Monday, February 1, 2016

Sears Point Archaeological District - Arizona

Sears Point is one of the major archaeological sites in the United States. There are thousands of petroglyphs, as well as geoglyphs, rock circles, grinding areas, ancient trails and rock alignments. This post doesn't come anywhere near doing the site justice. I hate to say that, but we had to make it a short visit because of the weather.

The site is located at the convergence of several washes and becomes almost impossible to get into, or out of. I had enough stuff in our Jeep that would allow us to be stranded there for a day or two, but our diabetic cat back at the RV, would be needing an injection that night. So we were also prepared to hike out (really didn't want to do that). So few people go this spot, that we weren't expecting any help to come along either. We hadn't been there very long when we saw storm clouds coming towards us. That was our cue to leave.


The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) advises visitors to not even try to get to Sears Point during of after periods of rain. It had already been raining on and off for two days and it was expected again on the day after we were there. As you can see in this photo, the forecast was correct (and we went anyway).


Off the highway and onto a maintained dirt road for about 12 miles. Looks like it's clearing up! 


Then we hit the "un-maintained" dirt road and had to battle this for the next several miles. Even with FWD it was very difficult and we almost got stuck several times. It's worse that it looks. The salt content of the dirt in this area is extreme and it makes the mud very slick and stick like glue. Unfortunately, there were very few spots (like this one) to go around the mud.


 You can see what I mean about that salty mud. It made our tires act is if they were totally bald.


Enlarge this photo please
One of MANY fantastic groupings of petroglyphs. This area has been a major "thoroughfare" and meeting place for thousands of years. If you enlarge the photo, you can clearly see where symbols have been made over older symbols.


What follow are a few of the images we saw.














My wife is standing on top of a lava mesa very much like the one in the background. The petroglyphs are along the base and sides them.


Please enlarge this photo!
Looking in this direction, there are a few items that are every bit as interesting and important as the petroglyphs. If you enlarge the photo you will see a rock circle just above center. Next to the circle is an ancient trail, areas cleared of rocks, and some rock alignments. The circle might be some type of a trail shrine (just a guess, based on how close it is to the trail).

 A cleared circle on top of a butte

 Another (of many) ancient trails


One of many rock circles in the area

We will return to this great site as soon as we can!
-------------------------------------------------------------

I would be remiss if I didn't advise you NOT go to this place, unless you have FWD, are prepared to be stuck there for a while, and the ability to hike out. Although it is a "public" site, it is rarely visited and therefore still fairly pristine.  The summer is brutally hot here, the winters can get very cold, and the other seasons can be very cold at night. If possible travel with another vehicle. If you do go, please leave everything as you found it.

44 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So long ago and yet so much remains if you look for it.
Is that one of a moose and baby? Probably not - I'm sure there aren't many moose in the desert.
Glad you didn't get stuck in the glue-like sand.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, this was an adventure. I am glad you had the FWD! The petroglyph grouping is amazing. Great collection of photos.
Happy February, enjoy your new week!

Sylvia K said...

Awesome and amazing place!!! And terrific captures as always, Pat!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I hope you have a great new week!! Enjoy!!

Mandy Southgate said...

Wow, what an impressive site. I think I'd have to take your advice - no extreme adventuring (at least not without a guide). The petroglyphs are really impressive but yes, I like the signs of settlement too.

Al said...

It looks like an amazing place, but I wouldn't like the drive in.

William Kendall said...

Fascinating! It feels a world away. The remoteness and difficulty getting there no doubt helps preserve it.

Betsy Adams said...

I admire your bravery... Hubby and I brave bad roads when searching for waterfalls --and we do not have a FWD..... It gets scary at times ---but we love the search (just as you do)... Amazing place. I KNOW that you all will go back there sometime... The Petroglyphs are AMAZING.
Hugs,
Betsy

Pat Tillett said...

Alex - HA! I haven't seen any Moose out there yet. I'm really glad we weren't stuck out there also.

eileenimd - It was an adventure! I wouldn't have even tried with FWD. We still weren't all that bright, because we were alone. But then again, we do that all the time. Thanks Eileen, happy Feb to you as well...

Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! It's my pleasure.You have a great week also.

Mandy Southgate - It really was impressive. I agree with you about seeing the other things also. Interestingly though, despite all the things that took place here, there is no indication that people actually lived here.

Pat Tillett said...

Al - Except or the mud, the drive was okay. Some deep sand in places, but still kind of fun.

William Kendall - It really does seem like a world away. I totally prefer the remote places like this. I doesn't feel the same if there are other people around. Unless, I'm showing it to them.

Betsy Adams - Sometimes, a bit foolish, rather than brave. Yes, the two of you are in the back country quite a bit and you seem to do okay. Thanks Betsy! Right back at you...

visualnorway said...

This must be one of the most special places I have ever seen. It also makes one wonder about the changes that has occurred up through the centuries/millennia: It was obviously well frequented for many, many years by people who must have had comparatively "small" problems getting there, yet you had great problems and it is very far from what we call civilization. Makes one wonder about progress.

DEZMOND said...

those petroglyphs sure do look fine when so clustered together!

Ms. A said...

You two are quite brave! Me, not so much.

trav4adventures said...

Wow! Looks like the site was well worth the effort. I love to see these photos. We don't have 4WD, however, so we stick to those we can get to with our X-Terra.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Thank you Pat for these amazing pictures. A few years (or decades) ago we would have tried that road, but those days are past I'm afraid. Amazing petroglyphs and yes the pictures are wonderful enlarged. I've never seen any like some of them ... That one, I guess it is a bull or maybe a bison, but neither really makes sense in this context.

Ps.. Thank you for your virtual visit and taking time to comment!

Wayne said...

That's some serious mud, I've not seen anything like that. Good idea to travel in tandem, you can pull each other out :-(

Wild scenery, the collection of petroglyphs in that one area is mind boggling.

TheChieftess said...

You are an adventurous soul!!! Glad you got out ok!!! Wonderful petroglyphs! Many are similar to the ones in Bishop... One of them looks like the propeller of an airplane!!!

Brian said...

That is some place and you are so right, I sure wouldn't want to be stuck out there! Great photos Pat!

Pat Tillett said...

visualnorway - It is a special place. Those people really did much better before the rest of the world discovered this part of the world. Yes, they did just fine without our civilization.

DEZMOND - Yep, it's almost like they were competing to be seen.

Ms. A - I'm really grateful that Paula is willing and able to do these things.

trav4adventures - It was totally worth the effort. To be honest, it seems high clearance (like your X-Terra has) is needed MUCH more often than 4WD is.

Pat Tillett said...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) - My pleasure Sallie! I'm prety sure that the the animal is a big horned mountain sheep. Thanks!

Wayne - Very serious mud. I still haven't been able to get it all off. It really is a good idea to travel in tandem, unfortunately, we don't usually do it. However, we are always prepared to abandon our jeep (if needed) and hike out of wherever we are. In the desert, when it's hot, I'd never abandon it.
Thanks Wayne!

The Chieftess - Thanks Kathryn! A lot of people think that the cross has some religious meaning. My granny said that crosses were originally used to decorate shields.

Brian - Thanks Brian! Hope you are doing well.

Should Fish More said...

Fascinating pictures, Pat. How did the rock circles manage to last undisturbed so long? Is it that out of the way?
Glad to see you're still out there.
Mike

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Wow - that's more, and more well defined, petroglyphs than I've ever seen. And I've only ever seen them on your blog, Pat. Is this the most you've come upon. I get goosebumps when I think about the fact that they might be thousands of years old. I can't even fathom. Thanks for the fascinating tour.
I hope you're well.

Pat Tillett said...

Should Fish More - Hey Mike! Some of these places really are out of the way. Since the advent of ATVs and Quads (small off road vehicles), many of these places have been trashed. A lot of the folks who use them don't give a crap about anything. Some are great also. Thanks Mike, I'll be over to catch up soon.

sage said...

I love this country. Thanks for taking us with you.

Icy BC said...

This place is totally different from where I live so it is always such a treat to see. I love the first shot as it is such beautiful scenery!

Pat Tillett said...

Rawknrobyn - I am most happy to have been of service! I get goosebumps in these places also. I am in fact, doing well. Same to you my friend.

Sage - My pleasure! I love it also.

Icy BC - Thanks! It is different from where I love also. I'm on the coast, but for some reason, I love these isolated and what some would call lonely places.

Nora said...

gosh those petroglyphs are amazing, thanks for a great post!

Leovi - La FotografĂ­a Efectista Abstracta said...

How nice place full of vestiges excellent photos! Yes, it was worth the effort and struggle with the mud of the road.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Lucky you didnt get bogged! Ahhhhh
Really awesome shots Pats. I blew up the ones you specified, the quality is very good. Great work, and good that you respect the environment in your closing.

Thanks for sharing Patty!

ladyfi said...

What a fascinating place! And so much mud on your tires!

Pat Tillett said...

Nora - They sure are! My pleasure Nora.

Leovi - Yes, so much is there. It was indeed worth the effort. Also to go back there and finish exploring.

Anthony J. Langford - Almost! Thanks Anthony. Yes, I want it to be in the same condition for everyone.

Pat Tillett said...

ladyfi - It was very fascinating. It took forever to get the mud off.

Al Penwasser said...

As always, I'm jealous of your expeditions. They look peaceful and thought-provoking!

robin andrea said...

That is quite a journey, but wow, it is so worth it. The photos are spectacular, and the petroglyphs truly stunning. What an amazing place. I'm so glad you made it there safely and home in time for your kitty cat. Perfect!

Stewart M said...

That really does look like a special kind of place - and that mud looks like a special type too! I think that end note in your post os pretty important!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

TexWisGirl said...

glad you made it in and out! great glyphs there! love your wife's smile. :)

Sandy said...

Wow what a journey that must have been! It's not every day you get to see rock circles. The remoteness would feel unnerving to say the least. One must be truly prepared to make a trek like that. Glad it was people like you guys that respect a place like this. I hope your kitty got their shot!:)

Pat Tillett said...

Al Penwasser - Thank you Sir! It is both of those things.

Robin Andrea - It really was worth it. I LOVE these places. Newman was a happy cat that night.

Stewart M - Both special, but only one in a good way.

TexWisGirl - Thanks! I am also glad. My wife says thanks!

Sandy - It was fun and a bit stressful. Not stressful from how remote is was though, because I enjoy that. The cat got his shot right on time. He has to travel with us, because of those shots. Thanks for comment Sandy!

EG CameraGirl said...

It's a good thing the are is not that accessible, I'm thinking. The fewer people who reach the petroglyphs the better. ;)

James said...

Simply amazing! You find the coolest places.

Pat Tillett said...

EG Camera Girl - I agree with you, but if there was more awareness and education about how important these places are, maybe there would be less vandalism. I hope so anyway...

James - Thanks James! I do my best...

genie said...

There is no way I would travel on these roads.....sand and mud and those pot holes....absolutely not. I will enjoy your wonderful picture and just pretend I was there. The petrography are amazing as are the circles and placements of the rocks. A little mini Stonehenge. I hope people are respectful and do not leave graffiti behind. This is an American treasure that needs to be preserved as it is right now.

Pat Tillett said...

genie - We probably should have tried that road either. We are pretty daring with our jeep. The scariest thing we do though, is take these roads alone. It seems that vandals will only go through so much to do their dastardly deeds.

Baby Sister said...

What a beautiful area! Thank you for capturing these beautiful places and sharing them with all of us.

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - Thanks Amanda, it is my pleasure.