Turned out to be a great decision.
I came upon a paved walkway lined with railings. Beyond the railings, placed next to a basalt wall, were numerous rocks with ancient symbols etched in them.
These rocks were petroglyphs, images carved into a rock. The rock's weathered surface had been scraped away, showing a lighter layer below. This unweathered inner layer then made the design stand out from the outer surface. Indian tribes who lived in this area long ago created these images, etching them into the basalt cliffs that lined the Columbia River.
After heeding the ominous rattlesnake warning sign, I cautiously made my way to the first group of petroglyphs. They were amazing! I clicked off a couple of shots (and gave thanks I'd brought a zoom lens) before moving on to the next set.
Some of the designs were intricate. There were pictures of deer, bighorn sheep, what appeared to be a bird, and a few half animal/half human type creatures. All very detailed. These ancient people were good artists.
|This one was my favorite|
There were a couple dozen etched rocks in the formal display area. Upon reading one of the interpretive signs, I learned that the nearby basalt cliffs held many more of these historic artworks. However, the cliffs are closed to the public (probably to prevent theft and vandalism) and can only be accessed by guided tours.
|This one is called "Water Spirit"|
Later internet research uncovered some interesting facts about these petroglyphs. In very early times, vast numbers of Native peoples would come to this area during salmon migrations to fish, trade, and socialize. The tribal groups believed that a connection with their environment and the spirit world existed within the nearby basalt rock walls.
|Looks like a deer|
Archeologists have found more than 160 rock art sites in this lower portion of the Columbia River. Some of the Northwest's oldest Native American artwork can be found in this park.
|More fascinating drawings|
The Lewis and Clark expedition camped at a Native village in this area, and described its wooden houses in one of their journals.
|Not sure what this one is supposed to be|
The petroglyph rocks on display at this park were removed from the walls of the Gorge prior to the area being flooded by construction of the Dalles Dam. They were stored within the dam for over 30 years. This wonderful interpretive area came into being due to requests from the local Native American tribes. Their perseverance brought the artwork out of hiding for all to enjoy.
|This one is called "Speedis Owl"|
I sure enjoyed viewing these interesting works of early Native American art.
|You can barely make out the sheep etched in this rock|
A wonderful discovery at an out-of-the-way, nondescript state park. Good thing I had to use the restroom!
|Steep cliffs along the river|
But it was time to move on to the day's final destination. I'd gathered some beta on a spectacular little-used trail that meandered above the town of Mosier. Time to cross the river into Oregon and check it out! Come back for my next post and see what I found.
Sharing with: Weekly Top Shot. and Our World Tuesday.