Friday, July 12, 2013

Things You Find in the Field: Another Rock Wall

Is that a dike leading across the far field to the brownish outcrops?
As I mentioned near the end of my last post about "Slickenside Ridge" , MOH and I had seen a rock wall the first day we hiked up the north side of the canyon to investigate some dikes of rhyolite porphyry. The photo above shows our first view of that rock wall, looking from east to west, before we knew for sure it was a wall and not a dike.
We eventually meandered over to the brown quartzite outcrops and found for sure that we were indeed looking at a rock wall.

We determined to walk back along the wall to discover what we could about who or why it was built.
Aha! Barbed wire.
A former fence post?
Barbed wire and flowers with boulders of dike rock.
More wire, strung along more or less parallel to the length of the wall.
A rusty, old can of unknown age and purpose.
Looking back toward the quartzite knob from a wired exposure of dike rock.
By now we've made it to the middle of the expanse between the location of our first view on the east and what we thought would be the end of the wall at a couple ribs of dike rock in the middle of the area — but the wall, and its associated wire and posts, continues on farther than we expected.
The wall continues on toward a fairly large rib of dike rock.
Fence post with barbed wire attached.
The wall here is composed mostly of yellowish-brown dike rock
and barbed wire.
Post sticking out of a pile of rocks.
Here we've walked to the far eastern side of the large rhyolite porphyry rib, to find a post or two stuck in a cairn made of the same rock.
And the wall continues on toward the dirt road we hiked up.
The truth is, I don't really know who built the rock wall or why, though it was obviously used at some point as a base for a barbed wire fence, presumably a cattle fence. The wall is made mostly of fairly large boulders of both rhyolite porphyry and quartzite, not particularly neatly stacked (or since fallen into disarray), and the wall uses large outcrops and ribs where possible, saving some of the effort that would be required to build wall its entire length were the outcrops not present.
A view of the lower part of the rock wall as seen from across the canyon.
It was after climbing Slickenside Ridge that we discovered that the wall extends at least all the way to the floor of the canyon, where it's built below a rocky section of hill with a lot of outcrops. I suspect that the wall winds up through the rocks as it did near the top of the hill, but we haven't walked that steeper section to check it out.


Sunil said...

Beautiful. Miss Water Canyon...

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Sunil :)