Sunday, December 28, 2014

Late Fall at Nine Mile Canyon - Part Four.

This is it, Part Four, about Nine Mile Canyon; I'll be showing you photos of many rock art and ruin sits, so refer back to the map and legend in Part One, if you need to.  Right now I want to send a big THANK YOU!!! out to one of the oil company workers, Mike (didn't want his last name and photo shown, so respecting that), who helped us find the granaries I'll be featuring, and rock art sites such as the panels opposite Harmon Canyon road.  He's been working Nine Mile Canyon for ten years, so has had time to find many of these sites; but we were able to lead him to a few he'd missed also.

In Part Three, I left you off at the road that splits off towards the north (mile mark 38.6); just 1/10th of a mile past (mile mark 38.7) is a rock panel, almost ground level behind some plant life.  Now that much of the plant life has died off due to the cold, it's easier to spot many sites.  Another reason we were scanning the area more carefully is to find the granary that is marked at 38.8 on the visitor pamphlet (it's incorrect by the way).  First the rock art...

Now I keep advising my readers to make sure to have a wicked zoom lens on the camera, or a very good pair of binoculars to find things you cannot easily find with just the naked eyes.  So, here we are at around 38.9 miles and there is a dirt trail leading off into a small canyon; could the granary be back there?  We walked all the way back...nothing; we climbed, looked around, looked up and down...nothing.  On the way back down to the SUV, eyes still attached to binoculars and BINGO!; rock art higher up on the walls.  Walking up the trail the first time, we missed it; walking back down and using the binoculars; well now you see why I keep advising to bring a pair.  A zoom lens for the camera can get you those shots where you cannot climb to, or easily access a site.  The climb up to these though was not difficult; just make sure to always check your footing because of loose sand and rocks.

The granary?  Did we find the granary?  Oh yes we did; but before we get to the granary mentioned on the pamphlet; let me show you what we found in between!

Mile mark 39.0 gave us another panel of Elk, but once again I'm calling them Reindeer; hence "Reindeer Panel" on my legend.  There are other figures on the walls, but I simply love the detail of those antlers.


A remarkable granary is at mile mark 39.2; it's high up on the walls and still contains a thatched roof!  There is a rock art panel lower down the wall, but a good portion of it has broken away.  The granary though is amazing, as how often is one found with logs and a thatched roof; it's a rare find.

This next find is going to be southwest of the main road; mile mark 40.0, park in the dirt parking area and looking about halfway up the wall face...southwest of the parking area.  You'll spot the granary, but keep looking right along the ledge and there will be more ruins to see. 

A little scenic intermission before I finally get you to that granary mentioned in the visitors pamphlet.

So, the pamphlet said the granary was at 38.8 miles; lets try out 41.0, just off the road and level with the top of our SUV.

Just 5/10ths (mile mark 41.5) away from the granary is "The Giant"; or what I named him.  I'm 5 feet 5 inches tall, and this figure towered over me; poor guy, someone shot off his face!  On the History channel is a show called, "Search for the Lost Giants"; I immediately sent a copy of my photo, but haven't heard back as yet if they're interested in him or not.

There is a round granary at 41.6 miles; look slightly north, then east and look almost to the top of the wall; you'll see a cave (looks like the shape of an eye), but start looking to the right of the cave.  Most granaries do have a rounded shape in the front, while the rest of it is built into an opening in a wall.  This granary stands alone and is totally round in shape.

Now Mike explained that this next set of ruins dates back to the "cowboy era", and was an encampment used by them, not the local Natives.  These can be found at 42.6 miles and at ground level.

How about a little more amazing landscape shots...

44.0 miles is Daddy Canyon Complex; with the death of much of the plant life, I could climb up more easily to the cave just off the main road and get better shots of the rock art inside.  I'm a bit dubious about the "red whale" though.  Oh, if you're wondering where a restroom is; there are facilities in the south side parking area; this is it though, so take advantage while you can.

Daddy Canyon Complex Panorama

 Cave Panorama

The Fremont Village is located at 45.9 miles and we attempted the steep climb; at around 300 feet is the outline of a Kiva, possibly a Keyhole Kiva indicated by the square section at one end.  The reconstructed Pit House is at about 1000 feet up; Roy got to about 700 feet before pooping out; I only made it to 500 feet.  The path is very steep and narrow; loose dirt and rocks; don't be fooled that the larger stones are set solidly into the ground...test your footing carefully for it's a long, long way down to the main road.

I introduced you to the Big Buffalo and Pregnant Buffalo (mile mark 46.1) in Part Two; but I wanted to show you now what is behind the sign indicating the trail across the road...more rock art, and another Big Buffalo.  See what happens when you go back and look find more!  I made a copy of my original photo and outlined the buffalo to see it better.  No!  My hubby and I are not one of those mental deficients who deface rock art sites. Just saying...

The Great Hunt is at 46.3 miles and according to the map in the visitor pamphlet, that's it; turn around, you're done.  Or are you?  See, there is no "dead end" sign on the road, it keeps going; no gates blocking it, so....
We kept on driving and found two rock art sites, plus some gorgeous scenery and interesting rock formations.  Now a warning, the road goes from newly paved to rough, unmaintained old pavement at mile mark 46.8 miles; it becomes more narrow and there are many blind curves.  This road is used primarily by the oil companies, so expect trucks.  At mile mark 50.2 will be a guard shack, STOP!; the guard is keeping radio contact with another guard shack and the trucks to make sure when traffic can go through.  If you want to continue through, the road will eventually split off to either the oil rigs, or to Route 123.
"Plant Life" Panel at 46.5 miles

1915 Inscriptions at mile mark 46.6.

...and this is our total adventure series, so far, on Nine Mile Canyon.  If you follow my legend, remember that the odometer on our SUV might be off from your own, but don't get discouraged...stop and look!  When it gets warmer, we'll be going back again, so the initial map and legend will change anyway; I will update both as we find more, and get more information.
This also concludes the travel blog for the year 2014; it has been a year full of adventure, wunderlust, great finds and excitement.  Here's to 2015, may it be just as exciting and adventure filled...happy, healthy New Year to everyone!!!
Mary Cokenour

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