In May of this year we met with a couple of friends from Seattle, Nancy and Pokey, and headed up Butler Wash to do some hiking on Comb Ridge. This particular day our goal was Long Fingers Ruin–a medium sized, Pueblo III alcove site tucked away in one of the Comb’s numerous sandstone folds, named after an interesting petroglyph depicting two hand prints with unusually long fingers.
We parked in a dispersed campsite at the end of a BLM road and began walking west on a recently closed two-track, towards the Comb.
We paused here and there to photograph the spring wild-flowers and admire the panoramic views of Comb Ridge, but these weren’t why we were here.
After about 30 – 45 minutes of easy to moderate hiking past several small sites: hopping from slickrock to slickrock and staying in the washes as much as possible in order to avoid the crypto and vegetation, we rounded a corner and there it was–Long Fingers Ruin.
Following a narrow path around the base of the cliff, past several pecked figures and handprints, we came to what was left of a low masonry wall and small door, built across the narrowest part of the approach.
Beyond the door the alcove opened up and we were presented with the remains of several masonry structures, including dwelling spaces, storage spaces, a kiva and a large boulder containing several metates, or grinding surfaces. Having the place to ourselves we spent the better part of the morning exploring the site, taking in every detail.
While the site is obviously well-known and sees regular visitation, there are still artifacts to look at (putting them back in place afterward rather than piling them on “museum rocks”).
I was happy to note that the midden was mostly protected by a rather scary-looking patch of prickly-pear cactus. Speaking of “museum rocks“–there were several (unfortunately). I’ll just say that they really bug the hell out of me and leave it at that.
After several hours we moved on, leaving the site as we found it.
Up near the rim of the Comb, and a wee bit south, we stumbled upon a big procession-like petroglyph panel, similar to The Procession Panel but different, several granaries and more mind-boggling views–pictures to follow next week.
I’ve been feeling that wanderlust thing again recently. It might be time to start planning a fall trip. August and September will go fast, and October IS my favorite time of year in southern Utah…