Surprise Petroglyphs

Surprise Petroglyphs

On Nevada 376 we found a historical marker for Toquma Cave and prehistoric pictographs.  Besides directions for finding the cave, which is likely inaccessible for us, and there wasn’t time before evening anyway, the marker “red, white, and yellow aboriginal pictographs” decorating its walls.  Pictographs were usually near springs, on migratory big game trails, painted or pecked, associated with food gathering localities of prehistoric people.  No specific meanings are known, but, presumably they were ritual devices to ensure successful hunting.

Then, on Route 50, near Hickison Summit at 6546 feet elevation, we expected to sleep at a rest area a few miles farther east (Skus built a bed in the back of our van and when possible we sleep at rest areas for economy), but a Forest Service sign pointed to a campground and petroglyphs, so we checked it out.  The campground was roughly half a mile from the main road, empty of campers, and, to our surprise free, probably because it has no water.   We carry water with us.  Later an RV pulled in for the night, and a station wagon, but they were barely visible through the trees and we might as well have had the campground to ourselves.  The pink sunset glow faded from the landscape below, soon replaced by moonlight, and birds, I think nighthawks, swooping over our picnic table between branches of pinion pine.

In the morning we followed the sign to the petroglyphs and found the trail accessible to most of the ‘glyphs.   Some of them were, to us, indistinguishable from natural rock roughness, and we couldn’t make out what animals they might represent, but they were close to eye level and the rock outcroppings and pinion pines were fascinating on their own.        A few miles farther, we passed the “rest area,” so marked by both the map and road signs.   It turned out to be a barren strip beside the highway with small, barely-leafed trees, weeds, a couple of picnic tables, but not even Porta-Potty facilities.   Thank You, Lord God, for a good camp last night!

Been Here? Done That? Tell Me About It!