Thursday, June 15, 2023

Warner Valley, UT, October 31, 2020

If you've noticed I'm always talking about how far I am behind in my blogging, this is an example. Here's something I did almost 3 years ago, but apparently never blogged: I did a set of short hikes around the Warner Valley area of Utah, which is east of St. George, UT, just north of the Arizona border. The BLM entry for this site is here.

It's less than 1/4 mile from the trailhead, so not much of a hike. But the drive there is a little tricky. I mean, I did make it with my Prius, but, in perfectly dry weather, there were a few times where I could definitely feel my wheels sliding. Lots of very fine sand. Obviously, if even a little wet, the sand would be even slicker, and that much easier to get stuck.

Great set of dinosaur tracks, though. If the road is dry, it's definitely worth seeing. The tracks are on a pretty specific piece of sandstone. I would suspect that means there is additional sandstone, either exposed or under sand, with more tracks, but the one that is the main attraction is clearly marked. There's a thin "deflector shield" to keep them from being covered again by sand or sediment.

Goes without saying that walking on the sandstone will weather the tracks, so do take care walking around them.

Quite nearby is the tiny Fort Pearce. It's probably smaller than you would expect, like the size of a modest home. Just designed for protection against small raiding parties.

The parking area for this "fort" is right at the base of the small hill on which the fort sits. There are pioneer and indigenous marks on the rocks immediately adjacent to the fort. There are additional petroglyphs further down the canyon.

I walked several miles south, but did not make a concerted effort to find some of the more interesting petroglphs. It was a pleasant walk, nonetheless, and I'm pretty sure I went far enough to qualify they day as a "hiking day."

Minus the walk down the wash, younger or older folks can get plenty out of this trip with less than 1/2 mile of walking, and more adventurous types can walk further.

Additionally, people with high clearance and/or four wheel drive have a lot of alternatives in the area. In particular, Little Black Mountain petroglyphs sounds like a cool place to go. I've wanted to get a petroglyph and Milky Way shot for quite some time, but lack the vehicle that could reliably get me to this place. Also, the route to the petroglyphs seems to change on occasion, due to local mining. But something on my longer-term list of things I want to do.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Blythe Intaglios, Poston Relocation Camp I, and Wyatt Earp's Cottage

Driven April 9, 2023. While I usually just blog my hikes, I occasionally do non-hiking things with my wife, who is not a hiker. In this case, we decided to use a "spring break" weekend to spend a couple of nights out of town, in the town of Lake Havasu. There actually is some hiking available in town, but it's not what she would have wanted to do. And I didn't have the motivation after we got back from our other trips to do that. I did do some solo walking just in the town, including the bridge. Not sure if that's going to make it on to the blog.

Between those two nights, we spent the better part of a day driving around the lower Colorado River. First up was the Blythe Intaglios, which you can think of as a poor man's Nazca Lines. They're about 75 road miles from Lake Havasu City, or about 90 driving minutes. You head south on AZ-95, turning right at Mojave Road, in the town of Parker (last place with national fast food chain restaurants and a Wal-Mart, for possible bathroom break considerations). You continue south, until reaching Agnes Wilson Road, when you turn west and cross over the Colorado River on a smallish bridge. On this stretch, you're zipping between drainage ditches for farms.

Incidentally, had you stayed on Mojave Road, that would take you to the Poston Memorial, and quite close to the remains of one of the elementary schools. We hit that on the way back.

Instead, by turning on Agnes Wilson, you soon hit U.S. 95. Mostly a two-lane road, with soft shoulders, so not a lot of places to turn off, if you want to let someone pass. Around Mile Marker 15.5 (Riverside County US 95), there's a small sign on the right, advising that the "Giant Desert Figures" are 500 feet ahead. There'll also be an historical marker on the left side of the road, and the dirt road you need to take is on your right, opposite the stone-mounted marker. Rough, but definitely passenger-car accessible. Continue to the first two parking areas (well-marked). The figures are "conveniently" circled by low chainlink fences, so you'll know where you need to go.

It's about 1/2 mile from each parking area to the various intaglio. An additional intaglio is south of these, but without an obvious trail, and it's not better-preserved than these guys, so I did not make the detour.

The Intaglios are not as large as you might imagine, but still pretty large, and, of course, best viewed from above. I brought a three-step stool with me to gain a few extra feet of perspective.

Folks aren't quite sure when they were made, and what they indicate, but they are considered to be from pre-contact indigenous peoples.

By contrast, Poston is recent. It was one of ten camps where persons of Japanese ancestry, regardless of citizenship, were wholesale rounded up and sent into these "internment" camps. "Internment" is a misnomer, of course, because there's a specific internationally-accepted definition for what you can do with enemy aliens in time of war. By contrast, these were mostly natural born U.S. citizens in these camps, who were rounded up in a way quite distinct from Americans of Gernan and Italian ancestry, and different even from enemy aliens from Germany and Italy.

Poston was different from the other camps because it was built on lands held in trust by the Colorado River Indian Tribes. As opposed to the lumber and tarpaper construction of buildings in other War Relocation Authority camps, the larger camp buildings here were built of adobe.

The former elementary school buildings are surrounded by a tall chainlink fence. And, while there are openings in the fence one could easily pass through, I figured the fence indicated I should not enter, so I did not. Don't want to disrespect the property owners just for a few photos.

Other remains of the camp are long-removed, and plowed into farming production. The large memorial mountument is right east of Mojave Road, and pretty impossible to miss. No museum or restroom facilities on site.

The final stop on our tour was the Wyatt Earp Cottage. It's located just off U.S. 95, just south of the railroad tracks in Vidal, CA. A very short drive on a dirt road is required, but, again, easily accessible by passenger cars. There's an historical marker in front of the house. A fence surrounds the house, which is privately owned, so, again, I respected the property lines and took only a few pictures, only from beyond the fence.

I had read about the Blythe Intaglios a while ago, but always assumed they were less accessible. Since then, I've come across information regarding a few more intaglio in Arizona, for future consideration. Some of those are adjacent to pavement, while others would require a walk.