Lower Butler Wash and More…

Memorial Day Weekend
Sunday, May 29, 2011

After a very windy night, I was up early and on my way south down the Comb Wash Road. I crossed through the Comb on US 163 and drove to the trailhead for Lower Butler Wash. I descended down the old wagon road on foot and made my way towards the San Juan River through the thick vegetation. Once I neared the river, I started to come across some rock art.

At the first large alcove I explored I found this unique petroglyph. I’m not sure what it might represent…any ideas?

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Connected Circles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This ‘lizard-like’ stick figure was nearby, too.

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Hello by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once I reached the mouth of Butler Wash along the San Juan River I came across a bunch of petroglyphs. Many of them were hard to see, like this panel.

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Hard to See by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A rider and bighorn above the San Juan River.

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Rider Over the San Juan by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s one of the larger basketmaker-style anthropomorphs. Even though it’s still hard to make out, it’s a pretty cool petroglyph and it appears there is a smaller figure on it’s shoulder.

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Man On Shoulder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a couple of riders that are standing up on the backs of the animals.

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Stand Up Riders Wide by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just a triangle-shaped anthropomorph with a small head.

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Triangle Man with Small Head by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another very abstract figure that has a stick-figure person within.

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On the Ledge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While I was searching the area for rock art the wind had really started to pick up. I especially noticed it as I hiked out of the canyon on the old wagon road. Once back at the Jeep I crossed the highway again so that I could visit the Wolfman Panel since it has been a few years since I was there last.

Looking up at a portion of the Wolfman Panel.

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Wolfman Panel Vertical by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This portion of the panel is to the left of the section pictured above. There are a number of petroglyphs spread out here including a cool shield-like figure and one that might represent some kind of mask.

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Mask & Shield by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While this figure most likely doesn’t represent a ‘wolfman’ since large hands and feet are common in basketmaker petroglyphs, it certainly looks like one to me!

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The Wolfman by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After visiting the Wolfman Panel I crossed the canyon and climbed up to the ruins on the other side. There was plenty more faint rock art to be found here, too.

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Wolfman Ruin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Wolfman Ruin Opposite by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The wind was really blowing and kicking up a lot of dust throughout the hike, but I just had to go search out one more petroglyph that I was hoping to find this weekend…

At last! I finally made it to the Big Crane petroglyph. It’s an amazing petroglyph and has been quickly added to my favorites list!

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Big Crane by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finding the Big Crane and getting thoroughly sandblasted, I was beginning to get a little tired of the wind. I decided to head to the Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff for some lunch (and to get out of the wind) and then I would decide what to do. After my burger was gone I decided that I would visit a few more rock art sites and then head back to camp so I could pack up and head home a day early.

Here’s a panel I wasn’t expecting and spotted just off the road near Bluff on a large boulder.

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Highway Boulder Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop by the petroglyphs at Sand Island since I was nearby. I seem to visit this panel at least once a year. The masks in this section remind me of The Green Mask I visited in April.

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Sand Island Masks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A sheep playing the flute at Sand Island.

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Flute Playing Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I finished up at Sand Island I headed back through Comb Ridge and up Comb Wash again. The wind was really picking up the dust.

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Dust by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Dust Storm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Even though I ended up going home a day earlier than I had planned, I still managed to have a great weekend. On Memorial Day I even managed to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation for a change!

>> Lower Butler Wash & More… Photo Gallery


2 Comments

  1. TOM CRAGER February 25, 2013 4:46 pm  Reply

    Hi–I have photographed ton’s of rock art along the San Juan both east & west of Butler, and Wolfman, etc. but missed the Crane and the next panel down. Across from Wolfman?

    If you have not been to Procession Panel a few miles north and up near the lip of the Comb Ridge, a must see. let me know. Thanks for the fine picture album.

    Tom

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