The targets of our quest were a museum that Dar heard was in town, and secondarily, some early Indian art carved into the desert floor somewhere in the area. We found the museum, in the old "asay office", and had an enjoyable conversation with a gent that was manning the place. The artifacts and old photos in the collection centered around the the town's mining and military connections, and we had an enjoyable time going through them... learning what they could tell us about those struggling pioneers. This small museum's existence supports our belief that almost every small town... really, any past clustering of people... has a story to tell if you just take the time to seek it out.
Armed with a few more clues about the Indian art from our museum visit -- as well as yet another nearby historic artifact known as the Quartzsite Rock Alignmnet -- we headed back into the desert on the hunt.
link to another set over in Blythe, CA]. Some are huge... a couple hundred feet or more, but the Bouse Fisherman is smaller, perhaps 80 feet from top to bottom. The surface material color difference that creates the figure is subtle... and easily missed unless you're looking for it. Most of them were first noticed from low-flying aircraft in the 1930's.
|Ariel view... upside down... outlined by path
around fenced in area.
Another hundred yards or so beyond the gate we found it... The Bouse Fisherman. If you're interested in finding it too, I can get you to the trailhead at the highway pull-off (N33.78796 W114.09328), but after that you're on your own.
|The Quartzsite Rock Alignment
Just a mile or so down the road from The Fisherman Intaglio is the Quartzsite Rock Alignment, which is an alignment of desert stones forming letters on the desert floor, about 15 or 20 feet in scale, that spell out "QUARTZSITE", followed by an arrow and the number "11", which is the mileage to the town of the same name. There's also another arrow that points due North. The story goes that this was done for pilots being trained during WWII, although I'm a bit of a skeptic on this, as it's easy to actually see Q in this clear desert air (just look... it's right over there...) and just 11 miles away. Could it have been done by the Q chamber of commerce hoping to lure tourists to the area? We may never really know.
Then, Saturday night, we drove into Q to see the Big 8th Annual Christmas Light Parade. Arriving a few minutes before step-off at 7pm, we parked among hundreds of hulking pickup trucks lining the parade route, each loaded with a couple wintering northerners eager to see the parade without having to go to the trouble of moving from their warm and comfy truck-seat. The parade consisted of groups of lit-up pickups, trailers, ATVs, 4 wheelers, and a hot rod or two... some nicely done... separated by a series of long breaks. We agreed that it was a nice 15 minute parade squeezed into a half hour.
So Saturday was a big day for small explorations.