Monday, September 24, 2012

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

Noelle and I have been wanting to get a new camera to take some high quality photos of our beautiful Sierra. I've been doing research online, but I find it difficult to make a decision and purchase something that I've never touched or looked at in person. Therefore, I was given permission to head over to El Paso to look at some of the cameras I've researched online. Since I was driving so far it was easy to justify doing something besides just going to Best Buy. I decided to head back to Hueco Tanks, a place that I haven't been to in about 7 years.
Hueco Tanks View

Only a limited amount of people are allowed into the park at any given time. I took a chance and didn't make reservations figuring a Monday in September would not fill up. My instincts proved to be correct and I was able to get into the park without waiting. I watched the orientation video as required and then inquired about an archeological site called Cave Kiva. I was given some directions to the site and then headed out to explore.

My first stop was a site just outside of the interpretive center. There were some faint pictographs scattered underneath a rock overhang.
White Pictographs
Most of them were just geometric patterns. After scrambling around and exploring I moved on. I followed a trail onto the rocks
Trail to Huecos
where I found a chain handrail. I followed the handrail up to a ledge where I found a few more faint pictographs
Faded Circles Pictograph
and interesting little caves. than I headed down off the rocks and past some beautiful sunflowers
 to return to the car and look for Cave Kiva.

The directions I was given turned out to pretty good. I followed a trail to a ridge, followed the ridge up to two landmark rocks. One landmark looked a bit like a duck, the other was supposed to look like an alligator, but I guess I don't have much of an imagination. Despite my lack of imagination, I was able to find the entrance to the cave.
Eric at Entrance to Cave Kiva
Inside were the iconic pictograph mask images I'd seen photos of.
Mask 1
Two Masks
Mask 4
Mask 5
It was relaxing to lay on the rock floor and look at the amazing rock art up on the ceiling. Besides the rock art, a bat flew around inside the cave. After quietly appreciating the pictographs for about a half hour, I headed outside and back down off the rocks.
Looking Out of Cave kiva
I checked out an archeological site marked on the map.
Archeological Site
It was a panel of highly faded pictographs. I then headed to the picnic area and scoured the area for more rock art. Most of the marking in this area were of a more recent type and were mostly carvings.
Camp Cook Carving
  Surprisingly, some of the more interesting features of the park were the many historic inscriptions. There were lots of them all over the park, many dating from the mid to late 1800s.
Hattie Latham Signature
Newell Carving

My final stop on my visit was a walk over to Mescalero Canyon
Mescalero Canyon Trail
where I checked out a few more pictograph panels before heading back to the car and driving into El Paso. 


Linda W. said...

Wow, looks like a very cool place! Congrats on your new little girl!

Pam and Wayne said...

The colors in those pictographs rival the fall color that is starting to pop up. Good luck finding a camera!

Kris said...