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Rock Carvings and Birding at Petroglyph Point

Escape Trailer Sunrise and Moon, Indian Well Campground

Escape Trailer Sunrise and Moon, Indian Well Campground

“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” We had a beautiful sunrise yesterday. It didn’t seem that it was going to rain for most of the day until late in the afternoon when clouds rolled in. Then we had a perfect thunderstorm in the evening. It rained cats and dogs and pea size hail fell. “Our Escape trailer gets its first shower.” Said Stephen.

Today we drove to Tulelake to pick up our delivery. Modoc people called this land “the land of burnt-out fires.” I felt that description was excellent as we drove by the Devils Homestead Lava Flows again. Imagining that fiery hot lava flew from the fissures of the Gillem Bluff, it was a sea of fire. After the fire, the lava flows cooled and became dark just like charcoals left after the campfire burned out.

I noticed that the basin is very flat. Maybe because most part of the Tule Lake was drained and turned into farm lands. Tulelake is a small town with one tiny grocery store. There were lots of mailboxes in the post office. Stephen said that they probably don’t deliver mail.

Petroglyph 1, Petroglyph Point

Petroglyph 1, Petroglyph Point

Petroglyph Point is on the east side of the Tule Lake. The interpretive sign explained that this hill was an island. Remember that Tule Lake was ten times of its current size. Modoc people believed that the creator of the world, Kamookumpts, sleeps here. The hill has folded rocks on one side. On the eastern side of the hill are towering cliffs with patterns of deep-cut lines, holes, and crevasses as if they were sculpted by the creator. Native American carved symbols in the tuff. Because it was in a lake, they had to canoe over here to carve. That explained why most of the petroglyphs are in line at the low sections, some are higher. I think the higher petroglyphs might be carved when the lake rose. According to nps.gov, there are more than 5,000 individual carvings. The rock carvings have significant meanings to the Modoc people. This was their sacred land. We were here to contemplate the history and rock arts.

We were surprised to see lots of birds nests on the cliffs. The material of the nests seemed to be clay. We heard the tweets of birds coming from the nests but couldn’t see them. Swallows swiftly flew to the nests and fed the young chicks.

Several big birds were flying high above the cliffs. One of them landed on a rock. I took some videos and photos using my camcorder. From the binoculars, I saw that they have a pale breast and white edge on the tail. Just before we were about leave, a big group of those big birds appeared in the sky and circled above. That was spectacular. Now I took a close look at my photos, I noticed that the bird has a dark face and dark dots on the breast. Comparing the images from the Internet with mine, I believe that they were peregrine falcons. One astonishing fact about peregrine falcons is that they can dive up to 200 miles in one flight to catch their prey!

Sunset1, Indian Well Campground

Sunset1, Indian Well Campground

Sunset2, Indian Well Campground

Sunset2, Indian Well Campground

We enjoyed a magnificent sunset in the evening. As the saying goes, “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.” For the first time after staying at the campground for three nights, we had clear night sky. The milky way was clearly visible with diamond like stars. Meteors stroke across the starry sky with a long shining tail. We are looking forward to the Perseid Shower Saturday night.

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