I absolutely love petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock – most are so old no one knows what they mean anymore). There are some amazing petroglyphs in Red Rock Canyon and Vally of Fire which I have seen on other trips to the Arizona/Nevada area so when I was planning a trip to Flagstaff I decided to see if there were any close by.
I found the V bar V heritage site which was about 45 minutes away. The area used to be a ranch and in 1994 became part of the Coconino National Forest to preserve the petroglyphs. The site was easy to find – we parked in the lot and headed down to the visitors center to get a parking pass ($5).
Once we got the parking pass we were free to hike down to the petroglyphs. There were a few remains of the old ranch that used to be on the property. As we hiked Jen warned me about the giant ants on the trail since I was wearing flip flops – she said they give a nasty bite. Well let me tell you these ants were EVERYWHERE – if I would go back I would wear sneakers for sure.
We made it down the approximately 1/3 mile trail without incident and arrived at the petroglyphs – I was happy to see there was a large wire fence built around them which could be closed and locked when the site isn’t open to help protect them. There was a very friendly volunteer there who was happy to answer all of our questions and explain what she could about the carvings.
There was a wooden board near the petroglyphs and the volunteer used it to show how the sunlight would come through the canyon and shine on rocks that were strategically placed into a crack in the cliff. On certain dates, the beam of light cast between the shadows of the rocks shined through and would illuminate certain symbols letting the people know when to get the soil ready or when to start planting their crops – how awesome!
I had to wonder as we were walking back to the car if people try to make too much out of some of the symbols – like what if some of them were just made by bratty kids – possibly ancient day graffiti? I can just imagine the elders coming to check their sun calendar and going “What on EARTH!?!? Someone defaced this rock and carved squiggles and circles all over it!!!” LOL 🙂
Ok so I am sure they have more meaning than that, but it does make me laugh.
Let me know of any other places to see petroglyphs so I can check them out!! 🙂