Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hollowed Boulder Rock Art - Joshua Tree National Park

Back to the rock art!  This is one of my favorite sites, in my favorite part of Joshua Tree National Park. It has petroglyphs, fantastic pictographs and very few people have ever heard about it, much less seen it. 

By looking at my wife (lower left), you can see how large this boulder is.

Although you can clearly make out many of the pictographs with the naked eye, when enhanced they really pop out at you.

you might want to embiggen this photo
As you can see, there are petroglyphs pecked into the rock, right over some of the pictographs. This is a clear indicator that the pictographs and petroglyphs were done by different tribes, at different points in history.

As viewed with the naked eye.

Same photo enhanced with DStretch. Quite a few symbols in this site. It wasn't until I got home, that I noticed the hand print in the upper right of this photo.

Same photo as above, it is also enhanced with DStretch, but tweaked a bit differently. 

As seen at the site

After enhancement, many more symbols are visible. Note the anthropomorphic (human) in the lower left. If you look closely at it, I'm pretty sure that you will agree that it represents a male. Next to it is a white yoni (female hoo hoo). Above the yoni is a red rain symbol. There are a lot of other symbols at this site. Some are known, most are guessed at, but unknown. 

A little further to the left of the last photo


This area is under the main panel of rock art is primarily petroglyphs

One of the reasons this site is virtually unknown, is because part of the hike to get there, takes you through canyons like this.

Caves caused by erosion. Very interesting.  This photo and rest are included just to show you why we love this place so much.

I'm not saying this is anywhere close to the rock art site, but it is huge and sure catches your eye. 

Shark? Eel? Pac Man?



  1. Erosion does some amazing things.
    That place looks like a petroglyph jackpot. Seems that drawings and symbols were added over time to get such a layered look.

  2. "I'm not saying this is anywhere close to the rock art site, but it is huge and sure catches your eye."

    Wonderland is my favorite part of the park as well. There is a horrifying rock climbing traverse that goes left-to-right across the face of that formation. Very few climbers ever do it, and once was enough for me.

  3. wow! just so amazing and beautiful! stonehenge au naturel. :) thanks for pointing out your wife as i couldn't even see her at first. and for the anatomy lesson. :)

  4. Those are just amazing Pat!!!

  5. Such an incredible, beautiful place, Pat!! I do so look forward to your Saturday posts and particularly the ones from Joshua Tree Park!! So much history and beauty!! Thank you so much for sharing, as always! Enjoy your weekend!

  6. Yipes... Be careful of that shark!!!!!!! ha...

    Don't you just love to get away from 'life' ---and enjoy nature like you do? That area is just so amazing.

    I assume that there are no trails into those remote areas. Do you carry a compass or GPS so that you can get back? When we hike in the woods off trail, we mark our car with our GPS.. Then we can always get back to the car eventually.

    Speaking of LIFE--there was a Tennessee woman (all over the news here) who disappeared at Joshua TreeNP... But--apparently, her story is like a soap opera (hubby in service; she's had affairs; pregnant by who knows who; etc...) GADS...


  7. Alex J. Cavanaugh - It sure does! Eventually, this area will erode its self right out of existence.

    David Stillman - Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting David. I've watched people climbing in this spot (Freak Brothers), but I've never seen anybody traverse across it.

    TexWisGirl - I think what I like best about it, is the fact that other than a few footprints, it looked exactly like this thousands of years ago. I just laughed out loud at your last sentence.

    Brian - Thanks Brian! I agree.

    Sylvia K - Thanks so much for the nice words Sylvia. I will have a nice weekend and I hope you do as well.

    Betsy Adams - I do love getting away from it all. I was born with a good sense of direction and in areas like this, I can always find my way back unaided. BUT, if you get lost in the desert, things don't usually end well. So I usually have a compass and topo map of the area I'm in with me. I also have GPS, but don't often use it for my return trips, because it might break. That lady is pretty big in the news out here. Still no answers though.

  8. I like this place, wonderful forms of these rocks, great pictures!

  9. That's another amazing place - if you hadn't pointed out your wife I wouldn't have realized how large that boulder is.

  10. It is huge, and impressive! The area is beautiful!

  11. It is huge, and impressive! The area is beautiful!

  12. How wonderful that you and your wife can travel and see such incredible sites. Nature is awesome. These rock formations are just...amazing. Thanks for sharing. (I've come back to blogging on a limited basis...mostly visiting "old" blogging friends whom I've missed. So, hello "old" friend....)

  13. To answer your question on my blog, I've done some short (2 mile) hikes with Laika and she's done fine. I'll see how she does on longer ones.

  14. Hi there and thanks for the multiple comments - I just left the blog on the back burner when I was in the UK.

    I had a look around a couple of stone circle and earthwork sites when I was in the UK - seeing these types of things really makes you understand that the people who build them were human - just like us - and that these older civilisations were just as complex as ours in many ways. I think thats a thing that people forget!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  15. Fantastic photos! Looks like a place I would enjoy visiting even though I doubt I ever will. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  16. Leovi - thanks so much Leovi!

    Al - It sure is! I am totally in love with this area and have been for most of my life.

    William Kendall - I totally agree with you William. I spend a lot of time there and if I'm not, I want to be.

    Ann Best - We feel very fortunate to visit these places. Thanks so much for stopping by Ann. I'll be over in a while to see your posts.

    Al - If she can do those short ones, she will probably be good on some that are longer. Once again Al, it was really nice of you to take that cute pooch into your home. Good on you for that...

    Stewart M - My pleasure with the comments. If I could get on more often, I wouldn't have to play catch-up with the blogs I like. You are so right about the ancients. They did just fine with only what the land provided. Out here, that went on for centuries and only ended when they crossed paths with the Europeans. I'm sure it was much the same in your great in Australia.

    Kay - Thanks so much Kay! It's not too far away from where you live. My pleasure sharing...

    Kay -

  17. Really stunning images Pat. Looks like landscapes from the original Planet of the Apes. Well worth the hike. Beautiful.

    That boulder looks as though it might topple. I wonder how they got up so high?

  18. I had no idea the rocks were that HUGE until you pointed out your wife in the first photo. Erosion has created a few masterpieces there and I I am fascinated by the petroglyphs. It's probably a good thin that few people know about this place. I would hate to see it turn into a Disney-style attraction.

  19. Love the rock formations, a great place to visit.. wonderful photos, thanks for sharing your visit.. Happy Sunday!

  20. It's hard to believe those are naturally formed rocks, and I can't get over how huge that first one is - your wife is hard to find in the photo. Pat, you should lead tours for students/adults. You're such an expert, teaching us much about the world.

  21. I can see why yourself, wife and daughter love this area so much Pat, I'm guessing that you're all pretty fit to do hike in this difficult terrain. This rock was an absolute treasure trove of symbols.. 'a female hoo hoo' made me lol and I am definitely keeping that one for future use :)Another series of amazing images from this wondrous area that you are very hesitant to share exact locations.. I don't blame you :)

  22. Fabulous! And they say that the people of today have advanced very much - I think the the people who made this where pretty advanced too.

  23. What a great site!!! Are the enhanced pics true to the colors of the petro/pictographs? I've not seen pigment in any of our petroglyphs...they're simply carved in...

  24. That was very clever on your part to enhance your pictograph images so we could see them better.

    Your images show the main reason hubby and I miss living in Arizona and being so close to places like this in the desert southwest. This was a wonderful tour, Pat, and I didn't have to put on the sunblock! :)


  25. Oh, yes I looked at your wife in the first photo and I immediately realized how huge this rock is. Right now I am wondering how I would feel if I were at this place and by this rock.

    Pat these are all breathtaking pictures!

    Pictograms are so interesting. They always puzzle me.

    Great trip, wonderful pictures and fantastic untouched places.

  26. The picture after the caves picture looks like 2 giant noses. Funny how nature can look like funny/crazy things.

    I love the program you use to see things more clearly. It's awesome what technology can do. :)

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures!!

  27. The rocks are amazing! I regret not going to Joshua Tree when it was so close. Your shots are excellent!

  28. Can you elaborate on DStretch? How does it work? Is it available somewhere?

  29. Wonderful rock formations.

  30. so beautiful. I find your desert so mesmerizing. I so hope I get to experience its beauty first hand one day

  31. wow, that "boulder" is huge! I think that "shark" is a bear:) On which program/link is D-stretch?

  32. I really, really hope I get out there one day. I would love to see these beautiful sites in real life.

  33. Anthony J. Langford - Thanks Anthony! It was completely worth the hike. They either stood on the ledge, or maybe the ground level was higher then, this spot is in a natural drainage, so that might be it.

    EG CameraGirl - Oh yeah! Many of them are even bigger than this one. I agree about the erosion, it is both amazing and destructive at the same time. It's funny you should mention Disney. There is a rock art site near here where a movie crew used paint to "enhance" the rock art for a movie. I'm pretty sure it was a Disney crew.

    eileeninmd - Thanks! I love them also. One of my favorite places in the world. - I know! Mother Nature is quite the sculptress. I have led some tours in Joshua Tree and love doing it. Thanks for the nice words Robyn.

    PerthDailyPhoto - Thanks Grace! My wife and I do pretty well for old folks. I agree about this spot, it is one of my favorites. There are a few spots that I might tell a few folks about, but I'd NEVER tell anybody where this amazing site is. There aren't very many who do know and I'm grateful to be one of them.

    RuneE - Thanks! I totally agree with you. These folks did just fine without us. In fact, they did much better.

  34. TheChieftess - DStretch enhances what is already there. Sometimes, if the color is too weak, I can use a different color to make it show up better. But what you see is usually what it looked like when new.

    Yep, what you have up there is mostly petroglyphs. They didn't use pigment on them at all, because it's one of the other. Pictographs are only "painted" and petroglyphs are only carved, scratched or pecked. Thanks Kathryn!

    thirtysevenandcounting - I wish I had invented that process, but I'm not nearly smart enough to do so. Thanks so much for the nice words Lindy. I appreciate it.

    Kaya - I know I feel in places like that. I feel like a small part of something much larger. It is spiritual, magical and I can feel it. Thank so much for all the nice words Kaya.

    Baby Sister - I know! The images you start to see are crazy. The photos are my pleasure and thanks right back at you, for always supporting what what I do. I appreciate it so much.

    James - They are amazing! Maybe next time you are in the area, you can go there.

  35. xNokian - I can elaborate on it, but instead I'll give you the link. It will do a lot better explanation than I can.
    See what you think and if you get it, I'll tell you where there are some tutorials for it.

    ladyfi - I agree! They are amazing.

    Mynx - Mesmerizing is a good word for it. You can't get too mesmerized though, because it's also deadly. I hope you do get to see it!

    jeannettestgermain - It's a big one alright. DStretch is actually a plugin for a JPL program called ImageJ. This is REALLY high tech stuff.

    Al Penwasser - I hope you do get out here sometime. I'd love to show you around for a day or two in Joshua Tree.

  36. I immediately though shark! You make me want to go back very soon. Hopefully, I can make it out this winter. I'd love to see snow out there but am slowly giving up on that prospect as we are getting so precious little precipitation. I wish I could find just one or two petroglyphs. Didn't realize there were so many! Great job getting of the beaten path on onto the path of discovery.

  37. That canyon is spectacular! I would have loved to be on that hike. Cool rock writing too. Worth the journey.

    I took 1000 photos yesterday at Newberry Caldera. Had been there before, but got up to get sunrise photos.

  38. Stunning. Absolutely stunning photos. You capture such beautiful images. I love the enhancements. And those canyons! Wow. They look like a million years of secrets.

  39. Stickup Artist - It does look like a shark! I hope you make it there. JT is awesome with snow. The places on the beaten path are easier to get to, but not nearly as interesting.

    M Pax - It is a spectacular place. usually, the only people who hike back there are rock climbers. Can't wait to see your photos from the Newberry Caldera. I saw a sunrise on FB today. Beautiful photo Mary.

  40. First off, that boulder is HUGE!!
    I love all the writings and what you have here my friend is some great photographic evidence of history. I have never heard of Dstretch before..will have to look that up!

  41. That boulder is soooooo big, it should be called a mountain!

  42. I like that big dry tree in one of the pics

  43. sixdegreesphotography - It was pretty big! Thanks for the long time support Lynne. I appreciate.

    Rosemary Nickerson - That formation is pretty darn big. There is one on the other side of the canyon that is even larger. Much larger...

    DEZMOND - Thanks DEZZ! Those dead trees look great in silhouette in front of the rocks.

  44. Hi Pat, the 'wonders' of the desert never cease to amaze me.

    Art is in the rocks, in the trees, it's everywhere one looks.

    No wonder you love it so.
    Thanks for sharing =)

  45. This place is fascinating me as well through your photos! When you enhanced the photos, they do come alive.

  46. ✿⊱•°
    Voltei para uma visita.
    Amei todas as fotos muito límpidas e bonitas.
    Nunca vi um sítio parecido como esse.
    Nunca estive perto dessas pinturas rupestres, mas, imagino que é emocionante!

    Bom fim de semana!

  47. Thanks for stopping by to see about me! All is well. I will get back to my blogging very soon!

  48. You do a great job documenting some wonderful and remote areas of the park. Makes me want to go out and explore more!!

  49. weekend et coup brosse - Thank you for the comment and for following. I appreciate both...

    Pam - I am right there with you! Mother Nature is quite the artist, that is for sure. My pleasure Pam, thanks to you also.

    Icy BC - It is totally fascinating to me also. I agree about the enhancement. DStretch is fantastic.

    Magia da Ines - Thank you Magia! I appreciate that.

    Bossy Betty - I'm glad to here that you are doing well Betty. I'm looking forward to your return.

    Spare Parts and Pics - Thanks for the nice comment. Your blog does the same for me. I'm glad that I found it. I'll be out exploring again next week (if it's not too hot!). Thanks again!

  50. The time worn rocks are so beautiful. I think this is one of my favorite of your out of the way adventures!

  51. It's absolutely astonishing these have survived the elements, including human.

  52. Sharon Wagner - Thanks Sharon! I appreciate that. Mother Nature sure does paint a pretty picture,.

    altadenahiker - I totally agree with you! I guess it really helps that very few people know where it is.

  53. I purchased a book at the indian museum in Lancaster. It spoke of two waves of migration into the great basin. The first wave was overtaken by a second wave with an aztec linguistic base (shoshone) You may have mentioned this somewhere - but what Indian people are credited with these hieroglyphics?

    I'll have to go back and recheck my book so I can be a little clearer

  54. People have been in this area for over 5,000 years. The initial group was called the "Pinto Culture." However, most of the Rock Art in and around the area is attributed to three other groups. In order, they are the Serrano, the Chemehuevi (southern Paiutes) and the Cahuilla.

    This area isn't part of the Great Basin (desert). It is made up of the Mojave and Colorado desert.

    Your book sounds interesting, I may try to find it. Thanks!

  55. I'm late to the party, but I want to second all the comment's about your pictures. Amazing area, and as I said before I'm sorry I didn't read your blog before I visited there.

  56. Should Fish More - Thanks Mike, I appreciate that. Maybe you will make out to Joshua Tree again someday.

  57. Absolutley beautiful! Stunning photographs Pat! They make me want to go there and see these wonders for myself.

  58. Eva Prokop - Thank you for the nice words. I'm sure a return trip would be worthwhile.

    Japy - Thanks Japy!

  59. I always enjoy such sites--nice photos, but I expect it's pretty hot these days

  60. Sage - Me too! You are right about it being. I think we'll be sticking to the high country for the rest of our trip. Did some mountain hiking the last several days.

  61. My husband would love these photos. He loves the desert. I, on the other hand, like it only in springtime, when it's cool. We stayed at La Casa del Zorro one weekend and it was gorgeous. I understand they closed it quite a few years ago. I loved it there. We like ABD and I have a beautiful book of photos of it. 106F is not for me. But very cool photos of the Indian heiroglyphs.

  62. wow, such an interesting place. And I like the way DStrech brings out details from the photos. Thanks for sharing.

  63. I would not jump to ancient conclusions so fast. That particular boulder is well known, really pretty accessible to get to - Barker Dam trail- and was the unfortunate victim of Disney set artists when they filmed in this location decades ago. They added their own petro and pictos and painted over the few remaining ones that were authentic. " to better show up in the camera shots". Disney also poured several concrete pads for the cages that housed the 'wild' animals that starred in the film. Some of which are still visible if you know where to look nearby. Basically they did whatever they wanted and destroyed some fine examples of ancient art. Want verification ? Ask any older Ranger there they will tell you. BTW the climb mentioned as scary is called "I cant believe its a Girdle" 5.10 ish, on the Freak Bros dome pictured in the blog above.Its more a mental concentration thing than anything else and not a death route by any means.

  64. Studio 1 - First off, thanks for taking the time to comment. Unfortunately you are way off base and totally mistaken in what you said. This is NOT The "Disney" site at all. In fact, it's not even close to the Barker Dam trail.


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