2017 - Trip Report -More Intaglios & Camp Iron Mountain
More Intaglios & Camp Iron Mountain 2017
Sunday, March 12
By Nelson Miller
Participants included: Nan Healy; Kathryn Savage; Emma Pollum; Jay Lawrence; Janet and Peter Austin; Bill and Julie Smith; Leonard, Rebecca and Hannah Friedman, Nancy McClean, and Ron Ross. First stop was the Blythe Giant Figures. We walked out to the first pair of figures, which is slightly the smallest of three male giant figures and one of the two four-legged figures. The man is almost one hundred feet long and shows some evidence of being male. The four-legged figure could appear to be a horse and
there is a curly-cue feature that could be a coiled rope at its feet, although most of the literature suggests that these may have been the “creator” and his companion, a lion, in Mojave and Quechan mythology. David S. Whitley, in his Guide to Rock Art Sites, suggests an age of 1,100 years for these figures, so a horse would appear to be unlikely, since modern horses did not appear in the New World until 1540 AD. We moved to the next parking area and hiked across the wash to the largest pair of figures. This man is nearly 170 feet long and shows the clearest evidence of it being a male figure. This four-legged figure has a longer tail, relatively shorter neck, and less horse-like head. We also had abundant wild flowers as we hiked across the wash.
After discussion with the group, we decided to bypass the Fisherman and Snake Intaglios, since several people had been with the group on Saturday that had already stopped at the Fisherman Intaglio. Visiting the Snake Intaglio would have involved a considerably longer trip, so we headed for Iron Mountain Division Camp. This was mostly a road trip, with only very short stretches of
off-road travel, so we headed up Highway 95 to Vidal Junction and then west on Highway 62.
Camp Iron Mountain was one of a dozen camps that comprised the Desert Training Center, which was established in 1942 to train troops for combat in North Africa. It continued to be used throughout World War II to train troops. It is unique among the camps in that it includes a giant relief map and two altars, a Catholic and Episcopalian one. We first stopped at the remnants of a relief map but could not identify the features or associate the map with actual areas. We also located and visited the two altars, which were still relatively intact. There were also numerous rock-lined walkways and roads that still remain visible. We left Camp Iron Mountain, split up and headed for home.
Photos: Leonard Friedman & Jay Lawrence