Wednesday, June 28, 2017

House on Fire Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Resting at House on Fire
Before I was a desert dweller, I lived in a busy little suburb outside Philly -- a life filled with lots of rushing around and being overly stressed about things that just don't matter. I remember seeing a picture of this crazy looking ruin, built right into the side of a cliff with what looked like flames shooting out from the top of it. That image stuck in my brain... and now many many years and lifetimes later I am here. I am sitting RIGHT HERE. That's called winning :)

My one goal for this little mini summer road trip was to find House on Fire ruins, an iconic rock "house" built thousands of years ago with red and orange striped rocks flanking the tops of the alcove that the little ruin is built inside of. House on Fire is just one of thousands of archeological sites found in Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Posing -- super tourist-mode
You'd think with the fierce debate surrounding this National Monument we'd see a whole lot of tourists and hikers out on the trails. Not even. We saw maybe a handful of awe-inspired, nature-loving outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying a summer morning surrounded by lizards and yucca and blue skies. * Bears Ears was designated by Obama in December 2016. The monument grants federal protection to the twin geological formations that rise above the horizon, or the “Bears Ears”. It also protects the more than 2,000 square miles of desert and canyons.*

Really, really old hand prints. These were tough to see!
After many pictures were taken, we moved on through Mule Canyon to a few more ruins (there are even more if you keep hiking for about 5 miles one way -- but the summer temps were creeping up near 100 and it was probably best to come back in the fall).

We climbed up to these fragile dwellings, just past House on Fire

This very complex structure has multiple rooms and stairs! Really awesome!

multi-room dwelling nestled high into the cliffs
There are many things in life that take my breath away. Most of them live in the desert. This hike ranks up there as one of those moments where I have to stop and remember that we have such a special and beautiful planet Earth -- and that we need to protect her, fiercely.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Butler Wash Petroglyphs and Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Ruins built into the wall of Butler Wash

Sometimes the best getaways are not planned -- that's kinda how this trip to Bears Ears National Monument happened. Steve and I had a couple of days without the kiddos and our short list of options required 1) Somewhere we've never been 2) Escape the heat of southern Utah.

We looked at maps and forecasts and decided to roadtrip up to Bears Ears, the newly designated National Monument under Obama. There are nearly 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites found in this southeastern corner of Utah.

Waving guy. I like him.

Gorgeous panel of petroglyphs, created with such precision.

close up of ruins -- lots of pottery and grinding stones nearby

My favorite panel -- cranes and ducks. And infuriatingly present are bullet holes by some Yay-hoo loser.

More petroglyphs -- you could find art nearly every flat wall we explored.

More faded glyphs

hmmmm some non-legit but equally interesting art

I love liberal tree-hugging Utahns

Not really part of our "escape the heat" plan -- but we did see some cool stuff
All of these ruins and glyphs were within 1 mile of our parking spot, literally right off of the highway. If it wasn't 1000000 degrees we could have hiked down the wash for miles. I can't wait to go back! Such a special place -- thankful for the protection it now has and deserves.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Raven's Crack and Basket Site in Cane Beds, AZ

We set out to find a crap-ton of petroglyphs in Cane Beds, AZ.

ON DAY ONE: (read about that trip here) we found a bunch of cool glyphs and panels, but we didn't find the elusive Duck Head person who is kinda a big deal in ancient folklore. (read about the Duck person)

DAY TWO: Oh man. I feel like we hit the lottery. We set out to find a really cool panel of glyphs and ultimately found 3 rock art sites and a very awesome ruin.

This might be my favorite -- a deer with internal organs

Main panel at the Basket Site

I'm kinda excited :) Part of same Basket Site panel

backside of panel
More cool glyphs -- ghostly, amazing.

Harry hoofed it up the mountain to check this out. He was very impressed.

In an ancient ruin. Being very careful not to touch/disturb.

Cool guys

First duck head guy (another to come later)

funny cartoonish person?(?)

This was on the ceiling... a basket?
Next was on to find the elusive "Raven's Crack" site. There's an upper and lower crack. I just wanted to find the Duck dude. :) Down the road we drove -- and then took a left hand turn onto a very, very sandy track to the end. Basically we headed straight towards a gigantic crack in the mountains.

Here's what we found!

JJ in the crack

JJ be all like "IT'S THE DUCK PERSON!!!!!!!"

Sand angels and glyphs

Come cool deers and sheep

My fav -- Indian Paintbrush
A very, very exhilarating and humbling weekend. It's pretty amazing to try and wrap your brain around all of the people living here thousands of years ago -- what they must have thought and how tough and brave they were to live in the desert --- it's very special to visit these sites and have a glimpse into their lives.


Keep on exploring!

Two days in Cane Beds, AZ = a whole lot of petroglyphs

Basket site in Rosy Canyon
Oh man -- I'm completely obsessed with rock art. Whenever we are out hiking and exploring, coming upon a wall filled with ancient drawings, petroglyphs and pictographs, I imagine it's something like coming face to face with your favorite celebrity. I get very excited, almost faint :) Living in Kanab, UT, an area rich in ancient artifacts, artwork, dwellings, and graineries, my obsession has definitely skyrocketed. The cool thing is that I have a bunch of friends who are just as crazy as I am --- and so between all of us, we are never at a loss for things to do on the weekends :)

I heard about some ruins and petrogyph sites in nearby Cane Beds, AZ. Cane Beds is about 40 miles away and very scenic, beautiful miles of mountains and open fields. Quintessential high desert. My friend, Jennifer, was posting some crazy amazing pictures on facebook of rock art in this area and so I was on a mission to see this stuff in person.

Mostly I wanted to find the Duck Head petroglyph (read more about Duck Head person in ancient rock art here).


Harry and Mackie take a rest under an alcove

random dude

Rainbow and big horn sheep

A spiny beauty

I love hand prints. Hand prints are common in ancient rock art.

Snakes? river? Not sure.

One of hundreds of glyphs

It's fun trying to interpret the sites.... I call this one Freddy Kruger hands


Reminds me of a Keith Haring drawing

Harry found this one! It's pretty rad!
We didn't find two of the sites I was hoping to get to -- and it was getting late, the boys were cranky, and we needed to regroup. We headed home to consult Google Maps and Jennifer :) (hey, Jennifer, if you are reading this ---- U da' BEST!)

click here to read about Day 2 (DO IT!! It's way cool!!!)