INTERPRETATION, TRANSLATION

LEGEND ROCK - OLD & NEW GLYPHS

LEGEND ROCK – WYOMING OLD & NEW GLYPHS

I love looking at these petroglyphs. Thousands of years old, open for interpretation, their location on a remote vertical outcropping in the middle of central Wyoming is as mysterious as their content. A helpful descriptive brochure points out some possible interpretations of what the pecked-in-stone drawings; warriors, spirit animals, and several other well-supported possibilities. Could be, but what if?

“… figure with a line connecting it to two blocky objects is believed to be a person connected to the rock (spirit) world …”
“… figure with a line connecting it to two blocky objects is believed to be a person connected to the rock (spirit) world …”
This glyph appears to depict a large figure, a second figure inside it, and one or two figures attached to its outer body.
This glyph appears to depict a large figure, a second figure inside it, and one or two figures attached to its outer body.

The figures at Legend Rock are thought to be 10,000 years old. Of course, debates about WHO is responsible and WHAT the images actually represent are ongoing. I like to imagine the group above left, and maybe all the other bizarre anthropomorpic figures are some young person’s attempts to create an artistic legacy. Some of the images may have been here for as long as 10,000 years; archaeologists theorize the red sandstone cliffs attracted the artistic imaginations of many individuals from many prehistoric tribes. That means any single glyph may have taken several years to complete, or that more than one person may have added to one or more carving, like some kind of ancient “Exquisite Corpse” exercise.

 

“Anthropomorphs with horned headdresses … a symbol of medicine or power …”
“Anthropomorphs with horned headdresses … a symbol of medicine or power …”

 

This figure has an unadorned head and extra legs and feet
This figure has an unadorned head and extra legs and feet

 

According to a park brochure, figures here are similar to other images found in Montana and other parts of Wyoming.
According to a park brochure, figures here are similar to other images found in Montana and other parts of Wyoming.

 

As many as ten figures are depicted in this glyph, including elk and bison.
As many as ten figures are depicted in this glyph, including elk and bison.

 

A perfect Yellowstone day

Two miles northeast of Yellowstone lake, away from tour buses, commerce, and strife, is a vast open meadow, interrupted by mounds, cut and carved by meandering streams. Pale grasses wave in the breeze, and the sun and sky are forever. I’m prone in the tall Buffalograss and sedge, pale yellow for fall, crunching an excellent apple. After spotting solitary bison ringing the buttes and valleys around me, I noticed a lone wolf scampering in a wide arc about a quarter mile away, the black tail easy to spot in the immense, pale, and lovely grasses covering the valley . Though the black wolf occasionally passes the odd bison laying in the grass, they ignore each other. The wolf travels quickly, stops frequently, and, like me, seems to have no other purpose than to be in the certain serenity of the Pelican Valley. All around the valley, elk bugles echo, warnings or calls to battle. Loud and close, eerie howls from packs of wolves arise, punctuated by barks, responses from unknown rivals far away, and the eye is drawn to the tree-lined edge of this massive haven. Distant black predators are spotted – two, then ten, moving along the edge of the forest. Distant, yet closer than I have ever experienced. Call and return, motion and stillness, prey and predator, sun and grass. That’s my perfect Yellowstone day.

Eager to begin a Yellowstone Visit.
Eager to begin a Yellowstone Visit.
One of the many terrific hikes in Yellowstone. Ice Lake to Little Gibbons Falls.
One of the many terrific hikes in Yellowstone. Ice Lake to Little Gibbons Falls.
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Sunny Meadow – worth the walk.
No-name mud pots
No-name mud pots – These occur frequently, along with other geothermal features, along the hiking trails. While hard to capture, the best part of these is the deep, syncopated burbling sounds they emit.
Old Faithful
Old Faithful – View from observation point about 2/3 mile away.
Ojo de Caliente
Geyser on the Queen’s Laundry trail.
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Norris Geyser Basin –
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Fairy Falls – a favorite because we saw this one from across the valley the day before.
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More Fairy Falls
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More Fairy Falls
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Man & Elk – A great way to view wildlife of all varieties while driving along park roads is to watch for spotters & photographers
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Steamy valley view – on the return from Queen’s Laundry
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No-name pool – on the return from Imperial Geyser
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Midway Basin/Grand Prismatic – from the backside. This area fogged in both times we visited
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Foggy morning in Yellowstone
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Along the trail to Fairy Falls
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No-name geyser, along the trail from Imperial Geyser
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Pelican Valley – setting for A Favorite Yellowstone Day
One of many geothermal areas along hiking trails in the park, dangerous but accessible. Stick your fingers in!
One of many geothermal areas along hiking trails in the park, dangerous but accessible. Stick your fingers in!
My Favorite Yellowstone Day
My Favorite Yellowstone Day
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Yellowstone Lake – Near Fishing Bridge. 180 degrees and 400 yards from here, a GIANT grizzly was feeding on an elk carcass. The bear had been gorging on the elk for 5 days, according to a nearby ranger.

Thermopolis in September

So, Thermopolis, Wyoming. An extremely beautiful, geologically diverse setting for this small settlement along the banks of the Big Horn river. It’s hard to tell what people here do for a living. A very big, new high school hosts a late September Saturday JV football game between the Bobcats and a regional rival. Varsity games are on Friday nights; the ‘Cats were on the road this week, and reportedly defeated the Burns Broncs 20 – 16. Today, Saturday, downtown Thermo’ is closed off for a farmer’s market. Step right up for sample shots of Wyoming Whiskey to wash down your fresh-picked, homegrown tomatos and other “small-batch” veggies.

Just before pulling in to the parking lot, Sis commented other motels in the area were not "indigenous" in appearance
Just before pulling in to the parking lot, Sis commented other motels in the area were not “indigenous” in appearance.

These carved wooden bears are attached to balcony railings, staircases, and along the fence of the motel. Should we watch for REAL bears around town?

We hiked into bison viewing area this morning, and saw 6 - 10 shaggy beasts close to the road. We stayed back due to the lack of fences AND the timely warning.
We hiked into bison viewing area this morning, and saw 6 – 10 shaggy beasts close to the road. We stayed back due to the lack of fences AND the timely warning.

Went back this evening to try and capture some photos of the wily bison, but they were nowhere to be found. Their pasture is a huge area east of Thermo’. We’ll try again tomorrow.

A clsoeup of the crusty red dirt encountered while hiking today.
A closeup of the crusty red dirt encountered while hiking today.

I’m glad we walked around today instead of piling into the car for a quick, uneventful tour of the area around Hot Springs State Park. The terrain is sagebrush, dry grass, small rocks, and dirt so dry dust cannot be raised by kicking it.

These travertine formations are topped by standing pools of water that is forced out of the ground by the hot springs.
These travertine formations are topped by standing pools of water that is forced out of the ground by the hot springs.

This is a good view of the buildup of minerals and formations resulting from the hot springs. A man we met while walking along a boardwalk along the top of these formations lamented they were no longer as beautiful as when he had seen them before. He told us the water used to bubble and steam, and that the rock formations were formerly much more colorful. Early photos of the area, some from the 19th-century, confirmed that previous tourists may have had more spectacular views.