Thursday, March 16, 2023

Somewhere in the Pinto Basin

 A Facebook friend (J.A.R.) was kind enough to share a general location where he had come across some Native American pottery sherds. As I write this post, I'm wondering if I ever went back and thanked him for the tip? It was a good one, and we had a wonderful hike. Join me as we go see what we can find.
It was one of those beautiful, cloudy desert days. The smell of wet creosote was in the air. Nice and cool for hiking, but you need to keep an eye out for thunder storms and flash floods. It had already been a memorable drive out, with gorgeous skies and rainbows (see last week's post).
Looking in the other direction from the photo above, you could see some blue sky. The ocotillo were happy.
So were the smoke trees!
Here's a strange looking ocotillo. Usually their branches are more straight up and down. And this one looks almost purple in color!
Ocotillo only leaf out immediately after a rain. The rest of the time, they look like bare sticks coming out of the ground. The casual observer would understandably assume the plant is dead, but give them a little rain and magic happens! In the Pinto Basin of Joshua Tree National Park, these guys go for months and sometimes years without any rain.
After a long hike, we finally reached the base of the mountain. This spot looks like it might have been used as a shelter (I'm standing inside, shooting out). 
As I search for pottery, I feel as if I'm being watched!
 I find no pottery, but my first thought upon seeing this boulder is that this might be a pictograph. The marks look like they might have been made using dye. Here's what it looks like using dStretch (color enhancer).
It looks fascinating, but I suspect it's made naturally somehow (not a pictograph). It has direct sun exposure, and a pictograph would be totally faded. But it sure makes me curious as to how it could have been made.
It's not long after reaching the rocks that we start to see pottery.
More pottery and a rock chip that indicates tool making.

Fooled me... this is not pottery.

In the same general area I find two bedrock mortars that would have been used for grinding. This is turning out to be a very significant site!
My friend Roger finds a petroglyph panel. Very cool!
More petroglyphs near by.
This large petroglyph panel is so faded that we almost miss it!
More faded glyphs that we very nearly miss.

We find a few flowers and some colorful lichen while out exploring. And also some rain!

Roger and Mitch came prepared for the weather!
This turned out to be a very memorable hike, and what I consider to be a significant cultural site, with lots of pottery, petroglyphs, stone flakes, and a grinding site. Please please please if you come across a cultural site leave everything exactly as you found it. Take nothing, and leave only footprints.
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.


  1. ...your sky shots are alway outstanding and now the desert flowers are the frosting on the cake! Thanks for taking me along on this adventure.

  2. Again, it's such a privilege to go along with you knowledgeable people! Some Hawaiian petroglyphs were recently uncovered by the winter waves. the sand they rested in meant they were beautiful and of course ours are incised into the rock.


  3. You're like a desert detective and I had fun tagging along today. The dark skies look like rain storm any second.

  4. The smoke tree photos are beautiful. I looked the tree up, and I see it's a legume, like the ironwood tree. Funny how a tree is a legume!

  5. Another great find for you and friends. You got the general location but it took some sharp eyes to find the pottery shards, rock chips and pictographs.
    And great photos to boot.

  6. Wow, that is a great site. And all the more interesting in the wet weather.

  7. Excellent pictures! The sky during thunderstorms can be pretty throughout the day. Loved your passion for exploration despite the unreliable weather

  8. Fabulous post--- I really do enjoy each and every one of them.

  9. Yes, indeed, it was magic how the sudden rain nourished the once "dead" desert plants. Your remarkable photos make mountainous boulders and stones, too, look as if they could spring to life. :)

  10. What a beautiful hike again, Peter. A hike with interesting finds and great contrasts. I wouldn't expect such beautiful flowers in a desert, for example.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  11. Sweet walk with some epic photos I love the first one

  12. Dearest Peter,
    That sure was a very successful hike for ya'll!
    Stunning images.

  13. Wow! Peter ~ a little bit of everything in this post ~ great photos as always, petroglyphs ~ even colorful flowers and pottery shards ~ awesome sky shots too ~

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days ~
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  14. That entry-pic sure is... perfect.
    Years without water... nature is amazing.
    Yes... that rock checks what you´re up to!
    The pattern is beautiful
    Who would expect such flowers there.
    I am with you. Take but pics!
    Thank you very much for sharing another wonderful hike!

  15. I fell in love with your first picture and the post just kept getting better and better. What finds! (What is that gorgeous blue flower in one of your pictures?) It's amazing how plants and animals are adapted to the environments they live in.

  16. Given time nature can adopt almost anything to its environment. Take all those beautiful plants that only blossom with a bit of rain. Great to know and see and thanks to share it with us.

  17. Fascinating post. The Ocotillo is interesting. Love the flowers and petroglyphs.

  18. What is a significant find. There must have been a source of water somewhere nearby.

  19. What wonderful sights and neat discoveries. I like the rock with BOTH eyes watching you! Nice to have friends to let you know and those that hike with you too.

  20. Me llama la atenciĆ³n, ese tipo de terreno y las fabulosas nubes que has captado.
    Que tengas un feliz domingo.

  21. Glad to see you found some pottery! The clouds are fantastic making the scenery awesome both high and low!