Shriveling Glories, Sutherland Wash – 8/27/2017

Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash - 1. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash – 1. August 2017.

Endless intense sunny days are already making Sutherland Wash drier – some of  nearby green is starting to fade and the Morning Glories have shriveled into an amazing variety of beautifully strange shapes…

Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash - 2. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash – 2. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash - 3. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash – 3. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash - 4. August 2017.
Morning Glory near Sutherland Wash – 4. August 2017.

Sutherland Wash Rock Art District – 1/29/2017

January 2017.
Rushing water in Sutherland Wash. January 2017.

Moving away from the static of the rushing water in Sutherland Wash we can hear the slow, constant, distant, repeating gunshots – not close by, not a concern… not even inappropriate – but certainly an unwelcome intrusion as we try to carefully and respectfully contemplate the petroglyphs in the Sutherland Wash Rock Art District.

January 2017.
Petroglyphs with Romo Hill and Samaniego Peak in the distance. January 2017.

After visiting this area last year I spent some time reading about and looking for information – some of which is included in the post – this year my mind wanders to two books – John P. Wilson’s Islands in the Desert (an amazing history of the mountains of Southern Arizona) and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (a fictional journey thru the borderlands of the mid 1800s based on the Glanton Gang). In both books the landscape is a stunningly beautiful – maybe even magical in Blood Meridian, but in both books there is also terrible and stunning violence – sacred and the profane, petroglyphs and gunfire…

January 2017.
Saguaro and Saguaro. January 2017.
January 2017.
Sun thru the grass on the hike back. January 2017.

Sutherland Wash Rock Art District – 1/30/2016

The Sutherland Wash Rock Art District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Located in and around Sutherland Wash the area holds an incredible number of Hohokam petroglyphs. Ceramics and artifacts found in the area indicate that it was inhabited by the Hohokam between 1000 A.D and 1300 A.D. The water in the area would certainly have been an attraction and researchers have identified probable prehistoric trails both to the top of the Santa Catalina Mountains and to nearby locations such as Romo Peak pass thru this area. (The Romo Cache was found on Romo Peak and contains 100,000 beads and a number of copper bells) .

Flower petroglyph. January 2016.
Flower petroglyph. January 2016.

In Flower World Imagery in Petroglyphs: Hints of Hohokam Cosmology on the Landscape by Janine Hernbrode and Peter Boyle the petroglyph above is identified as a flower – from a BorderLore post:

There are more than 600 petroglyph panels in the district, including many representations of flowers, butterflies and birds. Such imagery is characteristic of a spiritual landscape known as the Flower World. In this Uto-Aztecan belief system of ancient Mesoamerican origin, believers evoked a flowery, colorful, glittering paradise through prayers, songs, and other actions. The likelihood of this connection is strengthened by the discovery of Mesoamerican copper bells at Honey Bee Village (a nearby Hohokam settlement) and in a cache of Hohokam artifacts found near the rock art district.

A panel of petroglyphs in the Sutherland Rock Art District. January 2016.
A panel of petroglyphs in the Sutherland Rock Art District. January 2016.
Female anthropomorph and flowers. Januaru 2016.
Female anthropomorph and flowers. January 2016.

Gender in Hohokam Imagery and Landscape: Sutherland Wash Rock Art District, Coronado National Forest, Arizona by Janine Hernbrode and Peter Boyle examines gender in the Sutherland Wash Rock Art District – out of the 419 anthropomorphs at the site 64 male and 65 female figures were identified – the image above clearly matches the female characteristics described in the paper.

Zoomorph. January 2016.
Zoomorph. January 2016.

Even more common than the anthropomorphic petroglyphs at the site are representations of animals – it is difficult to tell what animal is represented above, but interesting to dream about what people were seeing in this area 1,000 years ago…

Catalina State Park Sunsets, Comet, Flowers, Airmen Peak – 1/27/2016

Mesquite Bosque - Birding Trail, Catalina State Park. January 2016.
Mesquite Bosque – Birding Trail, Catalina State Park. January 2016.

The Catalina Comet was featured on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day – the picture was taken by Fritz Helmut Hemmerich who has more beautiful shots of the comet on flickr. The information with the picture notes that “Comet Catalina is now outbound from the inner Solar System and will slowly fade in coming months.” The Catalina Comet was discovered by – and named for – the Catalina Sky Survey.

Wildflowers blooming in desert canyons — in midwinter – Arizona Daily Star: A great call out for the flowers that are appearing around the Santa Catalina Mountains! Lucky rain and weather this year…

Recent Santa Catalina Bighorn Videos – there are five new short videos of Bighorns in the Santa Catalina Mountains on YouTube and currently linked on the Friends of Santa Catalina Bighorn Sheep Facebook Page – a nice contrast to the deaths in recent months!

I recently found the blog Contributing to the Problem – there are several great posts linked on the Hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains page – I particularly enjoyed Molino Thimble and Airmen Peak that includes a short description of climbing the ‘Molino Thumb’ (southwest of Airmen Peak and labeled ‘The Thumb’ in the Molino Canyon Overview of Bob Kerry’s Backcountry Rockclimbing in Southern Arizona) and references the Airmen Peak page on this site.

Sunset light in Catalina State Park. January 2016.
Sunset light in Catalina State Park. January 2016.
Sutherland Wash in Catalina State Park - running water! January 2016.
Sutherland Wash in Catalina State Park – running water! January 2016.