the dam mostly provides water for wild animals. During rainy periods the reservoir can fill all the way up.

 If nothing else, it's a pretty spot

 I guess I should have said that it's an easy trail if you have no mobility problems.

 Downstream side of the dam

I don't think that Butt Rock is the official name, but it should be... 


Please Embiggen this one!
The next several photos show you how rugged and beautiful the Barker Dam area is. 


 Hard to tell by the photos that it was under 30 degrees that day.


This one as well!



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I think this is the only Rock Art site that the park openly advertises. It contains both Petroglyphs (designs pecked or scratched into rock) and Pictographs (designs "painted" on the rocks).  I'm sure you'll agree that it is very colorful. UNFORTUNATELY, almost all the color is there as the result of vandalism. Hard to believe it, but the vandalism was done by none other than the Walt Disney company in 1961. Apparently, while filming a movie in the park (Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote). Somebody didn't think that the symbols showed up enough and painted over them.  Some people say there were fined and others say they had permission. Nobody seems to know these days. But if somebody did that today, they wouldn't only be fined, they would go to prison.
 It's still a very cool spot and there is a lot of rock art there.









I have several more posts to do on Rock Art sites in Joshua Tree.


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61 comments:

trav4adventures said...

All of our 3rd graders went on a field trip to Barker Dam, through a federal grant, last year. The school didn't even have to pay for the buses! Several of my parents went along, too. We ate a picnic lunch there by the parking lot. The kids had a blast and some of us saw a baby kingsnake while walking back from the dam to the petroglyphs! :-) It was a fun day, but it sure wore me out! And, some of them, too, as they were asleep on the bus back to school.
HA~
Cheryl Ann

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Way to go, Disney!
Butt rock. Make it so.
Very cool photos, Pat. I remember the desert getting that cold.

TexWisGirl said...

really sad that they 're-marked' the glyphs. the boulders are something. i cannot imagine pushing them into place without the tools and equipment we have available today.

Sylvia K said...

Dramatic and beautiful captures as always, Pat!! Love Butt Rock!!! Perfectly named and a fun way to start my day!! Hope you have a great week!

Bossy Betty said...

Patrick! I loved these photos. I think we need a live model on Butt Rock.

Kay said...

Love all of the photos especially the second one and of course Butt Rock. You named it perfectly.

Betsy Adams said...

Interesting area…..You are right---I would never suspect that the temperature was below 30 that day… Looks warm!

I cannot believe the vandalism… Like you said, if that happened today, they would be in prison. Thank Goodness things are being preserved (or at least, we try to preserve them)….

Merry Christmas.
Hugs,
Betsy

The Vegetable Assassin said...

The cacti are beautiful! As is anything deserty in my book. Who can't love the desert? CRAZY PEOPLE, that's who.

Pat Tillett said...

trav4adventures - That sounds like it was a great day for everyone. I spent a lot of time in Joshua Tree when I was a kid. It always amazed me and still does.

Alex - Thanks Alex! It seems like rock art didn't become important until fairly recently.

TexWisGirl - Yep! I agree with you, it is sad. The second part is funny! Actually, most of these boulders were underground at one time and only appeared when the softer materials around them eroded or were washed away as time passed.

Sylvia - Thanks Sylvia! There are so many shapes that I'm always seeing a face or animal in them.

Pat Tillett said...

Bossy Betty - Thanks Betty! I'm sure somebody has thought of that and mooned for a photo next to it.

Kay - Thanks so much Kay! I've only seen photos of it when it's full, but I guess it's quite a sight.

Betsy - It was very cold and very windy. I agree about the vandalism. The way they protect spots like this now, is to keep them secret. There are many other rock art and artifact spots in the park, but they don't publish, talk about, or share where they are. Even the people who know where some of these spots are, keep the locations to themselves.

The Vegetable Assassin - I'm with you! I love the desert.

The Geezers said...

Beautiful countryside. Makes me long to get back to your territory again for some hiking.

It all depends on perspective, I guess. I hate it when people scrawl initials on things and leave graffiti. But I wonder if the original rock art was once decried as desecration by tribal elders after young people scrawled symbols on the rocks.

I recently saw the cave art at Lascaux, france, and wondered the same thing: holy relics, or the work of rebellious neanderthal people who didn't feel like hunting and gathering like everyone else.

Brian said...

Butt Rock is everything it's cracked up to be!!,

Al said...

What a beautiful place - now I want to go there next time I'm in that part of the country.

Leovi said...

Delicious photos, a beautiful place and really interesting with these cave paintings, I love the rocky landscape!
Saludos!

Pat Tillett said...

The Geezers - I hope you make it back, lot's of exploring to do there. It's true that rock art was considered to be graffiti by some people. Some of those people were archaeologists. They don't feel that way anymore though. The rock art wasn't done by young people or vandals (of the day). Most of the petroglyphs and pictographs were done by Shamans while in an altered state. The animals and stylistic representation of animals were usually "helpers" to the Shaman and represented different things. It seems that your average Indian wouldn't go anywhere near these places. I think I need to do a post dedicated to this subject. I would LOVE to go to Lascaux to see those things. I did see Werner Herzog's documentary (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) and was totally AMAZED by the beauty of what I saw. It isn't just scratching or finger painting on the walls, it is pure amazing art!

Brian - HA! That was a good one Brian!

Al - I hope you do get there. Let me know if you do. I can guide you to some places that VERY few people see. If you have the time that is...

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - thanks so much! I love it also.

Mynx said...

Stunning photos as always. Love the landscapes with the mountains in the background against your stunning blue sky

Pam :) said...

Yet another amazing place I've not been to. Love the rock art, especially the butt rock :)

genie said...

Nice crack in your Butt Rock!!! Your pictures are awesome. I feel like I am there and not having to endure walking on that terrain. I cannot believe what Disney did...yep, they would be in jail now!!! What a fabulous place to visit.

Kaya said...

Some trails are not so easy I think but I would go on them anyway. I like challenges. Pictures are fantastic! And I love a red cactus. It's so pretty and the green cactuses are wonderful also. The whole families of them.

Sky is so clean and blue! Excellent journey!!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Ah thanks for the Joshua Tree fix! Love this place -- glad we did at least part of that hike years ago, probably couldn't do it any more. (Lesson for you guys here!) We saw that same terrible stuff with the Fremont cave art at the McConkie Ranch near Vernal Utah (a place you would love BTW). There, it was supposedly 'colored' by someone doing research. Sick, but guess they didn't know better. I will try to put a link to my post about the ranch below. It was a long time ago.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I am fascinated by the rock art, it's really cool. All that rock needs is a low-hanging pair of pants ...

Pat Tillett said...

Mynx - Thanks so much! It's an easy place to photograph in the winter. The summer is harder because of the harsh light.

Pam - I hope you can get there sometime.

genie - HA! Thanks Genie! It's a good thing that is plenty of rock art still there (off the beaten path).

Kaya - You are right about that! Some aren't easy, but are worth the effort. I also love the red cactus. They really stand out. Thanks so much Kaya...

Sallie - My pleasure! I also love it. I've not been to Vernal, but it (and the Three Kings Trail) are on my list of things to do and see. People used to chalk them and make pencil and paper rubbings. That really sucks! I'll see if I can find the link on your blog. Thanks!

Wayne - I know! I love that stuff. The older the better. Pants on the ground...

Bouncin Barb said...

I would love to know what that rock art is saying. Fascinating. Great pics and 30 is way too cold for me!

Bouncin Barb said...

I would love to know what that rock art is saying. Fascinating. Great pics and 30 is way too cold for me!

rockartist4201 said...

At the time of the filming the site was on private property, not part of the park. It was not a Disney crew that did the 'vandalism' it was an independent film crew working on the Disney project. The film crew not only colored the petroglyphs, they actually made them in the first place. There are authentic Native American petroglyphs at that site, but they are not the colored ones.
www.sandcarveddesigns.com

ladyfi said...

How scenic and lovely! And yes, that's definitely a butt rock! ;-)

Pat Tillett said...

Bouncing Barb - Thanks! Yep, it was pretty cold. Nobody really knows exactly what these symbols mean. The Shamans do it while they are in altered state of consciousnesses, or a trance state.

Rockartist - Is PETROGLYPHS.US your website? I know it well! Thank you for the information, I had read so many different versions, that I asked a Ranger about it. She told it was Disney (that doesn't mean she was right though). Like most things, the more people you ask, the more the story changes. Thanks for the info. I practically lived in the Monument when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure that I remember those petroglyphs (before being "enhanced" and I'm also pretty sure that my granny had photos of them. It probably was private property at that time, but my granny knew people who lived in both 29 Palms and what is now parts of the park. I wish she was still alive. She knew a lot about the Mojave and was known by a lot of the people living there.

Ladyfi - I agree! Scenic, lovely and is most certainly butt shaped.

EG CameraGirl said...

How sad that Disney decided to "improve" the pictographs. But times have changed and we appreciate originals in a different way than people did back then.

The countryside is so beautiful and I'm glad I embiggened the photos to get a better look,

James said...

Cold, crisp, clear and beautiful!

mshatch said...

Butt rock is very appropriate; my first thought was, damn, that looks like someone's butt!

Chuck said...

Beautiful country, great photos (as always) and I love the butt rock shot...priceless.

Howdy, Pat.

Stickup Artist said...

The water level is really low at Barker. Maybe the park will get some snow this year. That would be awesome. I've been there when it's been freezing cold, but it's always been sunny like your day.

Didn't know all that rock art was there or the story about Disney's misguided "enhancement." I'm looking forward to more posts about the rock art!

Pat Tillett said...

EG Camera Girl - That is sad. Not very bright of them.Thank you and thanks for "embiggening."

James - That is exactly how it felt.

mshatch - There are quite a few that have that particular form around the area. I always get a chuckle out of them.

Chuck - Thanks so much Chuck. Nice to see your comment. Hope things are going well for you.

Stickup Artist - You are right about the water level being very low. It's gorgeous when it's got more water in it. I've been there in the snow, but like you, I've never been there when it was snowing. There is a lot of rock art in the area.

Pat Tillett said...

EG Camera Girl - That is sad. Not very bright of them.Thank you and thanks for "embiggening."

James - That is exactly how it felt.

mshatch - There are quite a few that have that particular form around the area. I always get a chuckle out of them.

Chuck - Thanks so much Chuck. Nice to see your comment. Hope things are going well for you.

Stickup Artist - You are right about the water level being very low. It's gorgeous when it's got more water in it. I've been there in the snow, but like you, I've never been there when it was snowing. There is a lot of rock art in the area.

jeannettestgermain said...

Thanks for sharing this trail! Too sad they couldn't leave history alone!
Hope you're reading this, because I have also a question: didn't you at some time post about something (a trail or park)to see in the neighborhood of Santa Barbara? We visited Solvang and Santa Barbara over Thanksgiving and are in love with that area.

DEZMOND said...

yep, I thought it was shot in the summer, before I noticed the winter jackets :)The part where the water is is very pretty

Stewart M said...

The damage to the rock art is not good - I don't think we would allow people to paint on the roofs of churches just because the paints faded!

Thanks for the many (many) comments - hope you have a good Christmas - I'll see you on the other side!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

•°°• IcyBC •°°• said...

Butt Rock is perfect name for that one, and I agree it should be named too.

Beautiful photos, Pat..

Pat Tillett said...

jeannette - My pleasure! I did several posts about that area. I can give you info if you'd like.

DEZMOND - On a clear day, it pretty much looks the same, regardless of the season.

Stewart - That is a great analogy Stewart! The comments are my pleasure. We are regularly without a cell phone signal (whether at home or on the road), so I'm always playing catch up with commenting.

IcyBC - I agree! It is perfect. thanks so much!

sage said...

I love that country, but you got to check where you lay your head!

Al Penwasser said...

Before I read what you wrote, I immediately thought, "Gee, that looks like a huge butt."

Pat Tillett said...

sage - You are right about that! You also have to be careful where you put your hands and where you step. And don't EVER forget to shake out your boots or shoes before putting them on.

Al P - I also thought that the first moment I saw it.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

It's hard to imagine it was 30 degrees in those photos, Pat. I like the reddish rock, with layers of color that accumulated over time. It's all very impressive.

Love to you for a wonderful Xmas.

xoRobyn

altadenahiker said...

I do suppose there are all sorts of votes for the Butt Rock, or maybe Plumber's Stone, but here's another.

Pat Tillett said...

Robyn - I'm sure it was even colder than that if you consider the wind.
Thanks so much Robyn, I hope your holiday time is very nice.

altadenahiker - Plumber's Stone is a great one also! I've give it my vote.

Betty Manousos said...

merry xmas and a happy new year to you and yours!

big hugs~

Magia da Inês said...


¸.•°♡♡⊱彡
Muita paz e muita luz em nossas vidas, no Natal e sempre!!!

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⋰ ⋮ ⋱


░F░E░L░I░Z░
N░A░T░A░L░!!!

¸.•°♡♡⊱彡

Baby Sister said...

Butt Rock!! Lol. That is awesome. Beautiful place!!

Reena Walkling said...

Some beautiful scenes! Love the butt rock. Have a great new year.

Pat Tillett said...

Betty M - Thank you so much and right back at you!

Magia - Thank you Magia! The same to you...

Baby Sister - Even more awesome is that there are a lot of different size "butt rocks" there!

Reena - Yep, it is a beautiful place. You also have a great new year.

Ann Best said...

Awesome photographs, Pat! Hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas. Jen and I had our ups and downs, but I'm feeling up as the New Year approaches. Thinking about getting back to blogging on a regular basis, at least once a week, maybe two, because there are some blogger friends I want to keep in touch with. Am having thoughts of the desert after looking at your pictures, the desert where, as you know, I grew up. This pics remind me of a calendar a friend has been giving us each year, a geological calendar of Utah I know you'd appreciate!

Have a great New Year! Be "seeing" you again soon!!

M Pax said...

I like the word embiggen. Neat on the petroglyphs. I love anthropology/archeology. It just fascinates me.

Hope you're having a wonderful holiday. A most joyous 2014 to you :)

Rosemary Nickerson said...

Happy New Year, Pat! Where will you travel in 2014? I can't wait to see the next instalment as you photograph your adventures.

Pat Tillett said...

Ann - Thanks Ann! Our Christmas was very nice and I hope yours was the same. Yep, I bet that calendar is a nice one. Utah is a gorgeous state.

M Pax - I also love those subjects. I'm taking my granddaughter camping in a few days to hunt for some petroglyphs/pictographs. I hope to get her as interested as I am. Happy New Year to you also Mary!

Rosemary - Thanks Rosemary! Happy New Year to you also. Well, we hope to spend quite a bit of time in the desert before it heats up. Going back to Joshua Tree in a few days. We don't every know exactly when and where we will go. In 2013 we took ten, two week trips. Hope to do at least the same in 2014.

I'm so far behind on my posting. I have so much stuff backed up and haven't posted for two weeks. I've been sick for most of the past week, so I guess that is a good excuse. First time being sick in at least five years. I hate it!

TheChieftess said...

Looks like a beautiful area...

Gina Gao said...

These are extremely amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Kato Pandorah's Box said...

So so beautiful!

That's crazy that Disney did that...nothing is sacred I guess when you are worth millions (billions?).

And haha about that butt rock!

Pat Tillett said...

TheChieftess - It is one heck of an amazing place. I'm pretty sure you would love it.

Gina Gao - Thanks so much for the comment and compliment.

Kato - Yep, it's pretty odd. I'm not sure if anyone knows the true details about it. Thanks!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've spent a fair amount of time around Yucca Valley and the entrance into the park from Black Rock camp ground. Someone was posting a few photos of the da on Face Book but I didn't take note. Now I'm wishing I had gone there the day I was near Landers

Interesting about Disney, but not surprising. Walt was a weird guy

Pat Tillett said...

Pasadena Adjacent - Yep, I heard he was quite an odd fellow (not in the lodge sense). Way way back in the day, we used to go to the Grubstake parade in Yucca Valley. Also, the tortise races in 29 Palms. The ticket item for my granny was the weird stuff going on a Giant Rock. I've kind of been avoiding going there, because it was such a great place when I was a kid.