Joshua Tree

Belden Arrastra and Petroglyphs

I had looked for this arrastra some time ago but instead found another mining camp. That ended up being a good trip even without finding my elusive target. Still, it wasn’t an arrastra.

So, some time passed (actually, a few years) and it sort of dropped off my radar, as things do. I had other places to go and easier places to find. Of course, I didn’t forget. The ones that get away are always the hardest to forget, aren’t they?

Well, one day a couple of months back, I came across a good lead on some petroglyphs in my search area. I’m always interested in petroglyphs (who isn’t, right?) but these were in my search area for this little arrastra.  I already knew my arrastra was next to some petroglyphs. This upped the ante.

And this time I was lucky.

I still don’t know the background history for the Belden arrastra. I can guess that a prospector found some placer gold float in the wash and followed it to a source. He built the arrastra to work that source. Or perhaps he had a few local digs and worked them here. It remains a mystery.

The petroglyphs are mostly abstract and clustered around a small underground seep.  I bet if I dug down, I would have found water at the ready. The one real surprise here was the red headless digitate anthropomorphic pictograph on a high rock pinnacle overlooking the wash below. I’m guessing it is of Serrano origin. I wonder how many hundreds of people drive by each year without seeing any of this? Quite a few I imagine.

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About Guy Starbuck

Exploring the American West.
  • Nevada
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