Oregon Bound and Down... travel blog

Campground at Sunrise

Mike at entrance to first cave

Climbing to get photo (Mike's picture)

Straight up - water carved rocks

Our trail

Balanced Rock

Second Cave Entrance

Amazing wall patterns

Inside treats

Ancient wall paintings



How many paintings can you find?

Double Kokopelli

Many colors - red, blue, green, yellow, white

John with paintings

Where ancients once stood...

Third cave with midden

Ancient bones left

Deer Jaw

Marrow eaten from deer femur

Rock pattern

Miniature formations from dripping water

View from cave to Immigrant Mountains

Old sage plants

Huge Mule Deer tracks

Weasel tracks

Classic Zion Canyon photo

Watchman Peak from our camper at sunset today

Date: March 25, 2012

Tonight’s Location: Zion National Park

Mileage: End -

Start -

Total Miles for the day:

Weather: partly cloudy

Temperature: start 50º

High 71º

Wildlife count: Spotted Towhee, Raven, Mule Deer

Had a relaxing Sunday morning. Mike picked us up at noon and we headed out to the Kolob Terraces. Mike found the place he wanted to park – there were no markings, and we took off over a valley covered with sage. We found 3 caves – the first was a very tight squeeze – the pictures tell the story.

The second cave was filled with ancient cave paintings – park archeologists have not been able to establish a date for those paintings. However, it is know that there was human inhabitation here since

13,000 BC. First Paleoindians, who lived in hunter/gatherer societies were here from 13,000 BC till about 0 AD.

Ancestral Puebloan (formerly called Anasazi) and Fremont cultures lived here between 0 AD and 1200 AD. They learned about agriculture, and established permanent homes here.

Finally, Paiute cultures have lived in Zion from 1200 AD till the present. It is thought that drought and flash flooding around 1200 AD forced the agricultural societies to leave, and the Paiutes arrived following the animals they were hunting. They were hunter/gatherer peoples, much like the earliest Native Americans to spend any time in this place. While the Paiutes were here, Mormon settlers arrived around the late 1840’s, establishing farms and ranches – back to agriculture. Inhabitation here is certainly cyclical, depending on the amount of rainfall.

The third cave we found was a midden – a refuse cave. When future societies look for clues about how WE lived, they will certainly spend time in our landfills – because everything we have thrown away is there, telling how we lived. The midden contained deer bones that had been sucked clean of marrow (a choice food). There were flakes of flint, which were used in scraping hides – also perhaps left-overs in the creation of bigger knives, axes – all created from striking flint. What a fascinating day of learning.

When we returned, Mike took us to the Employee Dining Room for dinner. We got home and shared a little outdoors. John and I then drove down to the bridge to attempt to get the Classic Zion Canyon shot – we’ll see how it turned out. What a terrific day.

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