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New Year’s Eve Along the Reef

San Rafael Swell Rock Art IX
New Year’s Eve | Saturday, December 31, 2011

We finally made it…the last trip of the year 2011! On New Years Eve morning I met up with Marty in Green River so that we could head over to the San Rafael Reef and Desert to search for some new rock art sites.

Marty and I on our way to the San Rafael Reef.

To the Reef by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After searching Straight Wash in the Reef for some petroglyphs, this is the only one we managed to find this time.

Lone Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at this lone anthropomorph.

Lone Petroglyph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Marty takes a photo in this colorful sandstone area.

Marty & the Glyph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way out of the canyon we did manage to find a few more faint petroglyphs, but they were difficult to see even with the naked eye.

Barely There by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the next canyon we hiked, we were searching for a specific pictograph panel known as the Buried Site because many of the figures are buried in sand. During our search we managed to find this very faded Barrier Canyon Style panel, which was a nice surprise.

Hard to See by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just when I thought we weren’t going to be finding the Buried Site on this trip, we happened to come across it. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t the best at this time of the day since the overhang cast a shadow right through the pictographs when we arrived. Luckily, I had a shade with me, so Marty held it up to block the sun while I took this photo.

Buried Site by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We searched the area for a while in case there was other rock art around (we didn’t find any). Before we left, the shadow had moved off the panel just enough for this photo.

Buried in the Sun by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After leaving the Reef, we visited one last petroglyph site in the San Rafael Desert just before the sun went down. I didn’t know the exact location of these petroglyphs and we had very little sunlight left, but we did manage to find them with plenty of daylight left. The area I thought they might be turned out to be pretty spot on!

Many of these petroglyphs were difficult to photograph even in the late afternoon sunlight, including this panel that contains a rectangular and striped Barrier Canyon Style figure.

Rectangle Striped BCS by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This is part of a large panel where the petroglyphs were easier to see.

Target Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

That’s it for 2011. It was a great year filled with adventure and rock art and I’m looking forward to continue exploring in 2012!

>> San Rafael Swell Rock Art IX Photo Gallery


  1. Sean
    Sean January 24, 2012

    I’ve camped in Straight Wash several times and I know where there are more petroglyphs.

    Shoot me an email before you return and I can give you very specific directions including some GPS coordinates if you want them!

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat January 24, 2012

      Thanks for the comment, I just sent you an email since I didn’t find the petroglyphs I was looking for there.

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