"(W)hen the Spanish began building a fort and mission on present day Presidio Hill they found what appeared to be earlier habitation or occupation they attributed to members of the indigenous population, and most records reflect that. However, in his research he came across mention that the habitation was actually more than what the local population was capable of. In at least one source, possibly two if his memory served him correctly, he said there was evidence of metal or iron working and even the remains of a small forge or foundry. There were also remains of worked or hewn logs with all signs of the hewing having been done with or by metal edged tools."
AS FOUND IN FOOTNOTE  OF THE MAIN TEXT
George F. Carter, PhD, Professor of Geography, Texas A&M (retired)
The Native American petroglyph shows quite clearly a single-mast ship with a striped square-rigged sail and oars not unlike how Viking ships of old are typically depicted. The petroglyph is located in California, several hundred miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in a place called Pinto Canyon. Pinto Canyon is south of the Anza-Borrego Desert near the U.S. Mexican border just west of the city of El Centro between the small towns of Jacumba and Ocotillo. Jacumba is clearly marked on the large blue and white map below. The drawing is most certainly not a multi-sail Spanish galleon and no known Native American culture, at least in the desert southwest area, used any sort of sailing vessel with oars. How or why the petroglyph artist would be inspired to draw a square-rigged sailing ship --- with oars yet and striped sails --- so many miles inland UNLESS he saw one is a mystery. It should be noted however, that the Pinto Canyon area lays not far from the historical southern boundaries of the ancient Lake Cahuilla.
As depicted on the map below, the light blue shape inside the larger dark blue indicates the size and shape of the lake as it is today. The darker blue shows the outline of ancient Lake Cahuilla. At the very top of the darker blue there is a small circle that marks the location of the present-day city of Indio (Indio being, by the way, 13 feet below sea level). Where the darker blue ends just above Indio is the farthest northern reach of the ancient lake IF the lake rose no further than sea level. However, it is known the lake rose as high as 42 feet above sea level on occasion adding hundreds and hundreds of miles of additional shoreline --- meaning the lake waters pushed much farther into the canyons than shown on the map or most maps.
The two small desert border communities of Jacumba and Ocotillo that have major roles in helping to pinpoint the location of the Viking petroglyph for so many of us, also have for me specifically, played major roles in my life long before I ever heard of the lost Viking ship.
My Stepmother, who was quite wealthy in my early days, owned a huge big ranch in the northern reaches of the high desert of the Mojave not far from Muroc Dry Lake. The ranch foreman, Leo, was ex-Navy, a World War II rough and rugged sailor whose claim to fame was being a Pacific Fleet boxing champion. On the weekends it wasn't unusual for a bunch of Leo's old Navy buddies from nearby China Lake to show up at the ranch. Invariably on Sunday mornings a number of those Navy guys would be sobering up over coffee and having a little breakfast.
On one of those Sunday mornings, a number of those sailors that had been stationed in San Diego at one time or the other brought up the fact that a weird and little-known railroad sometimes called the Southern Pacific's San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway and sometimes called by other names that used to run passengers into Mexico from San Diego and clear over to the desert near El Centro and back that all of them had used going into and out of Mexico from San Diego had shut down passenger service after years and years of running the service. They came up with this big idea that turned out to be probably my biggest jeep adventure of all time. One of the sailors said he had seen where a jeep could be adapted to run on railroad tracks so we should take the ranch jeep down there, fix it to ride on the rails, and drive it into Mexico and the U.S. One of the other guys piped in saying that during the war, at least during the early part of the war, 1942 or so, when he was stationed in San Diego, the Army had regular patrols along the railway looking for saboteurs and that he had met a soldier that said that's exactly what they did, fixed up jeeps so they could run on the rails. Everybody figured, what the heck, if the Army could do, so could the Navy and most likely, even better.
"So there we were heading down the tracks, a two-car jeep train with Leo and me in the lead jeep with the headlights on, the other jeep taking up the rear with no headlights on so in the dark they wouldn't shine all over us. Traveling in good sections at over 40 miles per hour we went through Jacumba, crossed over the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge and got off the tracks near Ocotillo. A short time after that the guys had all the ride on railroad tracks stuff off the jeeps with both of them back in good order. After breakfast in El Centro we went our separate ways, with Leo, me, and the sailors we came down with headed north through Cochella Valley back toward the ranch. As far as I know nobody knew we did it nor nobody saw us. At least it has never been reported as such."
THE BOY AND HIS JEEP: ADVENTURES IN THE DESERT
THE LOST VIKING SHIP
GENE AUTRY COMICS, THE SHIP IN THE DESERT, JUNE 1951 ISSUE #52
(please click any of the three images)
PHOTO SOURCE TOMTESKE:
PINTO CANYON 11-12-12
STAY AWAY FROM PINTO CANYON