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A Morning on the Sandstone Spine

November Cedar Mesa & Comb Ridge Trip 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011

After spending an awesome weekend in Natural Bridges, Jackson and I spent a morning exploring Comb Ridge before heading back home. Monarchs Cave was one of the first ruins I ever visited on Comb Ridge and I was looking forward to revisiting them again on this trip, so that was our first stop.

An overview of the ruins in Monarchs Cave.

Monarch B&W by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

They were built right up to the edge

Monarch Fortress by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This Monarch’s Cave 1892 inscription was placed by the Illustrated America Exploring Expedition in 1892. Warren K. Moorehead was the leader of the Illustrated America Exploring Expedition which was sent to explore, survey, map, photograph and secure specimens from southeastern Utah. Although the IAEE collected few artifacts, the members of the expedition wrote enthusiastically and romantically about their adventures and discoveries in a series of articles for American Illustrated Magazine.

Monarchs Cave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Monarch Cave Ruins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Half of a metate and mano with a few potsherds that some misguided people have added.

Metate & Mano by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A moderate-sized anthropomorphic pictograph found near the ruins.

Monarch Anthropomorph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A few different colored handprints.

Colorful Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After our visit to Monarchs Cave we explored another canyon in Comb Ridge in search of a large ladder petroglyph. Once we crossed Butler Wash again and found the entrance into the proper canyon it was a short hike to the Ladder Panel.

The Ladder Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking up the large ladder petroglyph. It looks like the ladder and some of the other figures were carved over some much older petroglyphs. I can’t help but wonder if this ladder is some sort of communication about the very high and almost inaccessible ruin that is found further up the canyon?

Climb the Ladder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Ladder Panel in it’s environment.

Ladder Setting by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a photo with Jackson in it for scale.

Jackson and the Ladder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We also found these faded blue handprints nearby. I can’t recall seeing too many blue handprints before?

Blue Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our last stop of the day was a visit to the Procession Panel. I have been here before but Jackson had not. I wasn’t really happy with any of my previous photos of this site, so I was looking forward to getting some better ones on this trip. It’s an awesome panel! The three lines of small figures in a ‘procession’ all are heading towards that large circle.

Center of the Universe by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I like how the line of small figures wraps around the corner here.

The Procession by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at one of the large elk figures.

Big Elk by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The larger anthropomorph with a staff walks on top of the smaller figures. If you look off to the right you can see two other figures holding staffs in the ‘procession’

Follow the Leader by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

More petroglyphs are found in this small slot near the Procession Panel.

In the Slot by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The following two photos are a closer look at the petroglyphs found in the slot pictured above.

Snake in Hand by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Stick-Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

It turned out to be another great weekend on Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge. As usual, I can’t wait to get back again!

>> A Morning on the Sandstone Spine Photo Gallery

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