Monday, March 31, 2014

Sheep Springs Petroglyphs - El Paso Mountains Wilderness

Not long ago (yes, I'm way behind) I visited the Sheep Springs Petroglyph site, located in the El Paso Mountains Wilderness Area. A beautiful, rugged and isolated area that is chock full of history. I had never been to this site before. The details of how that happened are located after the last photo.

We had already been to a few stops this day. We are are now headed toward those mountains. Big beautiful and wide open. 

It looks pretty far, but the road is looking pretty good. You've heard that from me before, right?

 Still pretty darn good!

 Here comes the fun part. For those of you that haven't done this, it really is fun.

Somehow, I have no photos of the transition from vehicles to rock art. There are a lot of petroglyphs here and this is one of my favorites.

This one also

Human form (Anthropomorphic) petroglyph

Animal form (Zoomorphic) petroglyphs (mountain sheep)

Anthropomorphic/Zoomorphic hybrid (left side of rock)

Close up of the part man, part animal petroglyph

Here is another example of the hybrid. I know there is a better word for that, but I can't think of it just now.

Many designs are made of four parts. I've read several explanations relating to them. The four seasons, four main directions, four phases of life, etc. I also read that it is just a shield....

 A very old milling or grinding stone. Usually referred to as a "metate" or "slick."

I have no idea what kind of creature this represents, but it is very cool  Maybe a centipede? 

There is a lot more information available about these petroglyphs, but I'm not going to include much. Some of you will remember when my blog posts were mostly words with a few photos. Too much info isn't necessarily a good thing for a blog. However, I will tell you that these petroglyphs are thought to be at least a couple thousand years old. 
This FWD expedition was organized by Death Valley Jim. In addition to being a good guy, Jim is an explorer, scout, wilderness guide, writer, photographer and master of all things desert related. I've been around the desert a lot more than most folks and I know where a lot of great "non-tourist" places are located, but I have to admit that I'm not in the same class as Jim. I'm trying though...



  1. Pat, I think you're experienced enough to lead your own tour.
    four parts or just a shield - funny!
    Amazing those designs have stood the test of time and weather.

  2. Brilliant photos and such wonderfully clear rock art.

    Just amazing and so beautiful

  3. looks like an alien planet :)

  4. first, the opening scene just wowed me! gorgeous!

    the petroglyphs are SO neat!

  5. Your off road adventures always look fun. Our most bad ass was going off road over miles of lava on the big island.

  6. Wow---that expedition looks so interesting... Guess we'd have to get a jeep if we traveled there. Our Prius wouldn't like that road. But all of the Petroglyphs look so interesting...

    Maybe Spring is finally coming to our area this week... I hope so since it has been a LONG winter and a crazy one!!!!


  7. Wonderful, fascinating captures as always, Pat! They are the perfect way to see places I could never see otherwise and I do SO enjoy them! Hope you have a great new week!!

  8. I can't decide what is better, the view or off-roading in jeeps (which I have never done).

  9. Great photos and the rock art is way cool and interesting!

  10. As usual I love the petroglyphs. You always find the most interesting sights.

  11. As to that road... mmmmmm... no thank you! The thought of having to replace my car is... unthinkable at this stage of life.

  12. Petroglyphs are really amazing...the ones we have near Bishop have some similarities to these...I found it fascinating that the Bishop ones were so clustered...some "drawings" drawn right over others...
    Where is the El Paso Mountain Wilderness area?

  13. How thrilling! And so fun to share with like-minded fellow explorers! You are an inspiration because you communicate your joy so well...

  14. You amaze me with your adventures!! I'm glad you're out having fun and seeing nature, that is awesome.

  15. How on earth have the petroglyphs survived for such a long time I wonder.. I should imagine the weather conditions can be quite harsh at times. That's what makes it so exciting when you find them hey Pat. A bumpy ride at the end but well worth it!

  16. I would be in a sheer panic mood driving up that hilly rock, but it does look so much fun!
    Fantastic pictures!

  17. We'd be happy taking a desert trip with 'death valley Patrick' or whatever you decided to call your guide service ;>)...can't hardly imagine anyone more knowledgeable than you.

    The petroglyphs, pictographs,? are all wonderful. I would need a guide to find them.

    We've been on some similar Jeep roads (not those ones) years ago with our own Jeep and lately (in Colorado) with our son driving. So much fun, I agree!

  18. Great pictures - the petroglyphs look remarkable.

    I think I'll dig out some rock art from Australia for next week.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

    PS: the more I find out about trying to publish a book, the less likely it feels that I will be able to pull it off!!

  19. So cool! Keep exploring and taking us with you!

  20. Muy curiosas imágenes... De qué año serán esas pinturas?... Un saludo desde Murcia.

  21. Thanks for taking me along in this beautiful country!

  22. I hope you had on a seat-belt ! I am curious about the petroglyphs, are the markings on there with paint or some kind of dye made from something..It's amazing there markings are so clear after so many years.. Another gift to Mother Earth!

  23. Alex - Thanks for saying that Alex. My granny would make a better guide than me. Seriously! Yep, the dryness of the desert does slow down the deterioration of this beauties.

    Mynx - Thanks so much! I agree, about the condition of these symbols. Very clear...

    trav4adventures - I agree! Thanks Cheryl Ann.

    DEZMOND - Yes, but beautiful! It's pretty rough sledding out there. You have to keep your wits about you, or the consequences can be fatal.

    TexWisGirl - I also loved that view. It's big country for sure.

    Sharon - That is an adventure I haven't done yet. I will though!

  24. Betsy - It was interesting and also fun. You definitely need the right vehicle. You could rent one and/or hire a guide. I'm sure Death Valley Jim would be happy to guide you to some great sights (and sites!).
    I hear you about the winter, you guys have been getting hammered for a long while.

    Sylvia - Thanks Sylvia! Very nice of you to say that. I'm having a great week (getting ready to go up to the mountains for a couple of weeks). You have a good week also.

    Wayne - Oh man, do I ever know that. I'm NOT good at driving and sight-seeing even on good roads. That's why my wife and I usually split the driving.

    Brian - Thanks Brian! I totally agree with you.

    Kay - I love 'em too Kay! I'm glad you enjoy them.

    Ms. A - I understand what you are saying. Jeeps and vehicles like them are very durable, but a "car" would be left dead by the side of the road.

  25. TheChieftess - You guys have some great petroglyphs up there. I haven't been there for a while, but we're trying to make some plans to do so. Usually, when there is one design over another, it was done by another tribe in the past. The El Paso Mountain Wilderness Area is just north of Red Rock Canyon State Park between the 14 and 395. Ridgecrest is the closest town to it.

    Stickup Artist - Thanks so much! You are so nice. This place is only about 20-ish miles (as the crow flies) from Randsburg.

    Thetis - My pleasure Thetis! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Baby Sister - Thanks Amanda! I am certainly having fun. I'll be over to see how your adventure is going.

    PerthDailyPhoto - They are part of the rock, so it takes a long to time for the weather to erode them. I sure am excited when I see them.

    Icy BC - It really is fun! Thanks so much.

  26. Sallie (FTL) - Let's see here, "Death Valley" is taken by Jim, I know a "Morongo Bill" and there are about 5 "Mojave (fill in the blanks) that I know of. I'll just stick with with Pat. I don't mind taking folks out on occasion to areas I'm familiar with, but I'll leave it to the professionals like Jim. It's his business and he knows these areas like the back of his hand. There aren't many like him out there.

    Stewart M - Thanks Stewart! I meant to ask you if you got to any Rock Art sites while you were in Arizona. I've been working on a couple of books for years and I'm nowhere near finishing them. I'm WAY too A.D.D.

    Bossy Betty - I will do that my friend!

    alp - Muchas gracias por tu comentario.

    sage - My pleasure! Thanks right back at you...

    sixdegreesphotography - I certainly did! Petroglyphs are scratched, gouged, or pecked into the rock surface. Pictographs are painted onto the surface of the rock. Out in the open like these are, pictographs would be pretty close to gone by know. Or totally gone. I think I need to clarify that in a blog post. Thanks Lynne!

  27. The petroglyphs are wonderful! What a great adventure.

  28. #1Nana - thanks so much! It was a great adventure.

    Anthony Langford - Other than a couple of scratches on the paint job, the jeep held up perfectly. It was a great site, but just a warm up for the place we went to afterwards.
    Thanks Anthony!

  29. Ps. I agree with Alex, you should start up yr own tours! Ill pop across for a comprehensive tour!


  30. Hi Pat, interesting photos. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  31. Chris - Thank you so much for stopping by, for commenting and for signing on! I will be over soon to check you out...

  32. You're 'pretty good' road phraseology is quite familiar to me!

    I swear my husband thinks we are driving a tank.

    I think he would like to get one if he could.

    If someone drove there once 17 years ago, that means our 2WD truck can certainly go there now.

    My personal least favorites involve loose lava rock.


  33. Jack Elliot - Thanks Jack! I appreciate the comment.

    Jenny - Yeah, I guess I'm kind of that way myself. You are right. Lava is sharp and will shred tires in a quick minute. I was with several other Jeeps on this trip, so I wasn't worried at all.

  34. Beautiful shots, Pat! It's such a stark environment, but that makes it all the more appealing to me.

  35. William Kendall - Thanks William! I totally agree with you. Add to that, the fact that it has changed very little since those those days.


This blog is word verification free.
I love your comments and will do my best to respond to each and every one.