Guest Column: Get out there - Airport Road petroglyphs

Freezing cold wind, dark, scudding clouds, long afternoon shadows - perfect weather for Gauge and me to head out Airport Road to find more petroglyphs! We parked at the first pipeline and began walking west, into the wind, but it was just too cold.

We went back and got the truck and drove the dirt pipeline about a mile. There is a wide place to pull over and park, just before the road goes down a dramatic, rocky hill and ends at the locked gate by the railroad tracks. We parked here and walked across the road.

It's necessary at this point to go through a section of elk fencing that's been erected across the little two-track we wanted to follow. The elk fence has been conveniently cut and re-hooked, so getting through was easy.

We walked the short distance to the top of a box canyon and clambered down to sit on its lip and view the very dim petroglyphs. Easier to see are someone's initials carved over the Indian drawings. We decided to go down inside the wash to get a better view, which meant going back up and around. We soon found our way into the sink.

The wind rattled the trees as the bare oak branches plucked my hat right off my head. We filled our pockets with juniper berries and explored the area. We came upon some dried elk bones. Gauge wanted to know what ate the elk "besides hunters." I told him it was most likely coyotes or a mountain lion. Gauge wanted to know what to do if we ever saw a mountain lion. I told him that the thing to do was make yourself appear as large as possible and to make a lot of noise. Gauge said, "Like this?" and roared a tremendous roar, scaring himself half to death! We laughed so hard!

We kept walking down the wash to Pine Tank. The tank is a wonder of very fine rockwork, its history lost in obscurity. Wouldn't we love to know who built it, and when! We took a few pictures and soon headed back to the truck in the gathering dusk.

Once home, we tried to make dye out of the juniper berries by boiling them, but it didn't work!

(Editor's note: Andrea Dunn is a longtime Williams resident who enjoys hiking and the great outdoors. She continues to share her outdoor adventures and places to hike with us through this column.)


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