Well, it's been a while but I recently returned to Grand Canyon and spent some time on the South Rim. As always a beautiful, gorgeous place that humbles me spiritually and physically! Probably one of the hardest places to hike, the canyon fools you with its wide, well-maintained trails and access to water on the Bright Angel Trail.
I did a short hike down to the Coconino Saddle on the Grandview Trail and it about kicked my butt. If you want to measure your trail fitness, just do a short hike in the canyon and see how sore you are the next day! I thought I was in good shape, but thighs and calves were sore for about 3 days after that hike! Didn't help that I went with a bunch of youngsters who were all in phenomenal shape. They were very patient and considerate of this old gal's slow pace. We shared a beer and a laugh back at the rim (thanks Erin, Eric and Tara!) and met a cool hippie guy named Charles on the way back up, who offered to sell me his very cool Toyota camper and asked to be adopted. :-P We gave him directions to the El Tovar and hopefully he found a nice, rich tourist lady to take him in! ;D
But I digress...
Later on that week I finally got to do the Tusayan rock art hike I've been dreaming about ever since getting the inside scoop from a Ranger at Grand Canyon while I was a volunteer there. The site is located very near the park entrance, but due to the sensitive nature of the pictographs and the fact that it is NOT in the park and therefore protected, I won't reveal the location or describe how to get there. I will say it is an easy hike into a really gorgeous little wash and offers close up views of some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. rock art.
The first image that catches your eye is this gorgeous Elk figure. It's really big, about 2 feet across, and bi-colored.
Here is a multi-figure deer pictograph. I love the way it is layered with figures overlapping one another. Gives a real sense of a "herd".
Here's a faint one, but you can make out another elk figure. Not sure what the image to the left is?
Here's an interesting one...you can obviously see the human figure to the left, but what the heck is that big blob on the right? If you look closely you can see "phantom" figures inside the red outlines. Interesting...
Multiple figures left to right... your guess is as good as mine but I think the right one is a bighorn sheep.
This one looks like a blob at first, but then you can make out layered sideways figures of bighorn sheep. No, this picture is not turned sideways, that's how they were oriented on the rock face. Cool, huh?
Under the overhang, some big chunks of rock had fallen. Not sure how or why, but these impressions look to have been made from grinding. They were smooth, almost polished surfaces. I thought the obvious human hand involved in forming these was very exciting! Evidence of the artist's process...
These circular marks remind me of the footprint of a big cat, but I'm no expert. We saw some mountain lion tracks and scat up there in the sand btw...!
Lightning or snake image...with some other small markings and indistinct images around it.
Here's a very cool "sun" figure with some center markings. Unfortunately, some idiot has defaced it with bullet holes. Now you understand why I won't reveal the location. It's infuriating that someone has so little respect for these archaeological sites that they would do this and ruin something that's been around way before we got here. This figure was large - about 2 feet in diameter.
And here it is 'in situ'. You can see how the overhang protects the images from the weather. Unfortunately it doesn't protect from stupid idiots with guns.
These images were scattered over 2 sites at this location. An obvious social trail led to the first site with the big bi-colored elk, deer and bighorn sheep figures. The snake/lightning and other figures were located at a second site down the wash. I wouldn't have found it without help from my partner, Gary. When I asked him how he found the 2nd site he said "I just looked for a good spot to find cover if it were raining". Smart guy -knows how to get in out of the rain... o.O
So there you have it...there are a couple more images on my facebook page, but they weren't very clear so I didn't include them. If you want to see them, just click here
to go to the album on Facebook.
I did a couple quick sketches of the rock art, but didn't have the time to sit down and do a really nice drawing of anything. Here they are:
Next week I'll be at the North Rim and then back to Sedona where I hope to do lots more sketching from the trail. :)