These mortars, also known as morteros can be found in Arizona and Mexico and are believed to be around a thousand years old.
The desert beckoned us to come for another hike. Our campsite was south of Quartzsite, at the edge of the BLM lands. We complied with the desert and went looking for petroglyphs and grinding stones
We headed south west and across several washes until we reached a very wide wash. Google map labeled it as French Creek, but we’ve seen some references to Tyson Wash. We followed the wash/creek south until we reached a right angle turn in dry river bed.
We were looking for the grinding holes and petroglyphs that we heard about. After wandering around a bit, Tony spotted the petroglyphs on the rocky outcrop on the east side of the wash.
At close inspection, the petroglyphs started popping out and became more visible.
I had to darken the photos a bit so that you can see them as clearly as possible.
They weren’t many of them,
and just like most petroglyphs, we weren’t able to decipher the story behind them.
but there is definitely a story here.
Some of the images long faded, while others are very clear and bold. Are these snakes?
It took us a while to find the grinding holes. The petroglyphs are on the right of the photo.
The grinding holes ended up on the other side of the wash, on a small hill.
We passed by caves and rock hangings to reach the top of the hill.
From the top, we had a clear view of the outcrop on the other side of the creek.You can see how this area is unique in the flat landscape.
We finally found the grinding holes tucked away on the south side of the hill.
These ancient grinding holes are where the native peoples would ground mesquite pods and other beans into meal.
Other depressions in the bedrock might have been used for corn grinding or sharpening tools, although they seen a tad too deep for that.
It was cool to explore around these rocks, but it was time to go back. We followed the wide dry creek back to our campsite.
There is a story that a safe full of gold was carried away and buried in the sand during a major flood. Did it make it here?We should have brought a metal detector along with us!
Until next time. Stay safe and warm wherever you are.