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Bears Ears Lost

Thursday – Sunday, March 15-18, 2018

This weekend I headed down to Cedar Mesa and the Bears Ears area to meet up with my friend Alan for a weekend of hiking. I drove down a little early so I could pick up my Annual Cedar Mesa Hiking Pass from the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and then did a little hiking and exploring on my own before I met up with Alan. Sometimes you just need to get out and wander through a canyon by yourself! Last year all of the area we explored would have been located within Bears Ears National Monument, but after last month I’m pretty sure that everywhere we went is now outside of the new boundaries. Although, I’m not exactly sure what the status of those changes are and if they are official or not? The weather on Friday and Saturday was very nice, but I ended up having to cut my trip a day short since it started to snow and rain on Sunday morning. We definitely needed the precipitation and I had already had a few nice hikes, so it wasn’t too disappointing. Here are some photos from the weekend.

Good morning from Southern Utah on the Colorado Plateau!

Morning View

An amazing panel of petroglyphs covering a large boulder that is split in two. I definitely will need to return and photograph this location in better light someday.

Split Boulder Petroglyphs

Here’s a closer look at some of the Glen Canyon Linear Style petroglyphs found on these boulders.

Glen Canyon Linear Sheep

A very nice petroglyph of a spiral and a zig-zag line.

Spiral Zig-Zag

Beautiful streaks on the wall of a very large alcove.

Alcove Decorations

Amazing red Basketmaker pictographs. The figure on the left appears to be holding a dripping bag (perhaps a scalp?) with two atlatls piercing it. Very interesting!

Basketmaker Red Pictographs

A couple of storage cists located at the back of a large alcove.

Storage Cists

Orange Butte

Here’s an interesting and remote kiva that I visited with Alan. This kiva is built into the soft mudstone layer found at the back of a large alcove.

Mud Kiva

The remaining roof and entrance to the kiva.

The Mudstone Kiva

A closer look at the entrance.

Kiva Entrance

When you take a look inside the kiva, you can see that after they dug out the space in the mudstone, they lined the walls with stones and mortar, except for the sandstone at the back of the alcove that makes up the rear wall of the structure. I like that the upright posts are still in place.

Kiva Interior

Here’s a closer look at the masonry and the posts inside.

Posts & Masonry

Ripples in the sand…

Morning Ripples

Leaping Sheep

Leaping Sheep

Hidden Panel

I love exploring new canyons. You never know what yo are going to find…

Exploring Canyons

Bright yellow handprints.

Yellow Handprints

Big Alcove Pictograph

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but this is a pretty large pictograph panel consisting of some pretty faded white anthropomorphs.

Big White Panel

The remains of a collapsed kiva roof.

Collapsed Kiva

Castle Creek Ruins

Doorway & Window

White Pictographs

White Pictographs

Upper Petroglyphs

Turkey Tracks

Turkey Tracks

A couple of unusual granaries located at the back of a very deep alcove.

Deep Alcove Granaries

A closer look at the granaries, constructed of wood, slabs of sandstone and mortar.

Four Granaries

This alcove contained a lot of corn cobs, plus the most corn husks I’ve ever seen.

Corn & Husks

Green, red and yellow handprints. I found these colorful handprints on part of a boulder that appears to have fallen from above.

Colorful Handprints

A beautiful morning for a hike through a canyon.

Canyon Scenery

A pretty nice arch I found while searching for ruins.

Canyon Arch

Spiral Zig-Zag Panel

Spiral Zig-Zag Panel

A couple of petroglyphs located high on a canyon wall. I’m not really quite sure what animal they are supposed to represent? If you have any thoughts, feel free to post them below in the comments!

High Panel

>> Bears Ears Lost Photo Gallery


  1. Dianne Lethcoe
    Dianne Lethcoe March 27, 2018

    I love seeing the corn cob remains and the cists. Great pics of the kiva, etc.
    Lovely adventure.

  2. Steve Riggs
    Steve Riggs March 27, 2018

    Would that be Alan V.? I have never met him, but he and I do have a mutual friend (Dana) who we have hiked in Cedar Mesa with.

  3. Beverley Van Santen
    Beverley Van Santen April 17, 2018

    Thank you for your amazing photographs. I am headed to Bear’s Ears in a couple of weeks and am going through various websites that have photos of the area. Were some of photos taken in areas where you were just wandering?

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat April 17, 2018

      Some places I found while just wandering, some I followed my friend Alan to.

  4. Jordan Schweizer
    Jordan Schweizer October 20, 2018

    Great job not sharing locations. I know and love many of them. The last happens to be a favorite and caught me by surprise. I have often wondered about the 4 legs; special place for me that I have been a lot despite that sand. I have been to that exposed Kiva too, great area and very deep. Great lesson in visiting but not sharing details.

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