Monday, February 10, 2014

Silva Canyon exploration- Sierra de las Uvas

Last week, as it was getting dark, I spotted a few new petroglyphs in  Silva Canyon lower down than the first few  I found back in October. This week I decided to explore the further down the canyon out into the desert flats. After talking to a young couple that had pitched their tent right in the narrow canyon, I made my way down seeing only a couple of new petroglyphs before stopping at a large dry waterfall.

  I would see later that it was possible to climb down, but from where I stood and looked it didn't appear to be  doable, at least not safely. I had to backtrack and go up on the hillside using a cow trail to get around to the bottom. There are many good cow trails out here in the Las Uvas and despite the fact that many hikers might think that these areas would be better off if the cattle were gone forever, I'm grateful for their trails when I'm exploring obscure areas. Crossing a tributary arroyo, I decided to see if it would bring us down safely to the lower end of Silva- no such luck- but I did find an interesting alcove with a heavily blackened ceiling that testified to many years of use long ago. Back up on the cow trail, we worked our way across another side arroyo,around a small hill and then found a gradual enough slope to get us down to the  bottom of the main Silva Canyon. It was a rough walk up to the bottom of the dry waterfall where I stopped earlier, with no rock art to be seen anywhere. We rested  in the shade of the  junipers,oaks and silktassel.

We walked out past our entry point and found seven or eight bedrock mortars, but no petroglyphs. I didn't really have a return route planned,but as Silva Canyon began  winding deep into the accumulated soil and out into the desert flats, we turned back east and then marched northeast up another  tributary arroyo. Back on top of the hill , we partly explored down an adjacent side canyon and then finally walked  parallel to the paved road back to the flats and our truck. Before leaving the area I scoped out the very  upper end of Valles Canyon directly below the Mesa Azur thinking  that this would be a prime area to look and see if there are any more pinons( besides the one I found in Pine Canyon  12 years ago)  in these mountains. I wished I could've explored further down Silva Canyon,but that may have to wait until next winter, as the warm windy days seem to be upon us already.

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