Nine Mile Canyon XVIII: A Wintry Climb

For my first hiking trip of the year I tagged along with Alan to Nine Mile Canyon. He’d been there a week or so earlier and spotted some rock art high above the canyon floor but didn’t have enough daylight to hike up to it. We returned together and ascended 600′ above the road, over snowy rocks and ledges, to get a close look at the petroglyphs he’d seen from below. The climbing was fairly easy considering the snow, though Alan had to help his dogs up in a few spots.

Beginning the ascent
Beginning the ascent

Faded red and white pictographs
Faded red and white pictographs

Alan scanning the opposite canyon wall
Alan scanning the opposite canyon wall

Approaching the next cliff bands
Approaching the next cliff bands

View into a side canyon
View into a side canyon

During the climb we followed the base of some cliffs and encountered some unique petroglyphs that depicted some sort of animals with long necks. Long-necked bighorn sheep petroglyphs aren’t uncommon in Nine Mile, but I’ve no idea what these animals were. We also found a small slab-lined granary.

Long-necked animals
Long-necked animals

Walking the base of some cliffs
Walking the base of some cliffs

A small granary
A small granary

Mortar holding the rocks together
Mortar holding the rocks together

Above Nine Mile Canyon
Above Nine Mile Canyon

Arriving at our goal, it appeared one of the rock art panels was modern and the other was ancient. The first had elongated tool marks, as though it was made with a chisel or other metal tool, and the marks matched those in some initials on the same panel. The second panel consisted of several arcs with squiggles appearing to emanate from them. Higher up we discovered a medium-sized rock structure that seemed too large to be a granary and too small for a habitation structure.

Possibly modern glyphs
Possibly modern glyphs

Waves and wiggles
Waves and wiggles

Medium-sized stone structure
Medium-sized stone structure

There were a few more insignificant petroglyphs near the top of the ridge but no other large panels. We descended back to the road and then hiked a short distance up a nearby side canyon, but didn’t find much of interest except a few coyote traps.

View down the canyon
View down the canyon

Circle petroglyph
Circle petroglyph

Petroglyph
Petroglyph


Photo Gallery: Nine Mile Canyon XVIII: A Wintry Climb

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