ACTIVITIES IN NATURE
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
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.
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
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.
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.