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Las Vegas

Stories, pictures, and information about a variety of attractions around Las Vegas that lie outside of the main gambling entertainment industry.

Duck Creek


Short stories chronicling off-road adventures near Las Vegas and interesting places within Las Vegas itself.



Duck Creek

Joseph Bostic

Date:.........January 2, 2000
Destination:..Duck Creek
Duration:.....Day trip (4 hours)
Weather:......Cold and windy
Adventurers:..8 (Kendal, Mike, Maria, Ted, Angie, Nancy, Renee, Joe)



Kendal, Nancy, Renee, Joe, Ted, Angie, Maria, Mike

The previous trip was short, fun, and full of adventure. Time to repeat it, but where to go this time? There is a place near Las Vegas that is rumored to have many petroglyphs. What was life like before recorded history? With petroglyphs, if we can interpret them, we may find out. Heck, petroglyphs are a form of recorded history. So begins the story of what we like to call "The Day of the Petroglyph".

The Trip There

First, we meet for lunch at Coffee Pub. I mean, one can't be expected to explore the wilderness on an empty stomach, can one? White Cafe Mocha, mmmm good. Let me not forget to mention that it was cold and windy.

Sharp turn at the Sloan exit. Weeeee!

Ted has a rough idea where we are going, so he leads. We follow south on I-15 and then take the Sloan exit. From there it is east into the desert. Suddenly, Ted stops to consult a map. This is usually a sign of trouble. I would have jumped out to give expert advice, but it was just too dang cold for that.

Ted is a bit lost. He is consulting a map, but it was too cold to step outside and help.

Soon we are on our way again, but this time we turn south and follow a twisty narrow road (with lots of rocks). This road follows up a wash and then dead ends at a rock face more properly described as a mini-cliff.

Mike, Nancy, Renee, Ted, and Angie are gathering for a group photo.

If there were water flowing down this wash, we would be at a raging waterfall and would be soaked. Fortunately, there wasn't, so we weren't. Which was good because (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.

Ted insists that the petroglyphs must be further up the wash, so I guess we have to get out and walk now. 

The Hike

Pausing before climbing the next rock face on the trail to the petroglyphs.

Time to hike up the wash. The 'trail' followed the wash and was punctuated by a series of rock faces that cut across our path. These had to be scaled, but were not very difficult.

The first petroglyph. It is faint and high up the rock face.

It was then that the first petroglyphs were observed. They were faint and hard to spot among the rocks. Soon though, they became more frequent and more pronounced.


Renee, Mike, Nancy, Angie, Ted, and Maria. Petroglyphs are all over the place here.

Mike shoots off one direction and I another. The race was on to photograph all of the petroglyphs. The futility of this soon became apparent. There were just too many petroglyphs. They were literally everywhere. The rock climbing was good because it kept our minds off the fact that (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.


There must be a story behind these ancient markings. Jonathan was only partially successful in deciphering them on a previous trip. This time, we must fully unlock their secrets. It would have been nice to study them right then and there except (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.

It seems clear that snakes and bugs were a major part of prehistoric life.

Creatures of the region were a favorite subject of early petroglyph artists. This is creature with a big head and long tail. Possibly a dog or maybe a lion. It could even be a bighorn sheep and the artist slipped when drawing the tail (sheep have very short tails).

By combining our pictures and with careful study, we were able to unlock the secrets of the petroglyphs! Finally, we discover what it was like to live back in those 'good old days' of pre-history.

Most petroglyphs appear to pack an entire thought into a single image. Probably because these markings were made by a painstakingly slow process of chipping away rock. Heck, if I were making petroglyphs, I'd try to finish up each one as quickly as possible too. Especially if (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.

Just your standard Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring and showing its teeth.

A bighorn sheep and two juveniles frolic over the rocks.

The primary subject of these primitive artists was the local fauna. Some of these animals still exist today and others are now extinct.

Not all of the fauna were willing to just sit around while their picture was being drawn. Here is a petroglyph series that portrays a story. It tells a sad tale of the dangers these people faced at that time.

Signs of Advanced Intelligence

There is some speculation that these early inhabitants were quite intelligent. Some of the petroglyphs appeared to show elements of advanced technology. Too bad Jonathan wasn't here. We could have used his petroglyph reading expertise.

Wave propagation and spectrum analysis chart. Too bad they didn't finish the "E=MC2" formula. I would have been impressed if they had.

Power pole and an antenna are illustrated here. Ha Ha, these people didn't realize that a power pole doesn't actually require a large Danish pastry for support.

Could these 'primitives' actually have invented power lines and radio communication? We only have these crude images to tell us. I think their message is clear.

We did notice several drawings of humanoid figures with large heads. Sometimes they were running and sometimes just standing. They didn't look natural (to this planet, anyway). It could be that the early inhabitants looked like this. Maybe these were visitors to the region? We may never know.

Horse(?) and rider. Oh my! Horsey-Worsey, what long ears you have! This could be a drawing of a Bantha.

Some petroglyphs illustrated that these people were skilled at taming and riding animals -- a sign of high intelligence. For some unknown reason, this talent was lost to these people sometime before the Europeans arrived and reintroduced horse riding.

Experiments with written language?

The skill of written language was not known to the Indians, but it appears they experimented in this area. Letter-like symbols adorned some rocks, but they were incomprehensible to us. Alternatively, it could be part of some language only known to the big-headed humanoids.

Some petroglyphs are beyond our meager ability to interpret them. someday we may understand the meaning of these cryptic symbols. Until then, we can only wonder at the hidden mysteries they may contain.

These previous pictures only cover a fraction of the petroglyphs at Duck Creek There is much more knowledge to unlock with these prehistoric illustrations.

Maybe soon, it will be fully revealed, but for now, further petroglyph analysis must wait.

So, now what were we doing?

Huddling together for warmth while the others climb the rocks -- except for Kendal. Who knows where he is at this point?

Good question. Just what were we doing? One thing we were doing was shivering because (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy. I predicted that the wind would die down, but this turned out to be exceedingly incorrect. Between huddling for warmth and climbing on the rocks, we were all accounted for. All except for Kendal that is. Kendal had wandered off somewhere. Oh well.

These formations are precariously balanced over our heads. They consist of large, sharp, and probably heavy rocks.

The geology of this place was mixed. In addition to the black surfaced rocks that the petroglyphs were carved upon, there was multi-layered sedimentary rocks lining the east side of this wash. Higher up there were strange twisted rock formations teetering over our heads.

These shallow holes revealed wet gravel. The water table is close to the surface here.

Below our feet was gravel (well, duh) and water. It was more like wet gravel, but it takes water to make wet gravel. Fortunately, the water-level was below ground-level so no swimming was required of us.

Shadows creep into the wash. Sedimentary layered rock stands out well in this light.

The sun sank low in the sky and shadow filled the wash. Yes, as you might have guessed, this was only making it colder. The picture taking was wrapping up and it was now becoming time to find shelter since (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.

Time to leave, but where was Kendal? We hadn't seen him for some time. That's just fantastic. It is time to seriously consider invoking the '20-minute rule'. [The 20-minute rule states that the party will wait a maximum of 20 minutes before ditching anyone who has not yet arrived.] We have nearly invoked the rule before, but maybe Kendal is unaware of his impending doom.

Kendal finally returns just under the wire. That was close!

Ted tries to contact Kendal on the radio. This was a rather difficult because the radios we were using have a very limited range. We heard static and pops in response to our radio calls. Maybe this was Kendal answering? Maybe he didn't hear us? Maybe Kendal was going to have a long walk back to Las Vegas?

The Trip Back

It was a bit easier descending down the mini-cliffs we had ascended earlier.

Fortunately, Kendal wanders up just in time. The radio came in handy since he was able to hear our calls (even if he couldn't respond) and would have kept hiking away otherwise. We head to our vehicles since we were in a hurry because (did I mention this already?) it was cold and windy.

Racing back to town. Mike zooms off and the rest of us try to keep up.

Wasting no time, we jump into the vehicles and drive back down the road. Ted and Angie soon veer off in another direction (they had other plans) while the rest continue toward Las Vegas. It was then that Mike decided to race over some hills. With enough speed, it was possible to 'catch air' like a roller-coaster. That darn Mike, he was out of control (again).

About a mile later we reach the highway and head back to Las Vegas.

Mike speeds ahead and 'flies' over some hills.

Yet another successful miniQuest trip.

See you next time.

Note to self: Pick trip days that are not so (did I mention this already?) cold and windy.

The End