Guy Atchley's AZ - Rock Art Ranch
Photographer / Reporter: Guy Atchley
For a fee, the Baird's will guide trekkers to view the 3000+ rock art images located on the Chevelon Canyon walls traversing their 8000 acre working cattle and buffalo ranch.
A team of NAU archeologists led by Don Weaver and Evelyn Billo has spent more than 8 years documenting the site and has declared Rock Art Ranch as; "One of the premier rock art sites in the world". The significance of this site is amplified by rock art samples spanning 6000 years produced by Anasazi, Sinagua, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni cultures. The site demonstrates an artistic evolution from simple geometric shapes to more complex human and animal form examples.
While the site primarily represents ancient Native American culture, there are also significant ties to more recent Arizona history and the "taming" of the wild, Wild West. A company of US Calvary soldiers camped beside the access road butte the day before participating in the Battle of Big Dry Wash in 1882. The Aztec Land & Cattle Company ran 60,000 head of cattle on a 2 million acre spread in the late 1800's to early 1900's prior to the Baird's acquiring a subdivided section of land in the early 1940's. The "Hashknife Outfit" was so named because of the brands' resemblance to a chuck wagon cook's hash knife. In those days, Cattle Companies were commonly known by their brands. "Hashknife" employees are notorious in cowboy lore for their toughness, ability to get into a brawl whenever they went into town, and numerous run-ins with the law. A "Hashknife" bunkhouse has been preserved on the Baird property in addition to a museum of Anasazi artifacts gathered from the property.
The Hike: Note that this hike is on private property and arrangements must be made in advance with the Baird family prior to visiting Rock Art Ranch. Contact the Baird's at 928-288-3260 to make your arrangements.