On a Monday two weeks ago I set out alone to visit some more rock art sites in the Book Cliffs. Some I’d heard about from a friend, others I’d seen photos of online and was able to discern the locations, and the rest I just stumbled upon. I left home early, driving most of the way in the dark, and got to Floy Wash just as the sun was rising. First the dark clouds were illuminated, then the Book Cliffs around Hatch Mesa glowed with the rising sun. The rest of the day alternated between sunny and overcast conditions, but temperatures were pleasant for hiking and there was no snow on the ground. At the first site I stopped at, the pictographs were not particularly well-made and they had faded or been broken off by rockfall.
The second rock art panel I planned on visiting has a road that passes within 200 feet, but I decided to park the Jeep half a mile away and hike along the cliffs adjacent to the road. It was a good decision because I found some inscriptions and additional rock art that I wasn’t expecting to see. One of those unexpected panels was probably quite nice when it was made, but now it’s faded and streaked with mud. The rock art I was intending to visit in that area consisted of a badly-vandalized pictograph panel, another large panel of petroglyphs around the corner, and a large boulder with a few petroglyphs and many inscriptions. Among the inscriptions is one left by Company 561 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and another with an 1844 date that I’m not sure is legit. I hadn’t heard a description or seen photos of anything at this site–I only had a set of GPS coordinates–and it was a nice surprise to find some great rock art and inscriptions.
After some more driving I arrived at the final stop for the day. It was a steep scramble up to the base of a cliff where I found quite a bit of rock art (some of it very unusual), one ruined granary, and another intact granary. The last granary was a big surprise. It wasn’t visible from the base of the cliff, but I climbed up on a rock and stuck my head behind a huge slab of fallen rock and saw the granary tucked away between the rock slab and the cliff face. After seeing the granary I called it a day and hiked back to the Jeep. I’d actually planned one additional stop but didn’t have enough daylight, which is often an indication of a fun day. 🙂
Photo Gallery: Book Cliffs Rock Art II