Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Petroglyphs on Saddle Mountain and goodbye to Albert

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My location:  Saddle Mountain BLM near Tonopah, Arizona

Woke up to a clear blue sky this morning.  Was quite cool last night, but that is changing.  Today, highs in the mid-seventies and a low of fifty tonight.

Didn’t have any plans for today, so after all my morning duties, Yuma and I decided to take the dirt roads along the mountains to the the Eastern end and do some hiking.  About 10:30, it was already quite warm and we were ready to go.

Here is a photo I took late on the first day here showing the East end of the mountain range.  We ended up on a dead end road in the valley just to the right of that round dome you see in the center left.


Here’s what it looks like around 11 a.m. when we arrived.


This Jeep trail dead ends at the entrance to the canyon ahead.


Looking to the right back along Saddle Mountain to the West.


The rock formation on the right is the one we ended up circling.  At this time I didn’t know that was what we were going to do.  I didn’t know where the canyon would end.


Looking back at the Jeep as we head out on our hike.


Yuma likes to walk through and snuffle the flowers.


As we’re walking along the canyon floor, I looked up at the rock formation and could see a cave like indention right in the center of this photo.  Thinking it could hold treasures, Yuma and I headed up to it.


As we neared the top, I was basically walking on all fours holding onto rocks.  I look down and what do I see?  An old cell phone staring back at me.  I had an AT&T Samsung flip top just like this one before going to a smart phone many years ago.  Wonder how long this one has been here.  Years, I bet!


One of these days, I will get a battery for it and see if I can contact the owner.  I lost my smart phone two winters ago in the Mojave National Park.  Still waiting for someone to call me and tell me they found it.

Below, I am looking across the canyon to the Northeast from the cave.


Zoom shot of Yuma wandering around on the side of the canyon and my Jeep below.


The cave went back about eight feet.  Looks like maybe someone has built a fire in the small indention in the rock on the left.  No residue in there though.  No old cooked bones or arrowheads either.  Darn!


I drop back down after leaving the cave.  Didn’t find anything of interest in there.  Here we come around the rock formation on a little saddle between two canyons.  I can see to the West now along Saddle Mountain.


As we stood on the saddle between the two canyons I could look up at the rock formation and looking the other way to the South, some beautiful mountain peaks.  Yuma and I are walking along the saddle in the next two photos.



As we came around the mountain, I could see the Harquahala Mountains to the Northwest.  Remember, I jeeped up the tallest point at the upper right last week.  Our RV is down in the white criss-cross BLM area in the center.


Our Jeep is on the other side of this mountainWe’re half way around now.


Did our full circle going through two canyons and ended up right back at the Jeep.


At this point, we leave to head back to camp.  About a quarter mile down the jeep trail there was a truck camper parked next to the trail.  A gentleman was just letting his dogs into the camper and Yuma was barking out the window, so I said, “Beautiful out there, isn’t it?”  He replied that it was, and came over to the Jeep to ask what kind of dog I had.

We started chatting and I found out they were from Canada, so I mentioned I had a blog and many Canadian blog friends.  Turns out both he and his wife have blogs, so we exchanged blog addresses.

His name is Roland, and his wife, Kat.  Roland asked if I saw the petroglyphs back where I was parked and I said no.  He gave me a general idea of where to look, so Yuma and I turned around after saying goodbye and went to find them.  And I did!  I had walked right past them earlier in the day and never saw them.

I could find nothing on the Internet to verify these markings, so can’t tell you much about them or whether they are authentic to a certain time period.




One last look as we head back towards camp after a wonderful two hour hike of around two miles.  Easy day, but it is getting very warm.  Glad to be done early so we can rest.


Thank you Roland for sharing your petroglyph find with me.

Well, Yuma and I rested till we couldn’t stand it anymore.   So, I asked Yuma if he wanted to go back up and visit Albert one last time.  It was about 4 p.m. and Yuma was all for it.  As you remember, Albert is a Sonoran Desert Tortoise.

Off we headed back up the slope right South of our camp.  About half way to Albert’s place when we hit this huge boulder.


We get up to those Palo Verde trees you see just above the boulder and start looking for Albert.  I didn’t leave any markings, so wasn’t sure which tree he lived under.  As we’re looking, I see Yuma climbing under one of them, so I call him back and go over and look.

Sure enough, Albert was just coming out of his home for the evening when we met.  This will be the second and last visit.  Don’t want him to get upset and leave his home for good because we keep bothering him.  Again, he knew we were there and in his defensive posture.


We said our goodbyes to Albert and I hope he lives a happy and productive life on that mountain slope.

Beautiful sunset tonight!


See you later.


  1. You and Yuma had quite a day. Beautiful pictures of your hike around the Knob. Love the pictues of Yuma in the lovely yellow flowers. Wow! You found a relic - an actual vintage flip phone. Finding the owner at this late date would be difficult, I think. Those petroglyphs were really neat. They really stood out. I'm so glad you ran into Albert again! Sarah and I were talking about him at dinner last night. It was a gorgeous sunset to wrap up a perfect day.

    1. Thanks Dolly. It amazes me that I start the day our without a plan and this great, beautiful country just hands me one. Had a great day!

  2. Are you sure that wasn't your phone you lost a few years ago? :) Albert looks like a pretty good friend. All your pictures are great! I like the pics with the all the green blanketing the canyon floors. We missed you last night at Red Lobster. Miss you Dad! Take care! Love you!

    1. Thanks Steve. I'm sure the smart phone I lost cost quite a few more bucks than that old flip top. It sure is amazingly green this year. I need to go back to last year's pictures and compare. It was so dey last year.

      Wished I could have been at Red Lobster. You know how much I like the place.

      Love you too, Steve.

  3. Roland here. Great to meet you Doug. From what I've read, the petroglyphs are possibly from the Archaic period, and predate Christ by a few thousand years. It's incredible to think about how long they've been there, or what the culture that left them was like. Painted Rocks Petroglyph site near Gilda Bend has hundreds of similar petroglyphs. It's a more popular place though and you won't get the same solitude though, which makes these ones special.

    1. Thanks Roland. Read both blogs on your visit to Painted Rocks. Luc was an interesting man and you both had some great pictures of the petroglyphs and the area.

  4. Amazing the people you can meet out in the missile of nowhere. Looks like another fun day, travel safe to your next destination.

  5. Yuma got to prove his Tortoise Hunter tracking skills and refresh his memory of that scent when visiting Albert. So thoughtful of you to say goodbye and not to scare or bother him again. I am sure Yuma will sniff out more desert tortoises in your area -( Albert must have a girlfriend or two out there ). I looked on "desert USA" website which has lots of wildflower updates - and those may be golden poppies or yellow cups that Yuma is roaming thru. Amazing photos !!! 🐕🐢🌵🌞

    1. Thanks Moonfly. Going to start warming up and time to put Yuma on a leash. Don't want him sniffing a rattlesnake!

  6. Hi Doug! I love the later pic of the east end of the mountain range! The colors are just so pretty!!! When i saw that phone at first i thought you were going to say it was the one you had lost a couple years ago! haha! The Petroglyph rock is neat; I like how it's broken, but still together as a whole rock. Here's what I think it said "Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but the Happiness and Growth occurs while you are climbing it!" Great job on your hike today. Glad you're getting some warm weather....it's really supposed to cool off for us here this weekend. Kind of bummer. It will be a chilly St. Patty's Day run on Sunday! Have a wonderful Wednesday! Happy Hump Day!

    1. Thank Sarah. Had a nice day hiking. Anybody need an old Samsung flip top phone? Got one for sale. Going to warm into the 80s here in the next few days, so hiking is going to get a little harder for me.

  7. Beautiful hike again! Love the Petroglyph story and how nice that it was a Canadian pointed one out to you and Yuma. Albert will probably be there next year if you are looking for him.

    1. Thank you Patsy. I'm hoping Albert will be there for many decades without someone bothering him again.

  8. What a beautiful hike! I see some wildflowers in the photos, too. Sure is green this year!

    1. Thank you Cheryl Ann. Loving the flowers this year!

  9. Maybe next winter we'll have to see if we can spend some time around that Tonopah Saddle Mountain area. Maybe we can find Albert. I've never seen a desert tortoise. I imagine the rattlesnakes will be poking their heads out shortly so you might want to keep an eye out for them now.