News Flashes! I was out below the Tablelands yesterday and found a lake! I was surprised because water out here is so scarce. I had put the car into 4WD because the ‘sand’ looked really soft and decided to drive no further. I stepped out of the car, walked around behind it to get to the water and sank ankle-deep into ash! It wasn’t sand by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who has ever cleaned out a fireplace or wood stove knows how those ashes just float everywhere and heaven help you if you drop something into the pile. This was just like that. I checked with the BLM office and was told it is alkali: (2. (Earth Sciences / Geological Science) a soluble mineral salt that occurs in arid soils and some natural waters). By the time I got home, there was alkali up to my knees even though I had long pants on. The sunset was worth it.
A couple of days ago, I was listening to radio news about Paiute petroglyphs having been stolen from the Tablelands. On one of my early visits to the Tablelands, I noticed the theft, but didn’t know that’s what it was. You could see drill marks and chips, etc., and I sat there and wondered why someone would come up here and drill into the rock when there are a zillion places to get flat pieces of rock without having to work at it (already broken beside the pass out to Deep Springs). Now I know what it was I saw. Apparently some visitors just reported it to authorities and according to the news, they only value the ancient petroglyphs at around $1500; yet they’ll never be replaced, so in my mind they’re priceless. The Paiutes have spiritual ceremonies on the Tablelands centering on the petroglyphs. What a shame that people act as they do.
So of course I had to go back to the Tablelands to see what was up. I apparently saw the theft before they were finished, as there was much more damage than I had seen originally. Today, there were MANY people about, as the state of California saw fit to run fiber through the Tablelands! Of course the archaeologists are upset about that and rightly so, the machinery tore up quite a bit of rock. And, I think there are concerned citizens camped out near other Petroglyphs to keep them safe. I’m still looking to take a picture of the petroglyphs. I will update the Volcanic Tablelands photo website with more pictures.