Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's BIG!

The Yakima Training Center, first of all, and foremost, is HUGE!  It's BIG!  Think of something BIG and then multiply it by 1000.  It's simply HUGE!  Gigantic even!

I met up with my ride at a little before 7:30AM.  He is a nice gentleman who shared much more than an interest in history with me.  It was a VERY educational day.  I learned about some of the archeological works on the YTC.  For instance, on that bench in the picture below there were several sites that native Americans used to create tools like arrow heads and knives and scrapers and such.  
Chert, is a silica mineral that indigenous peoples used for arrow heads and spear points.  Other forms are called flint and jasper.  All have hardness characteristics similar to quartz.  Below is some that was resting in the stream bed.
Below you see some petrified wood.  This chunk was sizable, about 12 to 14 inches long.  Smaller pieces were all over! 
Being with an archeologist has its perks.  For instance, flakes that I would have recognized as no more than natural forms, he recognized as having evidence of human modification.  He explained the signs.  One was a bulbous look near where it was struck with the hammer stone.  We found MANY stones that had seen a native American's hammer stone.
we also saw more recent signs of human habitation of the area.  Below you can see a C-ration...or what remains.  This one had never been opened, though oxidation has done what human hands never did.
There was wildlife all over.  We saw a jack-rabbit (first one I have seen in a few decades).  A cotton-tale jumped out from under a bush and nearly scared the--scared me.  We also saw a horned lizard (I forgot to take a picture), and this bull snake.  This one is a member of what I call the TYPE B bull snake population.  What?  You don't know about my bull snake classification index?  OK, here is a quick  run-down of the two types:  the TYPE-A bull snake will see you ass an enemy to be vanquished, no matter what your size.  He will look at you and instantly be insulted by your presence.  He will then do everything within his power to kill you.  (since they have no venom, this all depends a lot on how much effort he throws into his performance:  TYPE-A bull snakes put A TON of effort into their performance)   TYPE-B bull snakes are considerably more laid back.  The don't want to be eaten, no doubt, but if you are gentle and slow moving, they find you to be little more than a curiosity.  They mostly ignore you.  they are the nicest bull snakes you will ever see.  This is a type-B.
We found more evidence of human occupancy of this little valley.
and...what I thought was a piece of my airplane, probably wasn't.  Even though it appeared to have zinc-chromate on the other side.  It was one of two pieces that we found that MIGHT be from the aircraft, even though, given the turn of things, I suspect this was something else.
We also came across a strange ring made from fiberglass and pot-metal.  There was a small bit of electronics nearby that seem to indicate that this may be part of a missile/rocket.
We also stumbled upon a short belt of M-60 training ammunition.  there appeared to be about 25 rounds, most unfired.  According to the rules, though, we had to leave it.  And so we did.
This is the remains of a smoke grenade.  I almost touched another one...then I was reminded there was no way to tell if it had truly been detonated.
Here I am...note the smile on my face...of course this is after the camera failed to fire the first time...I was trying to decide if it would do it this time...
I found what my guide described as barrel cactus...and given my limited experience, I agree.  If it grows SO VERY SLOW in Arizona, I can only imagine how old this bunch is...perhaps seventy-five or a hundred years?
This is the other piece we discovered that may be from our aircraft.  Does anyone recognize this as being from an RA-24B or a Dauntless dive-bomber????
The plants were awesome.  this is bitter root.
there was a place where it grew all over the ground.  Apparently some of the native elders still visit this area and harvest it at times during the year.

The aircraft should have crashed somewhere near here, but our search revealed little else than used MREs and various pieces of military equipment left behind during maneuvers.

This next one is of a piece of equipment left at a diatomite mine...pretty cool, huh?
there were riparian (river/stream) zones that were quite a contrast to what could be seen on the rest of the shrub-steppe.
overall, it was a great day!  I really enjoyed learning that there are over 2000 sites that have significance to native Americans.  From burial sites to places to make stone tools, it seems there is quite a variety of evidence of prehistoric sites!

It was a great day!!!!!!  I hope you all can get that from this post!

1 comment:

Grandma L said...

Very interesting. The pictures were great. Thank you for doing that and taking and sharing the photos.