Several days ago, a friend invited me to 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. He told me that he was speechless when he first saw the site. If HE was speechless, I figured it might make me faint.
What he took me to see 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), he led me to some large rock formations that were not visible during the entire hike.
We climbed one of the rock piles and then he dropped down into a hole. I did the same. 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, or the branch leaning against the inside of it.
This isn't a fire ring at all. It is called 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.
But wait! My friend Jim wasn't done yet. He had another surprise for me.
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 Jim 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 small group.
Part #2 will be posted soon. So much more to see...