The Red Couple of Joshua Tree

Trek Date: September 4, 2016

Those of you who have been virtually accompanying me on my journeys through Joshua Tree National Park and beyond via this website, have probably read about the Red Lady of Joshua Tree, and her sister, the Brunette Lady. They are anthropomorphic figures, likely of Chemehuevi origin, painted with red pigment on JTree's familiar quartz monzonite rocks, deep in the heart of the Wonderland (I don't know if they actually ARE sisters, I just like to refer to them as such).

This past Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to visit with a couple in an awesome place in JTree who are perhaps related to the two ladies. A friend introduced us. Be warned, this is a story with a bad ending.

Have you ever seen something so cool that it left you speechless? But then a few seconds later you just wanted to scream and perhaps do someone bodily harm? I have. It happened on September 4th, 2016 at approximately 4:40 pm.

The golden hour was approaching when we approached the home of The Red Couple. Faint signs nearby revealed that this area had at one time been occupied, or utilized, by Native Americans who migrated through this area following the seasons.

Numerous pottery shards were evident and left where they were found after taking some photos. The area was peaceful and quiet, reverent. It was time to meet the Red Couple.

It was pretty amazing seeing the Red Couple for the first time. They were a bit faded, but still very plain to see. Next to the figure on the left are four (possibly five) vertical lines and in between the two figures are two designs that are very difficult to make out. My imagination sees two children.

There may also be another mark or pattern on the right side of the figure on the right, but it's hard to tell for sure.

This is an enhanced version of the image above, my photoshop attempt at making the designs more discernible. And, unfortunately, this version also makes much more plain the work of some idiot who very recently defaced this possibly sacred and most definitely protected pictograph site. My mind can't understand why someone would do this and my darker side imagines suitable punishments for people who do this kind of thing (beyond fines and prison time, which can result from this malicious destruction). The vandalism appears to have been done with charcoal, so perhaps experts could remove it.

I'm calling these two the Red Couple, because I see a man and a woman in this panel. But, I may be totally wrong. There were no signs that anyone actually lived in this area, as there were no mortars to be seen, or signs of campfires. I wonder if perhaps it was a ritual site only used at certain times.

I'm glad I was able to visit with the Red Couple, but angry and disheartened by the senseless stupidity that someone showed them. Please be on the lookout when you're out and about. If you see anyone defacing or destroying protected places, report them as quickly as possible.