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swaddle destructive hands
We thought. And fretted. Should we post a write-up of this special rock writing site so that others might seek it out and appreciate it? Or not?
The following came into consideration…..Firstly, these panels are easily accessible to anyone passing through Boulder (Utah) and Escalante. Folks with fair-to-better levels of hiking and light scrambling ability can get to them. That’s good and that’s bad. Good in that it’s an opportunity for modern-day people to get out of their minivans (we have owned two) and off their couches (we’ve owned countless) and come to grips with and think about mankind that was here before us. Before iPhones, iPads, iPods, and iMe-Me-Me. We’ll get to the “bad” later.
Secondly, this site is easily found on the internet. Routes are downloadable. Directions can be printed out. Some of the folks at the visitor center in Escalante will talk with you about it. There’s a BLM ammo can up there. A parking lot. A brown sign that says “Trail”. The word's already out.
On the other hand...There’s a boat-load of graffiti at the site. Right alongside, and very sadly, sometimes on top of the ancient “graffiti “. Maybe we understand and can forgive the etchings from a hundred-plus years ago when the Wetherills and cowboys camped out on the Colorado Plateau. But 2015? C’mon people! You know better now!
What’s really special about this site, we think, are two things...One, there’s the “Shaman and Hunter” panel with a petroglyph of a person with a child on a cradle-board strapped to the person’s chest. Who can resist thinking about a giggling baby, wanting to get free of the swaddling?
Number Two.....High-high up on a wall, are more than one hundred white handprints. They’re not casual. They’re organized. In rows. Spaced out. Are they witness to something? Is it a warning? Are they saying “I was here”? They’re not easy to get to. Which means they weren’t easily left.
The clincher was when we came to the Bighorn Sheep panel. Two exquisite sheep, perhaps a male and a female, him with big curving horns, she facing him as his counterpoint. And then you see the obscene, slashing cuts. Deep grooves made by a modern-day, powered grinding tool. An attempt to extract that beautiful, rock writing from its provenance to a dark, private collection seen by few. Or one.
That’s when we thought...This is a place that you celebrate, and revere. To which you take your kids, friends and family. To educate and show that there were others here before us, both creative ancients and destructive recents.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
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