Sunday, October 30, 2016

Meadow Lake Petroglyphs, California

One of our adventures during our fall camping trip was a visit to the Meadow Lake petroglyphs in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
Getting there was half the fun.  After about 10 miles of dirt roads, we passed Meadow Lake and continued toward a large area of exposed granite.  Soon we found that the road was blocked by a fallen tree.  Bruce hooked on with a tow strap, broke it, and moved it aside.
Eventually we reached a large open area of granite boulders, with hundreds of petroglyphs on the horizontal surfaces.
The rock art at this site is described as Style 7, High Sierra Abstract-Representational petroglyphs identified with the Martis culture dating from 2000 B.C. to 1000 A.D.  We can guess at their meaning, but no one knows for sure.

The petroglyphs here show up best on areas of dark desert varnish, but careful inspection reveals many on the lighter colored rock as well.  The light scratches around the edge are glacial striations caused by rocks embedded in the base of moving glaciers.

The area is rocky and rugged.  Not many trees grow in this granite, and there are quite a few dead snags and fallen trees.  Their wood often has beautifully weathered patterns.




Why are there so many petroglyphs here?  Perhaps this nearby pond is a clue.  Maybe there was a larger wetland here many years ago, providing a water source for game animals.


 Or maybe it was a good place to camp with drinking water nearby.


  We don’t know the meaning of this rock art, but it sure is fun to find it and take pictures.



These photos are copyrighted, so please do not copy them or use them without my permission.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing and for your friend who moved the log! I just found out about these petroglyphs and was hoping to visit. It looks like a very neat place!

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    1. I'm glad you like this. My log moving friend said the snow depth there was 55 inches a few days ago, according to a sensor. If you plan to go, you will need to wait until summer - maybe July. It is well worth the trip, but be sure to take a high clearance vehicle, and try to get good directions.

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