How did I end up looking for petroglyphs in Santa Fe?
When I was fifteen, my mom decided to take a six hour detour through the desert of Utah (in the summer) down dirt roads to look for these reported petroglyps. After bouncing down the sandy road in our minivan, miles from no where, dust in my mouth, hot wind in my eyes, we came to a large rock pile. It was well over 100 outside, I was fifteen, and underwhelmed would have been a kind word to describe my emotion at seeing a series of blurry etchings on rocks.
So, how the heck did I end up bouncing down a dirt road years later, miles from nowhere, on the road from Santa Fe to Calovebora in search of petroglyps? And how did I enjoy it?
A little history is key
I think the drive through the rainforest had a lot to do with it. Who would not enjoy a drive down dirt roads, where each turn in the road gives a new view, and clouds hang on surrounding hills. Next, I read a bit about it before going.
According to Granger’s 1969 Review, the Carib people, carved these etchings roughly 1000 years ago, and the petroglyphs themeselves generally are carved on a rock facing water, and furthermore many are angled upstream or towards a mountain range from where the water comes. I know that was true for this one, though I did hear a rumor that the rock was moved a bit to the side of the road with the construction of the new road. Regardless, there is something magical about tracing the indentations with your hand, and wondering who else’s hands have passed there.
How did I get there?
We took the road from Santa Fe to Calovebora on the West Entrance to the Park. There are a couple of sites where petroglyphs can be explored. The round trip took about 2 hours, and yes, I would recommend a four wheel drive for access.
What did I enjoy most?
I am an ecologist at heart, and I loved feeling very Indiana Jonesish going through these quiet rainforest backroads, the petroglyphs are an added bonus.