June 22, 2019
Braving the heat of early summer, I hiked along the lower Price River hoping to find some Vernal-style petroglyphs that I’d heard about along the lower Price River. I had hiked in this area about five years earlier but I stuck to the opposite side of the river then. This time I had no plans to cross the river on foot–it was running at over 200 cfs, much higher than the sketchy 60 cfs I once crossed it at on an ATV. I expected the road to be rough much like the last several times I’ve traveled it. I brought a mountain bike along planning to ride it the remaining distance to where the road fords the river, but I was able to drive my Jeep all the way to the ford with little effort. I parked shortly after 7AM, looked at some rock art near my parking spot, then began to hike downstream.
Almost immediately I hiked through some dry cheatgrass which filled my shoes and socks with stickers. By the end of the hike I was about ready to throw my socks in the trash but instead I spent 20 minutes picking the stickers out! After 15 minutes of hiking I came across a large boulder with many repatinated petroglyphs on it. There were a lot of squiggles and some bighorn sheep, human, and bear track petroglyphs. I had totally missed this boulder on my earlier hike!
Next I visited a couple of panels that I’d seen before, but beyond them everything was new to me. I saw a few scattered petroglyphs and inscriptions. The sun rose enough that the entire canyon was in full sunlight and it began to warm considerably.
I passed a short side canyon and then started finding some pretty good petroglyphs. First was a small panel with a few different styles of bighorn sheep petroglyphs, then I encountered some pretty unusual glyphs. Shortly after that I finally found some of the Vernal-style Fremont petroglyphs that I was after. I felt that I’d searched the area pretty well, but after returning home I realized that I’d missed one more really good petroglyph panel.
The area surrounding the petroglyphs had burned somewhat recently, evidenced by burned cottonwood trees (some obviously cut down by wildland firefighters). As the heat of the day began to wear down on me, I turned around and hurriedly hiked back to my vehicle. I didn’t see any rock art that I’d missed on the return trip and I made good time. I reached the Jeep at about 1PM after having hiked 6.5 miles. I know there’s some more good stuff farther downstream, and perhaps a fall/winter trip is in order to make it that far, but it wasn’t gonna happen on this second day of summer.
Photo Gallery: Lower Price River II