Friday, March 18, 2016

Painted Rocks Dam and Petroglyphs

After Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, we drove straight north (it's too hot now...) to Gila Bend and just to the west, the Painted Rocks Petroglyph site.

It has primitive campsites, with no services beyond a trash dumpster, and is nice and quiet.

This would be a good homeschooling stop for history. The short trail around the petroglyphs mound has a few interpretive plaques. The markings on the rocks are similar to the ones at Saguaro National Monument near Tucson. Here's a picture of the Tucson area Rocks.

They're so impressive that I missed taking a picture, but I did get some of the plaques. I should be more of an archaeologist, they are really old.

There are other historical notes from the area; the baby born to Sacagawea on the Lewis and Clark expedition came to this area, the early Butterfield stagecoach mail route passed here, as did the Mormon expedition in 1846 on its way from Iowa to California.

It's also good for bike riding, with very minimal traffic, because the paved road goes only to the campground, the dam, and a large hay farm.

We took bike rides in the morning, and we went up to the dam. The dam is all closed off, but there's no one around and i had come all this way, so I decided I was able to go see it. There is a closed down picnic area, and a couple of signs about the dam. It's the largest one I've seen recently, almost a mile across.

The road goes up the backside of the dam, and there are pipes sticking out which I suppose are to relieve any water seeping through or under the dam.

When I was halfway up the back of the dam on my bike, a white government looking truck crested over the top and stopped to wait for me. 'Aw ...., I might as well keep pedaling on up.'

I was told I can't be up there. The guy was nice though and I just asked about the dam. If I'm getting arrested I might as well find out about the dam and look at it. He told me more about it, how the gates are set up, when the reservoir was last full (1993), etc. "No, there's no road off the other side, you have to go back the way you came. But, you can go have a look over there, don't fall off.”

Well that's how I like the rules and gated roads to work. Probably that's pushing my luck, and I suppose it's going to catch up with me, maybe that'll be tomorrow?

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What do you think, where should we go next?