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Petroglyphs near Catalina, AZ
mini location map2009-12-08
15 by photographer avatarsirena
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Petroglyphs near Catalina, AZ 
Petroglyphs near Catalina, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2009
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs      1.75 mph
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
When I woke up to wet conditions this morning, I wasn't sure if the petroglyph hike I was planning on was going to be called off. It cleared up nicely, and by the time the hike started, the blue skies were once again taking over the Arizona sky. I went with a hiking group that was nice enough to let me tag along on their petroglyph hike, and I agreed in return not to post gps tracks or any other info on how to get here. I am glad that I went with someone that had been there before because there were a lot of petroglyphs scattered over a largish area. I would have probably missed out on a lot of the rock outcroppings. My degree is in Anthropology, and I worked as an archaeologist in Southeastern Arizona for a number of years before switching careers. My hiking companions enjoyed my insights into the culture of the Hohokam and were very excited when I pointed out the numerous pottery sherds strewn about the area. I tried to show them how to discern pottery from "pottery-looking rocks" and taught them about leaving it where you find it. It was pretty fun when they realized tiny pieces of the stuff was everywhere. There are quite a few areas with some pretty spectacular petroglyphs. Many were near great rock pools that were full from last night's storm. I especially liked the marker petroglyph, or "The Nipple" which was a circular design pecked around a protruding node of rock. My favorite petroglyph, however, was a horned lizard, complete with spiky head and bulging stomach. There was another that looked like a columnar saguaro next to a large saguaro with arms. When we were heading back to the car, we encountered four cowboys trying to herd some cattle down the road we were on. We stepped far off the path but the cows weren't in the mood to move. It was great to see the cowboys herd the cattle toward the wash and rustle up the runaways. All in all a wonderful way to spend the day. Weather turned out perfect and we had the snow-dusted Catalinas as a backdrop. Can't beat it! My outing made me realize that I miss doing archaeology, then I remembered what it was like to make under $10 an hour, sweating under the Arizona summer sun, and I didn't miss it so much after all. I can always go volunteer on a dig if I want to.
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