Caves and old paths

With the light at the end of the tunnel starting to appear and it is not a Mac truck about to run us over, things are starting to loosen up again.

In particular, a volunteer role Joan and I both started over a year ago (October 2019!)  is picking up again.  Put on hold, the training and structure are again getting put in place.

Unlike another volunteer role, I did this past year and until recently, it is one Joan and I can do together and more easily aligns with our shared interests and skillsets.

As such, we spent Saturday morning in a Zoom conference (of course!) getting to know the new coordinators, getting signed up for more training, and again express our interest in this volunteer role.

We enjoyed the Zoom conference as I think this type of information dispensing is much more convenient than having people drive from all over the region. And then spend a day at a BLM office conference room as we did in the fall of 2019.  Instead, we woke up, I went to my pot of coffee, and we enjoyed a morning of discussing archeological concepts and plans.

And the other bonus?  By late morning we now had the rest of the day and a full Sunday to enjoy outdoors. Time, not gear, makes an outdoor person’s best asset.

We quickly packed up, went out the door, and fewer than two hours total had a free and dispersed campsite that set us up for a weekend of hiking.

Using our usual trip planning resources, Joan found a geological oddity in the Colorado Plateau  we wanted to see – a “wet” limestone cave with both stalagmites:


… and stalactites!


Video PCO Joan

And from the mouth of the cave, we had an expansive view of the nearby Comb Ridge and down to our camp.

We enjoyed a relaxing night in camp and the feel of a Utah spring.

The following morning we left right from camp and followed an ATV track on the map and, no surprise quickly petered out. We knew to follow the wash and up to a pass before it went back down to another wash as we can read a map.

Once down in a wash, we followed the series of canyons until we reached the well-preserved Pueblo structure. Obviously more extensive in the past, it still had its plaster and both levels.

Peeking inside but not entering the building, I could see a pictograph on the back wall.

What, I think, started life as an inside wall had some unique petroglyphs etched into the masonry.

Further down the canyon and in another alcove, we saw an old kiva, some potsherds, and some post-Columbian pictographs—a mix of old and ancient.

The Ute nation has lands nearby, and I would not be surprised as some of these pictographs being of Ute origin.

Eventually, we made our way back and enjoyed the late afternoon over the saddle.

We made it back to our camp. Not quite ready to head home, we decided to make dinner on the tailgate. A modest meal of chili, rice, and cheese but tasty enough in the quiet and serene desert and after a day of hiking.

We drove back, bought some root beer floats to go that tasted especially good, and made ourselves ready for more hiking. As always.


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Stephen Keire
Stephen Keire
3 years ago

Good day, Paul, is it usual to find stones pressed into the course of mortar (reference to the wall with the etched petroglyphs) or is this a feature unique to this particular mason? Magnificent sunlight that day.