Thursday, February 16, 2012

Huge Geoglyphs in Yucca Valley, CA!

My wife and I were driving the Jeep along Old Woman Springs Road (aka Hwy 247) just north of Yucca Valley last weekend and a dirt road heading up the side of the hill caught our eye. We did a u-turn and went back to explore. I did not see any street markers or signs noting anything of significance in the area, but when we got off the road, there was a placard reading "Rhythm of Life and Atlatl at Black Mesa". Very mysterious, so without reading the sign carefully, off we went in the Jeep up what turned out to be a very steep, difficult road (more on that later). Turns out there are two huge stone designs called "geoglyphs" at the top of the hill. The largest of the two is called "Rhythm of Life". It's 200 feet long and made of 460 tons of stone!! It was made by Australian artist Andrew Rogers, and these are the only two geoglyphs in the US by this artist. There are similar geoglyphs in 11 other countries (Israel, Chile, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Iceland, China, India, Turkey, Slovakia and Nepal). So it turns out we literally stumbled across something quiet monumental, and perhaps famous. It's really facinating... to read more, please check out http://andrewrogers.org/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Rogers_(artist). Here are some late afternoon photos... the clouds moved in just in time for some very dramatic desert skies!
Stones making up the "Rhythm of Life" geoglyph in foreground.
My wife standing near the top of the "Atlatl" geoglyph. 
Lone Joshua Tree at the bottom of the hill, near placard.
What an incredible location, and how lucky were we to stumble across this place? It's difficult to see the entire geoglyph from ground level. Here's what the Rhythm of Life geoglyph in Yucca Valley looks like from the air:

The second geoglyph is called "Atlatl", and the design is derived from an ancient petroglyph in a granite boulder at Coyote Hole near the village of Joshua Tree. Here's what it looks like from the air:
Photo credit:  http://andrewrogers.org/

Oh, I almost forgot... back to the white knuckle Jeep ride up the side of the hill. We got back down to the placard and read it more carefully: "Do Not Go Beyond The Parking Area With A Car!"... "Wear a hat and rugged footwear, carry plenty of water, and use sunscreen before hiking up the rough path to the site. The path is steep and should be hiked with care, watching out for loose rocks". So, two lessons learned here...
[1] Read the signs FIRST, then proceed!
[2] Jeep trails are always steeper than they appear!
What an awesome adventure!  Linking to Skywatch Friday. Please click the link to visit great skies from all over the world!

39 comments:

  1. What a great find. I did not know these existed. Hundreds of years from now they will baffle people thinking some extraterrestrials visited the planet in the 20th century.

    ReplyDelete
  2. spectacular skies! I love your photography. Those geoglyphs are something too. I've never heard of them before.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The geoglyphs are cool, great find. Your photos and sky are amazing. Thanks for sharing, Happy Skywatching!

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow, that's so neat...unfortunately we didn't know about this while we were there. and lucky you to have the sky cooperate and look beautiful for skywatch photos!

    ReplyDelete
  5. great shots of the geoglyphs...I wonder if thousands of years from now beings from space will circle the planet and say "what were they trying to tell us". Gorgeous clouds!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a wonderful thing to stumble on!! I love your captures, with the late afternoon light!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. Great find! I didn't know those were there! Hey, Joshua Tree got snow, but I'm not sure how much will be left by the weekend, especially since it is going to be up in the high 70's today. Enjoy your weekend and I can't wait to see your photos!
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~
    OOPS! I'm having problems finding your comment button...does it always appear?

    ReplyDelete
  8. oh my! these gave me goosebumps! really amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the pic of your wife---in fact, all are outstanding!!! I 'm in love with the desert sky
    I have never seen anything like this before. Thanks for the links. I will check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  10. WOW! These geoglyphs are Awesome! Traveled through that area many times and never heard of them. That's a Whole lot of rock to move.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great shot with your wife's arms outstretched; they repeat the pattern in the geoglyph, and also seem to parallel a head with outstretched arms in the clouds above her. It is a powerful composition.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very good photos.

    Regards and best wishes

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great photos!And the clouds are beautiful.
    Jeeps will just go anywhere!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It does look and sound like an awesome adventure; how lucky you were to "stumble" upon that artwork! Thanks for showing arial photos of the geoglyphs too. I love the shot with the sun behind the Joshua tree. That desert sky is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Those are awesome and yes that is good advice"Jeep trails are ALWAYS steeper than they appear" I found that out with a 102" wheel base Wagoneer over and over! Sometimes you just have to roll back down and try from another angle...or not at all!
    In answer to your question,yes, that is Mt Baldy! Taken from South Corona near Ontario ave and I-15.
    Have a great weekend,I always love to read about the Jeep adventures since I am in-between Jeeps right now!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a great find. I love the name of the road from which you took the steep jeep road - "Old Woman Springs Road." You & my husband would be good driving partners - never consult directions if you can help it. Those geoglyphs framed by the clouds and blue sky are mesmerizing. Thanks for taking me!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm glad you got through your adventure with no harm done. The geoglyphs are a fascinating find, and you are correct about the sky providing a dramatic setting for them.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is beautiful!! And I love the second photo. Happy weekend!
    SWF

    ReplyDelete
  19. WOW... Those geoglyphs are amazing! I am trying to imagine the work that went into creating them. Of course he is an Aussie :)
    Love the sky!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love the photo of your wife. Great composition and sky!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Very dramatic photos, especially the second and third. I'm always astonished as to how the artist can work and keep the piece true to scale when working on projects this big.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow, magical, like a fairytale! Great shots!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this very interesting tour. I had never heard of this artist before, but his work is unique and very beautiful! I saw the one in Australia and wondered where in Oz it was. I should like to see it myself. I also saw the one in Israel and hope to see that one very soon, but where is it?
      I wish you a great weekend. Thanks for your visit! Your photos are brilliant.

      Delete
  23. Great photos of those unusual formations! What a good find. Love the one with the rays and the Joshua tree. Beautiful skies!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Awesome photos! Those rock trails are shaped like a cross, and your wife is well positioned! The desert has a lot of surprises, and no one could make me drive without reading any sinage.

    Thanks for the tagging us along!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What beautiful captures of nature's beauty, textures and tones.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Blogger has messed me up twice now while logged in via Firefox. It has refused to recognize my Google profile. So this is my third attempt (while properly logged in according to Safari) at leaving a comment on this marvelous post. Gorgeous images, a wonderful story to go with them. Thanks for sharing not only your images but those of another photographer that show the entire geoglyphs as seen from the air. What a discovery to just happen upon while out driving around. (thanks for stopping by my iPhone images of a beautiful Colorado sky)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your persistence, Victoria!! Appreciate the feedback, and your really great post on your processing technique. I've been playing around with AutoPainter and it's really fun. I might try to do a similar post to yours, with some before / after shots.

      Delete
  27. That sounds awesome, great shots. I've never heard of these before.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Fantastic stone work! The Nazca Lines in Peru have crossed my mind now, but those remain a mystery. :-) The bottom shot with the Joshua Tree and the clouds is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Splendid post - and what would life be without a little adventure??

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

    ReplyDelete
  30. Amazing! And since when did guys ever ready the directions? :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I visited Joshua one time, when we stayed with my brother in law and his wife at 29 palms. Your pictures are beautiful. How fun to discover the geoglyphs.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Fantastic photos! Love the blue sky and white clouds! :)
    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  33. Absolutely, positively amazing. I never knew about these, and now have them on my must do travels in California list for sure. Thank you for enlightening me. Great shots, great fun.

    ReplyDelete
  34. We happened upon this today. Funny thing is we make Atlatls. We live in Lucerne Valley, CA and had never heard of this art installation. I found your blog looking for more details about it. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete