Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Earth Mother

Earth Mother

Earth Mother

©Bert Gildart: Today, we are departing the Sedona area, bound for Oregon, but with several intermediate stops along the way. But before departing, I want to share one of the most remarkable Petroglyph sites Janie and I have ever seen.

Let’s entitle the panel “Earth Mother,” and, also, let me say that some of the images are Paleolithic, dating back over 10,000 years. The panels are, according to archaeologists, some of the best preserved ruins and examples of Indian art in North America.

Earth Mother panel is set in the Sedona area and is managed by the Forest Service. The setting is referred to as the Palatki Red Cliffs Heritage Site and it contains not only the panels, but ruins–and a site referred to as the Agave Roasting Pit.

Unfortunately for us, the tour has become so popular that there were not enough interpreters/overseers to lead us to the roasting site.

In order to visit the area, prior reservations are necessary and the reason is apparent. According to Spence, one of the volunteer guides recently retired as a geologist, there’s not a day that goes by when someone has to be told not to touch the panels. Worse, if left unattended, small children duck under the restraining ropes and some have even tried to draw on the historic Petroglyphs.


“Just the other day,” said Spence, “I had two incidents. In one case I had to ask a ten-year old-in front of his parents-if he had $10,000 for the fine he would have to pay if he wrote on the panels. ‘That’s a whole lot of video games,’ I finally told him.’ Finally, his parents interceded.”

Animals born of Earth Mother

Animals born of Earth Mother

Spence said that the other case involved an elderly man who obviously didn’t want to be here kept leaning against the walls of the ruins. “Finally,” Spence said, “we asked him to leave.”


Interpretation of the one major panel begins with Spence pointing with a small beam light to the Earth Mother. “She’s giving birth to an animal, and many other types of animals are standing around.” (Earth Mother is in the upper right hand corner of the image just above.)

Spence continues, asking if we can recognize any of the species. He says that when he looks closely he sees deer or antelope, wolves, coyotes, and birds of various types.

VIPs provide informative talks

VIPs provide informative talks

From the Mother Earth panel, we moved on to a wall with pictographs, which are created from actual pigments. Petroglyphs, on the other hand are created by pecking.


The pictographs were significant because these were ancient, “perhaps 1,000 years old,” said Spence. The volunteer continued, saying the dates of pictographs can be more easily obtained using radio carbon dating techniques. In the year 2000, a black charcoal pigment yielded an age of 1080 from the Earth Panel.

Charlie Steger and Palatki Ruins

Charlie Steger and Palatki Ruins

But from yet another room known as the Grotto, aging techniques date some of the pictographs back to the Paleo Period, which goes back 11,000 years. Truly, images from these panels are a national treasure…


Right now I’m scrambling to complete this post. I need to have time to pack and depart Dead Horse Ranch State Park by the early morning deadline. We hope to be near Death Valley Junction by day’s end, which is not far from Las Vegas. We’re on our way to the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Conference, this year to be held in Salem, Oregon. We have about five days prior to the conference, so we’re not pressed for time.

As always we’re looking forward to seeing old friends and learning what we can from the various speakers. The local chambers always have hosted trips so generally I get a story or two each year from these conventions.

Note: Here’s a posting from about this time last year. Let it demonstrate the improvement I’ve made this past year in laying out my posts–and also remind you that Earth Day is just around the corner. (Click here )

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