Tour guides typically publicize the V-bar site in Sedona as the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley. But venturing far from the beaten paths of Beaver Creek in Coconino National Forest, my friends Tami and Bobby introduced me to one of Sedona’s lesser-known archaeological sites.
Accompanied by their canine companions, we headed into the wild via Bobby’s beat-up van that he fondly refers to as the “HEAP” (Heavy Equipment Excursion Platform). Unfortunately, the HEAP lacks roll bars, which would have been helpful during the jolting ride along rugged Forest Service roads 618 and 645A.
After reaching Red Tank Draw, we disembarked and hiked down a steep, rocky canyon. Along the way, they pointed out several varieties of cactus and other desert plants. (Tami has extensive knowledge as a former guide for a Sedona jeep tour company.) Seeing that I lacked a hiking cane, Bobby scouted a piece of dried wood to steady me on the rubble of rocks in the wash.
"What's the difference between a wash and a creek anyway?" I asked.
"A wash is where the water runs. A creek is where the water is," Tami explained.
"Go figure," I mused, seeing the creek bed was completely dry. Bobby assured me that during monsoon season, water gushes over these rocks, and the creek is deep and fierce.
When we reached our destination, I was awestruck by intricate carvings of deer, elk, antelope, turtles, lizards, people, crosses, spirals and other mystical depictions chiseled into 40-foot high sandstone canyon boulders. The Southern Sinagua culture — ancestors of the Hopi — created these petroglyphs between A.D. 1150 and 1400.
After we climbed and descended the ancient site, Bobby led the way to a swimming hole deep in the canyon. As he stripped down to his skivvies and took a dip with the dogs, I found a spot under a shade tree and practiced the local preference to "Don't just do something...sit there!"
Later this afternoon when a new acquaintance stopped by for tea, she told me that in some cultures, the spiral represents the flow of water. Digging deeper, I read that in every ancient culture in the world, spiral petroglyphs can be found. Spiritually speaking, the spiral symbol can represent the path leading from outer consciousness (materialism, external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (enlightenment, unseen essence, nirvana, cosmic awareness)."
Gratitude to Bobby and to Tami for sharing this rare experience and for treating me to lunch after our hike. To round out my slideshow, Bobby uploaded images he captured as I pondered the significance of chiseled spirals that, to me, represent happiness on the rocks. ❤ v!ctor!a colette
Happiness on the Rocks was inspired by a shift in perspective and relocation from America's capital city to Arizona's rocky deserts. Here, I muse about hiking on the rocks and road-tripping across the American Southwest while pondering the nature of existence. Surrounded by mountains and the world's largest concentration of Saguaro cactus, I feel happiness flow like a wash during monsoon season.
🌵 v!ctor!a colette #HappinessOnTheRocks
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