With every footstep in the sandy wash we leave the present further behind. The dark basalt walls of the twisting canyon channel us always upward, at times requiring a scramble over rock falls smoothed and polished by centuries of angry torrents. It's September, still summer in the desert, but at over 6,000' there's a hint of welcome briskness to the air. The demands of civilization run off our brow like dripping beads of sweat as we fall into a rhythm. This hike is a fitting rite of passage to pluck a more harmonious chord in our souls, for we're searching not only for petroglyphs, but also for the mysterious aura of the past that surrounds them.
The area that we're hiking to is a well known spot. It's one of the most northern examples of the Coso petroglyph style. It was the springs that brought the Indians here. Water in the desert means survival. It also means ample hunting opportunities and edible and medicinal plants. Consequently, the petroglyphs in this area seem to be a jubilant celebration of life and a wish to maintain it. They are of two types: the older Great Basin abstract and the very distinctive Coso style. We know that there are at least three sites in the area. Archaeologists have nicknamed them "The Spring," "The Wash" and "The Flat." However, knowing their names doesn't mean that we'll be able to find them! There are an awful lot of rocks around here!
We're not that far up the wash yet, so if you'd like to come along we'd love to have you join us! Just grab that mouse and click on the photo link and we'll take a trip back into the past together!