Thursday, May 31, 2018

Spring Southwest, Part 2

Sego Canyon Petroglyphs
Sego Canyon Wall

Just off I-70 east of Green River, UT, is the turn off to Thompson Springs and there’s not much there—population 39 (2010). 
Bluff outside of Thompson Springs toward Sego Canyon.

Thompson Springs looks quite a bit like a ghost town.

Five miles through Thompson Springs, though, is one of the best panels of petroglyphs and pictographs we’ve ever seen. At the Sego Canyon site (aka Book Cliffs and Thompson Wash) is a large parking area, a couple of picnic tables, a toilet facility (better than port-a-loos), and a short improved trail to the panels of Native American rock art.  Most of the art is pictographs (painted images on the rocks) with some petroglyphs (pecked images). 
Petroglyphs in Sego Canyon

Graffiti and bullet chips sit next to ancient art.

On one of the Sego Canyon panels it's easy to see where newer art has been superimposed over older images.

The images seen at the Sego Canyon site range from very early (Archaic period about 7000 BC) and the Barrier Canyon period (about 2000 BC), through Fremont Culture art (600-1250 AD, contemporaneous with the Anasazi of the Four Corners region), to Ute art (1300-1700 AD). 
Pictographs in Sego Canyon

Definitely out of this world.

Many of the pictographs are life size.

Besides the main panel of art there is a second grouping about 100 yards further down the road. The panel, again mostly pictographs, is on private property, but is easily viewed from the road.
From Sego Canyon we took I-70 to UT128 and then around the back side of Arches Nat'l Park to Moab. A lovely drive with great scenery, much of it along the Colorado River.

Colorado River

Looking at the various images, especially the pictographs, it’s easy to see why ancient astronaut theorists love this art. Aliens with space helmets and antenna are right there on the rock walls.

The Birthing Stone, Moab Rock Art
The Birthing Stone in the Kane Creek Drive area in Moab.

On Kane Creek Drive out of downtown Moab are several sites of major interest to petroglyph hunters. Moonflower Canyon has a nice panel and there are several small sites along the road, but the one we missed on our last trip to the area is the one not to miss. Called the Birthing Stone, this large rock on a ledge below the gravel road that is the continuation of Kane Creek Road has petroglyphs on all four sides. 
The prime "birthing" image.

Cactus Flowers

Park at a small pull out on the road, room enough for three or four vehicles, and walk about a hundred yards further along the road to see the stone. It’s an easy few steps down to the stone which is fenced off as a reminder not to touch the rock art. Most of the art is of Fremont-style, with the figure giving birth the prominent image. 
At the Birthing Stone we were greeted by one of the locals.

We were lucky on this trip to not only see art on the stone, but also cactus in bloom.

Dead Horse Point State Park 
Mesas on the way to Dead Horse Point State Park--these two are named Monitor and Merrimack.

Dead Horse Point State Park, 32 miles from Moab, is one of Utah’s most spectacular parks. The point above a horse shoe bend in the Colorado River 2000 feet below grants a wonderful Canyonland panorama. 
Great canyon views from Dead Horse Point.

Colorado River

The view point gets its name, according to one legend, from the story that cowboys would fence in an area of the point to use in the roundup of wild horses. One time, for unknown reasons, horses in the corral were left without water, and they died of thirst while being able to see the life-giving Colorado River 2000 feet below.
there were several interesting gnarled trees at Dead Horse Point.

NEXT: SW Part 3: Arches Nat'l Park and More Petroglyphs