Memorial Weekend in The Needles | Day 3
Memorial Day | Monday, May 28, 2012
After another night of great camping weather we had some breakfast and set out hiking so that we could visit the Flying Carpet Panel. We also explored a few small side canyons before hiking back out to our vehicles near Cave Spring.
This is one of my favorite Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panels, but unfortunately I haven’t made it here in good light yet. Maybe next time…
Here’s Jared taking a photo for some scale of the figures painted here.
Another panel of pictographs nearby.
Here’s one more photo of the ‘Flying Carpet’ that I liked.
On our way back to camp, either Jared or Brian (I can’t remember which?) spotted this large ‘bullseye’ petroglyph high up on the canyon wall. It appears to be comprised out of small triangles if you look closely. We didn’t climb up to it and I didn’t have my long lens with me, so this was the best photo I got.
A small yellow anthropomorph with a few faded handprints.
A couple white anthropomorphs with a pair of red handprints.
After photographing the white figures above, I spotted a few very vivid white pictographs on the opposite side of the canyon. They were large and easy to see, so I quickly hiked their direction. The first one I came across has a very unique design that I don’t recall seeing before.
I liked how the large crack in the sandstone kind of leads up to the pictograph above.
As I hiked over to the next large white pictographs I came across a few sections of handprints, including these that are laid out in a grid.
The next set of white pictographs I came across were pretty cool, too!
I really like this one.
Jared and Brian came across this old structure. I’m not quite sure if it is ancient or perhaps just an old cowboy shelter? However, the ceiling of the alcove was covered with handprints, so it might be pretty old?
We also found this large corrugated potsherd nearby.
Here are just a few of the handprints found on the ceiling of the alcove. They were all over!
After literally running from giant swarms of mosquitoes (you probably think I am exaggerating…I assure you I am not!) on our hike back out of Salt Creek Canyon, we finally made it back to our vehicles so that we could start the drive back home.
As we drove out through Indian Creek Canyon we made one stop so that I could show Jared a new petroglyph panel.
My favorite part of this panel.
By this time I was getting pretty hungry, so I said goodbye to Jared and Brian and then made my way over to Monticello for some lunch. When I was done eating I decided to drive home the long way on Colorado 141 after driving due east from Monticello. This would allow me to make a few quick stops at a few petroglyph sites I’ve been meaning to visit for a while.
My first stop was at the Gypsum Gap Rockshelter found between Disappointment Valley and Big Gypsum Valley. The petroglyphs here were pretty faint to begin with and there was also a bit of graffiti. Here are the best photos I was able to get.
My next stop was at a site I have wanted to get to for a while and my main reason for taking the long way home. This unusual petroglyph panel is found on a large boulder near the Dolores River and Big Gypsum Valley. I didn’t know exactly where it was when I started looking, but I managed to find it pretty quickly. These unique petroglyphs are believed to be a cross between the Glen Canyon Style and the Uncompahgre Style.
As I continued the drive home along the Dolores River, I also stopped at one more panel near the road that I had visited a few years ago with only a point & shoot camera.
As I was driving through the Dolores River Canyon I noticed there was a lot of smoke in the air from the Sunrise Mine wildfire near Paradox. The sun was also getting low on the horizon which made for some beautiful conditions in the canyon. I stopped a few times to take photos.
Sunset on the granite of Unaweep Canyon as I finish the drive home. You can even see some smoke low on the horizon from the wildfire.
I made it home just after it got dark out, thus ending an awesome long weekend spent hiking and exploring The Needles with a few friends. I already can’t wait to go back!