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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Monday, February 17, 2014

Rock Island Shelter Pictographs and Milling Stone - Joshua Tree NP

I obviously wasn't the first modern person to discover this place, but I've never heard of it before and I've only found one obscure reference to it on the Internet. Also, there were zero footprints (other than mine) when I got there. I wasn't surprised, because this is one of those places that people bypass to get somewhere else. Truthfully, there aren't even that many people who come anywhere close to it.  Even the people who know where things are and won't tell you, don't know about it. So, I claim this rock formation and all it contains, for ....ME!  I think I'll call it Rock Island.

Just one pretty rock formation in a sea of thousands of pretty rock formations. I'd seen it a hundred times. For some reason, this time I had a hunch there might be something worth seeing up there.  

And up I went! Lo and behold, there was a large rock shelter up there.

There were no pictographs or petroglyphs in the first shelter. However, what was there was EVERY bit as exciting. See that large flat-ish rock in the middle of the photo? It's a milling stone! many people refer to them as a "slick." Probably because (as you can see) the top of the stone is smooth and somewhat concave from grinding seeds, acorns, etc into meal or flour. To the right of the stone you can see some round depressions in the floor. I think they were the start of mortars (morteros).

 When I came out of the shelter, I was more than pleased to find another.

It was actually bigger than the first one. I had a good feeling that I would find some rock art of some kind in this one.

The view out the other end of the shelter. 

The rock art in this area is all old, but some of it is very old. Depending on how exposed they are, pictographs are sometimes almost impossible to see with the naked eye. As you can see in this photo.

 Here is a DStretch enhanced photo of the same spot.

 This one was almost impossible to see.

 Even when enhanced, I can only tell you that it's an abstract design.



This enhanced photo clearly shows at least one stylized rattlesnake. The large red figure to the right looks like a zoomorphic (animal) and anthropomorphic (human) combo. In this case a snake combined with a human. At least that's how it looks to me. However, I could just be having a flashback. I'll shut up now! Enjoy the rest of the post.


 Another example of the same photo.









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