Saturday, October 22, 2011
I’ve wanted to return to Horseshoe Canyon and the Great Gallery all year, but I decided to put it off until October when I knew the weather would be nice and the cottonwoods would be changing colors. When I found out that my friend Lisa was trying to put together a trip there for the Flickr Rock Art Group this weekend, I marked it on my calendar. This was also the last weekend of the year that there would be a ranger guided hike into the canyon which I wanted to attend so that I could get closer to the Great Gallery.
Luckily, besides Lisa and her son, only two other people showed up for the hike which kept the group small. I probably would not have liked hanging out with a bigger group than that. I had never gone on a ranger led hike before, but I really enjoyed it and learned a few new things along the way. The ranger also pointed out a few pictographs and petroglyphs that I had missed on previous trips which was nice. It was very nice getting up close and personal with the Great Gallery at the end of the hike, too.
Our first stop was the High Gallery. Here’s an overview of the full panel.
A closer look at a few interesting figures on thee right side of the High Gallery.
On our way up the canyon we came across some calm water in Barrier Creek that made for some interesting reflection photos.
The ranger we spent the day with talks with the two other people in our group.
Next stop was the Horseshoe Gallery. Here’s an overview of the main panel found here, followed by a few closeup photos.
Above the Horseshoe Gallery we visited some more pictographs and petroglyphs that I had managed to miss on my previous trip here, including this newer hunting scene.
Also found up there was this groove in one of the sandstone slabs, which alone wasn’t very interesting, but these drilled holes inside are something I have not seen before. I wonder why they are there?
The next stop up the canyon was at the Alcove Gallery. These pictographs are located in the back of a very large alcove, but they are also some of the most damaged, too. There are a few historic inscriptions right over part of this panel.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the figures that were spared from the inscriptions.
A very unusual horned anthropomorph found in the alcove.
Here’s another large panel in the alcove that is pretty well faded.
Looking out from the alcove into Horseshoe Canyon.
The last stop in the canyon for us was at the very impressive Great Gallery. This is just part of the very large pictograph panel. Click the image to view a much larger sized version on Flickr.
Here’s a few figures found high above and to the left of the main part of the Great Gallery.
A closeup of the smaller figure pictured above.
I was looking forward to seeing and photographing these small pictographs that are hidden behind the rockfall near the main panel. In order to view these small pictographs, you need to climb up the rock pile which requires a park ranger to open the gate and let you up there. If you look closely, you can see that the heads of all of these figures have been pecked out for some reason.
An overview of the famous Holy Ghost Panel.
A closer look.
Here’s one with me in it for scale which was taken by Lisa.
The following photos show many of the different and interesting anthropomorphic figures found at the Great Gallery.
The faint line of sheep in this portion of the panel reminds me of the Ascending Sheep Panel in the San Rafael Swell.
This large figure reminds me of one found at the Ekker Site in the San Rafael Swell.
A view down Horseshoe Canyon as we hiked back to the trailhead.
I also stopped to take a photo of this dinosaur track on our way out of the canyon.
I was originally planning on camping in the area and spending another day searching for new rock art, but the road I wanted to take was washed out. In the end I decided to just head back home and call it a day trip.