Last week, we walked along a road to try to find Painted Rock.
We thought we hadn’t found it, and heard about another trail in the area so we decided to return.
We were hoping to see LOTS of petroglyphs.
Driving through Painted Rock Canyon, we started on what is called Painted Rock Trail, just up on FR 54. It was only 1.3 miles long to the intersection with another trail, but it was UP. I mean like 1,000 feet of uphill climbing.
It was like going up so many stairs that every few feet I used “picture taking” as an excuse to rest.
I really DID take pictures.
The first picture above was shortly after we got started. And yes, when we started, we were level with the river below.
The picture above was a little farther up the trail, but the views were getting epic. In any season besides winter, there would have been too much foliage to see any of these views. I loved the way the trees in the foreground almost looked haunting; like a price to pay to see the views.
It’s amazing that even in the “dead” of winter, how many interesting patches of foliage and grass there are. This dormant grass provided some excellent photo fodder as we walked along (still going up…and up…did I mention up?).
Interestingly, there were a few burned trees along the trail. We guessed that rangers had done controlled burns. Either that or some butt-head accidentally started a fire and the rain put it out.
As we neared the top of the trail, we heard the train far below. We watched it “round” the big “U” below and the tail end of it was on the right side of the U in this photo.
I got to thinking: why doesn’t the US use trains more for commuting? That train in the above picture had to be over a mile long. It looked like there were hundreds of cars. That’s super efficient!
I hate flying. Last year I tried to book a train from Charlotte, NC to Colorado Springs, CO. I couldn’t do it: the closest station I could leave from was Atlanta that had service ONLY to Denver, CO. From there, I’d have to take a bus to the airport and FLY to Colorado Springs.
I ended up crammed in a tin can with a bunch of other sardines in those things they call planes.
I have to go off on a bit of a tangent here. I LOVE trains. I fell in love with them when I was in Spain and took the Tren de Alta Velocidad – the AVE – for short from Madrid to Seville.
It was really cool. We played games, used the wi-fi, went to the food car all while traveling 200 kph and you didn’t even feel it! Had it been an overnight trip, there were cabins like you saw in the Harry Potter movies where you could sleep comfortably.
If we had trains like that in the US, not only would I give up my car willingly, I’d happily take trains all the time to commute to Asheville and across the country.
Yeah, we went into a whole discussion about that while on the trail. I love hikes for so many reasons, including the unprobable existential discussions that invariably characterize quite a few rest stops.
This was the view at the top of the trail before it merged with Chimney Rock Trail. We didn’t know it would end there and there were NO rocks ANYWHERE, let alone any with petroglyphs. Oh well.
We began our rapid-descent back down to the river. That’s when I took advantage of the scenery and began snapping a lot of river shots. I’ve shared a few of them, but of course, I love this black and white high contrast shot with the water smoothed over. I didn’t have a filter and it’s slightly overexposed even after processing, but still…I think of Ansel Adams (not that my photography is anywhere near his caliber).
As for the Painted Rock. We finally found it – by the river. Not worth a picture, though, because the glyphs were so high up and really faded; you couldn’t see them with the camera. We could barely see them with our eyes. We stared and stared at one spot that looked like it had geometric markings…and stared some more before vaguely recalling that the Hot Springs website showed a close-up version of the glyphs.
Maybe if I was into rock climbing….