Monday, August 29, 2016

Cave Valley Pictographs and killer Zion views

There's this place near Zion National Park that makes my heart melt. It's simply a field. A field of beautiful yellow. A yellow field with pink mountains and brilliant blue skies with billowy white clouds. I imagine that my heaven looks something like this. It's my favorite road in the entire world and it weaves in and out of Zion National Park boundary.

JJ is living my dream right here.
This weekend we took a drive to this, my favorite spot in the entire world, and parked. And explored. And found some of the most amazing rock art I've ever seen. (Thanks to my secret adventure guru who gives me directions to these freaking spectacular places!)

This place, I have come to learn, is called Cave Valley. Aptly so, as we discovered at least a half dozen caves. Two held unimaginable treasures (well, one had a creepy bone altar, but still...)

First cave we came to. Really unique pictographs (confirmed that they are indeed legit)

I love this panel. Super amazing colors!

Close up of dude

JJ's new house. I love the wallpaper :)

close up of the white guys

Yellow fellow

dark man of mystery

JJ ponders the meaning of life
Kids, making me nervous, with giant rock above heads.
After spending some good time checkin' out every nook and cranny of this amazing cave, Harry found a path leading farther into the valley, which led to yet another cave. But this one was different.  There was just this weird feeling or vibe (or maybe I had been watching too many episodes of Stranger Things)...

Entrance to The Bone Altar CAVE
Ok, first of all, the cave was super creepy. There were bones all over the place. But as we headed to the back of this big hole in the mountain, something because very clear. There were more bones. And more. And some sort of altar for these bones. And weird black gooey looking walls and it was very scary. Harry liked it. I was freaked out. JJ wanted to leave. Steve was kinda like Wha what??

Those are bones. like a million bones.

come cool old glyphs in creepy cave

awesome perfect arrowheads. A sacrifice to the Bone god?
You see those perfectly splayed arrowheads? Yeh, they were on the altar, too. I envisioned this movie playing in my head of like.. picking up an arrowhead to check it out and a big boulder closing in the tomb and sealing our fate :) Ha! So, we just took a pretty picture and went on our merry way.

The rest of the afternoon was spent climbing up other random rocks and caves, running through mom's favorite field (so I could take like 100000 more pics of it) and then driving on what I'm gonna call the 2nd most scenic road in southern Utah -- Smith Mesa backway. Here are just a few of my favorite scenic pics.

I love this guy. He has a nice view.

This is JJ's "when are we going home" face. (say that in your head with a whiny voice)

Pretty much the most perfect Sunday. Until next adventure... Peace :)

Southern Utah petroglyphs and dino tracks

I'll never take for granted the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful, remote, culturally rich and treasure-filled places in the world.

Parowan Gap needs to be on everyone's "must see" list when visiting southern Utah. It's only a few miles from Cedar City and it's well worth the drive.

Here are a few of the petroglyphs that you can see while exploring the valley:

The coolest part is that every time you look up, you see new glyphs! The kids had so much fun "hunting" for new rock art.

There are also dinosaur tracks about 2 miles away. DINO TRACKS! (as if this place couldn't get any cooler)

dino track in rock (next to JJ's head top right)

That's one huge footprint!!!
Parowan Gap is rich in ancient treasures. I give it two thumbs up for just about anyone! No hiking required (unless you want to!)

Go! Explore!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Flag Point: dino tracks and petroglyph awesomeness

Wonderful pictographs at Flag Point near Kanab

One of many huge three-toed dino tracks

Flag point is a surreal place just  a few miles east of Kanab that is littered with dinosaur tracks (HUGE ONES) and pictographs/petroglyphs. It's a special feeling to make it up to the track site. The hike is not for the person afraid of heights, or climbs, or the causal day-hiker. It's a gorgeous trek up a mountain with views for miles, but also a bit tricky and precarious when you get close to the top. I only recommend this hike for the explorer who is in good physical shape, not deterred by free climbing and scrambling on loose rocks w/ steep drop-offs, and also maybe not afraid of snakes :)

This gorgeous guy slithered his way right across our path. Didn't even rattle!
This adventure was shared with my friend, Casey. It's always fun taking someone to a spot they've never been to. Casey loves rock art as much as me, and I knew she'd been blown away by this place.

We drove out to the "trail head" (loosely called this, as there's no real trail head.. more like bush-whacking!) After about a 1/2 mile through sage brush, we found our first cairn (rocks stacked up to indicate the path). Following the cairns up a steep and winding trail, we came to the first real obstacle. We needed to get to the next rock level but there was no easy way up! We saw two paths ahead --- one that would allow us to climb up via moki steps (alternating hand and toe holds carved into vertical sandstone surfaces) or another somewhat precarious route that would involve shimmying up some rocks and wedging our bodies into little crevices and grabbing onto rocks to pull ourselves up (kinda scary cuz of the drop offs below!)

We chose the latter and it was a little scary :) but we made it! Right there in front of us was our first rock art site.

I like this sad looking guy. But wonder why so sad? Someone suggested it's a scene of child birth because of the upside down person i the middle. What do you think??

I was excited to take Casey to the pictograph cave. We were close! Following the worn trail up and around a few bends, we finally got there.

What makes this so unique is that right above this alcove is the track site. You can see that the art here depicts people with large "toes" and other tracks. I can only imagine what the Indians who lived here thought of those dino tracks and the stories they must have told about who or what could have made them.

Casey checks out the artwork. Really cool, right??!

bird/dino man?
After checking out this sweet rock art, we headed up above the alcove to the dinosaur tracks. I had forgotten how HUGE the tracks were! And how many there are! WOW!!

Giant theropod dino track

hand vs talon (or whatever -- crazy big and awesome!)

fun stuff!

more tracks!

close up!

glamour shot
I love love love this place so much! And I also don't want to minimize the super freakin amazing views on this hike!

The climb up!
Neat "natural" rock art :)

On the edge

cliffs and stuff
This is a great hike with some good juju :) If you're up for the challenge, it's well worth it! Remember (I feel like mommy here...) do NOT touch rock art and leave no trace. Thank you :)