San Rafael Swell, UT – Pictographs & Dinosaur Prints

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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

images last.

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.