Magazine article Sunset

Horseshoe Canyon, Utah

Magazine article Sunset

Horseshoe Canyon, Utah

Article excerpt

The lure of seeing rock etchings and paintings more than 2,000 years old drew us into Horseshoe Canyon, an annex of Canyonlands National Park. After a mile-long, 800-foot descent, we strolled along a sandy wash, our pace increasing as we approached the next patch of shade cast by the varnishstreaked canyon walls surrounding us.

We visited three panels of rock art carved on sandstone walls, protected only by their remoteness. And then, the Great Gallery came into view-6- and 7-feet-tall ghostly figures without appendages, dog- and sheep-like creatures, small birds. This Barrier Canyon-style art predated the Anasazi people who were responsible for much of the rock art in the West.

One lone hiker had already arrived, an elderly meteorologist. He shared his theories about the art and cloud formations, thunder and lightning symbols on the shaman's garments, and the need for summer rains in this harsh climate. He lingered as we began our trek out of this lovely canyon. …

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