The Massacre Rim Expedition
We traveled to Northeastern California in quest of a mysterious fish petroglyph alleged to be in Northwestern Nevada. Most of the country we traveled through was new to us. After leaving the Bay Area we traveled up Hwy 5 through rice paddies and sunflowers fields with huge rice silos and dramatic windmills in silhouette. We were doing this in large part to fulfill a promise to our good friend Alice Rich who had heard of a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout cut into a rocky ledge somewhere in the Eastern Nevada desert. The promise? We were going to find the fish, even though Alice couldn’t be with us!
Leaving Redding, we climbed through some 6000 feet of elevation as we passed North of Mt. Shasta through magnificent stands of pine trees, over quiet streams, meandering rivers and through a few small towns. Leaving Alturas, the road cut through the Warner Mountains to Cedarville where we meet up with our good friend Mike McKenzie at the Bureau of Land Management office in Cedarville. He had arranged a meeting with Julie Rodman, the BLM regional anthropologist. Julie graciously provided background regarding BLM lands along the Massacre Rim north of town. We reviewed maps and acquired directions to the sites we hoped to visit. Knowing we were members of the Utah Rock Art Research Assoc., she requested we document the sites we were to visit. Both Sharon and Mike had their camera equipment ready to go.
We were to spend the next three days visiting sites that featured primarily archaic petroglyphs about 10,000 years or more old. Most of them were of an abstract design known as the Curvilinear Style. However we did find some “representational” glyphs that depicted animals, people and events including a “Super Nova” that is believed to represent the event that took place in 1050 AD.
We were particularly interested in finding Alice’s fish. She had tried to find this creation with a friend years ago, but had to turn around when her friend could not withstand the extreme isolation that comes with the beautiful desert full of Cedar and sagebrush.
© Sharon Wheat