Monday, March 3, 2008

Seminole Canyon Pictographs

2/24/2008 Seminole Canyon Petroglyphs
We had quite a day yesterday, first hiking 5 miles roundtrip to a junction of the lower Pecos and then 2 miles to the Seminole Canyon Petroglyphs. A neat day filled with lots of new birds, slot canyons, and prehistoric history.
The morning broke with high winds and clouds so we decided against the 10 am tour. By 11am it cleared off so we took the dog for a short hike, 4 miles roundtrip, along the upper trails that lead to the junction of the lower Pecos to the Rio Grande.
There are two branches on this hike, one to the Rio and one to a junction called the passé. We went to the passé as it was a shorter hike and we wanted to be a little rested for the afternoon tour. The hike was easy but it did get hot.
We spotted a grey vireo, a cactus wren, and a black throated sparrow, all new birds for us. We had brought water so
The hike was fine although a bit longer than we planned. The view of the slot canyon was impressive! Imagining a flash flood filling the canyon was scary. It actually happened in June of 2006! No wonder it was scoured so clean.
After returning to our house, we had lunch and as it was 2 pm, it was now time to meet for the petroglyphs tour.
The tour was much shorter, was well guided, and a delight! The hike left from the park headquarters involved a couple of hundred feet of steps and was about 2 miles roundtrip. The guide explained the plants along the way and talked of how the people used them for food, weaving, and to make paints. He also described the hallucinogens they used for their visions.
The cliff paintings were quite a bit different from the ones we had seen in the Red Desert. There were actually three different periods represented with the oldest being 4000 years in age and representing shamans and their visions. Pretty weird, but drugs will do that. I thought the fights with the centipedes and the portals to the, “other side” were the strangest. The site had also been extensively robbed by modern Texans, as the owner of the ranch let friend dig in the 12 feet of accumulated rubble.
Besides the paintings there were many grinding holes and two places used for butchering. All in all a great tour!
We returned and finished the evening with some birding around the camp, spotting scaled quail watering behind the restrooms. Clear skies.

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