Quail Panel and Funk’s Cave

On Saturday morning as I drove south out of town it was a chilly 30 degrees at sunrise. I was heading into the San Rafael Swell east of Ferron to find some rock art that a friend had told me about years ago. The last mile or so of the dirt road leading into the area was washed out badly so I parked the Jeep, leashed up the dogs, and hoofed it. By then it was warm enough that I was comfortable removing my jacket hiking in just a t-shirt. Instead of heading straight toward the rock art, I first checked out a nearby line of cliffs for other rock art or old pioneer/cowboy writings, but found none. I arrived at the rock art, known as the Quail Panel (I suppose because many of the figures have topknots like quail), and found it in poor lighting conditions, half in sunlight and half shaded. There was once a long row of small Fremont figures bearing shields that look like fat little men, each one different in color and shape. Many of the figures are now faded from exposure to the elements while others have spalled off the sandstone despite being sheltered.

Driving south at sunup
Driving south at sunup

Washed-out road
Washed-out road

Hiking across the flats
Hiking across the flats

Faces in the Entrada Sandstone
Faces in the Entrada Sandstone

Quail Panel’s small alcove
Quail Panel's small alcove

Quail Panel in poor lighting conditions, half-sun and half-shade
Quail Panel in poor lighting conditions, half-sun and half-shade

Pictographs that have spalled off
Pictographs that have spalled off

A few of the better-preserved pictographs
A few of the better-preserved pictographs

Full-sunlight shot of some faded pictographs
Full-sunlight shot of some faded pictographs

Faded pictographs processed in DStretch to bring out more detail
Faded pictographs processed in DStretch to bring out more detail

I wasn’t specifically aware of any more rock art in the area, but it seemed a likely spot to find more. I hiked around quite a bit more, eventually spending six hours in the area and hiking nearly six miles total. I found an area with a couple of outlined Fremont figures and a strange yellow, white, and red pictograph. That site is heavily used as a shelter by cattle so the ground was covered in shit, but I did manage to find some pieces of plain gray pottery there. Nearby I found some flint chippings at the base of the cliffs, along with a shed snake skin. I also spotted a few petroglyphs a short distance away and found two flat grinding stones there.

Interesting erosion layer on a boulder
Interesting erosion layer on a boulder

There were still a few Aster flowers in bloom
There were still a few Aster flowers in bloom

Fossil shell
Fossil shell

Two Fremont figure outlines
Two Fremont figure outlines

Pictographs and cow pies
Pictographs and cow pies

This is a really odd pictograph and the colors are unusually vibrant for such an unsheltered location
This is a really odd pictograph and the colors are unusually vibrant for such an unsheltered location

Closeup of white and yellow pigments
Closeup of white and yellow pigments

Typical plain gray pottery pieces
Typical plain gray pottery pieces

Boulder and Torrey drinking muddy water
Boulder and Torrey drinking muddy water

Snake skin
Snake skin

Horseshoe
Horseshoe

Petroglyph panel
Petroglyph panel

Right side of petroglyph panel
Right side of petroglyph panel

Flat grinding stone
Flat grinding stone

Walking stick insect
Walking stick insect

As I was making my way back toward the Jeep in the afternoon I found some more pictographs under a shallow overhang that I recognized as Funk’s Cave. There were several interesting Fremont figures on the back wall near a quite remarkable rainbow pictograph. Most rock art rainbows I’ve seen consist of one or two colors (usually just red, or red and white), but this one had five or six colors. Among the figures in the overhang was a very faded white one that I really liked–it must have looked great when it was fresh. I continued toward the Jeep and found a couple of boulders with old names and initials from the late 1800s and early 1900s along with a couple of less interesting petroglyphs. I got back to the Jeep feeling pretty good about having found much more than I was expecting.

Rainbow pictograph in Funk’s Cave
Rainbow pictograph in Funk's Cave

Rainbow pictograph
Rainbow pictograph

White handprint pictograph
White handprint pictograph

Four figures in Funk’s Cave
Four figures in Funk's Cave

There are at least two colors in use here; you can see the sash across the chest pretty clearly
There are at least two colors in use here; you can see the sash across the chest pretty clearly

Faded white figure
Faded white figure

Levi Je(e)nsen, Apr 1, 1908
Levi Je(e)nsen, Apr 1, 1908

My trusty Jeep waiting for me at the end of the hike
My trusty Jeep waiting for me at the end of the hike


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6 thoughts on “Quail Panel and Funk’s Cave

    1. Thanks, Richard. I’m a little concerned because your comment got dumped in the spam bin by WordPress (despite you having many comments already approved on this site). Hopefully it hasn’t happened more in the past because I don’t often look at the spam folder before just canning the spam posts.

    1. I saw the Cornelius Jensen inscription as well. I just compared my photos of that and the Levi Jensen inscription, and they were taken 12 minutes apart. So, I assume they were in the same general area, but some distance apart.

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