|Year-round, reliable springs allowed the Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont people to thrive here around 1200 BCE.|
But more time is required to get a sense of the amazingly redrock scenery, diverse plants in this riparian area, plus the solitude, quiet, and wildness of this place. To find and appreciate all the hidden archeological sites might take a lifetime.
|"All American Man" is the most well known pictograph in this area (and the only one I will post a photo of). It is so unusual that people questioned if it is authentic. Radiocarbon dating confirmed that it dates to the 14th century.|
|I wake up early and hike over to catch the sunrise at Angel Arch.|
|I use my hiking pole to break a hole in the thick ice that formed on this water source during the night so I can collect some more water.|
|Looking up to see an ancient site.|
|There are countless arches too.|
|Climbing up and down the slickrock. Much backtracking is required to figure out routes that avoid pouroffs, crypobiotic soil crust, and thickets.|
|In this section of trail there are many archeological sites. You must camp in the designated campsites.|
|Climbing up the slickrock above camp in the evening.|
|The trail mainly stays at the bottom of the wash, but here it takes a climb up to avoid a steep drop-off in the aroyo.|
|After three days of seeing no other people, I finally meet two backpackers near the turnoff to this site. They are doing a one-way hike and are on a time-constraint so they don't make the side trip. I'm glad I allowed enough time for such things.|
|Near some pictographs, I entered a crack between the boulders and found a junction of two cracks that formed this star-shaped pool of light. An incredible, wonderous place.|
|A plateau side-bloched lizard is also sunning itself on the rocks. They have a fascinating mating system that may have helped give rise to the many regional varities and species (read more here and here). There haven't been many fellow creatures out here, only those two other backpackers and a few ravens. So these feel like a special treat and make me wonder about (and feel my connection to) the diversity of living things.|
Backcountry permits are requred for camping in Salt Creek. You will also need to carry and store your food in a bear canister in Salt Creek. See the Canyonlands National Park website for more rules and regulations.
I have not posted photos of the countless pictographs, petroglyphs, and sites in an effort to protect them and your experience. Please go out and discover all the other ones for yourself. In a world with too many hashtags and gps coordinates, I believe in preserving the experience of discovering things for yourself. It makes for more wonder in the moment. Something I am grateful to find.
|It feels like you can reach out and touch history here. But keep your fingers off the sites so the fingerprints left in the past can be preserved!|