Ancient civilizations had a world we can’t related to at all. The concept of working long hours to build something that has no obvious function. That is our daily life. Building a massive outline of a person, several animals, perfectly proportioned to communicate with a creator. Doing this by leveling out the desert floor without a vantage point to observe the whole operation, not our world. Such is the world of the unknown people that wandered the deserts of California and Arizona maybe 3000 years or more ago.
The place is called Blythe Intaglios. The location is next to the Colorado River about fifteen miles north of Blythe, CA off US95. A small marker points the way. A handful of sites offer limited information. A long gone by show ‘In Search Of’ (Leanord Nemoy) profiled it years ago. The only aerial footage I ever saw of the site.
What is an Intaglio? Well, it’s a geoglyph! Think changing the earths appearance for symbols. Petroglyphs in grand scale. Nazca lines of Peru by far the most famous ones. But here in the borderland of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, there are at least forty Intaglios. Three are easy to see here outside of Blythe. By that I mean by high clearance car or SUV. A mile of gravel roads. The dirt road continues but without a four wheel drive vehicle or a long unguided walk.
The environment is desert. Bring water! Summers are extreme often over hundred early in the day, one hundred and twenty happens here. Opt for spring or fall for best weather. The views are expansive. Young mountains on multiple sides provide rugged backdrops. The Colorado River is visible and fairly wide here. Several plants lend green to the landscape.
The site is intertwined with arroyos, dry runs. The threat of rain leads to flash floods. The arroyos fill quickly. The cut banks are often ten to thirty feet tall from the dry creek beds. Respect the desert. What you see can be incredible. More pictures to follow…