Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Secret Places

The motto here at VCC is, “Searching for Lost Secrets.” In the past few months I’ve found a few of those secrets. I’m willing to share some pictures of these places, but I won’t be giving out any clues to their specific locations. It only takes a few moments for some greedy idiot to destroy something that has been around for centuries.

Some chipped paintings I've seen.

A few months ago Frank and I drove up to Santa Barbara to hunt down a couple of caves I had read about named Condor Cave and Pool Rock. They both are in Campbell Grants’ book The Rock Paintings of the Chumash  as plates SB- 17 and SB-11 respectively. The only information I had about these sites was the trailhead to start at, a few pictures of the rock formations the caves were in, and a cryptic clue I had found on the internet.

We got lucky and were able to figure out the clues that led us to the first site, Condor Cave. This cave has some very nice, very large paintings. There is also a hole in the cave wall that may or may not be Chumash made. I certainly don’t have the expertise to tell.

A "Condor" painted over a bear paw petroglyph

Hole in the cave wall and a couple of bedrock mortars

High off that victory we wanted to find Pool Rock. I knew it was relatively close by, but I had no idea what direction to start looking. We looked at the pictures I had brought and inspected them closely. Some of the rocks in the background of the picture looked a lot like some the rocks we could see from where we stood. Based on that we decided on a direction and headed out. By this time the sun was really blasting us. We were able to persevere, and eventually we saw Pool Rock in the distance.

This is a huge rock formation with a couple of small caves around the base. This site has paintings as well as petroglyphs.  All around the entrance to the main cave are small circular recesses. They look like miniature mortar holes.

A few months went by before we went out looking for more lost secrets. This time we went looking in the Ventura backcountry. The next cave we found had just a few simple paintings in it. None the less it was a very satisfying find. 

 This circle is about four or five inches in diameter

The last cave I’ll tell you about took me a long time to find. I’ve been out searching for it many times before with no luck. This time I was really motivated to put some miles under my feet and find this sucker. I covered a lot of ground this day hiking up one drainage then another. Then when I had less than five minutes to go before my self-imposed turn around time I saw a Forest Service sign-in post that meant rock art was near. I then ignored the turn around mandate and I proceeded to take some pictures and enjoy the satisfaction of finally finding this long hidden secret.

 I'm not sure if this Chumash painting or not

 This sure is

I've been trying to figure out where these sites were for a few years now. It's really nice to have been able to see these mysterious enigmas.With some more luck I'll be able to show you some more of these in the future.