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2009 Trip Report - DE Rendzvous - Cow Cove Petroglyphs

Cow Cove Petroglyph site

Inbound to the Rondy

by Debbie Miller Marschke

Steve and I hit the road  early Friday morning, slogging through the unpredictable LA traffic with  frustrating effort to meet our group in Baker.  Admittedly we were 10 minutes  later than our designated 10:30 a.m. meeting time.  I had spoken with Dave Given  on my cell, and he was faithfully waiting for us at the Baker Thermometer with a  small group.  When we arrived, I immediately spotted a group of DEers chatting  it up in the parking lot – but no Dave. Hmmmm. A phone call solved the mystery:  we had two groups waiting on us, one on each side of the restaurant. The group  was wrangled together and we had eight vehicles in all, including myself, Steve  Marschke, Dave Given, Bob Rodemeyer, Norma & Danny Siler, Bob Jacoby, Richard  Brazier, Jerry & Joanie Harada, Carlos Gallinger, and Larry Briseno. While we  chatted in the parking lot, Steve and I  took the opportunity to talk to our  group face to face. Steve gave a briefing about our planned travel route. I  passed out a map attached to a short article, “East Mojave Rock Art”  written by  DE’s own Anne Stoll that I borrowed from Casebier’s East Mojave Heritage Trail  guide (this is worth owning, by the way).  Around 1987, Anne lead a group of  volunteers to document the petroglyphs at the Cow Cove location. She prepared a  rough inventory of the site which included photographing, recording, and drawing  the artwork. Though Anne was invited on our hike, she could not attend this  year’s Rondy due to other commitments.

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            We chose a  route that began at the I-15 exit of Halloran Summit.  After turning off the  highway, it was virtually all unpaved travel. It was an easy trackway with some  sand and whop-de-dos, but overall fairly easy.  Along the way, we stopped at an  abandoned ranching site complete with corrals, empty water reservoirs,  structures, and a windmill with the blades still turning. I didn’t know anything  about the site, but it was nevertheless interesting so we stopped briefly.

            We arrived at  the fork in road which lead to the petroglyph site, which is now conspicuously  staked as a wilderness area. Bill Mann brought me and Bob Rodemeyer here many  years ago when the road was still open. There are no signs to indicate what lies  at the end of the forbidden trackway that goes into the wilderness, almost as if  the power-that-be want this spot to be forgotten. The temperatures were  comfortable on this sunny day, and we had a breeze. Dave Given started the hike  but thought better of it because he didn’t feel his best, so he returned to  guard our parked vehicles. The hike was pleasant and we enjoyed visiting with  each other as we walked at least one mile to a long escarpment of basalt  boulders. Long ago, I surmise that there must have been a reliable water source  here. Anne Stoll tells us in her article: a study of 56 East Mojave rock art  sites stated that 100% were found to be associated with water. The glyphs are  pecked all over the patina coated rocks in no discernable pattern with respect  to location . They are not concentrated and it was quickly obvious that, in  order to locate all the “good ones”, one would simply have to rock hop up and  down the escarpment. The view is much different looking down than it is looking  up. The glyphs face any direction, so what you see depends on where you stand.   Some of the glyphs here have an oblong circle shape with squiggles or geometric  patterns inside the circle – to me they look like Easter Eggs. I imagined I was  on my own personal Easter Egg hunt as I poked about. 

            Our group  scattered immediately and I did not see where the Haradas or Carlos bounded off  to, but I was not worried. Everyone enjoyed this site as they saw fit; some  choosing to scour the rocks and others just to sit and ponder the scenery.  Bob  Jacoby, Rich Brazier, and Larry Briseno found a large Joshua tree and ate their  lunches in the shade of its arms.  Norma and I both noticed that some of the  boulders we were scrambling on emitted a strange tone when hopped upon – we knew  there was a logical geologic explanation, but we had no idea ourselves. Steve,  the agile, was all over the place and impossible to keep track of. 

            I believe we  lingered for more than an hour. I blew my very loud emergency whistle when it  was time to go, and the whole group materialized into a pack as we ambled back  to the vehicles. It was a relaxing and pleasant day for all.  We all hit the  highway and arrived in Nipton together with time enough to check in, pitch camp,  and locate happy hour.