Pictographs and the Smiling Dolphin of Piedras Grandes – Anza-Borrego Desert State Parkphotos

smiling dolphin rockToday’s perfect weather shows that January is a great month for exploring the back country of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. We’re currently headed toward the bouldery nooks of Piedras Grandes, ground zero for today’s adventure. This rock strewn landscape was once utilized by Native Americans as prime real estate for habitation sites and art galleries.

There are two sites in particular that we’re hoping to locate today. The first is a small shelter whose walls are decorated with a series of pictographs, one of which is extremely unique. In fact, it’s here that the only known representation in Diegueno rock art of a man “mounted” on a horse is found. It’s surmised that this portrays a moment of “contact” when the first mounted Spanish explorers entered this area. The second site that sounds interesting is a habitation site, characterized by bedrock mortars and a profusion of pottery fragments and lithic flakes from tool making. As we nudge the Desert Canary into the graded parking area, shrug into our day packs and take a look at the vast rocky horizon in front of us, we get a gnawing feeling that finding anything out there might be a bit harder than it seemed while we were in the planning stages!yoni

No matter what we find, though, it’s going to be wonderful to stretch our legs and prowl through this remarkable landscape! Also, if time permits, we’re hoping to head a bit further south to have a look at Dos Cabezas Spring, also a popular hangout for prehistoric folks due to its life giving water. Do you feel like joining us via the magic of cyber space? If that was a “Yes!” then grab your off road mouse and click on the photo link below! We’re goin’ adventuring!