Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indian Writing

About five miles off Highway 191 north of Moab (UT) on Scenic Byway 279 is a sign "Indian Writing."

Even though there is a pull off on the Byway (also called Potash Road) on the side of the road adjacent to the Colorado River, the "writing" is on the cliffs that rise dramatically from the opposite side of the road. Once we crossed the highway, we could only look up--we did not dare take a step back into the highway for a better look.

The term "writing" may be misleading, since we're not looking at writing in the present-day meaning of the word. Instead, we're looking at Rock Art, a form of communication through petroglyphs (motifs scratched on the surface of rocks) and pictographs (drawings using dyes or pigments on the rock surface).

The photos here do not do justice to the clarity of the images we saw. Given the time of day, it seemed that whatever angle we photographed the images from, the sun glare washed out the sharpness of the image.

Archeologists believe that these images were created during the Formative Period (A.D. 1 to A.D. 1275) by either the Anasazi or the Fremont cultures.

Members of both cultures were skilled at cultivating crops (corn, beans, squash), and their periods of their presence in the Moab area overlapped.

Heading back to Moab, we saw this scene of the Colorado and rock formations along it.

The terrain and the businesses of Moab seem to be a good match.

There are several tour companies in town, leading hiking, biking, rafting, and canyoneering tours of the surrounding parks and recreational areas. One of the leaders of the Coyote Shuttle company completed securing the bikes to the bus' roof before leaving town.

All around town there were larger parking spaces for RVs, tour busses, and trucks pulling trailers carrying bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

The parking lot of the Moab Diner was packed one morning with trucks with vehicle trailers. We asked our server if there was some special event in town that day.

Her answer: "No, it's just another day in Moab."

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