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Thread: In search of The Red Man

  1. #1

    In search of The Red Man

    Leaving our campsite outside of St. Geroge, Utah, we headed South to Warner Valley to explore Fort Pearce Wash in search of The Red Man.


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    Supposedly the Dominguez and Escalante expedition worked their way down this wash in 1776 looking for a route from Santa Fe to the missions in Southern California.


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    The small structure at the Fort Pearce Historic Site is one of only three remaining stone guard posts built during Utah’s Mormon - Black Hawks War. This “war” was actually a period of intermittent raiding from 1865 to 1870, during which the Ute Tribe, led by Chief Black Hawk (Antonga). The Utes and other Native Americans allies attempted to drive the Mormons from their traditional homelands. Ute raiding parties on horseback, often joined by Navajos, Paiute, and Apaches, attacked outlying ranches and settlements, stole or killed Mormon livestock, and killed settlers who interfered with the raids. More than 100 Native Americans and at least 70 Mormons were killed during the raiding.


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    Scores of these forts were constructed throughout SW Utah and were usually manned by 4 to 6 armed men and their job was to attack and delay the Indian raiding parties. This particular fort was manned from 1866 until 1873 and is currently managed by the BLM as the Fort Pearce Historic site. It is listed on both National and State Historical Places registers.


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    It is named after Colonel John David Lafayette Pearce, an Indian War veteran who became known early on for his skill in military tactics and which led him into prominence as an Indian fighter. He died in 1909 in Washington, Utah.
    Below is the wash where we began our search for the elusive Red Man.


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    Just Southwest of the fort are several place where there are numerous pioneer signatures on the walls of the wash with most dates in the 1870’s and 1880’s.


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    Also nearby is “Necklace Rock” with some nice petroglyphs.

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    You need to work your way “downstream” along the wash to find more rock art panels. Apparently there are several panels at the base of the cliffs and higher up on the North side of the wash, but we only found a few here and there.

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    Not too far from the Fort you will need to bushwhack through some vegetation along the wash, some of it 10 to 12 feet high, long pants are recommended. We ended up traveling down a well established trail (marked “pack trail” on an old USGS topo), obviously now travelled on foot and used by motorcycles.
    I was looking for a geocache that supposedly had details on how to find The Red Man, but I never located it. This is most likely due to the face this was my first handheld GPS and my first attempt at finding a geocache. My wife has much better skills in spotting rock art than me and once we arrived in the general vicinity she spotted a red spot high up on the cliff face. Using binoculars we verified that this was indeed The Red Man we had been searching for and proceeded scrambling up the steep talus slope. In some places we found remnants of faint trail. The large pictograph is probably about 400 feet above the actual wash.


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    The Red Man

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    Notice that he is near life size, had a flat head and white eyes and has 5 toes and fingers. He is also facing East. According to the Dixie Archeology Society he is thought to be a “sky watcher” waiting for the return of Pohana, a white god who was prominent in Meso American mythology. Pohana departed to the east with the promise that he would return. The Native Americans look to the eastern sky in hopes that he would return. There are a number of “red men” in the St. George area.


    This is looking down from the Red Man overlooking Fort Pearce Wash with views of Utah and Arizona.

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    Though a tough hike (temperature was about 106F by the time we returned to my truck), it was well worth the hot bushwhack to see this amazing pictograph up close.

  2. Likes neuron55, Old Jeeper, nelsonccc, jman, Iceaxe liked this post
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  4. #2
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Nice find! When I lived down there, I spent a few hours looking for it but never found it. Guess I wasn't in the right area...

    Good to know.

    A good read! Thanks for the TR!


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