Eleven LPA members met at the Maturango Museum, in Ridgecrest at 630am, for the start of a long days adventure to the photograph Petroglyphs in one of the secluded canyons in the volcanic Coso Range.
Our first stop was at the entrance to the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, where all 6 of our cars (a group of 20 and 4 guides) were in a line up, with all doors open, hoods up, and tailgates down, while security looked in and under (with mirrors) everything. It would have made for a great photo op, but… no cameras allowed. Everyone had to show two forms of picture ID, while drivers had to show proof of insurance and registration. No cell phones, no glass, no taking photos on the way to the site, no leaving your group, etc… . Rules, Rules, Rules… but that is precisely why the area known as Coso Petroglyphs, with engraved images between 10,000 and 16,000 years old, still appears untouched by modern man.
The first 1/3 mile was a pretty easy hike, with an overwhelming number of petroglyphs to photograph. The canyon was exceptionally beautiful with wildflowers in full bloom. Then came the first “drop off” which was made even more challenging because of the pea soup colored, mosquito infested pool at the bottom of the drop, which, if anyone fell into… would be walking home! With team work… we all made it past. After that, the second drop off seemed much easier.
Adding to the excitement of the adventure, was our encounter with a 5 ft long Rattlesnake! By the end of the day, with all the story-telling, he had grown to almost 10 foot long!
Five LPA members actually made it to the very end/bottom of the canyon. I knew it was the end… a HUGE drop off, which must make for an awesome waterfall shot, at the right time of the year, and a terrific view of the valley floor.
Thank you to David Wilkins, for setting up this awesome field trip.
David Wilkins, Jim Pemberton, Sue Craft, Tylene Trout, Lee Garner,
Terri Ganer, Dave Anderson, Paul Craft
All Photos this page Courtesy of Paul Craft unless otherwise stated.