The drive to Seminole Canyon Historic State Park was uneventful once I pulled yet another screw out of a tire, the left front to be precise. No loss of air and everything was just fine. We arrived just before the office closed and after paying found our way to the campsite which, as we remembered, is situated on top of a rise subject to whatever breeze or wind may blow. Gee 2 is clearly visible for miles around, from US 90, from the visitor center and seemingly whenever we look in that direction. There is no digital phone service, no NPR and for some reason my satellite dish will not lock into satellite 119 so no news.
We came here first, a couple of years ago because it is as far as one would choose to drive in a day from Falcon SP. We stopped here for lunch last year, but did not tarry. We had heard that there were wonderful pictograms to be seen in a cave that is only accessible by guided tour, to protect the art from vandals and graffiti creeps. I guess that each of the last times we were here the tours were being given on some other day and we had reasons to move on. This year was to be different. Tours are twice a day Wednesday through Sunday at 10 AM and 3 PM, we got here on Thursday afternoon. Friday morning found us walking the mile from the campsite to the visitor center to join the tour, $5 per person. Eight or ten of us set out to follow Dean, the volunteer guide, into the canyon where we were enlightened about the possible sources of the pictograms and the natives who scratched a living from the desert as hunter gatherers. I have many pictures of this art, but the images are faint from exposure to the air and stress of water perking through the limestone substrate for the past 3,000 years give or take, so here a just a couple to whet your appetite. I have used some digital magic to make the images visible without distorting the color any more than necessary. As you can imagine the color changes with the light from minute to minute in any event.
As Dean talked he mentioned another cave with drawing not very far away that is protected by a private foundation. The images are reputed to be more vivid and the descent to the cave more difficult, ah ha a greater challenge for Carol’s wonderful new hip. We drove to Langtry. TX about 20 miles west of here, to see the site of the home, Saloon and office of Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of the Pecos.” I will leave you to dig up the many stories of his antics if you wish. He had no jail so his only punishments were hanging or fines. He is said to have used both liberally. On the drive back from Langtry I spotted a sign for White Shaman Tours and pulled into the gate to get the phone number. There was no response, but during Happy Hour with Gary and Vicky Shrope aboard Gee 2 we learned that they were going and the tour was every Saturday at 12:30. We agreed to meet at noon and go together.
If you have any interest in the prehistory of this land, if you have any curiosity about the lives of the Indians of the lower Pecos, if you just want to see great rock art, go out of your way to visit this area. The art in this one cave is enough reason to come here. Combined with the art in Fate Bell the trip is worthwhile. It is just around the corner by Texas standards, Greg, the tour guide at White Shaman, and co founder of the foundation, drives in weekly from San Antonio, only five hours away he says. There are other caves and tours available and we will be returning to see them in the future.
For now here are just a few pictures of the art in White Shaman.
This is the route to the shelter
This last is the White Shaman