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.