AC­TIV­I­TIES IN NA­TURE

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INTAGLIOS & PET­RO­GLYPHS

Rock art,one of the mys­ter­ies of civ­i­liza­tion, pro­vides a glimpse into the world long be­fore we were a part of it.Some in our area are be­lieved to be as much as 2,000 years old.

A trip to Yuma wouldn’t be com­plete with­out check­ing out our rock art.But be­fore we do, we need to check out some def­i­ni­tions.

Pet­ro­glyphs are carved, pecked, chipped or abraded into stone.The outer patina-cov­ered sur­face of the par­ent stone is re­moved to ex­pose the usu­ally lighter-col­ored stone un­derneath. Some stone is bet­ter suited to pet­ro­glyph mak­ing than oth­ers.Stone that is very hard or con­tains a lot of quartz does not work well for pet­ro­glyph mak­ing; how­ever, a nice desert-var­nished basalt usu­ally works well.

Pic­tographs are painted onto stone and are much more frag­ile than pet­ro­glyphs. The paint is a min­eral or veg­etable sub­stance com­bined with some sort of binder, like fat residue or blood. If the paint was not prop­erly mixed with a binder it would not ad­here well to the stone and the pic­to­graph would quickly flake away. Pic­tographs were painted in lo­ca­tions where they would be pro­tected from the el­e­ments: in caves, al­coves, un­der ledges and over­hangs.

Intaglios are large ground draw­ings cre­ated by re­mov­ing the peb­bles that make up desert pave­ment. Intaglios are usu­ally in the out­line of an­i­mals (zoomorphs) or hu­man-like fig­ures (an­thro­po­morphs). Intaglios are found on mesas along the Colorado River more so than in other places. Source: www.pet­ro­glyphs.us

Now, with that knowl­edge let’s go ex­plor­ing… BLYTHE INTAGLIOS

15 Miles North of Blythe, CA www.pub­li­clands.org

There are a to­tal of six dis­tinct fig­ures in three lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a hu­man fig­ure at each lo­ca­tion and an an­i­mal fig­ure at two lo­ca­tions.The largest hu­man fig­ure mea­sures 171 feet from head to toe.Their age is in be­tween 450 and 2,000 years old. Ac­cord­ing to the Mo­have and Quechans, na­tives to the lower Colorado River area, the hu­man fig­ures rep­re­sent Mas­tamho, the Cre­ator of all life.The an­i­mal fig­ures rep­re­sent Hatakulya, one of two moun­tain lions/per­sons who helped in the cre­ation.

In an­cient times, sa­cred cer­e­mo­nial dances were held in the area to honor the cre­ation.These intaglios are best viewed from the air.

COLORADO RIVER PET­RO­GLYPHS

There are a num­ber of pet­ro­glyphs on iso­lated stretches of the Colorado River. The best way to get up close and per­sonal with this an­cient art is by tak­ing a boat tour up­river.

AN­TE­LOPE HILL PET­RO­GLYPHS

BLM Yuma Of­fice 928-317-3200

East of Well­ton is a 575-foot knob of sand­stone ris­ing from the val­ley floor.This hill is be­lieved to be the West’s largest milling quarry that many In­dian tribes used for sand­stone for their tools.There are sev­eral rock art sites at this lo­ca­tion.

Di­rec­tions:Take I-8 to Exit # 37 and fol­low An­te­lope Hill road. Just be­fore the metal bridge (Gila River) turn right to in­for­ma­tion kiosk.

PAINTED ROCK PET­RO­GLYPHS

BLM Phoenix Of­fice 623-580-5500 www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recre­ation/camp­ing/de­v_­camps/paint­ed_ rock.html

Painted Rock Pet­ro­glyphs pro­vides vis­i­tors the op­por­tu­nity to view an an­cient ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site con­tain­ing hun­dreds of sym­bolic and artis­tic rock etch­ings,or “pet­ro­glyphs,”pro­duced cen­turies ago by pre­his­toric peo­ples.There are also in­scrip­tions made by peo­ple who passed through dur­ing his­toric times.Many well­known events in Ari­zona his­tory oc­curred near the pet­ro­glyphs site, in­clud­ing the ex­pe­di­tion of Juan Bautista de Anza that founded San Fran­cisco,the Mor­mon Bat­tal­ion and the But­ter­field Over­land Mail. Formerly a unit of the Ari­zona State Park sys­tem,ju­ris­dic­tion of Painted Rock Pet­ro­glyphs Site re­verted to the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment in 1989.

Di­rec­tions: Exit In­ter­state 8 at Painted Rock Dam Road (Exit 102) ap­prox­i­mately 12.5 miles west of Gila Bend.Travel north on Painted Rock Dam Road (paved) 10.7 miles to Rocky Point Road (un­paved). Painted Rock Pet­ro­glyphs Site is 0.6 miles west of Painted Rock Dam Road on Rocky Point Road.

BIRDING SOUTH­WEST BIRDERS AS­SO­CI­A­TION

www.south­west­bird­ers.com/swb_ birdfind­ing_Yu­ma_area.htm

If you are in to birding,Yuma’s the place to make your in­ter­est whole. Our com­mu­nity not only has a large va­ri­ety of birds to ob­serve,it has some of the most knowl­edge­able and ex­pe­ri­enced birders in the coun­try.

One source of your in­for­ma­tion is South­west Birders As­so­ci­a­tion, a part­ner­ship of bird­watch­ers that love the sport and would like to in­tro­duce oth­ers to the joys of bird­watch­ing.For more in­for­ma­tion, check out their web­site.

HIK­ING

Yuma’s wide-open spa­ces of­fer count­less op­por­tu­ni­ties to test your en­durance with leisurely walks to cross-coun­try ad­ven­tures.

For the be­gin­ners,you might want to con­sider the op­por­tu­ni­ties right in Yuma, such as the multi-pur­pose path­way sys­tem that runs about four miles from the West Wet­lands Park to the East Wet­lands restora­tion area.There is also a great walk­ing path at Smucker Park.

Short hik­ing paths in the wilder­ness could in­clude the Painted Desert Trail at Im­pe­rial Na­tional Wildlife Refuge or the short walk to see Ari­zona’s only na­tive palm trees at Palm Canyon in the Kofa Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

Your ef­fort may very well be re­warded with sight­ings of bighorn sheep,wild horses and bur­ros,deer and other wildlife.

For some es­tab­lished and well known hik­ing trails, we in­vite you to check out the ar­ti­cle on lo­cal hik­ing or to visit http://www.trails.com/ which de­scribes a num­ber of trails in and around Yuma like those listed:

• Im­pe­rial Refuge Wilder­ness Trails

• Im­pe­rial Wilder­ness Trails

• In­dian Pass Wilder­ness Trails

• Lit­tle Pi­ca­cho Peak Wilder­ness Trails

• Mug­gins Peak (4 miles)

• North Al­go­dones Dunes Wilder­ness Trails

• Palm Canyon (1.5 miles)

• Pi­ca­cho Peak Wilder­ness Trails

• Pi­ca­cho State Recre­ation Area: Stamp Mill and Ice Cream Canyon Trails (6.5 miles)

• Sal­ton Sea—Rock Hill Trail (2 miles)

• Trigo Moun­tains Wilder­ness Trails

Be pre­pared

Re­gard­less of your plans, here are some com­mon-sense rules you should know…

• Avoid poi­sonous rep­tiles, am­phib­ians and in­sects that may hide in veg­e­ta­tion or crevices. Use hik­ing shoes or boots.

• The desert air is dry so make sure you have plenty of wa­ter.

• Dress in lay­ers in or­der to ad­just to chang­ing cli­mate con­di­tions.

• Let some­one know your plans, as some ar­eas do not have cell-phone ser­vice.

Be pre­pared and en­joy the sights.And happy hik­ing. See hik­ing on page 70.

HUNT­ING

Go­ing back for decades,Yuma County has pro­vided some of the clas­sic dove hunt­ing ar­eas for gen­er­a­tions.The Ari­zona Game and Fish Depart­ment cites Yuma as some of the best hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the state. Some of the prime lo­cal hunt­ing ar­eas are Yuma Val­ley, North Gila Val­ley up to Mit­try Lake,the mesa south of the Ma­rine Corps Air Sta­tion Yuma and Dome Val­ley east up to the Date­land area.

There is also hunt­ing on the Co­co­pah Reser­va­tion. It is di­vided into three parcels of land, and hunt­ing is al­lowed in des­ig­nated ar­eas of the east and west reser­va­tions.

Both mourn­ing and whitewinged doves are lo­cally abun­dant through­out the re­gion, but are less evenly dis­trib­uted across desert ar­eas than in wet years. Over­all, mourn­ing doves are rated as good to ex­cel­lent, while white-winged doves are rated fair to good.

As al­ways, late sum­mer rains may dra­mat­i­cally af­fect short-term dove dis­tri­bu­tion, but food sup­plies will likely make them most abun­dant in agri­cul­tural ar­eas.

Other species pur­sued by hun­ters in the area in­clude mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, Gam­bel’s quail, pheas­ant, wa­ter­fowl and cot­ton­tail rab­bits.

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