navajo county, arizona


Rock Art Ranch Petroglyphs: Anthropic forms.

Please click any photo in the set for enlarged views.

I was very pleased to find my first Kokopelli glyph (second row, photo at right), etched high up on the canyon wall at Rock Art Ranch. Kokopelli is the Ancestral Puebloan fertility deity - a hunchbacked flute player with a reputation for trickery. He is also sometimes depicted with a comically large phallus, though not on this panel. 

At bottom is a glyph depicting a creation story, showing a woman giving birth. This image is significant for its size - almost a full meter in height - and for the relative scarcity of images of a female form. Note also the figure’s squash-blossom coiffure. Until the 20th Century young Hopi women wore their hair in similar coils to indicate their eligibility for marriage, though the hairstyle is worn now only for certain ceremonies. I find it fascinating that the practice has endured in Hopi culture for so many years. 

Petrified limb of Chromium colored wood (Araucarioxylon arizonicum)

From one of the oddest finds of Petrified wood in the world, this Conifer tree existed between
65 and 200 million years ago during the Triassic Era. When the tree died and was becoming
petrified, it became exposed to the mineral Chromium (same mineral which colors Emeralds).
Native Americans were the first to find the material and used it in jewelry making but kept the
location a secret until it was eventually rediscovered and authenticated by the Smithsonian.

Locality:  Winslow, Navajo County, Arizona.

Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), at Homolovi State Park in Navajo County, Arizona.

Jackrabbits are actually hares, not true rabbits. They are ground-dwellers and ground-nesters, not burrowers like rabbits. Unlike rabbits, who give birth to helpless young, they give birth to precocial young - born with fur and eyes wide open, ready to run in their exposed habitat. 

Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), near the town of Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona.

About ten vultures were attending to a bloated cow carcass on the side of the road. These four took flight in formation as soon as I stepped from the car for a better view. Please click photo to enlarge.

Etymology note: Cathartes is a new-Latin word based on the Greek word καθαρτής, meaning cleanser.