The place where I camped was next to some petroglyphs. Before I left, I decided to take a little hike to see them. They were a little disappointing. Many simply looked like scratched hash marks in the rock. There were also several that resembled horseshoes with thick lines in the middle, like some sort of ancient “Kilroy was here” drawings.
There was one rock face that had modern petroglyphs in it, leaving messages like, “Give peace a chance.” It made me wonder if the older petroglyphs were nothing more than some form of ancient graffiti. It’s almost like people see a smooth cliff made of soft stone and can’t help themselves. Regardless of time or culture, they have to leave their mark.
The rock outcroppings were pretty cool, though. They had a lot of rounded holes. I don’t know if they were formed by bubbles in the sediment that were later exposed or by the erosion process itself. Either way, they were fascinating to look at.
Today was a short milage day, but was dominated by a steep climb over Austin Summit. The temperatures got down below freezing last night and remained cool through the day. I had only planned to ride to Austin, NV, about 25 miles from the petroglyphs, so I tried to just relax and not worry too much about how long it was taking to climb. Still, I am getting pretty tired of climbing. Fortunately, this should be my last real climb until the Sierra Nevadas.