Hueco (pronounced: Waco—long a) Tanks State Park,
February 8, 2018
Hueco means “hollow”, and this state park is filled with huecos which fill when it rains (tanks). This habitat is so unusual for the desert with the existence of live oaks, salamanders, and frogs (seasonal) in addition to cacti, mesquite, and amaranth, one of the most nutritious grains to be found in the world . It's no wonder that after 200 shovel digs, archeologists have found life 90 cm under the paths we walked to arrive at sites of pictographs and petroglyphs. Wondering what the difference was between a pictograph and petroglyph, we were told by Alex Mares, our ½ Navajo guide, that a pictograph is painted, but a petroglyph is carved. Looking at the walls of rock, our first thought was that graffiti was covering the ancient artwork, but we were informed that a date prior to 1906 (National Park System) and 1945 (Texas State Parks) is not considered graffiti because it is a part of history and may have been carved by Texas rangers, stage coach passengers, or Pony Express riders. At the beginning of our hike we were humbled when told we were entering sacred ground; prior to his introduction Alex had privately asked a blessing upon all of us (which he said every Navajo is expected to do prior to entering sacred ground). “What makes this sacred ground?” He responded with an analogy: a judge was asked, “How do you define pornography?”; answer: “I know it when I see it.”
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.