Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Petroglyphs of Superstition Mountain

On this beautiful December day, we went on a hike in the southwest corner of Superstition Wilderness, a short ride east of Apache Junction. The well-traveled path took us past a wide variety of cactus, shrubs, and rock formations. Still within the Christmas break, people of all ages were returning from a hike - a good indication that the trail's rating of easy-to-moderate was accurate. 

As we neared the Hieroglyphics Canyon, the rocks on the path became larger and some climbing was needed. The sounds of rushing water mingled with the squeals of laughter and excitement of kids who were enjoying splashing in the water.

The petroglyphs, etched into the rock by the Hohokam Native Americans who lived in the area from 500-1450 AD. The dark desert varnish patina found on these rocks made an excellent surface for carving the imagery. (Early settlers mistakenly called them hieroglyphics in reference to those linguistic symbols in Egypt, but they are in fact petroglyphs, or rock paintings)

Some of the lower rocks also contained more modern carvings– or should I say, graffiti. 

Any symbolic meaning of the petroglyphs has not been determined. I saw what looked like snakes, lizards, and goats.

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