Thursday, November 7, 2019

Children's Shelter Pictographs

I was hoping to hike to an obscure location called "Hidden Handprints Cave", but I ran out of time. By the time I was on the road, it was already 2 PM and things would be too rushed. I also didn't want to risk hiking off-trail through the Wonderland of Rocks after sunset. That sounds like a recipe for disaster! Then I recalled my virtual friend, D.L., had just recently shared some spots that weren't too far off-trail. D.L. has been extremely generous sharing some of the all-time best sites in all of Joshua Tree with me. Not only are they incredible sites, but they are also sites that are virtually unknown. So off I go to see if I can find these rock art sites. I had GPS coordinates, but keep in mind they aren't all that accurate. When you're exploring a field of huge boulders, even being off by 50' or so can make it a real challenge to find a hidden site.
This gives you a feel for the hike in, although this photo was taken nowhere near the actual site we're going to. I trust all of my regular readers... it's those anonymous folks I'm not so sure about!!

Weird split boulder with a rocky divider in the middle! There are boulders like this all over, with lots of little (and some not so little) nooks and crannies that could be potential shelters. That's why it's so hard to find things out here, even with GPS coordinates.

A closer view...

Cha-ching!!!! After hiking a little over two miles, I find this rocky overhang with some obvious pictographs. See them?

Here's the same photo using Dstretch to enhance the pictos. This would actually be a cool little shelter. It's got a nice rock overhang and shade from a nearby tree, but this big boulder right in the middle kind of spoils things. Below are some close-up shots of the pictos.


Really interesting pictos, and quite well preserved. As I'm taking these photos and looking more closely, I notice some pictos back behind the big boulder. That's weird. There's only a few inches between the boulder and the overhang. How in the heck were those pictos made behind the rock!!?

As I move over to the left side of the boulder, I notice the smallest of openings... may be about 15" or so. Let's stick our head in there and see what's inside.

Do you see them? Look carefully. As I looked inside, I was amazed to see tiny little hand prints along a ledge of rock. Or maybe finger prints is more accurate, as much of the palm is not captured in the print. Below is a Dstretch version of the photo to show you the finger prints a little more clearly.
There they are! They look just about the size my 7 year old granddaughter Lilly would make. May be even a little smaller. OK, so if you spotted the finger prints in the first photo, you're the winner! Your prize should be coming to you in the mail any day now!! 😉

My next activity might fall into the knucklehead category, but I'm going to attempt to squirm into that very small space between the rock and the larger overhang to access this mini-shelter and get a better photo of the finger prints. I'm having visions in my mind of hikers finding my bleached bones months from now, after wedging myself so tightly between the boulders that I get hopelessly stuck!
Fortunately, that didn't happen, and I lived to hike another day. These sure look like a child's partial hand prints to me, with just a little of the upper palm. And let me tell you that no adult in their right mind would want to squirm into this mini-shelter, but it would be perfect for a couple of small children. I did learn (big surprise) that I'm not as slim as I use to be, and I'm sure not as flexible as I used to be!

So I'm calling this "Children's Shelter" pictograph site. Pretty cool, don't you think?

After squirming my way back out, it was definitely time for a break and time to check my GPS waypoints. I was fully expecting to be right on top of one of the spots D.L. shared with me. To my surprise, I was still about 100 yards away from the closest location... which means this spot was independent of the locations D.L. shared with me! Very cool, and fun to think I'm likely one of very few who have seen this site. After checking with D.L., he didn't recall the site, which makes it all the more fun to find.

No significance... other than I like the texture and color of the wood!

I went on from the Children's Shelter to find three sites that D.L. shared with me. Those will have to wait for a future post, but they are some of the best I've seen. Very much looking forward to sharing them with you.

By the time I was hiking home, the sun had set and it was getting quite dark. This little bird kept going from Joshua tree to Joshua tree just ahead of me, as if to guide me home. But it was only a relatively short distance back to the trail, and I knew I could follow the tail even at night if necessary. But so glad I had decided against the more complex, off-trail hike through the Wonderland.

Hiking home by the light of the desert moon.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

49 comments:

  1. What a feat to find these hands! Are you sure these are children's hands? There's nothing nearby to measure them, but they kind of look almost too big (because the fingers are are long)? As always, awesome captures, Peter!

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  2. Very beutiful photos! I reall love the last two of them.

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  3. You have guts, and we are all the beneficiaries of these great pictures and stories. Keep them coming.

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  4. Oooh, I really like that last picture.

    I wonder if that boulder that's wedged in there came later, like a long time after those pictographs were painted.

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  5. You are one intrepid fellow, but you are certainly rewarded with discovery after discovery. The average visitor to Joshua Tree National Monument will be scratching his/her head wondering how he/she missed all this stuff. But I doubt whether they were willing to stuff themselves into a crevice risking, as you say, being found as bleached bones at some later date. I am glad you made it home to Lilly, to whom I say, "Hi, Lilly."

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  6. Awesome you found somthing very few others if any have come across befor, mind you sound as stupid as me when it comes to crawling into a space you should not be trying to get in but it was well worth it.

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  7. It's great that your blogging friend shared the secret sites with you. Sounds like your enjoying visiting them.

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  8. Magical. The photos are a beautiful reflection of the setting. It looked like such a fun hike and exploration of the area.

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  9. Oh my goodness! Those child size handprints from oh-so-long-ago gave me chills! Thanks for daring to be a knucklehead and sharing them the photos. What a find.

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  10. Ding! You win the prize for most impressive photo. Your grand prize - the admiration of your avid reasons. Wow!

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  11. I wondered if you were going to try to get back in there....I would have loved this place when young. I am sure not flexable, have a lot more weight than back then...so would not enjoy it near as much now.

    I love your last two shots...

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  12. Two last shot are very, very nice. Should be proud of yourself.

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  13. Great post. Amazing clicks.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  14. Wonderful. What a great thing to see in person.

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  15. Wow! How exciting to find those pristine pictographs---lucky you and I am glad you were able to get out of there---LOL
    MB

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  16. wonderful stuff, and a great post. The Joshua Tree in the sunset looks a bit alien.

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  17. Cyber tour of children's hands...what a find! Bird was awesome going from one Joshua Tree to another. Enjoyed your adventure. Have a great weekend.

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  18. Your photos show Joshua Tree to be a magical place!

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  19. Great photos.
    Magical drawings and they are fascinating rocks.
    Who knows how they got there?
    My Sky ...

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  20. As always. Keep them coming.

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  21. Always click the wonderful wood texture.

    Yep. That last shot was the kicker.

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  22. GREAT shots. My wife and I were sharing the oh's and Ahhh's. We love the beauty of the desert, but have hiked in desert areas only a few times. We were remembering some rock formations and angles on the AT saying, we have seen some rocks out here, but they are like a tenth the size there. Yep I can imagine you thinking about 'getting stuck' and being found much later. LOL
    Sherry & jack
    Good stuff, thanks.

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  23. Gorgeous photography and mysteries ~ you certainly work hard to get your wonderful photographs ^_^

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  24. Hello, what a cool find. The fingerprints and rock formations are amazing. Your first photo and last two sky images are just gorgeous. I love the tree silhouettes. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend!

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  25. Good spotting on those drawings you found, would love to read more about them.

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  26. Your pictures are so cool. Really amazing!

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  27. Your shots are very cool and the story behind them very interesting...
    The desert moon shot is fascinating.
    Have a great weekend with a lot of captures! :)

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  28. Beautiful, dreamy shots!
    Oh, I so miss the Outback, Germany is just full of roads, industry, people...
    Thank you for sharing, I spent a lot of time enjoying this!

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  29. Exciting discoveries SPP.. seriously though, I got claustrophobic just thinking of you squeezing into that small space 😱

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  30. Fascinating! I'm so glad you found them. I love those last two shots, especially the little bird.

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  31. Wonderful exploration and discovery! Glad you did not get stuck out there.

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  32. Fabulous outing and an exciting picto find. Those night shots are fantastic too. So crystal clear.

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  33. Wow, fantastic pictures! Please don't do risky things when you are by yourself.

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  34. You had a very interesting hike and some great finds in the rocks.

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  35. Interesting pictos and fascinating images !

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  36. Fascinating. I'll always wonder about the people who made pictographs. Thinking of children in the rocks just makes the whole thing better :)

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  37. Oh my gosh this was wonderful. I always imagine the people who made pictographs... what their life was like, where they lived, why they chose that particular location ... and of course in most cases what exactly the graphs or glyphs actually meant. ... this time, with this latest discovery of yours, I am loving the mental pictures I have of children having secret fun (assuming their significant adults were less agile than you!).... what a fabulous discovery. And I bet your friend had added it to his wish list for his next desert hike! (Also, the moonlight picture is beautiful, but you will have to go out earlier now that we’re back to stupid standard time.)

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  38. Stunning As Always - Thanx For The Adventure

    Cheers

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  39. Love EVERYTHING about the last photo. I know I should be more excited about the pictographs, but the last picture gets me. That's why I keep coming back!

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  40. I've never hiked to hidden petroglyphs, only well-known ones. What a challenge! I love the southwest and all it has to offer. We're going back next summer.

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  41. I especially love the very first shot and the very last one. Interesting post!

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