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After Thanksgiving Swell Trip

San Rafael Swell Rock Art X
Black Friday & Saturday, November 23-24, 2012

After spending most of Thanksgiving Day at home it was time to get back out exploring again. Normally I take at least a few trips throughout the year to the San Rafael Swell, but I guess I was too preoccupied with the Paria Plateau this year since I still hadn’t made it out there. I decided it was time to at least make one trip out to the Swell this year, so that’s where I headed. I left well before sunrise on on Black Friday and was still surprised to see so many cars park at the mall that early as I drove out of town. I still can’t imagine getting up that early to try and get a deal among a large crowd of people, I’d rather spend my morning catching a sunrise in the desert. I spent the daylight hours of Friday and Saturday exploring, hiking and photographing rock art sites. I revisited a few sites and searched for some new ones. I spent the night at a hotel in Green River so I didn’t have to drive all the way back home on Friday night. Though many of the sites I visited were in the San Rafael Swell, I also made a side trip or two into the Book Cliffs and other areas outside the Swell. Here’s a few photos from my two days of exploring…

One of the new sites I visited this trip was the petroglyph panel near Mussentuchit Flats. When I first arrived, most of the panel was in direct sunlight, except for this narrow section, which happened to be one of the more interesting parts. As soon as the sunlight struck this section, it was almost impossible to see these figures.

Mussentuchit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The fading Butch ‘Casady’ inscription under a shallow overhang.

Butch Casady by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Cracked mud in the early morning light.

Cracks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’ve searched for this Barrier Canyon Style figure before without success, so I was happy to come across it this time.

Top Half by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Faded red pictographs and handprints.

Three Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Faded petroglyphs and red pictographs.

Faded by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A nice Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that I missed on a previous visit. Glad I was able to find it this time.

Inventory Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Pictographs above water, an uncommon sight.

Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A beautiful Fremont panel in the warm afternoon light.

Rainbow Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I saw the moon rising above this sandstone cliff containing a few petroglyphs, I had to position myself so I could get a photo of them together.

Moon Over Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The last time I visited this intricate Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel, it was partially in the shade. I was happy to revisit it again close to sunset this time.

Rain Dance by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look…

Rain Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The ‘Family Panel’

Family by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I call this on the Feet Panel, for obvious reasons 😉

Feet Panel II by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Late afternoon light really makes the sandstone glow.

Over the Rainbow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As the settng sun was catching the top parts of these cliffs, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the reflection in the small pool in this salty wash.

Salty Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There’s just something about warm light on sandstone that makes me happy. Look closely and you might be able to spot some petroglyphs, too.

Sunset Boulders by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Great clouds and colors in the sky just after the sunset on Friday evening.

Pink Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Reflection in the Price River below.

Price River by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A small petroglyph panel in the Book Cliffs.

Shaman by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I almost missed these pictographs high above the area I was searching.

High Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The petroglyphs along the bottom of this boulder are eroding away.

Fenceline Boulder by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Some interesting inscriptions I came across.

Desert Lake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A few small pictographs in a large alcove.

Desert Lake Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This pictograph sure does look like a dragon to me.

Flying Dragon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A large petroglyph panel. There were plenty of other petroglyphs in this area, but unfortunately many of them were highly vandalized.

Desert Lake Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I spent way too much time looking for this panel when it should have been an easy one to find…

Thin Layer by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’ve been looking for this pictograph panel for over a year and finally managed to find it this weekend. It took me three separate trips to find it, so I guess the third time’s the charm!

Overlap by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a very interesting petroglyph panel that’s unlike anything else I have come across in the area.

Spears by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at part of the panel.

Circles by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I was hiking back to my Jeep on Saturday evening, I was treated one more time to warm sunlight on sandstone with the moon above. A great way to end the weekend!

Warm Rocks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> After Thanksgiving Swell Trip Photo Gallery

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