On January 3rd Alan and I went, once again, to Nine Mile Canyon, this time to find some very remarkable pictographs. We’d each separately learned of the pictographs fairly recently, and though we knew roughly where they were, we didn’t have an exact location. I’d tried unsuccessfully to locate them from the paved road using binoculars the previous weekend, but snow and fog made visibility poor. This time when we parked in the same spot, I was able to locate the pictographs before we even began hiking. We crossed a frozen Nine Mile Creek and, after a short hike, arrived at the site. It consists of four well-preserved red and white pictographs, along with a few unremarkable petroglyphs.
We continued along the same cliff face beyond the pictographs and found more rock art and historic graffiti. There were some petroglyphs depicting bighorn sheep that I thought were very interesting and well-made. Just beyond the bighorn petroglyphs, Alan’s yellow lab, Daisy, got caught in a leg-hold trap! It was the second weekend in a row that I’d been with somebody in Nine Mile whose dog got caught in a trap. Luckily Daisy was unharmed, but Alan’s hand was bleeding after freeing her, and the trap was baited with a nasty scent that we all got on us.
We returned to Alan’s truck and drove down the road a bit and stopped when we saw some interesting rock art above the road. It was a slightly sketchy climb up in the snow. After climbing up through several cliff bands, Alan spotted a very cool structure a short distance below us. It appears to have been a lookout of some sort–positioned for spotting wildlife rather than for living in. It’s perhaps one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in Nine Mile Canyon, as it’s not visible from the road and appears not to be visited often. Just a little farther down the road were a few more historic inscriptions.
We stopped at two more sites yet farther down the road. The first was easily visible from the road and was badly shot up. The second was spread out and required climbing up a couple of cliff bands to see it all, and it contained a variety of inscriptions, petroglyphs, and pictographs. We finished up there close enough to sunset that we ended our exploration there for the day.
Photo Gallery: Nine Mile Canyon V