"Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" .... those are the words that I uttered when I arrived at the Great Gallery site in Horseshoe Canyon. But I am getting ahead my myself, since this post also stars an Infinity G50 car.
One of the items on my hiking bucket list has been The Great Gallery pictographs from the Barrier Canyon style (1000 years ? more ? it depends on who you talk to, but its old and no one know the people that drew them. Later cultures dedicated their art to petroglyphs, which I just don't like). It is located in a remote area, adjacent to Canyonlands, but on the side of the infamous Maze. The long drive, the heat, the dirt road that becomes impassable when wet, are part of the obstacles. Finally, the stars aligned and I decided that my yearly Thanksgiving hiking trip to Utah would be it.
Oh, the Infinity G50 ................. the "good" thing traveling on holidays is that some car companies run out of cars and you can get upgraded, or downgraded. I asked for a Chevy Impala, which I was planning to treat like shit and drive it on the 65 miles in and out dirt road to the canyon trailhead. Well, I got an Infinity G50 car, fully loaded. I was about to find out about how cool was the suspension of these nice cars.
My original plan was to hit 3 sites in one day, including the Great Gallery. I put the coordinates of a hidden site that I found out in the internet on my iphone google maps since I know that the cell service would die where I was going. But I was lazy and I didnt create a GPS track to get to it, so when I got to the place I could not find the actual start of the trail to the site. Ok, so I was disappointed, but I still had 2 more sites to find. I relied on instructions to get to the Great Gallery since the iphone had no cell service, so I went in .................... I had miles and locations of junctions and I thought I arrived at one, but the mileage would refute that, so I stayed on the road that I was on. I then looked at a map with locations that I found on the internet and it was clearly telling me that I was supposed to be driving AWAY from that giant butte I was getting close to and maybe that intersection that I discarded was the right place to take. I backtracked a mile and took the intersection. All looked fine until I came to ANOTHER intersection and this time none of my notes and that (STUPID) map said anything about an intersection with no signs. It was a clear intersection and I decided I had no idea where to go.
The only way to figure this out is to drive out back to the highway and then go back close to I70. I put pedal to metal and drove close to 50pmh on that road. That Infinity G50 suspension is quite good, HA HA HA HA. Ok, drove 20 miles, found cell service, entered the location of the trailhead and this time I knew where I was going ..... close to that butte and not what the stupid map said. 30 miles on a good dirt road, doing 40 mph easily, at one point I saw a cloud of dirt coming my way and decided to slow down for the approaching car ................... good thing since the SUV driver was having fun and when he saw me (when its a male I say he, when its a female I say she), he slipped all over the road before recovering at the time we came next to each other (I rejected the insurance from the rental company and I guess the repair bill would be ugly ........ Oh wait, driving on dirt roads voids the rental contract, HA HA HA).
Good google maps took me the 30 miles and I arrived at 10 am at the trailhead. The short daylight meant that the third location was out of the questions, so this better be good.
There are FOUR panels. The first is the High Gallery and its high on the rock, so there is no vandalism at it. Its the second best, small figures, standard Barrier Canyon stuff. Opposite it, almost, is the Horseshoe Gallery, also nice and I took lots of pics of the panel and of each individual pictograph. Next is the Alcove Gallery, named like that since its under an Alcove that has had rock falling down. There is a nice shaman picture that is barely seen due to the rock debris. This panel was tagged by 1920s cowboys and it is seriously fading. All three panels are fading and I was afraid the same would happen once I got to the Great Gallery.
Well, spoiler alert !!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God" ... the Great Gallery figure are GIGANTIC in comparison with the rest of the art in the canyon. They are well defined and THERE IS COLOR. There was care to the images painted, this was a deliberate special place. I could clearly see green in one of the shaman images. I cant share pictures yet since I take pictures in RAW format, so I need to process them and I am still processing the ones from the day before in Chesler park, and (2) I took A LOT OF PICS, so that will take time.
But, trust me, nowhere else you will find those large figures on a panel like the Great Gallery. I took my lunch, macadamia chocolate cookies and spend a good time just looking at them before I started taking detailed pictures. It is a spiritual experience to me.
Next summer ................... DENALI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!