The history of the American desert can be very rock & roll. Aleister Cave is a rock shelter within Joshua Tree National Park (CA). I ventured out there to document and enjoy the beautiful multicolor pictographs on its walls. The outstanding feature of this panel is the multiple colors of pigments used. It is very unusual to see so many colors of pictographs all in one place. There is red, white, black and grey as you can see in this video (below). Aleister Cave has a modern rock & roll flavor because it was named by a rock climber who was a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne who sang a song called “Mr. Crowley” about the famous necromancer Aleister Crowley.
This shelter mostly features pictographs probably painted by either the Chemehuevi or Serrano indians within the past few hundred years, but there are also petroglyphs carved into a small boulder on the floor. When my pal Jim and I visited the site I made to sit down and enjoy the view of the pictographs when Jim said, “Don’t sit there. You’ll be sitting on petroglyphs.” I quickly moved and reassured him that even if I had placed my derierre on those petroglyphs, it wouldn’t have caused harm because my backside is very gentle. We got a good laugh out of that and for the rest of the day he kept saying, “Hi. I’m Dusty. I have a gentle ass.” Such are the entertainments of hikers.
Since Jim is the one who led me to this beautiful experience I feel compelled to give him some props by letting you know about his book Hidden Joshua Tree. If you plan to be in the area this book is an indispensable tour guide. It is full of off-trail wonders that will blow your mind.