Wednesday morning (after making Paul’s blood donation!) we visited Petroglyph National Monument, viewing several petroglyphs! Amazing to look at this and know there are several thousand petroglyphs on this mountain of rocks!
It is believed the West Mesa was formed about 150,00 years ago from six lava flows from fissures in the earth. Two flows created the lava covering the plateau of West Mesa. As the amount of lava decreased, later eruptions created the volcanic cones. On the other side of the park are the “Three Sisters”, classic and well-preserved examples of fissure eruption. The boulders created by erosion at the edge of the first flows, were used by American Indians and settlers of Spanish, Mexican and Indian backgrounds to create more than 20,000 petroglyphs.
Knowing they have survived over hundreds of years makes their existence amazing! It is believed that the majority were carved from 1300 to the late 1680s, but a small percentage predate the Puebloan time period, perhaps reaching back as far as BC 2000! Here are only a few of the 40+ pictures we took!
We thought these may be modern, since there appeared some defacing, but the ranger said crosses were from the Spanish settlers. He also told us there was very little graffiti.
Other images, such as the sheep are also believe to have been carved by early Spanish settlers.
And then there is the carvings that are only 91 years old!! Several years ago the names were traced, and one of them was still living. He told of being 19-years old, working for the railroad and had the day off. They went hiking and added their name and date, a “modern day” petroglyph!
For dinner, we went to La Hacienda restaurant in Old Town, enjoying a Mexican dinner, (me with a tostada, Paul with combination, chili relleno, taco, and enchilada) and it was even warm enough we were able to eat out on the patio with a view of the town square!
We left the warm weather behind us, and today, as we passed the Continental Divide in western New Mexico, where the elevation of the nearest town was 7200 feet, we hit a snow blizzard, complete with gusty winds and snow!! It was a real challenge to Paul’s driving ability, but he did great…. I would have panicked and just stopped!!
But soon after getting into Arizona, the snow was gone, but it was still windy and cold. We stopped before lunch at a campground located just about an hour or two from the camp, taking the afternoon to relax. We plan to get there sometime tomorrow morning!