March 25, 2013

Land of an Ancient Culture

Last week, we met up with some riders from the Wasatch Front for a couple of fun days in southern Utah. 
There's Steve, overlooking the rim of Horseshoe Canyon from the trailhead at the Canyonlands, Horseshoe Canyon Unit (also called Barrier Canyon, the name given to the rock art found there.)  The red soil marks the rim.  Below are the light colored sandstone cliffs surrounding the canyon. 
Here are a couple of friends getting ready to ride.  A permit is required to bring horses into the unit.  Up to 10 riders a day are allowed.  Although we've been down this trail a half dozen times, we've only seen horses on one other occasion. 
Riding along the bottom of the canyon is thirsty work. 
Humans were glad to have water bottles, but the 4 horses and 2 mules tanked up at the water holes.
Along the way, we stopped to admire the work of the ancients.  The main part of the Great Gallery is shown above,
but this time we noticed another section, a little before we reached the main panel.  Notice the warrior with shield just to the right of center. 
Barrier Canyon style art (dating from 3000 years ago) can be found in many places on the sandstone cliffs, most of them unmarked and probably not often seen. 
Riding along paths traveled by an ancient people is almost a spiritual experience.  We were delighted each and every time we found another panel of pictographs.  On the right hand side of the photo above, you'll see a line of animals, probably deer, drawn on the sandstone. 
If you look closely in the photo above, you will see two deer well camouflaged among the trees.  Like the ancient people, we, too, saw a herd of deer.  The ancient method of recording the image on the rock walls will likely outlast our modern day electronic images. 
After 18 miles in half a day, we returned to the trailers, ready for a camp dinner and a good night's rest before hitting the trail for a longer ride in the morning.   


  1. Thank you for sharing these photos of the rock art. It's amazing that it has survived all these years, and I hope they will survive at least that many years longer. I enjoyed going along with you on this ride and look forward to the next one.

  2. Wow! Very nice post! You do live in a great part of the world ;-)

    Greetings from the Netherlands,

  3. The great gallery is amazing after all these years.
    After 18 miles of riding I be ready foe bed too.
    Happy trails Janie.

  4. Hi Janie, Great photos.. We came 'close' to the Canyonlands when we were in that area in 2011... What a great ride you all had... So glad that the area is preserved... Amazing to think about that rock art still being there. 3000 years ago, huh? WOW!!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. This is a grand post Janie. The ancient rock art is beyond incredible. A great ride for you all.

  6. A gift to see those pictographs, Janie! I loved the ride. We're coming into UT beginning of May - I'm hoping for no snow!

  7. This post is a real gift to all of us who may not find our way to Utah. I find pictographs very exciting to look at and wish I could somehow know what the remote people looked like while making them!

    Jo in MN

  8. Tell you what. Seeing remnants from thousands of years ago is definitely a spiritural experience. Great post.

  9. I've seen this kind of scenery and rock art many times and still always marvel at your posts showing even more. Reading what Jo wrote above made me think about how much even more marvelous this must appear to those who have never and probably never get to see it. Wonderful.

  10. Fantastic photographs, expeditions into such places it is a wonderful adventure. I am greeting

  11. Those deer are really well camouflaged!

    I can't imagine riding in that sort of country and alongside ancient art. Must be amazing!

  12. The paintings look amazing!! The deers are so well camouflaged... I seriously couldn't spot them :-(

  13. just thinking of being near all these ancient reminders of the past gives me goosebumps.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  14. What amazing pictographs, and what a privilege to be able to find/see them.

    I found the deer in your last image but had to enlarge it to do so! lol! Thank goodness for those white tails.


  15. See, I knew if I kept reading I'd find out where you were. What a great ride for your group. I agree with you, those pictographs will be around long after our computers die.



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