Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Blair Valley Pictographs may not be as old as one might think

If you are hoping to see photos or information about the flowers that bloom in Anza Borrego, you are at the wrong site.

In researching information about the content I intend to publish here about Anza Borrego's hidden treasures, I REALLY got tired of all the flower pages.

While flowers in and of themselves are interesting, I feel that concentrating on flowers in such a geographically diverse location as AB, that it is like getting a check for a million dollars, and talking about the color of the ink used in printing it.

One of the first things I guess I should point out, is I will not be telling too many locations of the things we have found.

Most of the published sites on the net are what I call 'Public Decoys'.

They are sites whose locations have been made public in order to satisfy peoples appetites for 'discovery' out in an unknown area. (to them).

Take Ocotillo Wells as an example. It is an area designated where off road vehicles are allowed to tear up the place with impunity. This satisfies the need for speed and dust, while diverting attention away from other more sensitive areas and sites.

But that is a good thing.

 

( Copy and Paste these coordinates into Google Earth Search Window, and hit enter:  33.017175° -116.348112° )

 

Blair valley Pictograph Site

 

There are signs that guide you to the parking area, and signs that tell you which way to hike. When you get to the site, you are struck by the fact that way out there in the middle of nowhere, someone long ago felt a need or inclination to draw on this huge rock. At first, it is impressive. But after you are there a while you begin to notice things that don't make sense:

A- This drawing spans two distinct surfaces on the rock face. One part of it is in an area where water flows down the face of the rock in a more concentrated or streaming manner. The other part spans over into an area that does not get as much water flow over it. And, as you can see, even though the rock clearly shows the effects of the differing amount of water flow, the pictograph does not. The clarity, and brightness and color saturation is almost exactly the same in both flow areas, showing little if any deterioration of the drawing.

B- There are three differing flow areas in this pictograph. The light brown area to the left, the lighter area to the right, and the dark line that separates them. Note the sharpness, the color saturation, and the crisp edges in all 3 areas. I am not sure, since I was not there during a rain storm, which area gets less water or more water, but I am certain, due to the discoloration differences, as well as the dark 'boundary' line between the two major colors, that one of them got more water across them..

Either way, the part of the pictograph that actually spans the brownish area and the lighter area to the right should show a difference in color, sharpness, and saturation. But it doesn't. While it is darker in the dark dividing line, it does indeed extend into the lighter area and picks up color as in the light brown area.

C&D - It would seem to me, that the lighter area would be the area cleaned of of dust and dirt when it rains, Above, there is a small outcropping that apparently concentrates the water so it flows down the face leaving a pattern of clean rock. How any pictograph could survive untouched in a flow area like this, is beyond my understanding. It is still pristine, still sharp, still bright, while in other areas as in 'E' there are faint lines and obscure coloring that may or may not be recognizable. They may have had different amount of pigments, true, and they may have been placed on the rock at different times, true. however, I do not think, that the times could have been far enough apart, as to reflect a time period required to fade 'E' as much as it is, without really effecting 'C' at all.

Conclusion?

I feel at one time, there were indeed untouched pictographs at this site. Some may still be able to be made out. However, due to people touching them, weathering of them, and just the time they have been there, they are mostly gone, and some 'enhancing' has been done.

Why?

Well as I said above, the public needs these little discoveries. If they were not kept up to an acceptable standard, then people would not be as awe struck. If they were left original, then they would not be as impressive. Even though they would be original, people get off more if they think that they were lucky enough to see it before it fades away to nothing. A rock with a few color specs of red on it is not as interesting as one with squiggles that can be interpreted to mean many things to many people.

And if the pictographs fade away, the public will start wandering out away from the 'controlled areas', and that, to the powers to be in charge of the park and the various prehistoric and early man sites in the park, is totally unacceptable.

This site is dedicated to documenting some of the lesser known and unknown sites we have come across in the park.

If you care to share sites in ABDSP you have come across,  leave a comment in the Guestbook, and we'll get back with you.