Thursday, August 11, 2022

Slide Rock (second visit)

 Slide rock is a fascinating area! That's our slang name for a spot we came across that looks like a giant rock slide. I've hiked there once before (which resulted in two posts, Slide Rock part 1 and Slide Rock part 2). For this hike, Mitch and I are returning to check out a specific area that looks like a cave or shelter, which we didn't have time to visit on our last hike. Whether we can actually get to it is another matter, but whatever happens, it's a beautiful area that we want to see again.

The cave or alcove with the flat roof (white arrow) is where we hope to get to. It looks like quite a challenge!
We did this hike in mid-April, and there were still some flowers in bloom.

Wow, look at this beautiful Mojave Mound cactus right at the base of the Joshua tree. They have such intense, vivid  colors! Had to lay down on my belly to get this shot. I'm finding, at my age, lying down is the easy part. It's the getting back up that's the challenge!
The claw!
Mitch working hard to get just the right camera angle. Careful, Mitch!!

This little Joshua tree appears to be bending over backwards...
But a big, beautiful flower nonetheless!

This cloud or contrail reminds me of a zipper!
There it is, but we still have a lot of boulders to navigate past.

My preferred way to navigate steep rocks 😉
It looks like maybe we can get to it??!
Nope, it turns out these boulders are just too large to safely climb. Hard to get a size perspective from the photo, so I'll use a scientific term: They're humongous!
This is as close as we could get. End of the line. You can just see the huge flat rock covering the alcove. As we started our climb back down, we decided to pay a visit to slide rock.
I assume Mitch is just exploring. We decided last time we were here that climbing to the top is a little beyond our comfort level. The higher you go on slide rock, the steeper it gets.
Next thing on know, I see Mitch up on top looking down! Oh cr@p, now what do I do? Should I try? I decide to go a little way up, and I'm thankful Mitch isn't taking pictures of me, because I'm on all fours, crawling up like a dog. It's the only way I feel remotely safe.
Half way up slide rock I stop and take this photo. The rock formations in this area are truly amazing. Some of the formations remind me of sliced bread.
I finally make it to the top of slide rock, exhilerated that I'm still alive and uninjured, and the views turn out to be amazing. Some of the best I've seen anywhere in the park.
There are a number of these large depressions in the rocks (sometimes called tinajas, which I think is spanish for "jars"). How amazing would it be to be up here after a rain and see them full of water! They can be an important source of water for the local critters.
The area above slide rock turned out to be one of the highlights of this hike, but now it's time to head back down. Mitch and I confer on the safest technique. I know one thing to a certainty: I'm going down on all fours! All it takes is one slip on the loose gravel and you will tumble to the bottom, and I doubt you would be in one piece!
To my surprise, Mitch starts strolling down like it's nothing! I manage to make it down too, but with much less finesse!
As we retrace our trail back the way we came, we realize we have about 1.5 hours of daylight. I tell Mitch I have coordinates for a pictograph site that was published in a book, but last time I went to the site, I could find nothing. Mitch was willing to go check it out, and I figured a second pair of eyes might be a good thing. 
We were still about 1/4 or 1/2 mile from the coordinates for the pictograph site when I started to notice what looked like a large amount of lithic scatter... little chips and flakes of rocks that can sometimes be a sign of a Native American site. I told Mitch "my rock art alarm is going off in my head right now" and I pointed out all the chipped rock in the area. Within a few hundred yards we came to some large boulders. Anyone notice anything unusual in the photo above? It looks to me like the area underneath the boulders has been cleared of rocks. Perhaps many hundreds of years ago Native Americans used this site for shelter. Nobody knows for sure, but it sure looks like someone cleared away rocks and made a nice cozy area under those boulders!

More boulders. And that's not all. Pictographs!! What a cool find. Keep in mind, we are still at least a quarter mile from where the pictograph site is SUPPOSED to be, based on published coordinates in a book.
Beautiful! I think Mitch was the first to spot these.
I used dStretch to enhance the colors on this one. I really didn't need it for the upper picto... It's in a shallow indent in the rocks and is well preserved. The sun motif below it is harder to see and faded.
As we were tromping around looking for additional pictographs, I stepped right over the top of this flat stone and almost missed the fact that it's a metate or grinding stone! You can clearly see the highly smoothed area to the right of my lens cap. Somewhere in the area is likely a mano or smaller stone they held in their hand while grinding.
So it turns out this site IS the published pictograph site. Just that the coordinates in the book are not accurate. Just goes to prove you can't believe everything you read!
Reminds me of a breaching whale!

Mitch took this photo of me taking the photo just above this one!
Thanks for joining me on this hike!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.


  1. I think you are like me and take the safest way to climb. Though I might have tried sliding down. Great find with the pictographs something you would not see here in the UK. The last few photos are really stunning, not that the rest were not.

  2. So fascinating! As we learned living here near ancient rocks in Colorado, the early natives did use rock outcrops such as the ones you showed as shelters. Archeologists here have done digs in such areas and found much evidence of life, including pictographs, stone tools and even graves. It is amazing the feel connected with these past civilizations from thousands of years ago. I'm glad you and Mitch honor the "leave no trace" code and take only photos.

  3. Another amazing adventure from you. Those rock formations are incredible. They remind of what see in the Arbuckle Mountains of SW Oklahoma except a lot more rugged. You got so close to the alcove! I love how Mitch inspired to climb up that slide. I'm not sure that I could get up there but if I could it would be on all fours up and all fours down.

    And then coming upon the place with the writing. Somebody was way off on the coordinates. Rocky country is tough to get coordinates in because of multipath issues but a quarter mile. I'm thinking the author didn't really want the site refound.

  4. hi peter .this is terry. we have met before. have you ever seen the rock arch if you look behind you in picture #3 the claw .you need to get to the correct angle to see it . and yes i have been to slide rock and also failed to make it all the way to the cave.

    1. Hi Terry. I remember meeting you at diamond solstice site. It was a real pleasure! Wonderful that you've have explored this same area. I'll have to check out claw rock next time I'm in the area and look for the arch. Thanks for your comment!

  5. ...I have never had the opportunity to see your neck of the woods in person and probably never will. So thanks for taking me on your adventures from the comfort of my home, appreciate it.

  6. I am in awe of your amazing photos! What a fabulous place to hike and so different from where I walk here in Florida. My granddaughter just spent the summer in Flagstaff though and hiked a lot. Lots of rock climbing....or scrambling! Love that cactus in full bloom! WOW!

  7. another great collection of photos and a fun trip with you

  8. Dearest Peter,
    Wow, you both have been very daring and yes, as you write, getting down is the easy part but getting up at our age is often tricky!
    Oh, one can never completely trust the accuracy of any writing! But you did check it out and found out the reality... Good for you.
    Excellent photos of a daring hike.

  9. Thanks for inviting me to join you. I loved all the photos. It must have been a wonderful day hiking among all those rock formations. Beautiful photos!!!

  10. I am entranced as always by your posts. The mound cactus and so many of these views, not to mention pictographs and the grinding stone... I'm very grateful but I get to see these things with you. Thanks

  11. Amazing---- Can I just say you get an A+ and a gold star? By the way, the picture that was from halfway up slide rock was disorienting to my brain. Of course, my brain is easily disoriented...

  12. An absolutely wonderful nature, very beautiful pictures

  13. What an adventure, especially the climb on the slide rock. That was scary!

  14. Amazing experience, wonderful photos

  15. The climbing looks challenging! I'm reminded of the saying "Up is easy, down is hard". The pictographs and other signs of long ago people are fascinating. And those landscapes! Those last two are especially striking.

  16. Wow what amazing sights captured!

  17. Another fascinating adventure, and you lived to tell the tale. The Mojave Mound photo is by far my favorite - the color is so intense it is hard to believe it's real!

  18. Beautiful flowers!!!
    I have some too, since yesterday :-)
    (Not as beautiful)

    Oh, I hate going down! Like you, on all what I have!
    Weeee... Steep!

    Those rock formations I saw in Australia, too. Organ Pipes National Park.
    A whole school class was with us, boy, the noise!

    The whale is cool, too!

    Thank you again! I love your desert pics, I miss it so much.
    After Ingo fell chronically sick we always need a hospital nearby, so I am very thankful we did these journeys before and enjoy your encounters.

  19. Great illustrated expedition again. The landscape keeps amazing and the finds are always interesting.

  20. Reminds of of the old adage, "better safe than sorry." :-)

  21. Those red cactus flowers grab all my attention!

  22. Wow! What an adventure ~ beautiful floral shots and awesome rock formations ~ glad to see you played it safe at the steep point ~ great petroglyphs too ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days ~

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  23. Another wonderful adventure in the desert. The rocks in these photos are mind-boggling. And, that slide rock is amazing.

  24. Just another ho-hum (NOT) hike full of the most amazing photography - rock formations, flowers, pictographs, skies and an epic climb, even if you had to do it on all fours.

  25. Magnifico el modo en que has documentado este interesante espacio.
    Un saludo

  26. Another great adventure. Wow! The cactus is definitely exploding with color. I love the vista at the end. I don't always realize how high you are.

  27. I really like the gorgeous red flowers. There is a lot of beauty in the desert. The rocks look like they melted and reformed into such great shapes.

  28. I believe everything I read on your site. Wow, that was a beautiful hike with wonderful views (large and small scale -- from the rare blooms to the huge boulders to the amazing broad view from the top). I'm glad you made it up -- and down. The rock art is of course my favorite part of your finds. I loved thinking about the people who made it -- as well as the ones who kept that little rest area under that one ledge swept clean. Just like nowadays I expect, a few people were the artists and recorders and some of us had to do the routine work to make it all possible.

  29. Uma série de imagens absolutamente incrível... com aquelas flores, a espalharem um toque de cor, na aridez do deserto...
    Mais uma partilha de excelĂȘncia! Qual a temperatura mais habitual durante o dia, sĂł por curiosidade?
    Um grande abraço!