The White Mountain Petroglyph site just north of Rock Springs is probably one of the most mysterious places I've visited in Wyoming this year. Without some understanding of the histories and cultures of Native Nations in this region, this place will strike you with its remoteness and its significance.
Etched into the sandstone some 200-1000 years ago, the stories of the nations who lived here are left as a reminder to a world that changed so quickly. You can find images of buffalo hunts, geometric shapes whose meaning we can only guess at, and even of a warrior wielding a sword. What I found most fascinating were handprints dug into the sandstone where it is rumored women came to give birth! A few tribes consider this site sacred including, the Arapahoe, Shoshone, and Ute.
However, as I explored this site with my brother, I got angrier and angrier because of the obvious destruction of these stories everywhere you looked. There were names of people who have visited the site carved over this historic treasure and brands from other visitors. There was damage in the stone from inconsiderate guests taking cheap shots at the rock.
In light of the destruction, it wouldn't surprise me at all if researchers were to find through the pictures of earlier travelers and through visiting the site today, that we have lost many of the stories once left for time's consideration. A link to the past forever lost to us. I think that should be deeply saddening to all who love the West!
We may not be able to reverse the damage done by careless travelers that came before us, however, we can refuse to contribute to the destruction ourselves, stand up for these sites' protection, and teach our children to respect them as well.
Have you ever visited a place that was rumored to be amazing, but when you got there it had been totally devastated by other tourists? How do you think we can best protect these natural and historic treasures for many generations to come?
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!