Hieroglyphics in Arizona?

hieroglyphic trail sign gold canyon arizonaOn Tuesday we hiked the Hieroglyphic Trail in Gold Canyon, not far from where we are living. My friend Esther is visiting for a week and she did the hike with us. 

hieroglyphic trail canyon arizonaIt didn’t take Dave long to get way ahead of us.  It was an absolutely lovely day and Esther and I were determined to enjoy the blue sky, the warm sun and the amazing scenery so we walked at a much slower pace. 
barrel cactus hieroglyphic trail gold canyonEsther had never been to Arizona before so she was excited about seeing so many cacti .

IMG_0898Check out all the hundreds of saguaro cacti behind me.  Esther had read in a magazine before we left on the hike that groups of saguaro are called cohorts.

saguaro cacti gold canyon arizonaSaguaros have a very long life span and many are over a hundred years old. saguaro cacti with person

Sagauaros can grow to be 40-60 feet tall. My friend Esther is pretty tall but she is dwarfed by this giant saguaro. 

saguaro cactus with armsSaguaros only begin to develop arms after 75 years.  When it rains the cactus take in water and visibly swell to hold it in. They conserve the water and slowly consume it. 

view from the hieroglyphic trail gold canyonWe had some great views of the city below from the trail. 

hieroglyphic trail gold canyon

Although the three-mile trail is only rated as a 2 out of 10 for difficulty Esther and I stopped to rest often, took plenty of photos and walked carefully on the last bit of the trail which is very rocky. 

resting at the end of the hieroglyphic trailOf course this meant by the time we reached the end of the trail Dave had already been there for a long time just relaxing and catching a few rays.

petroglyphs on hieroglyphic trail in gold canyonAt the end of the trail we also saw the famous ‘hieroglyphics’ the trail is named after. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica  only writing on Egyptian monuments should technically be called hieroglyphics but since the 19th century picture writing of other peoples has also been called hieroglyphics. 

petroglyphs hieroglyphic trail gold canyon

These ‘hieroglyphics’ are actually petroglyphs. The ancient Hohokam people carved images of people, antelope and snakes into the rocks. 

pools on hieroglyphic trail gold canyonThere are a couple of pools at the end of the trail which you can apparently swim in at certain times of the year. They looked pretty shallow and stagnant on our visit. There was a stream of water running down into the pool and it made a lovely trickling sound. The quiet was so nice. All we heard were the running water and birds. We did meet a few other hikers, but not many.

homeward on the hieroglyphic trail gold canyon arizona

On the way back down the trail Esther got her second wind and led the way. 

teddy bear chollas cactus hieroglyphic trail gold canyon arizonaWe noticed these teddy bear cholla cacti glowing in the sun. They get their name because of the fact that from a distance they look like fuzzy cuddly teddy bears. However they are really covered with silvery spines that are extremely painful if you get stuck with them. 

on the hieroglyphic trail gold canyon arizonaThe Hieroglyphic Trail was the perfect first hike in Arizona for 2013. 

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Filed under Arizona, Nature, Sports

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