You may not know this about me, but I am really quite laissez-faire about our travel plans. I find this quite ironic because in many ways, I am pretty much a goal driven control nut. Larry is the brains and the heart behind most of our destinations. And, he knows I love petroglyphs. So, he really hit a home run in selecting these two locations.
Located in Iron County, Utah, Parowan Gap is a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river has cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the Red Hills. The walls of the gap are covered with hundreds of petroglyphs. No one knows how old these carvings are but it is known the agriculturally based Sevier-Fremont lived in the area over a thousand years ago. It is possible that some of the earlier nomadic Archaic peoples also contributed. Researchers believe that the semi-nomadic ancestors of the present day Southern Paiute also created some of these figures.
Parowan Gap is on Bureau of Land Management land. So, we were able to park anywhere we wanted and camp out for up to two weeks. There are no amenities at these places. As you can see from the first photo in the blog, it was a wide open space with few other people around. And, you know how we fly. If it’s remote, we love it. This place was no exception and we enjoyed the big sky, the Meadowlark’s song and seeing Pronghorn Sheep in the distance. It was especially amazing to me to see so many flowers in bloom in the high desert. Well, it was Spring.
We spent our days hiking, studying the petroglyphs, and staring out at the beautiful landscape. We drove into nearby Parowan, UT which was a lovely little town with a grocery store with a great butcher shop.
I was a little sad to leave this remarkable place. But, with Freemont Indian State Park as our next stop, I wasn’t forlorn for long.
Freemont Indian State Park is in Sevier, Utah. We stayed at Sam Stowe Canyon campground. There were only about 10 sites there so it was quiet and the people were friendly. Our site had full hook ups. Also, it was pretty cool to see petroglyphs right near where Shiny was parked.
I was enchanted with this place for lots of reasons. First of all, there were lots of birds nearby. The first evening, I walked into the canyon and heard the plaintive cries of a young Prairie Falcon. That was pretty exciting to see. I was helped in identifying the bird by my Mom, brother and sisters and niece. Way to go home team!!
I did spot a Painting Bunting but couldn’t get a picture of it. Oh Well!
Another interesting bird sighting was some Canadian Geese. That might not sound too unusual, but this flock was roosting on the side of a cliff. I have never seen that before!
I had a pretty funny adventure at the campground. Two of our neighbors were excitedly looking through their binoculars and pointing towards the edge of a cliff. I went over to them and asked them what they were looking at. They told me that there was a Mountain Lion sitting at the edge of the cliff. I looked up and sure enough, it looked like a real Mountain Lion. I was so excited. I was thrilled that I had time to get my camera out with the tripod and got a good picture. Alas, it was not what I thought!! The joke was on me. We had a good laugh.
The variety of petroglyphs at this park was astounding. Every day we checked out some new territory.
There was a wall of handprint pictographs that was beautiful. On the way to see them, there was some modern versions that I thought were equally striking.
Another part of my love affair with this area was the trees. These ancient Pinon Pines and Junipers filled me with wonder. We hiked through a grove of them and felt as though I was in a magnificent cathedral.
So, it was really a very special time for me and I am so grateful to be on this journey. Thanks for reading this post. Next stop is Great Basin National Park in White Pine County, Nevada. ‘Till then!