Monday, May 03, 2010

Route of the painted rocks

My email brought me a new addition to the collection of big painted rocks you'll find around Yavapai County. This fellow is located somewhere in the Dells -- and I don't know if he is a casual, one-time fancy or an icon who will be renewed for decades. The other important rocks can all be viewed in one big circle route, starting down at Congress.

I'm all of 83 -- and I recall Frog Rock, along SR 89 down by Congress, from my childhood. One tale has it that a homestead wife, Sara Perkins, first painted it in 1926; according to a 1977 story in the AZ Republic, the rock was painted by a part time prospector, ex-sailor, and practical joker deluxe. As befits a folk art, the frog is periodically touched up and/or repainted by unnamed locals.

Once you have started your rock art tour at Frog Rock, turn left a couple of miles down the pike onto the Date Creek Road; it's a well graded dirt road, maintained by the county. A handful of miles in, a huge skull right next to the railroad track will grin at you. As I hear it, the skull is kept in shape by railroad workers. (BTW, the Date Creek at-grade crossing much further along can be dicey after a major snow melt or big downpour.)

Continue driving on the Date Creek Road which will eventually take you through the hamlet of Hillside and thence toward Yava. The duck is out in the middle of the prickly pear among the volcanic rocks off to your right. Past Yava at Kirkland Creek, a right turn in the highway puts you on the Thompson Valley Road to Kirkland, with a left turn onto Iron Springs Road, heading into Prescott via Skull Valley.

This stela is a feature at the high point on Iron Springs Road, just before the turnoff to Highland Pines. I've no idea of its history; I presume it is a clown. Like the other painted rocks, it is mysteriously maintained.

I know, I know -- it's a long, long haul from the top of Iron Springs Road down to the elephant bend on the Yarnell Hill segment of SR89 -- but then, I did declare this to be a great circle route and you're almost back to Frog Rock. Just incidentally, I was told that somebody/bodies recently mucked up the elephant, but that it was put to rights very soon thereafter. My only questions: why the elephant in the first place?

Here is another set of painted rocks, seen on one of my neighborhood walks. Nothing as elegant as the monumental folk art in the previous pictures, but a nice suprise at that.

17 comments:

Ray said...

There are also a couple of rock art about 4 miles North of Hillside toward Bagdad. One is a gorilla that you can see off in a canyon, another is a burro in a rock face. The gorilla is painted, but not the burro. Also, between the chicken and Hillside is a rock, commonly known as the goose egg rock, that was painted to look like a football.

Ray

Omegadad said...

thanks for the rock art, mom.

Steve said...

Loved the post. The frog was some piece of work.

Changes in the wind said...

Sopme of these I have seen but many I hadn't.....interesting.

Granny J said...

ray -- thanks for the info; as many times as I have travelled the Bagdad Road, I've never been aware of these pieces of rock art.

sil -- this is a post I've been planning to do for a long time; glad you enjoyed it...now you have something to look forward to on your next trip back to AZ.

steve -- the frog is one of my fondest memories from childhood.

windy -- you'll have to take the whole tour, including the gorilla and the burro, as suggested by Ray.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

Contemporary boulderglyphs, Huh??

Hermano

Lucy said...

What interesting folk art! I like the frog especially. The way they are maintained reminds me a bit of the way the ancient chalk figures in Britain are kept up by local people.

Granny J said...

bro -- not exactly antique boulderglyphs, but Frog Rock, at least, enjoys a bit of history.

lucy -- I find it neat that real people, as opposed to Organizations, are caring for these monuments...

Anonymous said...

We always look forward to the elephant and the frog rocks on our way up to Prescott from Wickenburg.

Thanks for showing us new rocks to explore!

Also, isn't there a painted rock north of Paulden, on SR 89 north? I think so, but can't remember what it is.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

anon av -- as long as you are coming up that way, you should take the Date Creek Road as far as the skull -- it's only a couple or four miles in.

Computer components said...

Those are wonderful work of art. Thank you for sharing.

Brenda's Arizona said...

These are a hoot! I'll have to make this drive again, with the intent of being passenger and LOOKING, not the driver DRIVING.
Thanks, Granny J!

Kate said...

Hi, Granny;
These are incredible. That duck is just a hoot! :))

Granny J said...

components -- welcome to my blog; glad you enjoyed the art...

brenda -- you've got it right! I've always had the advantage of being the passenger.

kate -- The duck was a later discovery in our travels & may not have quite the long history of the frog, the skull and the elephant. But it's cool to see a duck sitting there out in the middle of the high desert.

Digital camera lenses said...

I have never seen anything like that before. It's amazing!

Meggie said...

Somehow, I just love the Rock Art. Particularly, the Frog!

Kathleen said...

*roflol* These are great! I guess I haven't ever made that route as I don't recall seeing them before =p Very fun!

 
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