Sunday, July 28, 2013

Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

We stopped at a Bureau of Land Management Office to find out whether or not we needed permits to tromp over their lands and get maps for our quest to find petroglyphs.

We were surprised at what little information they had to offer.  The maps were copied from a book and distances off the beaten path were unknown. Permits, though, were not required.

The visitor bureaus weren't much better.  We were puzzled.  It seemed to us they didn't want to encourage people to hike back the canyons to find these ancient art forms that tell the history of the people.

Considering the monsoonal flow was upon the area and storms and flash floods could pop up at any time, we thought that might be the reason why.  We beat hasty retreats more than once.

If we hadn't had a GPS we wouldn't have even been able to find the roads.  They were marked on the GPS, not on the actual roads.  It made for a challenging adventure and with persistence we had a fair degree of success.

One area, in Nine Mile Canyon in Utah, we were rewarded with a treasure trove of old petroglyphs representing several different periods.  We also found the answer to our question as to why the surmised reluctance to help us on our way. It had nothing to do with the weather.

Unlike the National Parks and Monuments where rangers can keep an eye on what's going on, these are just out there.  Known, of course, because there were rudimentary instructions as to how to reach them but available to anyone willing to do some hiking.  No guides.  No signage.  Just an ability to be observant.

The responsibility of being unsupervised brings with it those who choose to ignore it.  Those who will deface and destroy anything just because it's there.  You see it all the time on buildings and railroad cars and a myriad of other places with ease of access.  We did not expect to find it in out of the way places, places so secluded you hear every step you take and every insect that chirps.  Where the air is fresh and pollution free.

Yet there is pollution. Intruding on living history.  Intentional.  You can see several sets of initials scratched into the glyphs in the photo.  This is but one example of many that we saw. Why?  We're not very good stewards of anything any more.  I cannot  help but hold such behavior with anything other than contempt.

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