Saturday, September 27, 2008

Solstice Panel on the Holly Ruins Trail

The Holly Trail is a 4.0 mile route from the Holly Ruins Group south to the campground near the Hovenweep National Monument Visitor Center on the south Utah and Colorado border. Just past the Holly Ruins Group is a small petroglyph panel that is thought to be connected with Ancient Skywatchers and the summer solstice.

The Holly Ruins Group is at the head of a small canyon with a seep springs providing water. Several of the structures here are perched on boulders. The terrain is rocky and dry with scattered Utah Junipers and sagebrush on the rim and greener in the canyon bottom.

Just past the ruins group, there is a short side trail to the petroglyph overlook point. There are steep cliffs below the overlook and no easy way to get close to it.

The petroglyph is on the underside of a large boulder that has broken open. The natural arrangement of the rock is such that a beam of light hits the panel at sunrise for a few days around the summer solstice. In some cases man made portals are made for these observations, but here a natural portal was used.

To the left it looks like there is a spiral and maybe a series of arcs. To the right there appears to be some concentric circles. The trail guide says there are some wall segments and rubble but these aren't visible from the overlook.

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