U! Challenge: Utah, Ute

Potash Petroglyphs
Potash Petroglyphs, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (Click on image to enlarge).

Utah, a state in the Western USA, was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics and is the place where I grew up.  I just spent the last week visiting the Moab, Utah area and decided to use my home state to represent this week’s theme of “U.”

Utah was officially granted statehood on January 4, 1896.  The capital is Salt Lake City.  It is a dry, semi-arid to desert climate, and is a geographically diverse state known for the natural variety of its terrain.  What I like most about Utah is it’s incredible natural beauty, year round outdoor recreational activities, and four distinct seasons, to name a few.  From the beautiful mountains of northern Utah with it’s world-renowned ski resorts and fluffy powder snow (“The Greatest Snow on Earth®”), to the striking terrain of southern Utah sculpted over millions of years into spectacular canyons, arches, pinnacles, etc., visitors come from all over the world to experience Utah!  It is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise which includes skiing, snowboarding, hiking, boating, water skiing, horseback riding, camping, fishing, rock climbing, etc.

The name “Utah” is derived from the name of the “Ute” Native American tribe now living primarily in Utah and Colorado.  According to www.uteindian.com, Ute means “Land of the sun”.  Thousands of years before European explorers arrived, Native American tribes represented the original inhabitants of the area now known as Utah.  This included the Desert Archaic Culture starting in 10,000 B.C., per the Utah History Encyclopedia, and the Anasazi and Fremont Native American tribes from about 1 A.D. to 1300.  The most recent inhabitants, the Utes, have been in southeast Utah since the 1200’s.  Since those ancient times, Utah has become a web of sacred places, dwelling sites, and intriguing rock art messages depicting their art, lives and beliefs through petroglyphs and pictographs.  The southern Utah region was explored by the Spanish in 1540, and trappers and fur traders explored some of the Utah areas in the early 19th century.  The first Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  At that time, Utah was Mexican territory.  In 1848, Utah became a United States territory through the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and in 1896 officially became a state.

The images I chose to represent the theme this week are photos of some of the many rock art petryoglyphs left by some of Utah’s earliest inhabitants.  I find this art both fascinating and humbling, and took several photos last week when I was in Moab (Canyonlands and Arches National Park areas, Slickrock mountain biking, etc.)  See also my previous posting on Newspaper Rock petroglyphs near Canyonlands.

The first photo above was taking along the Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway (U-279) where you can see great views of the Colorado River, ancient petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks.  The presence of bows and arrows in this image is presumed to indicate a date after 500 A.D.

The photos below were taken along the Hurrah Pass Trail.

Moonflower Petroglyphs
Moonflower Petroglyphs, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (Click on image to enlarge).

How would you interpret these petroglyphs?

If you live in Utah, or have visited, where are your favorite places?  If you have not visited Utah, what are the places would you like to see?

There are many great places to explore in Utah!  Here are just a few of them: Continue reading