We arrived at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site on the 11th and stayed through the 14th. It is located only 28 miles from Carrizozo. Three Rivers consists of the petroglyph site and one privately owned gift shop. The closest community is Tularosa, which is 17 miles away. Be sure to arrive with supplies for your stay.
Here is an overview of the campground at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. That's our rig to the back of the lot. Campsites without any hook-ups are only $7.00 a night. There is fresh water on the premises and modern restrooms. They have two pull though sites with water and electric for $18.00 a night. A dump station isn't available. There is another campground 6 miles further in, but we're told the road to it is a little rough. It was mentioned to us that the campground is often looking for workkampers to host the park for three to six months out of the year! It definitely would be a place to get away from it all!
The campground and petroglyph site is located in the Tularosa Basin. It looks like a land that time forgot! It wouldn't be at all surprising to see a dinosaur here! Every evening as dusk falls, I get a shiver up my spine being outdoors for the shortest of durations, as I half expect a sabertooth tiger or at least a mountain lion to pounce!
Throughout our stay it has been trying to rain. We get rolls of thunder, a sprinkle to light shower, and then back to blue skies!
Despite the recent rain sprinkles great dust devils swirl off in the distance. We estimate this dust devil to be four miles away! There is something about the spot where this dust devil appeared, as they seemed to spawn in that location often.
The desert vegetation is more spread out and with fewer cacti then other parts of the desert we've been in so far. The dogs have been able to walk outside without collecting goatheads in their pads! That's a major plus! The plants are showing lots of flower buds, but no real show of color yet. This is the northernmost region of the Chihuahuan Desert. The desert is pleasant to walk through, but one still has to be mindful to watch for rattlesnakes. Roy and I plan to each carry an ace bandage with us, as our first aid for snake bites. From my research on survival in the wilds, the only thing you should do for a rattlesnake bite is to wrap the limb to lessen swelling and get to a doctor within 14 hours for the anti-venom! Basically, we're told that rattlesnakes will move away from people given the chance, but that it is the accidental stepping on one that will get you in trouble. I feel it is best to keep pets from snooping under bushes and in rocky crevices.
Late in the day of our arrival, we decided to make the one mile round trip walk to the ruins of an ancient community. It's best to walk before or after the heat of the day.
This is the base of what is referred to as a pit home. This reconstructed base is about 17 feet in diameter. This is one of the earliest type of homes built by the Jornado Mogollan people 1,000 years ago. It was cool to see what appeared like a shelf ridge carved into the inside of the circle. This structure would give some coolness in the Summer and warmth in the Winter.
The next step in homes were rock structures. This is also a reconstruction. To the back of the structure beyond the two larger rocks is a small round room that would have been a pantry.
This is the foundation for the most recent home design, which was the adobe surface home. They often consisted of several small rooms.
We were so psyched after our walk to the ruins that we were ready to take-on the one mile round trip walk up the hill to where some of the petroglyphs are located. Although the park advertises that there are 21,000 petroglyphs, they are spread out over 50 acres. This mound is said to contain the best petroglyphs. Don't let the small size of this mound fool you! Once you reach the top of this hill, it continues upward to another ridge, and then another ridge, and beyond!
Kudos to whatever agency built the paths! They made the climb seem relatively easy, not to say an out of shape person such as myself wouldn't huff and puff a bit! A woman who had knee replacement surgery made it up and we met an older man on top the first ridge with two canes!
The paths are relatively wide, have a nice solid driveway mix base in areas where it helps, and long platform style steps. Pets are not allowed on the trails.
We made it to the top of the first ridge on our first night in camp! This is the next section at the top of the ridge. Isn't the path between the rocks intriguing! I wanted to forge on so badly, but we opted to save it for another day.
The next day we forged past our previous day's climb and entered the path between the ridge of black rocks shown in the previous picture! Roy's plan to expend our energy going directly to the top and then meander back down was superb! At the "top" was a nice shelter, but of course, the top of the hill was just a false peak again! The trail meandered upward into a less rocky and desert environment.
This is the view from my climb beyond the top looking back towards the shelter! The mound you see is to the front of the main petroglyph mound. It is said to have pottery shards on it. We had hoped to climb it, but will have to explore it on another trip through, when we are in better physical condition. There doesn't seem to be groomed trails to it.
This is a mound to the back of the main petroglyph ridge. We talked about hiking to it. We were told it doesn't have petroglyphs on it. At first glance the park seems small and could be seen with just a day pass. I agree that a person could get a good overview while here on a day pass, but with a longer stay might enjoy hiking to the outlying mounds for a look around. It's a great place for getting into shape!
Beautiful! It appears to be a big horn sheep with arrows in its side.
This looks like a man being attacked by a bear at night. See the moon? I like the way the man's expression of horror can almost be seen!
Another ram! Nice wool depicted!
I like this petroglyph! I'm not sure what it is, but I think of it as a dog with a couple of toys. That might be a snake petroglyph to the right.
I read that petroglyphs are made by one rock being used as a chisel and another rock pounding the chisel rock like a hammer to chip away the natural patina of the rock being carved on. The age of a petroglyph can be judged by how faded it is. Over time the rock will repatinate itself. The reformation of the patina must be an extremely slow process given the age of the petroglyphs! Did you know petroglyph literally means rock carving? I didn't either!
I think this must be some poor guy in trouble, although he looks a bit like a badger to me!
Here are a few animals and a sun medicine wheel.
A deer and more!
I love this ram's head!
This looks to me like a guy being attacked by a wolf and some other creature running away.
This is a medicine wheel. I read that all tribes have them. They have a lot of meaning within them. Here is just a bit of what I know about them. The four spokes represent the four directions. The four sections represent the four seasons, the four stages of life, four aspects of a person's being (i.e. physical, spiritual, emotional,...) different clans, and much more. During my time living near the Ojibway and Chippewa Indians, I noted the sections of their medicine wheel to have four colors: white, yellow, red, and black.
Here is a modern rock sculpture that I found visually pleasing! Rock art might just be in our natures!