Monday, March 2, 2015

Return to Grapevine Canyon - Southern Nevada

I did a post on this place a few years ago. We were there again last week and this time I'll show you some items that weren't included in the earlier post. There have also been a couple of changes there. Not good changes...
Grapevine Canyon is one of the biggest and oldest petroglyph sites in the southern part of Nevada. This place is sacred to several Yuman and Numic speaking tribes from this area. These tribes include the Mojave, Hualapai, Yavapai, Havasupai, Quechan, Pai Pai, Maricopa,Chemehuevi and Southern Paiute. This place is on BLM land and is fairly well known. On a weekday, you have a good chance of being there by yourself. 

Please Embiggen to enhance your viewing pleasure
This wall of petroglyphs is about 100 feet high and much wider than that. Please notice the "notch" in the rocks near the lower right hand corner.  

Here is a closer view of the "notch" in the above photo. Since we were here last time, some people came here at night with a power saw and cut some petroglyphs out of the rock. These are large symbols and that chunk of rock must have weighed hundreds of pounds. I'm happy to report that the bastards who did this, were later arrested. 

This is the most recognizable and famous panel in the canyon.  This is one of only a couple, that were included in my first post on this place.

Another panel of mountain sheep from a little further up the canyon. 

 A few more of them, just outside the canyon.

I love this panel. The large symbol in the middle is about 4 feet high. 

Last week was my third visit to this place and the first time I saw these shallow mortars. They are also the only ones I've seen there. I've never seen any photos of them either.

 Layers of petroglyphs on this huge rock. Thousands of years of history...

I can't swear to it, but I think this is a "Yoni" (you remember, right?).  The rock was definitely hand worked. 

 Some very nice petroglyphs on the front and side of this large rock.

 Another angle of the rock in the above photo.

Many atlatls in the left side of the photo. Atlatls were tools used to "throw" arrows (or darts) and spears, before the advent of the "bow and arrow."

 I said I was going to start including an occasional photo of myself in my posts. Of course, that is me on the right, one of our girls in the middle and some grizzled old desert rat on the left.  Just kidding! I never looked that good on my best day. The guy on the right is a friend and of course, I'm the old guy. In case you were wondering, that is in fact graffiti on the rocks behind us. It was a steep climb to that nice spot, and we were not happy to see it there.

 Looking back down the canyon

The large wash at the base of Grapevine Canyon



  1. Yeah, and most people half your age wish they were in as good a shape as you!
    Some cool markings. Some almost look like drawings of a city.
    And who would steal a chunk of rock? The effort involved... and what the heck are you going to do with it? Idiots...

  2. The minds of some people who cut that piece of is madness !

  3. I think you are right in calling those who deface and steal from ancient sites bastards!

  4. Beautiful petroglyphs! I can never understand why people want to carve them out of their original location. That happened up in Bishop, too, about 2 years after we visited the petroglyphs up there. So sad. I hope they caught the bastards.
    Cheryl Ann

  5. Question: Can we get to them with a high clearance 2 wheeled drive vehicle? We have a Nissan XTerra, but it isn't 4 wheel drive.

  6. Another amazing place Pat and y'all are sure having a good time!

  7. good to see you. :) i hate that folks are defacing the rocks - and worse, removing portions of them! glad to hear those folks were caught!

  8. Oh, how I love to see these places you take us all! I really look forward to your posts. They are like a mini vacation.

  9. I have enjoyed your photos of this incredible place SO much!! Fascinating petroglyphs and so many that have survived the many, many years!! Awesome! It's sad to see that those bastards who enjoy defacing such places have surely done their "work"!! Thanks as always for sharing the beauty and the history, Pat! Have a great new week!

  10. This was an enormously rich find! The petrolglyphs of the goats reminds me of the ones of reindeers etc one finds in these parts.
    Destruction of historical relics are never fun. There just isn't any excuse.

  11. Why on earth would motivate someone to cut a chunk out of the rocks? They deserve much worse than whatever legal penalties they suffered. There are amazing.

  12. Wonderful photos! How awe-inspiring it must be to touch rocks that people touched thousands and thousands of years ago. And what breath-taking scenery.

  13. I would have fun exploring around these rocks. The guys who cut out of the rock should have just taking a picture and left the rock for others to enjoy.

  14. Graffiti and also downright destruction... so sad. I hope the ones who cut the chunk were MORE than just arrested!

  15. That just ticks me off that someone would cut out a piece of history like that, destroying truly beautiful piece.

    Amazing post as always Pat. Thanks for the tour.

  16. Pat, you are a great hiker and photographer. You can discover so many interesting places. You can make of them the great stories and you can show us something that we don't often see.

    I love every moment you spent in Grapevine Canyon. I also enjoyed a photo of three of you. It's wonderful.

    Your trip was amazing!!!!

  17. Bastards would be an understatement. Beautiful area, Pat!

  18. It's such a shame that you're finding graffiti all over the place, even in seemingly inaccessible areas.

    It's good to see you, Pat. You look to be in great shape, and that you are - all this hiking you're doing.

    Great shots. I like the red rock.

  19. That's just amazing - and I'm quite happy that the vandals got caught!

  20. Alex - Thanks Alex! There is a lot of money to be made on the black market with artifacts. Still idiots though!

    Wong Ching Wah - It is madness! Long time no see, hope you are doing well.

    sage - Thanks Jeff! I wanted to call them something a lot worse.

    trav4adventures - Thanks Cheryl Ann! I wonder if it was the same person in both incidents?

    Brian - Thanks Brian! We got home a few days ago, but we did have a great time. The package was here waiting for me. Thanks so much. Paula loved the human food part of it!

    TexWisGirl - Thanks Theresa! I'm getting so backed up. I'm also glad they were caught, but unfortunately, the penalties aren't nearly stiff enough.

  21. Shelly - My pleasure Shelly! I'd say they also feel like a vacation to us, but we're always on vacation...

    Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! Seeing things like that make me both sad and angry.

    visualnorway - Thanks! I love that there are similar relics all over the world. I agree with you about the destruction.

    Wayne (Woody), whatever - It sure was! No doubt, the motivation was money. Thanks!

    Elizabeth Varadan, Author - Thanks Elizabeth! It is very inspiring to see these places. I am always amazed by them.

    Dan the Mountain Man - I sure had a good time exploring there. I totally agree about the idiots who did that. Thanks for the comment Dan! I appreciate it.

  22. Ms. A - Yep! The graffiti is bad enough, but the other is evil. Maybe a good caning is called for.

    TS Hendrik - Me too! I hate those people. Thanks Tim!

    Kaya - Thanks Kaya! That is very nice of you to say. I just wish that we knew more about it all means.

    William Kendall - Thanks William! It's not just an amazing site, it's also an amazing wilderness area. - Thanks Robyn! I do pretty good for an old guy. They REALLY need to raise the penalties for defacing these place to something much more severe.

    Montanagirl - I agree with you on both counts! I wish they would lock them up and throw away the key.

  23. Seriously?? Why would anyone go to the effort to steal that? Sometimes I don't think anyone has common sense or integrity anymore. I'm glad they got caught! Thanks for the amazing pictures and information, as always. :)

  24. When I "embiggened" the first picture I think I actually gasped out loud when the petroglyphs popped up. In that picture they don't really show when it is small but they pop when it's larger. I had no idea there were so many. We have petroglyphs in our area, but never so many in one area. Thanks for sharing; it's fascinating.

  25. I cannot believe the selfishness of some people.... why would you steal something that belongs to no one but everyone at the same time? Glad they were arrested but the damage is done :-(

    Great photos as always, Pat!

  26. More great photos and interesting history. It's amazing to think that somebody would go to cut a chunk of this rock. You have to wonder a bit about the mentality of those kinds of people.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  27. Baby Sister - I guess, it's all about money. I agree with you, many humans are stupid! Thanks for the nice words Amanda.

    #1Nana - I don't know why I didn't include many close-ups in this post. It's my pleasure, thanks for enjoying them.

    Nat - I'm right there with you! There is a large black market for this stuff with some collectors. Thank Nat!

    Arlee Bird - Thanks Lee! I agree and I wonder a lot about it.

    roamingpursuits - That they are! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  28. Stealing of petrographs really??? who would do that, guess they are related to those Boy Scout Leaders who rolled those ancient rocks in a National forest area in Utah, they filmed what they did, arrested and charged, big fines and jailtime, kicked out of the Boy Scouts for sure, the scouts they were mentoring were appalled as well as their parents, who destroys and desecrates the sacred land and writings of the people who lived there??? I say dumb jackass people who will get their Karma in droves, love your blog and love to see your photos!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Anonymous - Yep! I couldn't believe those Boy Scout leaders. Idiots! Thanks so much for the comment and nice words. Please feel free to follow along by email, or whatever way you want.

  30. Petroglyphs wonderful! It is unfortunate that there are people who commit such acts. They are arrested but the damage is unrecoverable!

  31. It absolutely makes me sick that people would do something like that -- even the graffiti but especially the cutting. Those people should be in jail for a very very long time.

    So interesting and such a spiritual place -- so much history. How could anyone think of destroying it.

    Thank you for sharing though as many of us are not in such good shape as the "old guy' in that photo (if you made it up there, you are as good as young!)

  32. Leovi - Yes, it is very unfortunate. The penalties should be very harsh.

    Sallie (FullTime-Life) - I'm right there with you. It also makes me sick. Thanks for the nice words Sallie!

  33. Woah! Those are stunning. When looking at them, I immediately though of the art of Paul Klee. They are at once historic, yet very modern. I can't believe anyone would have the nerve to carve out a chunk. Bastards is even too nice!

  34. another amazing place, pat!
    enjoyed seeing all of your photos. interesting!

    happy weekend~ :))

  35. Stickup Artist - It's an amazing place, that's for sure. I love Paul Klee's art. The subject matter of this post is good, but the photos not so much. Believe it or not, I left my camera sitting on a folding camp chair that morning. All I had was my phone.

    Betty Manousos - Thanks so much Betty! Happy weekend to you also.

  36. What an amazing place. It's sad how people will damage historic areas like this.

  37. Hi Pat, Gorgeous pictures and place. So glad they caught those idiots who tried to destroy the history in that area.

    I'll be thinking about you tomorrow when we visit Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. We'll visit the Rock House Cave (rock shelter) and see pictographs left by Native Americans who once lived on the Petit Jean Mountain.


  38. Hi Pat. I just read your wonderful comment on Karen Gowen's post on success. You're also an incredible photographer!

  39. Al - Yep. it is very sad.

    Betsy Adams - Thanks Betsy! I don't know how gorgeous they are, I left my cameras sitting on a camp chair and had to use my phone. I was so mad!

    Ann Best - Thanks Ann! I appreciate your nice words.

  40. Looks a wonderful place.

    The vandalism is mindless. Glad the slab stealers were caught.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  41. So interesting how certain rocks are just covered over with markings. You wonder if it was one person... or one person after another, marking over the last sign. Canceling one another out? or is that just my western thinking lol.

    btw: did you read about the latest on the Lascaux caves in France? Read somewhere that all those handprints were actually the hand prints of women.

  42. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. And I must be an old friend because I remember the original post.

    As for graffiti of the modern sort, I'm always astonished to find it at the top of a mountain after a grueling 10-mile hike. I can't get my mind around the idea that someone would hike this hard for this long with nothing but hate in his or her heart. I mean, take all the railroad tracks and warehouses you want, but leave my mountain alone.

  43. such a shame people steel from these sites. But good they were caught. But they still spoiled the images.

    It is always nice to see what you find. If I lvied closer I might take a look for myself. :)

  44. Stewart M - I'm not sure what bothers me more. The people who try to steal them because they know they are valuable, or the mindless ones who deface them.

    Pasadena Adjacent - The petroglyphs in this place were done by many people, over a very long time period. Several tribes considered it a sacred place. It made me chuckle to think of one tagger, spray painted over another's work. I did read about the female hand prints. I've heard that about other places also. Including the American southwest.
    Some type of a fertility rite or something like that.

    altadenahiker - You are on old friend! The first trip was the canyon itself. These (except for a couple) are not actually in the canyon, but adjacent to it. I know what you mean about about people going to all that trouble. fortunately, they usually don't!

    NatureFootstep - It is a shame. I hope that someday you find yourself closer, so you can look around.

  45. Damn, Pat! You're still blogging? Haven't you visited the entire country by now?

    If you remember who I am, then I will be shocked! I used to blog at I came out as trans, so I use a different first name online.

  46. Valerie Troutman - Well, be prepared to "be shocked" because I totally remember you. I also remember your other name. It's really nice to see you here! To do what you did (coming our as trans) can't be the easiest thing in the world, so you must be feeling pretty good about things. I'm happy for you! Are you still blogging on

    Yep, I'm still blogging, but much less often. I try to post something every other Monday. I haven't seen the whole country yet, still working on the southwest part. In fact, I'm out in the desert right now. Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope to see you here often. Let me know about your blog. No, I'll just go there now. If you are blogging somewhere else, please let me know.

  47. Thanks, Pat! I don't blog there anymore. Someday, maybe, probably not. There are really two spots to find me these days. I do post a few hiking pics to Flickr (, but mainly you can find me on Instagram ( and Twitter (@ShootThePicture). My pics used to be mostly hiking pics, but I've been pretty sick since late November. On Twitter it's mostly tweeting about movies as I watch them.

    I'll try to check in more often. Sorry, I didn't respond immediately. Part laziness. Part, I was at a lose for words. Mainly the second one.


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