Piano Valley Pictograph Site

Trek Date: April 4, 2015

I was wandering around the Wonderland of Rocks, looking for pictographs and petroglyphs. That involves climbing a lot of rocks, peeking under boulders, squeezing through creosote-choked passageways, getting poked by yucca and very rarely, having a rattlesnake sound its displeasure at my presence. But it's always fun to explore in J Tree, to see what I can find. And occasionally, I find what I'm looking for, which is like icing on the  cake.

A Yucca family.

There are a lot of Native American sites scattered throughout J Tree. Some may consist of a single pictograph, others may contain numerous pictographs, petroglyphs, bedrock mortars and broken pieces of pottery. Some are obvious habitation sites, others may be just a nice place for a short rest. I always consider myself fortunate when I find any trace of those who lived in J Tree way back when. If you keep your eyes open while hiking and climbing through the park, chances are you'll run across such places. If you're lucky enough to find them, be sure to follow the old adage, "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." 

I've taken a lot of pictures in the park, and I've left a lot of footprints. If anyone ever follows my trail, let them be warned, I never take a direct route. The rock above was just under too much pressure. It cracked.

The Joshua Trees were beginning to bloom, this one was kind enough to lower its arm so I could smell the blossoms.

This jumble of boulders was an intriguing sight. I thought for sure I would find something interesting in some of those nooks and crannies. Alas, no.

Scrambling up some really, really big slabs of Quartz Monzonite (an intrusive, felsic, igneous rock that has an approximately equal proportion of orthoclase and plagioclase feldspars), I spotted a bedrock mortar. (One main thing to remember about Quartz Monzonite: if you slide down it on your rear end, you are going to tear your pants.)

A little more climbing and I was there. I've called this location the Piano Valley Pictograph Site, simply because I walked through Piano Valley on my way to it. It's a nice spot with a great view and was a pleasant place to take a rest after taking some pictures of the faded pictographs.

Immediately above this text is my amateur attempt to enhance the pictographs in Photoshop, to make them a bit more visible. There were a couple others that were too faded to show up well in my pictures.

After enjoying the view and the solitude for a bit, it was time to slide down the rocks and head out to my next destination, which would take me into the Wonderland from a different direction.

Life is everywhere. A lonely nolina waves goodbye.