Sunday, July 9, 2017

Horsethief Lake Petroglyphs

I'm not sure which I liked better--the petroglyphs themselves or the rescue story behind them.

Seeing the artistic work of our ancient ancestors always gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling.  It sounds corny, I know, but it makes me proud to be a part of the human race.  We humans create.  That's what we do.  It's part of our DNA from earliest man to modern man.  Whether it's carving animals into stone or composing pictures for a blog, that urge to create is so strong that it shapes our psyche.
 But wait . . .  there's more.  A second layer of warm and fuzzy here.  When the Dalles Dam was constructed back in the 1950's across the Columbia River, it formed a reservoir with rising water. Much of the rocky shoreline, including a narrow canyon filled with thousands of these rock drawings, was submerged.  The construction workers rescued many of the petroglyphs (but not all of them) and stored them at the dam site.  The local tribes were thankful for this, but also upset.  That such sacred stones were lying helter-skelter around an ugly construction site seemed inappropriate and disrespectful.

In 2004 they were moved to Columbia Hills Historical State Park and set in a natural setting, close to their original home.  This outside art gallery can be found on the shores of Horsethief Lake in Washington.  There is a paved, wheelchair-accessible trail that allows easy viewing of these incredible stones.  The pictures depict many animals such as deer and owls and the men who hunted them.  There are more sacred stones beyond the closed gate that can only be seen on a ranger-led reserved tour. (Note to self:  Sign up for one!)

But the ones I saw were pretty darn incredible.  So thankful they were rescued.

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