San Rafael Swell, Utah
September 25-30, 2007 - We rushed south to get away from the snow
and cold in Park City and found the perfect temperatures in the Green
River area. The San Rafael Swell is a vast area of redrocks and desert
brush that we explored for several days. The rock cliffs are enormous.
We found rock faces that sported pictographs painted by ancient
peoples 2000 years ago. Pictographs are made using some kind of
paint on the rock, but it impregnates the rock face enough to last over
thousands of years. It may have been made using saliva or blood.
The images were mystical. The people were tall and thin with
garments that reached to the ground. It was hard to tell what they
were doing, but in one image all the people had holes pecked in their
chests. Apparently the holes were pecked deliberately, though
researchers don't know what they represented.
We also found petroglyphs chiseled in the rocks by ancient peoples
1000 years ago. The images were a little more real-life. Elk and big
horn sheep were easy to distinguish.
One image was a little mystifying,
however: the figure had four
fingers, three toes, antennae and
either a tail or a shield in the other
hand. There is graffiti around
many of these rock images, and
the poor quality of the modern rock
doodles makes it clear that the
rock artists spent some time and
had some skill in making these
Further on we found a dinosaur
track (the guidebook helped us
find it!). Whatever type of
dinosaur it belonged to was very good sized. Mark's hand
disappeared into the footprint.
We drove through an area called "Jackass Flats" and, sure
enough, we saw three burros nibbling the grass. They came right
over to us to check us out. Eventually they decided we weren't all
that interesting, and they wandered off.
Back out on I-70 we stopped at the north end of Spotted Wolf
Pass. It took 13 years to build this portion of I-70 through the
rock cliffs. It takes five minutes to drive through it.
From there we dropped down to Goblin Valley, Utah.