After spending the previous day in Nine Mile Canyon and seeing some high-up rock art from a distance, I returned to climb high above the canyon floor to get a closer look. First, I stopped to look for a petroglyph site that Celia had told me about the day before. There’s a “First Site” in upper Nine Mile Canyon that is so-named for being the first rock art site one encounters when traveling downstream from the head of Nine Mile Creek, but there’s in fact a much-farther-upstream site. Thanks to Celia’s directions I was able to find that site.
I parked my Jeep below the ruins and rock art that we’d seen the day before, and it would remain there most of the rest of the day. I had named the waypoint in my GPS “Awesome!” based just on what could be seen from the road, and it turned out to be much more so up close. There was so much to see in the immediate area that I spent most of the day climbing higher and higher and finding rock art all along the way. At first I saw a few very small petroglyphs and an arrowhead which was the first I’d seen anywhere in Nine Mile.
Next I encountered the first of several upside-down figures. I can’t help but think the figures represent something, but I’d stop short of guessing what that might be. Another prevalent theme in the area was dots and zig-zag and wavy lines.
One more common theme was anthropomorphs with antlers or antennae, the first of which was one of the most interesting petroglyphs I’ve seen. It appeared to be a figure with antlers, but one hand was pecked solid, and it appeared to be standing on a tree-like element with a snake-like figure between the legs. Very odd. I climbed higher and found many more surprises–it seemed unusual to find so much rock art so high above the canyon floor.
The next interesting petroglyph I encountered was a large grid, almost in the shape of a human figure, but not quite. Next to it was a large, inverted representation of an arrowhead. I stopped for lunch, then climbed yet higher and found a smattering of random petroglyphs, but no more large, cohesive panels.
The sun was almost behind the high canyon walls when I returned via a circuitous route down through the ledges and back to the Jeep. During the drive home I saw many deer, some of which crossed the road in front of me and were kind enough to pose on the hillside next to the road for some photos.
Photo Gallery: Nine Mile Canyon VII: Awesome!