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2023 Trip Report - Sunny & Jean on the Loose

Sunny and Jean On the Loose

Trip Notes – California – Anza-Borrego – February 2023 • Smilin’ Jean Hansen reporting

Thursday, February 16 We left home at 9:00 a.m. and drove to Indio, stopping for gas in Cabazon, then down along Highway 86 to I-8 and on to camp. It was very cold!

Friday, February 17 We left camp at 9:00 a.m. and drove over to park for the hike to:

  • Table Mountain: Once again, we crossed both lanes of the I-8 freeway in order to get to the Table Mountain rock art. I didn’t feel good today, so it was an absolutely miserable hike! On this hike we saw:
  • A small shelter with grinding slicks and mortar holes, with manos still in place. That was very nice to see.
  • Table Mountain Here was only one average polychrome pictograph site, with a BLM rock art sign in front of it. We had lunch here and then re-traced our steps back down the mountain, across the freeway and to the truck. We returned to the same place as last night to camp.

Saturday, February 18 We left camp at 8:00 a.m. and drove over to the park area for:

  • Myers Canyon This was a lovely walk down a gorgeous palm canyon. Along the way, we saw several areas with mortar holes and manos in place and one very faint pictograph. This hike was about 2-miles round-trip and was the prettiest palm canyon I’ve ever walked in. It had above-ground water all the way. We returned to the truck and drove to Ocotillo for gas and snacks, then drove up to turn in for the hike in Carrizo Gorge. First we hiked in:
  • Rockhouse Canyon This was a 4-mile round-trip hike into a large, free-standing boulder with several areas with mortar holes and grinding slicks – again with manos in place. We saw no rock art here. The hike was beautiful, and we saw many wildflowers, so that was nice. We returned to the truck and drove further down-canyon to camp. We had a nice happy hour.

Sunday, February 19 We left camp at 8:20 a.m. and drove further down the wash to the end. From here we hiked to:

  • Carrizo South This was about a one mile hike down-stream to a boulder up and out of the wash with grinding slicks, mortars, manos in place and

a few well-done black pictographs, mostly geometrics. A nice little site. Then we backtracked a little way to see:

  • Carrizo Gorge main site We’ve been here several times and I never tire of it. This is a fairly large cave, up and out of the wash, polychrome, with mostly black pictographs and a few white and yellow pictographs as well. Here were atlatls, crooks, flowers and many black “dancing” figures – spectacular! We hiked back to the truck, had lunch and drove back out and north on Highway 78. A beautiful drive! We saw many beautiful wildflowers and in fact, some of the hillsides were pink! We finally turned off on a dirt road to see:
  • House Rings South A series of beautiful house rings, stacked two and three stones high and arranged mostly in cloverleaf shape – three rings together. It is unusual for us to see them interconnected and also, we found absolutely no chips or pottery here, leading us to believe this must be a very old site. This was up on a ridge, out of the rocky wash. It was about a 6/10 mile round trip. Then we drove over to see:
  • Sleeping Circles This site was south-east of the first site. Here were many circles on a low rise – some were poor and others well done. We also found what looked like dummy hunters (rock stacks), but of course, it could have been kids having fun – couldn’t tell. We returned to where we parked and camped there.

Monday, February 20 We left camp at 8:45 a.m. and drove around to the entrance to:

  • Split Rock Canyon This canyon was absolutely beautiful – very scenic, with slot canyons, wildflowers. We eventually came to Split Rock – a large free-standing boulder, split down the middle. Here were 2 small red pictographs and mortar holes. We drove back down-canyon for lunch and then after lunch, drove out of the canyon and started for Joshua Tree, via Highways78, 86 and 111. It was our intention to camp below Joshua Tree and drive through the park, but there were almost no wildflowers – too early, so we just decided to go on home and we did – arriving home at 6:00 p.m. It was a very good trip!

                                                ~ Jean

Myers Canyon
Mortar  Mano Rockhouse Canyon
Dummy Hunters
Jean - Myers Canyon
Table Mountain
Jean Carrizo South
Sunny House Rings
Split Rock
Carrizo Main
Jean Wildflowers