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American Rock Art Research Association

You may choose to attend 1 Friday field trip. First you need to be registered for the ARARA conference. Once you have done so, you will receive an email with a code you need to register for a field trip. Field trips registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants who sign-up for more than one field trip per day will be removed from all field trips for which they have registered.

There are no more group reservations. Each member must register for the field trip in which they want to participate. If you wish to travel with friends make sure you are all registered for the conference and then register for the field trips at the same time.

If you wish to drop a field trip for which you are registered please contact Carol Garner at araratrips@rockart.us or 212-679-6976 (EST) to do so.

If you need help signing up for the field trips please contact Carol Garner at araratrips@rockart.us or 212-679-6976 (EST).

Pre-registration closes on May 24th. After that you will need to register at the conference.

Weather: Historically the weather at this time of year has daytime highs in the low 70s and very little chance of rain. Less than one inch over the month. Nighttime temperatures can drop to the mid 40s.

Friday Field Trips

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Bombing Range/Whitaker Holes
    • 11

    Description: Columbia Plateau/Great Basin contact zone. Combination of pictographs and petroglyphs associated with “tanks/tinajas” along the length of Dry River Gorge (an extinct Pleistocene River course). Two sites will be visited: Bombing Range (35DS2834) and Whitaker Holes (35DS1437). A DStretch camera will be a real benefit here, since some of the images are quite faint.

    Access: Access is MODERATELY DIFFICULT. Trailheads are accessible to all vehicles. Site visits require hiking in soft soils over relatively flat but uneven ground. There will be a 3 mile round trip hike at Bombing Range; and a one-quarter (0.25) mile round trip hike at Whitaker Holes. Minor rocky areas require scrambling to two locations at the Bombing Range site, but elevation gain is less than four feet in each instance. Early June weather in the High Desert can be variable. Be prepared for temperatures ranging from warm to freezing; wear a hat and carry sunscreen and water. The Bombing Range site is within the BLM Oregon Badlands Wilderness, the Whitaker Holes site is not. All participants are required to follow “Leave No Trace” practices when visiting these two public land locations.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Bombing Range/Whitaker Holes
    • 5

    Description: Horsethief Butte has Columbia Plateau pictographs and petroglyphs on high basalt bluffs above Columbia River. Images include lizards (in their “land monster” guise) and mountain sheep. Several Panels will be visited, a DStretch camera will be an advantage to provide the best view of some images. Wishram Road has primarily Yakima Polychrome style images, some of which are quite spectacular. There are also birds and human figures.

    Access: Both sites have VERY DIFFICULT access. For Horsethief Butte the trailhead is situated along state highway 14, accessible by all vehicles. From the trailhead, the trail is rocky but level for approximately ½ mile. At that point, to access pictograph panels requires a VERY DIFFICULT climb up steep talus slope composed of large boulders. Extensive patches of poison ivy grow among boulders and at base of cliff. Accessing petroglyphs requires further STEEP climb up rock face and along narrow ledges with potential for loose stones and bad footing.

    Access to the Wishram Road site is also VERY DIFFICULT. Climbing a steep trail with loose stones to a small, narrow ledge is necessary to closely view the rock art. Some of the images can be seen from the road below for those who wish to go on this trip and not attempt the steep trail.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Crooked River Gorge
    • 5

    Description: The Crooked River Gorge fieldtrip will take hikers down a steep canyon to see a series of rock art panels along the walls of Crooked River Gorge. The site is located on private land. The hike from the trailhead to the site is approximately 2 miles roundtrip; and involves a loss/gain of 450 feet elevation. The pictographs here are painted primarily with red pigment and include various geometric forms including grids, parallel lines, dots, zigzags, arcs, and meandering lines. There is also a painted elk. A Dstretch camera is recommended to help see some of the more obscure images.

    Access: THIS DIFFICULT HIKE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!  Very steep and potentially dangerous terrain occurs; only those individuals with the ability and experience to hike steep slopes up to 1 mile in length should join this fieldtrip.  Participants must wear appropriate hiking attire including good shoes with ankle support, closed toes, and good tread.  Hiking poles are strongly recommended. Depending on the weather, this could be an uncomfortable climb out of the canyon in prolonged sun exposure.  Hikers should be prepared to carry enough water and energy snacks for the climb out of the canyon. Hats or other sun shade is highly recommended. Hikers should also be prepared for changes in the weather (especially rain and wind) as the weather in early June can be unpredictable. Good shoes are also required with solid tread as the rocks may become slippery when wet.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Horsethief Lake/She Who Watches/Temani Pesh-Wa
    • 1

    Description: The She Who Watches and Temani Pesh-Wa trails at Horsethief Lake in Columbia Hills State Park provide access to the premier collection of Columbia River rock art still available for viewing in the region. Both pictographs and petroglyphs occur along these trails, and representatives of the Central Columbia Plateau, Yakima Polychrome, and Columbia River Conventionalized styles can be seen. Anthropomorphs, animal figures, and geometric images occur in great numbers, with some of the most famous images in the Columbia Plateau—including She Who Watches, Spedis Owl, Naishla (the Swallowing Monster), and the Salmon Shaman—being featured on this fieldtrip.

    Access: Pedestrian Access is EASY to MODERATE. Parking will be in a large lot at the trailhead for both trails. The Temani Pesh-Wa trail is a paved walkway about 100 yards long and immediately adjacent to the parking lot. Here, petroglyphs removed from nearby Petroglyph Canyon in 1957 (just prior to filling of Celilo Reservoir behind The Dalles Dam) have been installed for easy public viewing. The She Who Watches trail requires a hike of about one mile round trip over undulating, uneven, rocky terrain to visit five primary locations where pictographs and petroglyphs can be seen close up in their original settings. Participants will need to be sufficiently mobile to walk over uneven ground and climb short, not-too-steep grades to access the rock art panels.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • The Pillar Site
    • 2

    Description: The Pillar Site petroglyphs have been scratched, abraded or incised into a friable, sedimentary layer of the Deschutes Formation exposed on a cliff face overlooking the Deschutes River.  The site contains 43 pre-contact petroglyphs and 28 historic or modern inscriptions consisting of letters, names, initials, dates, and numbers.  The most compelling petroglyphs include nine anthropomorphic faces or masks stylistically similar to face and mask images in the Long Narrows style.  These faces and masks, like Long Narrows style images, have stylistic similarities to art and cultural symbols of the Northwest Coast, and are thought to have been carved sometime during a period extending from roughly 1500 years ago to the recent past.  The site also contains geometric petroglyphs classified as part of the North Oregon Rectilinear style.

    Access: SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT. The field trip will begin on the Steelhead Falls Trail, which starts at the north side of the Steelhead Falls Trailhead.  From here the trail descends into the Deschutes River Canyon over terrain that is steep, uneven and badly eroded in some places. Hiking Distance is 2.2 miles round trip with a total elevation loss/gain of 302 feet. Sun protection will be necessary and each person must carry and drink plenty of water before during and after the field trip.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Picture Rock Pass/Fort Rock Cave
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Description: Great Basin tradition petroglyphs and pictographs will be seen on this field trip. The petroglyphs at Picture Rock Pass are found on large boulders tumbled from the basalt rimrock above the site. Human and animal figures and geometric designs are the predominant motifs. After viewing the imagery at Picture Rock Pass we will then proceed to Ft. Rock cave for a tour of the site of the oldest footwear found in the world, the famous Sagebrush Sandals.  Along the way, we will take a short trip on a dirt road to view pictographs.

    Access: Vehicle access to these sites is relatively EASY. Picture Rock Pass is adjacent to a state highway and access to Fort Rock Cave and the nearby pictographs are by a good graveled county road and a good dirt road. Pedestrian access to the Picture Rock Pass petroglyph boulders is MODERATELY DIFFICULT. Walking to most of the boulders is over rough, uneven terrain with no developed trail, but one large boulder is adjacent to the highway and parking area and can be seen by anyone. The hike is shorter than 2 miles roundtrip and involves an elevation gain/loss of less than 100 feet. Access to the pictographs at the second site is up a slight slope, with no developed trail.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • Picture Gorge
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Description: Picture Gorge contains one of the largest concentrations of pictographs in central Oregon. The gorge is a dramatic canyon cut by the upper John Day River through numerous distinct basalt flows. Although only a little over a mile long, the canyon walls reach almost 1,000 feet at the highest point. The images consist of anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, mythological beings and geometric designs painted predominantly in red ochre. Natural ochre deposits are found within the gorge and an archaeological site near the head of the gorge produced evidence of extensive ochre processing dating to around 3,000 years ago. Following the visit to the rock art we will stop at the nearby museum at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

    Access: EASY access by walking along the level highway shoulder for approximately ½ mile. A secondary site requires a short scramble on basalt boulders.
    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:30 AM (PDT)
    • Devil's Lake/Tumalo Dry Canyon
    • 16

    Description: The Devil’s Lake Pictograph Site is located adjacent to Cascade Lakes Highway (Highway 46). Images here are typical red-painted Columbia Plateau pictographs. The Tumalo site pictographs are bright red ochre rectangular geometrics, tally marks, and stick figure anthropomorphs characteristic of the Central Columbia Plateau style.

    Access: Access is EASY to both sites. The section of highway at which the Devil’s Lake pictograph panels are located is closed during the winter months, but the road typically reopens by Memorial Day weekend.  Consequently, it is unlikely that all-wheel drive/high clearance vehicles would be required.  However, if this is a significant snow year, there is a strong potential that at least some of the pictograph panels could be inaccessible at the time of the conference. There is limited parking, so carpooling will be required. Highway traffic is heavy. Access to the pictographs is an easy walk down a gravel path just a few yards from the cars.

    Accessing the Tumalo Dry Canyon Pictographs requires a short (about ½ mile) drive on a dirt road after leaving Skyliners Road, which is paved. The dirt road is heavily traveled and in fair condition, so all-wheel drive or high clearance vehicles will probably not be needed unless conditions are wet and muddy. After the short drive on dirt road there is a relatively short hike (a few hundred yards) that follows an existing hiking/biking trail for part of the way, but then must go cross country through mostly brushy terrain. The hike is not strenuous and is over level terrain, but there are trip and fall hazards. Sturdy footwear is required.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:30 AM (PDT)
    • Pictograph Cave
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Description: The rock art images at Pictograph cave consist of anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, and geometric designs painted with red ochre on the wall of a large, collapsed lava tube. Pictographs appear most similar to the North Oregon Rectilinear Style and may date from beyond 2,000 years ago to Historic times. The contrast from the high desert environment surrounding the cave to its interior environment is fascinating and certainly held considerable mystery to the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. The rock art images are even more interesting when viewed in this unique setting.

    Access: Access is MODERATELY DIFFICULT. A graveled forest road that is considered to be accessible for most vehicle types leads to the trailhead for Pictograph Cave. At the trailhead, the trail overland to the site traverses relatively flat terrain with rocky, ashy soils. In some places these ashy soils can be a little like walking on top of snow.  A short but steep climb down a six-foot-high rock wall into the collapsed lava tube is necessary to get into the site, and this requires personal mobility and balance.
    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:30 AM (PDT)
    • Whychus Crossing
    • 15

    Description: Whychus Crossing consists of six pictograph panels with red pictographs showing ovoids and dots, other geometric figures, and anthropomorphs (including figures on horseback). Because some of the images are a bit faded, DStretch cameras may help capture the best views.

    Access: The trip is MODERATE for vehicle access and EASY for walking access. All wheel drive vehicles with at least moderate clearance are needed for this trip. The primitive, unmaintained county road is steep, rough, heavily rutted and badly eroded in several places. Large cobbles and sections of exposed bedrock in the road necessitate care in accessing this site. It is approximately a six mile drive over this rough road and then a 300 yard easy hike from the parked vehicles to the site.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 8:30 AM (PDT)
    • Cascadia Cave
    • 12

    Description: Columbia Plateau style petroglyphs are found in abundance in Cascadia Cave—a large rockshelter on the South Santiam River, which drains the west slope of the Cascade Range. Images include many geometrics, dozens of bear paws, small faces, and vulvaforms and a penisform. The shape of the rockshelter itself also plays a part in the interpretation of the art here.

    Access: The trip is MODERATELY DIFFICULT. The trail to Cascadia Cave requires a hike of approximately 2.5 miles round trip over mostly level terrain through old-growth Cascade forest. One small stream crossing is required, and footing is somewhat tricky at this part of the trail. June trail conditions could be quite muddy, so appropriate footgear is required. At the end of the trail a slight uphill climb of about 20 feet elevation gain is necessary.
    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 9:00 AM (PDT)
    • Warm Springs Museum/Traditional Salmon Bake

    Have the opportunity to experience Warm Springs Tribal Culture in Person! As a “once in a lifetime” offer, the 2017 conference organizers have arranged with the Warm Springs Tribe to provide a Kah-Nee-ta Salmon Bake Buffet Traditional Dinner as one of our field trips. After a visit to the Warm Springs Tribal Museum (see description below) participants will be treated to “Fresh Salmon baked over alderwood coals by tribal members dressed in their finest regalia.” Other treats include Wild Grain Chinook rice, Fry Bread with Huckleberry Preserves, and Huckleberry Crisp with Whipped Cream.

    Description: The museum at Warm Springs is Oregon's first tribal museum, a beautiful facility filled with fascinating displays (including some excellent rock art exhibits), artifacts, and information about the three tribes that joined together in 1855 to form the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Visitors to The Museum at Warm Springs will experience firsthand the sounds of ancient songs and languages, the mastery of traditional craftsmen, and the sights of rich and colorful cultures that make up the Confederated Tribes.

    After the museum we’ll head a few miles up to the beautiful, high desert Kah-nee-tah Resort for a delicious traditional lunch of salmon baked over a wood fire and all the trimmings. The menu will be based on the traditional cultural foods and preparations of the Warm Springs people.

    Access: EASY.   The museum and Kah-nee-tah are located on the Warm Springs Reservation an easy hour’s drive from Eagle Crest. This is an excellent field trip for anyone who might be mobility challenged, and for anyone seeking a “one-of-a-kind” cultural experience. Significant others who may not be up for hiking to a rock art site will find this trip to be the perfect complement to a wonderful conference.

    There is a $50/person fee to cover museum tickets and lunch. This trip has a 20 person minimum and will be cancelled one month in advance if the minimum is not met.

    • 2 Jun 2017
    • 1:00 PM (PDT)
    • Pictograph Cave
    • 6

    Description: The rock art images at Pictograph cave consist of anthropomorphs, zoomorphs, and geometric designs painted with red ochre on the wall of a large, collapsed lava tube. Pictographs appear most similar to the North Oregon Rectilinear Style and may date from beyond 2,000 years ago to Historic times. The contrast from the high desert environment surrounding the cave to its interior environment is fascinating and certainly held considerable mystery to the prehistoric inhabitants of the region. The rock art images are even more interesting when viewed in this unique setting.

    Access: Access is MODERATELY DIFFICULT. A graveled forest road that is considered to be accessible for most vehicle types leads to the trailhead for Pictograph Cave. At the trailhead, the trail overland to the site traverses relatively flat terrain with rocky, ashy soils. In some places these ashy soils can be a little like walking on top of snow.  A short but steep climb down a six-foot-high rock wall into the collapsed lava tube is necessary to get into the site, and this requires personal mobility and balance.

ARARA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our address: ARARA c/o Jack Wedgwood; 1884 The Alameda; San Jose, CA 95126-1733
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