This was found in the Monitor Pass area in California yesterday while on an adventure with
I've enjoyed documenting the carvings I find on the aspen for a few years now, and when I saw this it caused me to pause for a good long while. Some of you probably know I got my degree in anthropology last year, so naturally I stood and wondered about it for a while. I thought it looked a lot like a petroglyph (rock carving) style drawing, and the shallow nature of the carving mixed with how dark the bark was made me think it was fairly old and not made with a modern-day pocket knife or anything. There were tons of other trees around the area that had carvings, but they were all deep and a few were fresh.
I learned today that apparently shepherds, who have been herding sheep throughout the Sierra Nevadas for a long, long, long time used to carve up the trees as a form of communication and keeping themselves company and sane while alone in the mountains tending their flocks. This type of carving is called an Arborglyph (which makes sense) and apparently they are littered all along the mountains around here. Which just makes me want to go out and find more! Maybe go find this one again and get a better picture of it, since the shadow and harsh sunlight mixing made it a tad difficult to get the proper exposure.