March 11, 2012

Seeking the Shaman

We're back from a hike into the Toroweap area.  We were seeking the ancient Shaman's Gallery, perhaps the oldest rock art in the Grand Canyon. 
Here's the view to the east as we start our descent from Tuckup Canyon Trailhead. 
On the way down, we see the remains of a million year old lava flow. The lava (which hardened into the black rock seen on the right) flowed 2 miles and formed the mile wide triangular fan that appears in the center of the photo. 
This old fence gap frames the trail.
Right below, we see limestone boulders loaded with fossils. Some are crinoid stems.  As we descend1800 feet, to about 4000 feet above sea level, temperatures warm, and signs of spring appear. 
The cliff rose sprouts leaves.
An Indian paintbrush brightens the path.
We find phlox,
this tiny purple flower (milkvetch?),
and another dark purple bloom on Thamnosma montana, a species of flowering plant in the citrus family known by the common names turpentine broom and Mojave desert-rue.  This desert bush has such diminutive leaves that it conducts photosynthesis in the succulent green stems.  It has a pleasant lemony scent. According to one study done in the Mojave desert, individual plants can live up to 1000 years.  Do you see a honey bee, hard at work on the trumpet-shaped flowers? 
Several miles and a couple of hours later, we enter this wide, gravelly wash.  This is a great place for rock art, with all of the Supai sandstone ledges and panels.  But we don't see a single human-made mark.  Are we in the wrong place?  Only time and a lot of searching will tell us for sure...


  1. Another adventure on the trails! I hope you found the rock art but if not, you sure found some lovely early wildflowers. Where is Daisy?

  2. Sending your travels to son, who hiked the GC a couple years ago, Janie. The pictures are spectacular & the plants are gorgeous. Love the history of explanation.

    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~

  3. Thank you for documenting it, love your blog. Did you notice in the last photo, located at two o' clock if you start from your head at the center, there's a rock shaped like the head of the Sphinx?

  4. Great pictures of the beauties of nature. Oh, what spring springs on us.

  5. I hadn't of Shaman's Gallery before. I had no idea that a plant like turpentine broom could live 1000 years!

  6. I always enjoy your desert canyon ventures and was not dissappointed with this one.

  7. Oh, you are such a tease. I love Toroweap area. It was too hot to hike out to the Shamans Gallery when I was there so I'll be Very interested to see the rest of this trail.

  8. It looks as if you had a beautiful area for your hike -- except for the chap stick that was left behind.

  9. I came backwards through your posts, so I'll comment here. Your hike to seek the Shaman was very interesting. Native American artwork is interesting to say the least. Thanks for sharing as it is something I will probably never see.

  10. Beauty abounds every where.

  11. You've got me itchin' to get back out west. This is the perfect time of year to be hiking. Glad you're getting to enjoy it. ;-)

  12. I should have never showed the NPS Gordons panel,at first when I sent pics from there to Dick Marks,he called me a liar and said it was not in Grand Canyon and that his Archaeologists told him I sent pics from an Australian aboriginal site,I told them to meet me on a camping trip to hike them in to show them the site,and Jan Balsom and her assistant came,They couldnt believe what I showed them, I can still remember the look on there faces, Priceless, they promised to give me the credit for the discovery,and after showing them over 100 sites on that trip and taking in Polly Shashma and her crew with NPS personel 6 months later for a week the NPS tried to debunk me finding Gordons Panel, and Polly thought she had the right to name it Shamens Panel, I have news for aLL OF YOU,I found this Panel wile sole searching only days after my mothers death,and it has nothing to do with Shamons,The people painted what they seen, and what they seen is STILL down there, Believe me, Be carefull people, Down there you may see more than you want to,but only humble enough to see. Kind Regards Gordon Smith



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