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Rock art at Seminole Canyon is enigmatic, stunning Web Posted: 07/20/2007 05:32 PM CDTLouis B. ParksHouston Chronicle SEMINOLE CANYON STATE PARK — Stand with your back to the wall of Fate Bell Rock Shelter and look down the length of this rugged border-country canyon. You see for miles. Now turn to the wall and its ancient pictographs. You see into the past for thousands of years. Binoculars help the view down the canyon. For the trip through time you just need a good guide — such as park ranger Jack Johnson — and a little imagination. What were they feeling, those artists who stood right here, before Egypt's pyramids were built, to tell their story in brilliant and, to us, enigmatic pictures? What were they saying? To whom? Surely they meant to preserve their stories, their lore, their faiths, for their children's children. Could they have dreamed people 100 generations hence would look at their work with wonder and strain to "hear" their silent message? Standing before an unknown artist's work, I yearned to send a thought back through time, if only to say you're not forgotten, we still long to know your tale, your life. On the Rio Grande and the U.S.-Mexico border 41 miles northwest of Del Rio, Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site is part of the Lower Pecos archaeological region. Its scores of ancient sites contain some of the most impressive rock art of this history-rich area. Some pictographs were painted by American Indians 3,000-4,000 years ago; others are the work of people perhaps 500 years ago. Railway crews in the late 19th century discovered the major park site at Fate Bell shelter. The 2,173-acre park was opened in 1980. For the safety of the artwork, all canyon hiking is ranger-guided. Like the rare bones that have come to represent all dinosaurs, or like Pompeii, which represents cities of its era, it is only a hint of much more that was painted and lost and forgotten. Other aspects of the area's history are easier to interpret than the pictographs. Fossils readily seen in the rocks tell of life when this region was under water millions of years ago. We know people lived here 12,000 years past, when it was cooler, wetter and covered with trees and grasses that fed mammoths. More recent times brought the ranchers, the train crews and the settlers. Explore human and natural history in the park headquarters' interpretive exhibits. Or just enjoy the stark beauty. Seminole Canyon is on the eastern edge of the vast Chihuahuan Desert, with hints of the Hill Country and brushlands. The terrain is rocky. But on our May visit, after rains, there was abundant plant life. The park is a popular hiking and camping spot in three seasons, and while almost deserted in May — our tent was all alone on a weekday night — once school lets out many families dare the heat for summer camping.
What were they feeling, those artists who stood right here, before Egypt's pyramids were built
Looks like the may have some kind of "shelters" along the trail for overnight camping, etc.?
BTW - correct me if I'm wrong, the map shows it to be Rio Grande River Trail, but I've always understood that it's not the Rio Grande River, simply, the Rio Grande
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