Monday, February 29, 2016

Part #1 - Every Long Hike Should Pay Off Like This One Did

Just like the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a recent long hike ended with an amazing reward. 

Several days ago, a friend invited me to do a long hike with him to a place he had just found in the desert. Ignoring my doctor's advice (to do nothing strenuous for six months), I of course accepted. 

This site was so amazing, and so pristine, that I will not be uttering either a name, or location relating to it. After several miles (uphill, I might add), we spotted some large rock formations that were not visible during the entire hike.

We climbed one of the rock piles and then dropped down into a hole. What I saw not only rendered me speechless, it also took my breath away. 


 The thing that blew my mind is the circle of rocks, that is just right of center, at the bottom.


At first sight most people would think that it's a fire ring. They wouldn't notice that many of the stones were placed in a vertical fashion, rather than just being stacked. They also wouldn't think much of the grassy dried vegetation at the bottom (probably a rat nest), or the branch leaning against the inside of it. 


This isn't a fire ring at all. It is an "Olla Nest." The branch (what is left of it) is a "Spirit Stick" and the grass is there to make sure the "Olla" sits on something soft. So what is an Olla?

The large piece of pottery standing next to this lady (her name is Rose), is an Olla.
CREDIT: San Diego History Center

An olla is a large piece of pottery used to store water or food. Because it was high up in the rocks, I'm thinking it was probably used to store food, rather that water. Just a thought. The olla was gone, but that didn't matter. It was awesome just to see the nest.

This little spot was in amazing enough in it's own right, but there is much more!
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We went up another pile of rocks and once again, had to drop down into an opening.

I apologize about this terribly blurry photo All I can see after dropping into the hole, is another Spirit Stick, leaning up against the rocks. When I got closer I saw...


...that the Spirit Stick was standing right next to a whole Olla. At least it was a whole Olla when it was left there.  Unfortunately, either a rock fell on it, or it just fell apart on its own. Maybe if it had been in a nest! You can't really tell from this photo, but those shards are as large as my hand with spread fingers. Some of them are buried and/or partially buried.  There were also two more Spirit Sticks in there, but somehow I didn't get a photo of them. I don't know exactly how old these two sites are, but they are very old...

My friend knew how much I would love seeing these sites. He was right and I really appreciated it. There aren't very many people who like this stuff as much as we do. There are some of course, but it's a relatively small group.

Part #2 will be posted soon. So much more to see...


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45 comments:

ladyfi said...

What a fascinating find!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, what a great sighting and find! Thanks to your friend Jim! Wonderful photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh, be still my heart! An amazing find (and I can't begin to imagine how your friend found it in the first place.). My knees would have been so weak, I'd have had to sit down in there for quite a while to recover my senses. Amazing ... Words fail me. Thank you for sharing, of course if it were just us reading this, the secret location would be safe, because we'd never be able to do such a hike now. But it is more than enough just knowing that such undiscovered history still exists in this world.

William Kendall said...

I wouldn't have known that! Well worth making the hike!

Al Penwasser said...

A fire ring. That is exactly what I first thought. Then, I saw the grass and thought, "That's weird." Good thing you explained it because my head was starting to hurt.

Sylvia K said...

What a terrific place, Pat, and your captures are superb as always!! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a great new week!

TheChieftess said...

Very cool find Pat! It's fascinating that there are still relics like this in their natural place...virtually untouched. Good for you for keeping quiet about it111 Shhhh!

Wayne said...

Fantastic that no one has disturbed it after all these years. What a rush!

Icy BC said...

It is so amazing and beautiful, indeed, Pat, and love the lighting on the rock plus the cave.

Baby Sister said...

Wow. That is so amazing! You have good friends.

Should Fish More said...

Pat
So how old are those rings, more or less? Any longer than 50 years, it's remarkable they are there.
Your post gives me hope and happiness that there are still some 'undiscovered' places in this world we take for granted.
Cheers,
Mike

Brian said...

We would never get to see things like that and we're so glad you take us along!

Pat Tillett said...

ladyfi - Very fascinating indeed. I felt very lucky to have seen it.

eileeninmd - Oh yes! Thanks to Jim!
Thanks to you also Eileen.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) - It was very amazing! I was totally breathless when I first saw it. We did in fact, just sit in their for a while. The feel of the place was peaceful and friendly. Some others not so much. The thing about places like this, is that we have no idea how many of them are still out there.

William Kendall - Very well worth it. I do so much research and reading on this stuff, that when I actually do see it, I'm floored.

Stewart M said...

That is something to see. Makes me wonder how many other things and places there are like that, just tucked away in hidden places.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Ms. A said...

My inexperience would have said fire ring. Wouldn't have had a clue without you explaining it.

Pat Tillett said...

Al Penwasser - I'm pretty sure that most people thought the same. Tylenol or Advil?

Sylvia K - Thanks so much Sylvia! Sharing it was my pleasure!

TheChieftess - Thanks Kathy! I remember seeing a few places this pristine when I was a kid. I liked it a lot, but didn't totally understand just how awesome it really was.

Wayne - I agree! If it was easy to get to, it wouldn't be pristine. Well, it might be pristine, but as untouched as this place was, is very unlikely.

Icy BC - There was so much to see. I'm lucky that any of the photos turned out okay, because I couldn't really even think about that.

Baby Sister - Hi Amanda! Yes I do! That was VERY nice of him. I know he did it because we both love this stuff more than most. Nice to see your comment...

Should Fish More - That is a difficult question to answer Mike. The age of the rings is several hundred years at a minimum. The caves have been used for a lot longer than that though, how about several thousand? The area is pure desert now, but there used to be a lot of water there. There are also other things that I'll show you in the next post.

Brian - Thanks so much Brian! It is my pleasure...

visualnorway said...

I agree - such findings are few and far apart. For an anthropologist it must be worth its weight in gold indeed. I hope the souvenir hunters are kept away.

Kaya said...

I understand you Pat that the temptation to hike again and see the amazing places was much stronger than doctor's advice. Your friend took you to really pristine and unique place. Photos are fantastic they made me want go on the road and will find something similar and will spend the whole day there.

Thank you for sharing this interesting discovery. It's priceless.

Sandy said...

What an amazing find! I'm jealous and happy all in one!! =)

Pat Tillett said...

Stewart M - It also makes me wonder. I know there is a lot more out there though.

Ms. A - When I was a kid, my granny showed us a couple of places, that still had intact Ollas sitting in nest. Too any pot hunters out there.

visualnorway - Getting to places like this one are probably way to much work for souvenir hunters. The ones who would take this stuff, are the ones who would sell it on the black market. The penalties for that kind of crime, need to be made MUCH more harsh.

Kaya - Yep! The way I look at it, is that at least I would have died doing what I like to do. There was more to see in this area than I included in this post. More to come in the next one. You are welcome Kaya, and thanks to you for always being so supportive.

Sandy - I'm still on cloud nine! I'm sure you will enjoy the post also. Same area, different stuff.

Al said...

That's a lot of great stuff to find, I'm looking forward to seeing the next post. Most people wouldn't have a clue what that stuff is, I certainly wouldn't without your explanation.

sage said...

I'm envious of your trip. Have you read Craig Child's writings? He speaks of finding such places as he travels across the west.

Liz said...

WOW! That's so fascinating! Great find!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You and Jim are amazing. What time period do you think the Olla and Spirit Stick were used? I have no idea how far back you're taking us. This is really incredible, Pat.

jeannettestgermain said...

These discoveries are fascinating! Well worth the strain you shouldn't have put one your body - hope that your wife knows about this! Thanks for visiting me:)
Rest well the rest of this week, friend!

Pat Tillett said...

Al - It sure was Al. I hope you like the next post.

sage - I've read a couple of his books. I know he has quite a few. Maybe, I should read some more of them.

Liz - Thanks Liz! It was fascinating to me as well.

Rawknrobyn - Probably somewhere in the vicinity of several hundred years to a couple thousand. Probably closer to the several hundred though.
Somethings that I'll include in the second post are much older than that.

jeannettestgermain - Yep, well worth the strain. I surprised myself and made it with no problems. Thanks so much Jeannette!

bettyl-NZ said...

What awesome things to find. How great to know what the rings of stone were for. :)

DEZMOND said...

a lovely place indeed. Do they have any animals there?

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Oh yes! Your friend knows you well Pat, this must have been incredibly exciting for you.. both the anticipation and seeing these fabulous sites. I think you definitely have the right idea about showing, because we love to see them, but NOT telling where! Some people seem to take great delight in destroying things around them, I don't understand the mentality.

robin andrea said...

I can't thank you enough for taking such incredibly arduous journeys. You show me sights I know I will never see with my own eyes, and I appreciate it immensely seeing them through yours. Truly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Thank you.

jeannettestgermain said...

Patrick, thanks so much for your contribution to Seasons! I appreciate it - your blog is always so interesting! Hope you return back next week!

TexWisGirl said...

oh, that is awesome!!!

NatureFootstep said...

what a gorgeous find. Never heard about that piece of pottery so I learned something today :)

Pat Tillett said...

betty-NZ - Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

DEZMOND - It is lovely. There are a lot of animals there also. There are not easy to see though. Desert Big Horn Sheep, Cougars, Coyotes, many reptiles (including snakes), rodents, rabbits, birds, etc.

PerthDailyPhoto - It was very exciting. Yes, some sites should not be advertised. Luckily, there is a lot less vandalism than they advertise. Still though, any vandalism is too much.

robin andrea - It's my pleasure Robin! Both seeing and sharing are fun. Thanks Robin!

Pat Tillett said...

jeannettestgermain - You are welcome! I will try to post something there next week also.

TexWisGirl - Yes it sure is! Love it...

NatureFootstep - It really was great. Pottery is huge subject and very interesting.

Nora said...

This was fascinating. I loved the photo of the pottery. It amazes me the history you can dig up there. I will come back for the rest of this story.

Stickup Artist said...

How awesome. And I'll bet that day was the best medicine! I don't know how your friend even found the sites. No doubt, many, myself included, may not have realized the significance of the find. Some people just have a nose for what it is they seek.

Jenny said...

Wow. Wow. Pat, this is really an amazing find. I would definitely be hush/hush on where it is, too. However. When I get back on my feet again I shall be plying you with truth serum...and...
well, yeah. You get the picture. Thanks for letting us tag along.

Pat Tillett said...

Nora - It is fascinating. None of the people I know would actually "dig up" anything, but I know what you meant. Thanks Nora!

Stickup Artist - Yep! I was feeling pretty darn good. When looking for these places, you have to think like the ancients did. That is a lot of what having a "nose" for it entails. That and the ability to do some strenuous hiking and climbing in wilderness areas. My granny taught me a lot...

Jenny - Thanks Jenny! I hope you are back on your feet soon. I'm really glad that you enjoy the things we do and see.

Leovi - La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta said...

Interesting place for the first time've known Spirit Stick!

jeannettestgermain said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to go back for Seasons to post your pic:) Am looking forward to the next part of your outing!

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - Thanks Leovi! It is very interesting.

jeannettestgermain - My pleasure! Part 2 is coming up...

Ron said...

OMG, what an AMAZING discovery, Pat! I would have been so excited to see such a thing because to think of how long that was there blows my mind. And that it's still there is even more impressive. It's like a piece of history!

Thanks so much for sharing. Looking forward to your next post. Have a great week!

Pat Tillett said...

Ron - Thanks Ron! I totally agree with you about if being a piece of history. Don't get me wrong, I like reading about history also, but places like are on a whole different level. I hjope you are having a good week also.

TheChieftess said...

Very cool find!!!