Thursday, September 13, 2018

Diamond Pictographs

This post begins where The Elusive Diamond Pictographs ended. Yes, I'm out searching again for the rock art referred to by some as the "diamond solstice" pictographs. I don't give up easily. I've also emailed my friends Pat Tillett and Elliot Koeppel. They both told me I was right there, very close, and shared additional information with me about the location.

Armed with new information, I headed back out. But Keys Ranch Road was closed due to recent flooding from thunderstorms. So I had to make the longer (but more scenic) hike from the Barker Dam trailhead. It also occurred to me that there might be more water behind Barker Dam. I had hiked it about a month ago with my granddaughter and it wasn't much bigger than a mud puddle!

I've never seen as many lizards as I did on this hike!

Barker Dam is no longer just a mud puddle!



I could hardly believe this view. It looks like a stream running through a pretty valley! In fact, it's water flowing through the dam from recent rains, and the "stream" only lasts for 200 yards or so. Still, very beautiful and not something you see in the desert very often!

Interesting old wooden trough just below Barker Dam. As I hiked beyond this spot, I heard a loud rattle from a rattlesnake just past that scrubby bush on the left side of the water. Extremely thankful that he gave me a nice loud rattle or I might have stepped on him and you wouldn't be reading this post! He slid away quickly into the bushes, so sorry, no photo available.

A strange old watering trough. Keep in mind this area had livestock (cattle) grazing back in the day, which is why the dam was built. Look very closely at the top of the dam... it says "1939 June".

A closer look at the "stream" and the wooden trough. Looking west.



I must admit that I got so caught up with all the water behind Barker Dam, the stream flowing below the dam, and the wild and beautiful sky, that I spent way too much time taking photos. I found myself pressed for time (again!!) on my way to the pictographs. It crossed my mind that maybe I should save them for a future hike rather than risk hiking back in the dark. But that thought quickly disappeared and on I went 😊

As I rounded the corner on my way to the pictographs I saw my old friend "sliced bread rocks" and I knew I was close! As I searched the area (I'm keeping things a little vague here so as not to divulge the exact location) I FINALLY came across...

... the "diamond solstice" pictographs! Most pictographs fade and disappear with time, but these still look fresh and well preserved. One can't help but wonder what special significance they had to the Native Americans that made them all those years ago!

There's been speculation that this sunburst design might have something to do with predicting seasonal cycles that were so critical to Native Americans.


I wonder what this one means??

View from inside the diamond pictograph alcove.

Another view from inside. Look closely and you can see the diamond pictographs center left.
I was feeling great about this hike and very fortunate to be able to see the diamond pictographs. As is often the case on my hikes, by the time I got back to the Jeep, it was getting dark. On the drive home, I missed my usual turnoff (the dirt roads are unmarked and hard to see in the desert, and my night vision isn't what it used to be!) Anyway, I made the mistake of turning up a seldom used sandy "road". No problem with my Jeep, but the soft sand would have been a problem in a 2WD vehicle. As I headed up the road, I saw something squiggling along the road in front of me...
A sidewinder rattlesnake! I've never seen one before, but their sideways motion is unmistakable. Wow, two rattlesnakes in one day!! This shot was captured using the headlights on the Jeep for lighting. I took a few photos, said thanks, and we both went on our way!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
"Leave only footprints, take only pictures"
Thanks for stopping by!!

49 comments:

  1. Your photography is always beautiful but the skies over the dam are fabulous.

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  2. I was amazed-- as usual. Somehow these shots triggered a memory of walking with my brothers on the outskirts of Palm Springs in the Spring of '50. I was discovering how little indentations became little canyons in run-off areas. We were warned about not hanging around such spots due to flash floods. We paid no attention. Love your pictures today.

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  3. Wow! Another wonderful adventure for you and awesome photography ~ Fascinating ~ glad the you avoided the first rattler ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

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  4. Spectacular skies!! And lots of extra SW wonders. Thank you.

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  5. Wow! You are awesome and your photos feed the soul!

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  6. All your photos are amazing. I'd love to live where I could go on adventures like this!

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  7. Great hike - I love those Barker Dam photos. Water in the desert!

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  8. I didn't realize there had been thunderstorms out that way recently. Beautiful shots.

    I wonder... What if those pictographs were actually graffiti back in the day?

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  9. The cool light on the dam is fantastic. Great pictures!

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  10. wonderful place. Amazing views and pics. Greetings

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  11. Again, such an intrepid explorer and magnificent photographer. Great shots. Love the snake photo, I am surprised you haven't seen more in your adventures.

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  12. WOW!!!. love those shots around Barker Dam too. No wonder you spent alot of time there. You have got to quit meeting rattlesnakes....gack.

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  13. Beautiful sky shots over the Barker Dam. Interesting drawings on the rocks. Oh, do be careful of the snakes!

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  14. another beautiful and successful hike. I always find it interesting having a 'target' to look for on my wanderings.

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  15. I never get tired of your photos of the desert and you surpassed yourself this week with the photos around the dam. Glad you found what you wanted and got to admit it looked well worth the effort. Nice find with the rattler

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  16. Great shots and a well written story makes this a wonderful post again.

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  17. Hello, I often wondered if you saw rattle snakes on your hikes. Wow, love the lizard too. Your photos are beautiful, love the sky and the stream. I am glad you found the diamond solstice, great find. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

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  18. Lovely shots. Wonderful communing with nature.

    Imagine that terrain 5 or 6 hundred years ago when the area was a wetter place.

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  19. Success! How thrilling to find the diamond pictographs Peter, such an exciting find. I would love to know what their significance is. The Barker Dam shots are spectacular, those amazing desert skies again and in reflection too! Two rattlesnakes, yikes.. a third might not have been so lucky for you ☺

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  20. The pictures of Barker Dam are stunningly beautiful. I suppose we will never know what these pictographs meant, though it's fun to speculate.

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  21. Those rattlesnakes are scary! They live in our area of the front range of Colorado and we have to be very careful hiking among rocks. I'm happy you found the diamond pictographs! I remember when you first went on this hike and found that cave. I wonder if they represent spear or arrow points? Did you ever consider keeping a record of all your petroglyph finds doing GPS locator coordinates along with photos? The GPS coordinates can be found with a cell phone app. I'm sure they would be very valuable to a archeology department in a university or area archeology foundation. We are in the process of doing that in our community with our historical society.
    I loved all the photos of the dam and stream--what gorgeous sky colors! water in the desert is such a rare phenomenon !

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  22. Great pictures of exciting places! And I like snakes ;-)) Wish you a nice weekend!

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  23. Wow, awesome photos and stunning skies. Thank you!

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  24. Clouds in baker damm sure reminds me of dancing.
    Coffee is on

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  25. You had quite the adventure running into 2 snakes in one hike. I absolutely love all your sky photos today. They are all beautiful and it's hard to pick favourites though the photos showing water running through the valley are special given this seems to happen infrequently. The pictograph find is awesome and raise a lot of questions.

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  26. Another great series with wonderful skies and interesting desert details !

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  27. I remember the pictographs just west of Tucson AZ that Bud & I found ...tho, We were reprimanded by a park ranger telling us we were not supposed to be hiking in the area. We didn't know. Saw them....a a HUGE diamondback sunning on a boulder & two gila monsters.

    Loved reading your narration & viewing your photos.

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  28. Fantastic post! I wonder if the native American parents said "Those kids! Putting their grafitti everywhere!"

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  29. Another adventure....lucky you. Good thing you used the headlights of your vehicle to get the shots of snakes. I love the pictograph images. I haven't seen a lot of those. Landscape photographs you take are the BEST, over the top, TEN.

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  30. I'm familiar with closed roads due to flooding but by the desert? Oh man, look at Barker Dam. It's probably a lot more photogenic flooded anyway. Yes, those pictographs do look fresh as does the slice bread, lol. Congrats on your snake pic, I've been trying to get one for the last few years.

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  31. Stunning landscapes and photos ! Very interesting post !

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  32. Wow! Great post Pete. Gorgeous photos! Well worth the second trip.
    It is so peaceful back there, like another world.

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  33. Stunning photos! Glad you didn't step on that snake. That one pictograph looks like a diagram of topography.

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  34. So, your pictures are always spectacular, but now you have gone way over the top with the added benefit of the water for reflections. Yikes, man, you have talent for a photo! I can easily see how you got caught up taking these shots. Neat-o pictographs. I thought of you last week when we saw the buffalo kill pictographs at Flathead Lake … And well done to 'shoot' the rattler and live to tell the tale!

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  35. Love going along with you on your hikes. The dam is wonderful. Glad the snake gave you a warning! Lovely photos are always.

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  36. Two rattlers and great pictures. Not a bad day. I suspect we will always struggle with knowing what art works from other, distant, cultures really means.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  37. Eureka! You have found it! (sorry, not plugging my post, but the word is in my head just now and it must have felt like discovering a treasure when you located those pictographs!) I love thinking about the people who made them and wondering about what they meant. They are in amazing ply good shape, I suppose because protected by remotest location from (ordinary) people and the rocks from the sun to some extent. Thanks for the great views as you made your way. And the sidewinder! Which I am glad you photographed from your safe viewing ‘blind’. Loved this post.

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  38. Wow what an exciting hike, water in the dam, found the pictographs and two Rattle Snakes eeeeeek!
    fabulous photos.

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  39. Wow! These pictures are amazing. The skies are so gorgeous and I'm glad you found what you were looking for and were safe from the rattlers!

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  41. I'm happy you got lucky with rattlesnakes ;) you met them and you weren't bitten. And you have a cool picture of the second one!

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