Procession Panel (Comb Ridge)

The hike to “Procession Panel” is one of the longer hikes along Comb Ridge, coming in at roughly one and a half miles in each direction. For the most part many of the Comb Ridge ruins are located just a short distance past Butler Wash, “Procession Panel” is however located along the ridge line. On top of being a longer hike, it can also be confusing, with several social trails leading in all directions, along with swaths of poorly marked slickstone. In the summer I can imagine that this is a brutal trail, there is nowhere to escape walking directly in the sun.

 

Looking back toward the trail head. The hike to “Procession Panel” largely takes place on slickstone.

Looking back toward the trail head. The hike to “Procession Panel” largely takes place on slickstone.

 

“Procession Panel” is hidden around here somewhere.

“Procession Panel” is hidden around here somewhere.

 

The panel’s name is derived from the main theme of the petroglyph designs at the site, 179 small human figures in three separate lines forming around a large centralized circle.  Several petroglyphs of animals, mostly elk and bighorn sheep join the panel. I’ve heard it explained that the figures are all coming together to a centralized location, a “procession.” I agree with this idea, but the more that I’ve thought about it, I’ve grown curious if there is not something more here. Is it too far-fetched to think that the circle represents the earth, and that the people and animals represent those from across the globe? Maybe the Anasazi knew that the earth was round long before the European explorers of the 1400s, after all, the Anasazi come from somewhere. My idea is nothing more than a theory concocted in my mind.  Whatever the symbolism means, we will likely never know. But I think that it is important to sometimes think a little outside of the box.

 

“Procession Panel” - The large animal figures are elk. While the line of small figures are human figures.

“Procession Panel” – The large animal figures are elk. While the line of small figures are human figures.

 

Close-up showing human figures in procession.

Close-up showing human figures in procession.

 

Along with the “Procession Panel,” the ridge line offers a stunning view overlooking Cedar Mesa.

 

Looking out over the ridge of Comb Ridge toward Cedar Mesa.

Looking out over the ridge of Comb Ridge toward Cedar Mesa.

 

Gallery of images:

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.