Weekly Photo Challenge – Beyond

Beyond – what an intriguing prompt! As I thought about it, I realized that one of my favorite adventures was the perfect interpretation of Beyond – that is my trip to Horseshoe Canyon in Utah. Horseshoe Canyon – originally called Barrier Canyon – is the home of the best examples of ancient rock art in North America. It was annexed into Canyonlands National Park in 1971 as a way of protecting this national treasure. The land surrounding these amazing pictographs is not contiguous with Canyonlands, lying several miles west of the main park.
Peter and I were staying in Moab, Utah, which is east of Canyonlands. We decided to spend the day and go over to Horseshoe Canyon – and it took all day. We left Moab early, drove 100 miles on paved roads – basically around Canyonlands, then 30 miles on dirt roads to get to the trailhead of the canyon. Then we hiked another 3 miles to get to the rock art in the canyon – about a 750 foot descent to a dry creek bed and then along the creek bed to what is called the Grand Gallery. It was so worth it! Here is what we saw:

Beyond Time by Cathy Ulrich

Beyond Time by Cathy Ulrich

This image, to me, speaks of a Beyond – Beyond Time. This shot includes the park ranger and two visitors so you can appreciate the scale. They are standing on the ledge within about 15 feet of the wall. The largest figure has been measured at seven feet tall. The pictographs have been dated to be 7000-9000 years old. Here are some close-ups of the paintings – you can click on any of the images to get a larger view:

Figures with Ghost by Cathy Ulrich

Figures with Ghost by Cathy Ulrich

Ancient Deer by Cathy Ulrich

Ancient Deer by Cathy Ulrich

Rock Gods by Cathy Ulrich

Rock Gods by Cathy Ulrich

Barrier Canyon Dog by Cathy Ulrich

Barrier Canyon Dog by Cathy Ulrich

Ancient King by Cathy Ulrich

Ancient King by Cathy Ulrich

Have you ever encountered something that gave you pause and made you think – “This is beyond time?”

29 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Beyond

  1. Amazing photo’s Cathy, thanks for sharing and telling us the history too.

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  2. Cathy, absolutely incredible! This made me think about Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Have you seen it? At one point Werner Herzog comments on the footprints left by a child and a wolf in the cave and muses over their relationship, whether it was one of friendship, antagonism, or if they lived thousands of years apart. Something to think about. Caves and wall art are so primeval and I think it’s almost impossible to experience and not think about one’s own place in time.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Emily,
      I so agree! One can’t help but think about those ancient people and what their lives must have been like. These places seem magical to me. As if there is some echo of the past still there.
      Cathy

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  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I visited the Catacombs of Paris one time. It was eerie to be down underground with century-old skeletons, so it was a little bit of a “Beyond Time” feeling for me. Great pics.

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  4. Wow, those are super cool! How did you know that was a ghost, though?

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Good question, Jennifer. I don’t know, but I recall that one of the documents I read about these figures had labeled that big in the middle a ghost. I don’t think anyone knows really. There is so little that we know about these prehistoric cultures. But, to me, they’re a very cool mystery.

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  5. The larger figure seems like a God to me, or perhaps a chieftain.

    In the Peak District in Derbyshire, England, I sat at the head of a valley and looked down that valley, and felt part of it- part of the World, that I fitted here, not beyond time but for all time.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      I agree. The larger figure could certainly be a God.
      Very cool experience – that place of feeling one with it and then everything expands beyond time and place. Interesting, too, that it was called the Peak District as some would describe your experience as a “Peak experience.” Thank you for your wonderful contribution, as always, Clare. Hugs, Cathy

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  6. Beautiful! I also like visiting ancient places; the impression of how people lived so long ago never ceases to amaze. It also reminds me how much we haven’t changed over time; we still want to make things beautiful around us and leave our mark.
    P.S. I also like the new blog look!

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Thanks, Jen! Since I’ve been moving more in the direction of photography and poetry, I wanted something that would show off the images better and also be easier to read. I think it’s a fair compromise.
      Yes, I think homo sapiens has been around a long time and we still have basic needs and wants. It’s actually refreshing to me to see these ancient paintings and to know that they and we still want to make things beautiful!
      Cathy

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  7. Wow, Cathy. I’ll say that was worth it. How amazing you got to see and experience that. I’ve never see anything quite like that. I’ve felt that “beyond time” feeling when I went to see the caverns. That was pretty cool.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      H Amy,
      Yes! It was soooo worth it! I can understand how you would experience that “beyond time” feeling in a cavern. Especially if there were stalactites and stalacmites. To imagine each mineral laden drop creating those formations over millions of years. It is very cool!
      Thank you, as always for your wonderful comments.
      Cathy

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  8. Those cave paintings are amazing. I would have just stood there staring at them all day. I completely understand what you mean about them being beyond time, Cathy. They truly are. I’ve had that feeling a lot of times, looking at rivers, mountains, standing on the beach looking at the ocean. But sometimes I get it even being in the middle of a city—I can almost sense all the things that took place at the very spot I’m standing on. I bet you know that feeling too.

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Hello Weebs,
      Yes! I so wanted to stay and stare at them all day. Unfortunately, we had to hike the 3 miles back, drive the 30 miles on the jeep road and the hundred on the paved roads to get back! But we did linger for some time and that was good. A blessing to have had the privilege to be in the presence of this amazing artwork. Oh! And an FYI – Wikipedia says there are reproductions of this exact rock art in the Museum of Modern Art in New York!

      And absolutely, I do get a sense about all of the things that took place in spots wherever I am, when I stop and tune in. It’s fun to do and humbling…

      Cathy

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  9. Brigitte says:

    Cathy, this is incredible! I find it comforting that all human beings since the beginning of time want to leave their mark — something of themselves to say, I’m Here. And whether we record that time with pictures or words, it’s a universal something inside us all that says — I matter. I get those moments when I look at the ocean and when I go to museums and look at art during a time when there was no camera or modern technology — just a person painting/drawing/sculpting what’s in their heart and soul and making themselves well, immortal. Like this — it’s stunning!

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    • Cathy Ulrich says:

      Yes Brigitte,
      It is comforting. The Denver Museum of Art has been hosting a special exhibit containing something like 70 of Vincent Van Gogh’s works – it actually ends this weekend. But I found myself choking back some tears – just feeling a sense of awe at those marvelous paintings – almost as if I could feel his energy in the brush strokes. It think his work did make him immortal – even though he only painted for ten years of his short life…

      And thank you for your kind words here. These rock paintings were truly stunning. Because this place is so remote and it takes such an effort to get there, there were only about 10-12 people in the canyon. I felt transported back in time and there was a hush and reverence that all of us in that place shared.

      Cathy

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  10. thuytrang says:

    thanks for sharing interesting photos, love to know them.

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  11. Becky says:

    Amazing! Can’t wait to go back to Moab!

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  12. Beautiful and magical! Love to you, Linda

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  13. That is amazing that these paintings continue to stand the test of time thousands of years after they were originally produced. Thanks for posting such intriguing images. I have had that “beyond time” feeling. One time I had it was when I visited the Petrified Forest in Calistoga, California. Even though the hike is rather cheesy, the 3 million year old petrified trees are real. That impressed me very much.

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  14. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Yes. Those places are amazing. I’ve been to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona and I agree. The trees there are simply impressive. I, too, was amazed at the quality of the images and how they had remained so vibrant after thousands of years, especially since they’re on a wall of the canyon, not in a cave. There was a rock overhang – kindof like a shelf that seemed to protect them, and then perhaps the cardinal direction to which they faced may have helped, although I don’t know and didn’t pay attention at the time – maybe away from the prevailing winds? I think the biggest thing is that they’re in a very arid climate, although, again, I don’t know what the climate was like 9000 years ago when they were created. It’s mind boggling that they’re so vibrant and so old. Thanks, V, for your thoughtful comment, as always.

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  15. Sara says:

    Those figures look so creepy and mysterious and cool! I want to go see that in person.

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