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Alcoves at Double Stack

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

The alcoves in the canyon containing Double Stack Site are as impressive as the structures themselves—at least in the opinion of this photographer

Inaccessible site high on an alcove ledge at Double Stack Site. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

When approaching Double Stack Site, the visitor's attention is drawn first to the long, linear streaks of desert varnish gracing a high alcove. Only later do most people notice the structure, and that's because they have been alerted in advance to it's existence.

The masonry structure has the same color as the alcove rock and is thus somewhat camouflaged. It is not the color that distinguishes the structure from the alcove and renders it visible, it is the pattern of stacked stone.

I like the contrasting elements in the photo—man made structure and natural alcove, rectilinear and diagonal, stolid and dynamic. I also like the ambiguity. What kind of structure is it, how is it accessed, where are we?

Further up the canyon are more alcoves—very large ones. alcoves with no obvious signs of human occupation. But standing in those alcoves, especially so close to an inhabited site, you just know that people hung out in these protected spaces.

They are also beautiful in their own right, with impressive dimensions, lovely forms, and decorative streaks. I lingered in these alcoves, admiring the spaces, enjoying the shade on a very hot day, and looking for signs of other humans who might have spent time there.

Ceiling of an enormous alcove further up the canyon. I was intrigued by the dynamic patterns made by the desert varnish. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Cell phone HDR panorama from the back of the alcove. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

Simple panorama video of the alcove


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