Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lost and Found

You never know what you will find when you go exploring.  Whether it is driving someplace you have never been before, opening the door to a new restaurant, or hiking in a new area.   A couple of weeks ago we were on a hike in McDowell Mountain Regional Park (near Scottsdale, Arizona) when I made a discovery (and not just the fact that I was out of shape and huffing and puffing).  As we were slogging through the deep sandy gravel on the Stoneman’s Wash Trail, a smooth green “rock” caught my eye.  The color was a sharp contrast to the light desert brown pebbles and the smooth rock appeared to be carved for a reason.  

Working for the National Park Service at parks rich in cultural heritage taught me a thing or two.  One, is that this object was an archaeological artifact and would be of interest to an archaeologist and; two, not to disturb the object from where it lay.  You see I learned lesson number two the hard way.  While assisting with an archaeological assessment at the Barataria Preserve  outside New Orleans, (a bayou area famous as a Jean Lafitte hang-out), I found a projectile point (a.k.a., arrowhead) - the first one ever found in the park.  It was plausible that they were in the park but surprisingly none had ever been found.  As a group of us were examining a shell midden and discussing the lack of projectile points something caught my eye, I picked it up, brought it to my colleagues and said, "is this what you have been looking for?"  Silly me, there might have been more points in the immediate area and I couldn't remember its exact location.  The Park Service takes their artifacts very seriously so I learned a valuable lesson.

So back to the original story...I took pictures of the object I found, recorded the location, and reported it to the park office.  Granted you only need to do this with an artifact from years past, if you stumble upon a $20 bill pick it up immediately, put it in your pocket, and tell no one of your discovery!

The best I could do was use my shoe for scale (it is a size 8).
I was intrigued with the history of this object and desperately wanted to go back to it with a park ranger to show them my find.  But unfortunately by the time my information made it to a park ranger we were two hundred miles away.  I was able to create a Google Earth map that was adequate for park rangers to recover the object and Rand Hubbell (the Park Supervisor) nicely kept me informed of their search.  Once the object was recovered and examined, I received an email from Rand thanking me and to let me know that the object was placed on display in the visitor center with a sign that reads:

It’s believed that this stone was meticulously crafted into an axe head around 1100-1200 A.D. by the group of people known as the Hohokam. The Hohokam period began around 600 A.D. and extended until 1450. Evidence of their occupation can be found throughout the Phoenix metro area. Several similar stone implements have been found at various valley locations where they were used to cultivate agave, clear vegetation and even construct an extensive canal system. 

This artifact was found in the Stoneman Wash, 
thankfully it was photographed and reported to the park 
by N. Walters on 1-19-2013 

Awesome!  Keep your eyes open (and not just for snakes).


  1. Very cool!
    My Dad was very interested in such things - I learned at an early age to keep my eyes open. He retired to a ranchette (80 acres) in Texas where we found many projectile points as well as other Indian and early pioneer artifacts.

    1. It is so much fun to find things. One of my favorite things to find are fishing lures....maybe because I loose so many when I go fishing.


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