Thursday, April 30, 2015

Petroglyph Hunters

Pictures from Piedras Marcadas (Marked Rocks) in Petroglyph National Monument. This was the largest collection of petroglyphs we have seen to date. Reportedly there are over 400 and I think we must have seen almost every one.  I won't post all of the pictures, but here are a fair number.

The pictures were made by laboriously picking at the rock to remove the desert varnish. The oldest of the pictures are difficult to see as the desert reapplies its patina. The oldest images date back to around the year 1300.

The images are open to interpretation.

It is impressive that there has not been more vandalism apparent. The entrance to the park is in an Albuquerque neighborhood; the parking lot sandwiched behind a quicky lube place.

Birds are a common theme.

A prairie chicken? 

We took a lot longer in the park than anyone else seemed to. Some just walked in and out. Then we figured out why. Note: if you go, wear polarized sun glasses. Many images were invisible when we removed our glasses.

 The chip on one rock shows the underlying color.

 Flowers growing along the path.

They were visited by space aliens? 

It does appear to be eighth notes . . .

"I shot it with my little arrow."

We mostly saw lizards (no snakes) but Tom surprised this horned toad. 

Tom climbed up to take some of the pictures while I pointed the pictures out from a safer level.

At the end of the trail - the deepest part of the canyon - were a number of rocks with handprints. 

 The view back towards town from trail's end.

And there are still two more canyons to explore with many more petroglyphs.

Dogs are allowed on this path but I was happy that we did not take them. To really see the petroglyphs takes a fair amount of climbing through rocks. Also, 1.5 miles in the desert sun is going to be too much for many dogs. Ask the three small dogs we saw walking with their owners. None did the side loop which is where a good part of the images are.

Take water. Wear hiking boots. And our trekking poles would have been a good idea. The description says "level and sandy" but that's just the main trail.