Monday, February 24, 2014

Hidden Cave Pictographs - Joshua Tree National Park

There are many petroglyph and/or pictograph sites in Joshua Tree. Except for the "Disney" Petroglyphs post, I've only shown you a few of the minor ones. That is going to change today. The Hidden Cave is one of the major sites in the park. Its location is also one of the most protected secrets there. There is not a hint relating to it on any maps, brochures, or National Park Service websites. If you ask a Park Ranger about it, they will either deny its existence or claim that they know nothing about it. Seriously, I doubt if more than a handful of people know where it is, or have ever visited it. Further, I'd say only a handful of people even know of its existence. I know quite a bit about Joshua Tree and have been there many times and only recently found out about it. I'm also a pretty darn good researcher and I had one heck of a time finding anything about it on the internet. I did find it on three blogs and that was about it. None of those three gave any information relating to where the cave is. In this case, I think that is a good thing and my lips are also sealed.


After I was pretty sure I knew where it was, I took my grand daughter Tay with me. I want to expose her to the desert as much as I was at her age. I'm way behind on that goal. Anyway, she is right in front of the cave.


The opening was pretty small and this is the view my little flashlight revealed as I pulled myself into the cave while laying on my back. At that second, I didn't regret a moment of the many hours I had spent on the internet and in person, looking for this place.


Here is another view of the same photo after enhancing it with DStretch. Like I've said before, not a lot is known about these symbols. The diamond shaped images represent the rattlesnake. These images were likely created by Shamans and possibly puberty initiates.




 Rattlesnake 



 Some pictographs and Tay enhanced by DStretch
 Enhanced photo below



























 Sunburst
 Sunburst enhanced





 My granddaughter was very excited about these images. I think she is hooked!

















Tay was certain that this is a human face





 I had to give you at least one landscape photo

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There were also some very faint petroglyphs in the area, but I didn't post any photos of them. I could give you a ton of information relating to the things that we do know (and disagree) about these symbols, but I won't. Not yet anyway. Most of what we do know, or think we know, is mostly conjecture anyway...  I hope you enjoyed this post, even a small bit as much as I did. Pulling myself into the cave and seeing them in person was amazing! I felt like I was in a very special and powerful place.

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51 comments:

trav4adventures said...

I think it is wonderful that you are taking your granddaughter with you and exposing her to nature. I'm doing that with our grandson. His mother wants him to stay inside, with a jacket on, and not even PLAY outdoors! I show him pine cones, birds, and everything I can.

Did you fit through that tiny hole? Gosh, it looks small! We are taking them (SOMEDAY) up to Joshua Tree as we bought our tent and 2 cots at COSTCO this weekend. We'll probably stay at Hidden Valley as I liked it the best when we drove through. The sites there seemed to be further apart than some of the other campgrounds.
~~Cheryl Ann~~

trav4adventures said...

And, I agree with you about the cave drawings...I don't think we REALLY know what some of them mean. The Bishop ones have all kinds of weird stuff...some looked like corn, some were stick people, but some were...???
Cheryl Ann

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I can imagine how it felt being there Pat, so wonderful to share the experience with your granddaughter, I can see that she was as thrilled as you were being in this special place.. I must admit that's how I felt when we were in some of the ancient temples in Egypt.

Nat said...

These are amazing, Pat... thank you for sharing such secret treasures with us! Your granddaughter is beautiful... she's a lucky lady having you as a tour guide :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, so many images! That was worth tracking down and sharing with your granddaughter.

Shelly said...

I am hooked on those cave drawings, for sure! Your granddaughter is a beautiful girl- great that she loves it, too~

Mama Zen said...

These are amazing!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great pictures!

Sylvia K said...

Fascinating place and terrific captures as always, Pat!! You have a lovely granddaughter and I know she must have loved exploring with you! The petroglyphs are amazing! Have a great week!!

TexWisGirl said...

fabulous finds! really neat that you took your granddaughter to see these rarities!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great photos, and I agree that it's nice you took your granddaughter with you.

Meanwhile, a hidden cave like that deserves to be in a mystery -- and you should write it!

Sharon Wagner said...

So cool! There were petroglyphs in Nicaragua that we didn't see. Next time. And I just realized that you are just a contributor on that B/W blog. Ha! I thought all of the photos were yours until today. Wet noodle time.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

This is cool on so many levels. I think it's neat to share your passion with your granddaughter and she seems to be enjoying it, hopefully translating into a love of exploring. I think the pictographs are really fascinating, I wish we understood more. Thank you so much for sharing these.

ladyfi said...

What a great experience for her.

robin andrea said...

What a great adventure you and your grand-daughter had. This is something she will remember always. The artworks are fantastic. I would love to know how close the enhanced photos are to what the petroglyphs actually look like. I am glad that you are keeping the secret of where these gems are hidden. That is a gift to the future.

Brian said...

Those are very interesting Pat and I can almost imagine them doing those. Howdy Tay!

Ms. A said...

I don't think you could have gotten me in that little tiny hole. You're a brave man!

Lord have mercy, Tay has grown by leaps and bounds since I've seen her! She looks more like Ashley than ever! Hello, Tay, hello, Ashley!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Stunning photos, Pat. Who'd have thought that was "just" rock? Your granddaughter is a doll too. She's lucky to have such a cool grandpa to show her the world like you do.

xoRobyn

Chuck said...

Pat, that is by far the best post you have made about your explorations. Just fantastic how you brought those ancient images to life.

It is also very cool that you have joined a secret club of the very few who know where this is...and now you have passed that down to your grand-daughter.

Great stuff, buddy.

Al said...

That is an amazing set of pictographs - now you'll have people asking you where to find them. (Including me if I ever go there!)

Pat Tillett said...

Trav4adventures - Thanks Cheryl Ann! I was forced to "get out of the house" as a kid. I guess it was much easier back then. No computers, crummy TV and no video games. I showed my granddaughter today's post and she was really happy to see it.
Hidden Valley is also a very good campground.

The only problem with the Hidden Valley CG, is that it can get very crowded on weekends. It is in a beautiful area and has great camp sites. Many if not most of the campers there are climbers.

The fact that we do know so little about those drawings is part of the reason that many archaeologists sloughed them off for until fairly recently.

PerthDailyPhoto - I was so happy that she was loving it. I showed her this post tonight and she got excited all over again. Egypt would be fantastic to visit. Maybe someday...

Nat - You are welcome! Thanks to you as well. I was camping all over this area when I was her age. Now, I wish I'd paid more attention to my surroundings.

Alex - I could have posted a lot more photos, but I was already feeling guilty about posting so many.

Shelly - That makes two of us! thanks she is a cutie and looks just like her mom.

Cezar and Léia said...

Glad that you could share this moment with your grand daughter, she is adorable! This set of picture is precious, wonderful images!
Léia

Pat Tillett said...

Mama Zen - Thank you much!

Nicole Zoltack - Thank you so much for the comment and nice words.

Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! Above all, she is a really nice person. You have a nice week also!

TexWisGirl - It really was fabulous and well worth the effort to find it. Thanks!

Elizabeth Varadan - Thanks so much! She (my granddaughter) says she just can't wait to go out again.

Baby Sister said...

Wow!! I'm impressed at how clear most of those still are!! Incredible. I'm glad you found it, I bet it only lets special people find it. Your granddaughter is one lucky girl to have a grandpa who wants to expose her to such things and spend time with her.

Stickup Artist said...

This was one amazing post. I got thrills, chills, and even a big chuckle at that photo with your granddaughter's gorgeous, beaming, smiling face poking in from the right on one of the top photos! Joshua Tree is one of the finest places I've ever been, but you sure dug in deep and got to the soul of the place. Happy Trails to all of you!!

Leovi said...

Yes, wonderful pictograms is exciting to see them in the cave, good experience for her granddaughter, I really like these pictures!

Betty Manousos said...

gosh, what an amazing and interesting find, pat! those are truly awesome. i am amazed at those cave paintings...how clear most of those still are!
thanks for sharing this informative post and your great shots!

Icy BC said...

I think they are fascinating to see, and your grand daughter probably enjoyed seeing those too!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The way you can enhance those pictographs digitally is really wonderful ... very helpful (one time we saw a place in Utah where geology students had enhanced the pictos with red paint -- it was a long time ago when they did that but even back then you'd think they would have known better eeeeek!)Anyway a great find and even if you told me where this cave was I'm pretty sure we'd never be able t make it...I am so glad you annd your granddaughter did (she will keep the family tradition alive!)

M Pax said...

Cool on the pictographs. I love anthropology and archeology. It fascinates me as to where we've been. And gorgeous photos.

James said...

Looks like a fun time! The cave drawings are amazing!

Pat Tillett said...

Sharon Wagner - There is some type of rock art in so many areas. I'll probably never see the ones in Nicaragua. Heck, there is no way that I'll even see all of them in California, Nevada, Nevada and Utah. You are not the first person who told me that about the other blog.

Wayne - Thanks Wayne! It's my pleasure. I hope she continues to love it, I need her to see some other spots as well.

ladyfi - I agree with you! I think she feels the same way also.

Robin Andrea - It was! Just before each enhanced photo, I posted the as is version. I will keep many of them secret, but I think we need to get people of our generation excited about them also.

Brian - I think so also Brian! I'll pass that one to her.

Pat Tillett said...

Ms. A - I had seen some photos and had a pretty good idea what was waiting for me. You couldn't have kept me out there! Yep, Tay is now taller than Paula and almost as tall as Ashley. I'll tell them both hello for you...

Robyn - Thanks so much Robyn! I'm happy to say that almost everybody thinks it's just a rock. Thanks Robyn, she is a doll.

Chuck - Thanks Chuck! I have some others that are pretty darn good also. It's not the only secret club I belong to! Muuahhhh!

Al - Thanks Al! I have already been asked. So far, I haven't told a soul. I'll tell you what, you let me know if and when you come out here again and I'll show you some cool stuff.

Cezar and Leia - Thanks so much! Both she and I both really did enjoy it.

Kaya said...

I love the desert but I love it even more following your adventure. Fabulous discoveries! Great that you took your granddaughter with you, Pat!

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - The more protected they are from the elements, the better they are. Yep, she really got a kick out this place. I had a granny who did the same for me, so the least I could do is pass it on.
Thanks Amanda!

Stickup Artist - Thanks! I wish the photos were better. Next time I'll try to take a light that will fill up the cave. I agree about it being a great place. Even if you just stick to the normal tourist stuff it is good, but there are tons of better things there also. Thanks so much!

Leovi - Thanks Leovi! I agree that it was a great experience for her.

Betty M - Thanks Betty! Like I said before, with some better lighting they would look even better.

Icy BC - They really are fascinating. I think I need to do a post relating to what we do know about places like this.

Pat Tillett said...

Sallie (Full Time Life) - Thanks Sallie! To be honest, the results could be better, but I'm just learning the enhancement process.

M Pax - Thanks Mary, I feel the same way.

James - It was both fun and solemn at the same time.

Kaya - Thanks so much for saying that Kaya. I really do appreciate it. I was talking to my granddaughter tonight and she really wants to get back out there as soon as possible.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

love it! another generation of cave dwellers is born

genie said...

Well, Pat, you have got Bud and me hook, line, and sinker. We agree that we have to drive cross country to see this place. I cannot believe he has come onboard. So now we have a new addition to OUR Bucket Lists. These photos are awesome with or without processing. We also want to go to see the cave dweller remains. PLEASE keep educating us about this fabulous places. We’re comin’ sooner or later....probably later. Glad you liked my crazy chicken checkerboard quilt.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Some nice shots. Well done.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Pat Tillett said...

Pasadena Adjacent - Yep! I can't wait to get her back out there and she can't wait to go. We are going back out to the desert Monday morning, but she has school. She actually asked me to talk to her mom about missing school for a couple of weeks.

Genie - I guess I was using the right bait! That makes me happy that you guys want to see JT in person. Lot's to see and do.

WordsPoeticallyWorth - Thanks for the comment and nice words!

Mynx said...

Wow. Such places here would be considered scared sites of the local indigenous people. I can imagine the spirits would have been watching you

Sally in WA said...

You are much braver than me! I would worry about finding rattlers in the cave. Thanks for sharing your find!

Ken Lynch said...

I'm in awe of this. I can only imagine how you felt being there in person.

Ken Lynch said...

I'm in awe of this. I can only imagine how you felt being there in person.

Pat Tillett said...

Mynx - Many sites are considered the same here. Most non-Indians also consider these places to be important.

Sally in WA - I ALWAYS on the lookout for snakes!

Ken Lynch - I am in awe, that you are in awe! Thanks! It was a great feeling.

jeannettestgermain said...

I thought there were archeologists specialized in deciphering markings in caves, walls, etc.?

sixdegreesphotography said...

I should have read this one first.. anyway I think you are an awesome Granddad to take Tay here.. I see why she likes it so much..so much history and culture..
very cool indeed!!

PS- my son is also nicknamed Tay, small world!

Pat Tillett said...

jeannettestgermain - You thought correctly, but they still know very little. It wasn't that long ago that most of it was pretty much ignored by archaeologists.

sixdegreesphotography - Thanks Lynne! I'm always playing catch-up with commenting on blogs, so I usually read them out of order as well. Two Tay...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pat. I love Joshua Tree and I think your blog is great.

Darryl

Pat Tillett said...

Darryl - Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I also really appreciated the email.

Melvynman said...

Pat,
I finally got to go inside the cave, wonderful. I also found one of the painted ladies over by Barker Dam, loved finding her.

Thanks
Darryl