Thursday, November 21, 2019

Grinding Slick Shelter

For today's adventure I'm taking you to a really cool spot in Joshua Tree National Park that I think you're going to like. This is a first visit for me. Relatively easy to get to, yet remote enough that nobody goes here or knows about it. I say nobody... well, there are a few, but very few. And I know I'm not the first to find this site, but I feel incredibly fortunate and lucky to be one of the few to see it and experience it.

There's no trail that leads to it, but fortunately, it didn't require too much bushwhacking. And unlike my last couple adventures, I didn't have to climb under any rocks or wedge myself between too many boulders!

For a while, I was following a wash that looked a lot like this one. I'm looking for a shelter with a large grinding slick inside. I know the approximate location.

Hmmm... may be somewhere up in those rocks? Let's go take a look. Keep in mind, these photos represent the hike, but are actually in a different location in the Park. That way the true location is protected.

Bingo! Here it is!! A beautiful, large shelter. I don't see any signs of rock art, although it may have been here at one time and faded away over the years. But there are two very obvious grinding slicks in this shelter. Very cool!

A closer look.

And an even closer look!
Even if you weren't looking for a grinding slick, and even if you didn't know what a grinding slick is, I think you would notice that something, over years and years and years, has smoothed out the top of this rock in a couple places. This is the best example, and most obvious example of a grinding slick that I've seen.

As you are probably aware, a grinding slick is just that... a flat smooth area used by Native Americans to grind things. Anything from manzanita berries, pine nuts, mesquite seeds, you name it. The more grinding that took place, the flatter and smoother the surface. And a large rock or stone was used as a pestle (or mano) to grind and crush the material. The mano would be smooth on at least one end. The rock you see in the photos above is not a mano. At least I don't think it's a mano. I found it on the ground next to the grinding slick. It's not worn smooth on one side (or more) and it's probably a little too small. I just placed it there for effect.

Here's a close-up of the larger of the two grinding slicks. This is looking in from the other entrance to the shelter. Well, not really an entrance because the rocks are in the way. More of a window, perhaps. Anyway, this is the larger of the two grinding slicks. If memory serves, at least 12" in diameter. There may be other grinding slicks on the smaller rock next to this one, but I was so busy taking pics of this one, I forgot to check it out.

Feeling totally elated about finding this very cool shelter and grinding slick, I leave things exactly as I found them and move on to explore the area.

Nearby, I squeeze between some boulders to find this beautiful area surrounded by rocks on all sides. One rock surface immediately grabs my attention because I can see some color. I also like the rocky "wing" sticking out on one side.

Getting in closer to the surface of the wall, you might be able to make out some faint red dots near the center of the photo. Let's use Dstretch to get a better look at whatever color might be here.

Now you can easily see the red dots, along with a number of other pictographs if you look carefully. Wow, this is a cool site!

 A close-up of the seven large dots, with a z-shaped symbol on the right.

My favorite symbol from this panel is this double star or sunburst symbol. Very unusual. Without Dstretch, it's pretty faded, but with Dstretch it really comes alive!

A net symbol, which isn't all that unusual. I'm pretty sure this is a basketball net... or may be that's just because I've been watching all the Laker games 😉

A headless dancer with her arms up in the air? I have no idea, but I've promised myself to try to learn more about Native American rock art and culture. It's totally fascinating!

With the sun getting low on the horizon, it's time to head back. This has been one of my most rewarding hikes, and it only makes me even more interested and grateful to see sites like this.


If you look really closely at the next to last photo, you might make out the crescent moon. It's easy to see in the last photo, especially with the help of that leaning Joshua tree that appears to be pointing at it!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

49 comments:

  1. I can just picture someone finding that shaded spot to work in.

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  2. Awesome find that, bit like finding stoneage relics in this country if you were that lucky. You must be building up a collection now and becoming an expert on them

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  3. I love your ethic of sharing your finds but protecting them as well,. What a treasure to find. And that rock art is just plain spectacular. You are truly and intrepid discoverer.

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  4. I sure would love to see these places, but someone would have to go with me to keep me from getting lost!

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  5. I hate to be a curmudgeon, but can you not think of a better adjective than constantly repeating "cool?" I really find it irritating. The English language is filled with adjectives - fabulous, amazing, interesting, stupendous, terrific, astounding, eye-opening, mind-boggling, gobsmacking, delightful, charming, ancient, ancestral......Cool, every time? Really? Please say hello to Lilly for me.

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    1. Thanks, David. Wasn't even aware I was doing it! I'll definitely expand my use of adjectives beyond "cool".

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  6. Absolutely beautiful. I think my two favourite shots are the last two with the tree silhouetted against the night sky.

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  7. Pictographs are interesting. I especially like the double star or sunburst symbol. Stone age sky watching perhaps.

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  8. Oh yea, I can see the moon. But I didn't notice it until you pointed it out.

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  9. Very interesting the star, and the sun surrounding it. Wonder what they were trying to say with this? Seems like once you start with D-stretch, you can't do it without anymore... that image after the d-stretch is amazing! Happy you found the grinding slicks, and anything else you were looking for!

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  10. Your photography never ceases to amaze. My favorites are the second photo - the sky and clouds - and the second to last - the purple color of the hills is amazing! Enjoy your weekend!

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  11. Absolutely amazing. The beauty is beyond words. The colors are amazing, BUT for me, I LOVE the silhouette shot, super eye catching.
    Thanks, Jack and Sherry

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  12. Wonderful--- as always. You make the desert come alive.

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  13. Hello, pretty capture of the wash trail and sky. The double star or sunburst is a great find. I love the last two shots of the Joshua tree, sky and the moon. Well done.
    Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend!

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  14. It all IS so totally fascinating! That Dstrectch is really amazing! I absolutely love the 2nd to last photo, with the background layering, the crescent moon, and the joshua tree silhouette. Great post!

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  15. And the story continous. Beautiful.

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  16. Beyond Mesmerizing Brother - Thank You For Jumping Off The Beaten Trail - Well Captured - Very Enjoyable Perspective Of Yours - Stay Adventurous

    Cheers

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  17. Sublimely beautiful.. I would never see this at all if not for your photos and your bravado for going on such adventures! Thank you so much for bringing this to the table for all to enjoy!

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  18. I love the last two photos. The grinding slick is fascinating. Don’t know that I would have recognized it if you hadn’t pointed it out. The art is a great find too.

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  19. You always find the best places to explore SPP, I love it that you don't give away the exact spots! How exciting to find the pictographs there. Fabulous last three images 💙

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  20. Your words 'totally fascinating'---true! Love the sunburst. great shots and what a fun time
    MB

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  21. Another stunning exploration shared with us. Thank you!

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  22. Yes, I agree, probably too many basketball games. :-)

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  23. Wow, what a find. So pristine. I've only seen grinding rocks in the wilderness, usually by accident or by one of the few who knew about it. I wonder if that "net" drawing may be stick figures standing or moving close together.

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  24. Another beautiful hike, and you saved the best for last. That last photo was my favorite.

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  25. Fascinating art and gorgeous landscapes!

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  26. I am just absolutely loving those colours on the rocks!

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  27. I was really hoping we could camp in Joshua Tree during our RV trip on the way to Arizona. Our sports schedule has us hurrying across to Tempe for softball. Maybe next year. When I lived in California I loved going to Joshua Tree for walking (I can't call it hiking any more), taking pictures and star gazing. - Margy

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  28. Interesting find on your desert hike. Beautiful landscape and interesting rock formation.

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  29. Beautiful and meaningful pics also in this post.
    Enjoy your weekend!

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  30. wow! What an adventure. I've heard about this park and would love to visit someday. And what a great surprise to find that grinding slick and the artwork. Lucky you!

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  31. wow! ~ What a place ~ and fantastic photography as always ~ ^_^

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

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  32. I am always amazed how well the Dstretch illuminates the pictographs. Finding two grinding slicks is a fabulous discovery. Those rock shelters were probably well used by many generations of natives. So glad they are preserved for future generations to discover!

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  33. Very cool and what a fascinating discovery! Do you need a GPS to find your way around?

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    1. Absolutely! I rely on GPS, both to locate specific areas and also as a safety feature in case I get turned around. There's no way I could find many of the places I visit without GPS!

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  34. I really love your adventures and am so glad you share them with us! It's good that you thought to preserve the actual area by showing similar places. Fabulous and stunning scenery, as usual :)




    My Corner of the World

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  35. Amazing photographs. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

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  36. What a great adventure and amazing discovery. I love seeing your wonderful desert photos. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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  37. So wonderful! I’ve never actually heard the term grinding *slick* before, but knew immediately what it would be. Seeing tools people actually used always makes my imagination fly ... I see real individual people in my mind. Those pictos really are cool ...d stretch is amazing. Thanks as always for sharing the awe!

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  38. Regardless of what anyone says, it really is "cool." ;-)

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