Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Elusive Diamond Pictographs

Picking up where I left off with my last post... I had found two of three rock art sites I was looking for W/NW of Barker Dam. I even found a rock art site by sheer luck all on my own, so I was feeling like this was turning out to be a great hike! With an hour of daylight left, I decided to go in search of rock art site #3.
As I got close to the rock art area (based on the published GPS coordinates I had plugged into my phone), I came across "sliced bread" rocks. This might look familiar to you. I shared it a few weeks ago.

A nolina in bloom. These look so regal when in full bloom, and significant because they were important to Native Americans both as a food source (stalks) and the leaves, which were weaved into baskets.

Rock art site #3 has been called the "diamond solstice" pictographs. One reference mentions something about being "hidden in a low recess of the rock wall". My mind grabbed onto the "low" description, and assumed it had to mean low to the ground.
Based on the GPS coordinates, the pictographs should be right there! Somewhere low along these rocks. Looking all over for a low rock shelf or recess, I'm not finding anything. I double check and triple check, even assuming the GPS could be off by 50-100 feet as I scour the entire area.

I even crawled through a thick stand of manzanita, keeping an eye out for snakes.

The manzanita bark catches my eye. Really weird and interesting looking! Manzanita are native to CA, and they "peel" once a year. Once the manzanita is done shedding its outer bark, the red branches are silky smooth. These smooth branches are more resistant to insect attack, so an excellent defense mechanism. Only seen at higher elevations in Joshua Tree National Park, which is where this photo was taken.

After searching every square inch multiple times, I finally had to admit defeat. It had been a great hike, and I found lots of rock art, but site #3 (diamond solstice pictos) had eluded me. The sun was setting and I still had quite a ways to hike to get back to my Jeep, so best be moving on!

Another beautiful nolina lit up by the setting sun!

Nolina next to sliced bread rocks.

 Yet more rock art?? I think so, it sure looks like both orange and black pigment on the rock, although I can't make out any distinct symbols.

Yet another lucky find... a Native American pottery shard! I was getting a complex because everyone seems to find these but me. I was definitely overdue to find one, and here it is!

Following the wash back to the Jeep as the sun sets behind the hills. My favorite time of day!

A classic desert sky!!


Look closely and you will see the couple up on the roof of their van enjoying a classic Joshua Tree sunset! I like to think they are enjoying a little cheese, bread, perhaps a glass of wine... perfection!!

Keys Ranch Road

Last shot of the day (literally). I was tired (really tired) and running late, but I just couldn't resist pulling over to take one last skywatch shot!!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints!
Thanks for stopping by!!

50 comments:

  1. Well if nothing else it was worth getting the sunset if you did not the rock art you wanted

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  2. Awe-inspiring skies. Wish I could have been there with you to see them in person.

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  3. I'll let YOU do the walking-- and I thank you for the wonderful pictures. I don't know if I'll ever get back to the desert, but you make me wish...

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  4. Truly Awesome pics. Stunning skies.

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  5. The shots of the manzanita bark are kind of creepy. It looks like an otherworldly creature.

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  6. Stunning shots. Here at my place what lies beneath the rocks is only snakes :)

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  7. Stunning and gorgeous pics. Not easy to pick a favourite. Have a great weekend!

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  8. Amazing, the point is the adventure and the journey. I love this post.

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  9. Gorgeous!!! Joshua Tree does make for nice sunset shots. Too bad about not finding the third rock art site. Maybe next time.

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  10. Wow - that rocky scenery and those colourful skies are very gorgeous!

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  11. Joshua Tree forest is so amazing; but the adventures you take there are absolutely amazing. I love those sunsets you took this time. They are Stunning!

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  12. Just amazing photography. You are lucky to live there.

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  13. I can only say another collection of photographic jewels. What a stunning desert to explore. That tree is unbeatable as photographic subject not seen by many.

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  14. Gorgeous shots, particularly the sunset. I recognised the sliced bread rock straight away, surprising how the brain retains these images. I've known the word "manzanita" for years but never knew what it looked like, so thanks for that education.

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  15. wow wow wow wow

    wow wow wow

    (I love sliced bread but) those last twilight shots rock it.

    I'm definitely planning a trip your way on the new Goldwing.

    (you open for a tour guide)

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  16. I love seeing the rocks in different formations. I lived in the Four Corners region of NM and hiked a lot seeing many neat sights. Wish now I could go back with my camera! Love the plants you find and that neat curly bark. Of course the couple enjoying the sunset is special! Very nice photos! Enjoy your day!

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  17. Amazing place and vegetation!... And gorgeous sunset!

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  18. Lovely capture . Keep commenting in my blog because I love your comments.

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  19. You are steward of the desert! Thank you for really showing us the pull back of the curtain of wonders. We are lucky to know you

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  20. Your photos are wonderful. LOVE the one of the couple on the roof.

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  21. Wonderful shots and what a magical sunset!

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  22. Slice rocks are interesting.
    Coffee is on

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  23. Absolutely stunning landscape and photos. Wow, just wow. I also really like that manzanita bark which I've never heard of nor seen before. It's very interesting. Have a great weekend.

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  24. Your pictures are just...National Geography quality gorgeous! I love every time I visit here.

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  25. Well you might not have discovered the diamond pictographs this time but you certainly captured much visual treasure SPP, how cool are the sliced bread rocks!

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  26. Breathtaking skies, awesome sunsets and numerous WOW images. Thanks for taking us along, it's been fantastic!

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  27. amazing! and another, new for me, interesting information - manzanita.

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  28. Wow that Manzanita bark looks like our arbutus tree bark. Love the sunsets. Always a pleasure to visit and read your blog. You always have a great adventure! cheers, Nora

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  29. The Nolina spikey plant in your photo - I think here in NZ we call that a yukka? It looks similar at least.

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  30. Oh my friend - sorry you did not find the last of your pictographs - but it means you have to go back, and then we get more stunning photos like those at the end of your post. I was in heaven from the 'shard' picture until the end. Do you KNOW how lucky you are to witness these gorgeous skies time and again? Glad we have you out there to capture them and share them!

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  31. You have a reason to go back to find the last of your pictographs. Interesting narrative and great shots of stunning topography.

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  32. So beautiful. I would love to be there hiking and looking for history. Just wonderful.

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  33. Divine and gorgeous photos ~ so glad you found an Indian pottery shard!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

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  34. I'm happy for your find. The sky in your pictures is beautiful!

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  35. Those sunset shots are out of this world! The one with the tree in font is special! The sliced bread must have been a spire which fell over many eons ago, judging by the erosive rounding of the "slices."

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  36. interesting tree the Manzanita. Don´t think I have seen it before. Great sunset images :)

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  37. Fun adventure. I enjoyed seeing the sliced bread and the manzanita bark. I didn't realize is shed each year!

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  38. So beautiful... there really are no adequate words for your skies! Congratulations of finding the shard!! Will there be more to the story of the elusive diamond solstice pictos?

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  39. What a remarkable part of the world.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    So nice of the clouds to be around for you. Amazing...

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