Grimes Point showcases several different styles of petroglyphs and rock surfaces upon which they are etched. The various patinas are evidence of chemical changes in the rocks over time. After a petroglyphs is etched into the rock, the newly exposed scar is lighter than the original surface. Over time, the petroglyphs will eventually patinate and be as dark as the original rock surface. Some of the petroglyphs are darker than others. These are probably older than the lighter ones.
Deciphering the meaning of petroglyphs is often difficult. Many scientists and archaeologists disagree on their meaning; but it is generally acknowledged that the petroglyphs at Grimes Point are not a form of writing. Whether they depict constellations, hunting areas, or markers of another kind, Grimes Point offers a must-see window into the past.
It is also important to remember that the environment at Grimes Point was much different 8,000 years ago. As you look at the mountain ranges in the distance, you’ll notice a series of horizontal lines or terraces etched into the side of the range. These scars are results of waves from ancient Lake Lahontan that once covered most of the area. The maximum depth of the lake was 700 feet, covering Grimes Point. By the time human population moved into the area, Grimes Point was above water.
Grimes Point also can be a vista of contrast. Standing on the trail and looking out over the valley, it is fun to imagine what the landscape looked like to ancient peoples. As you imagine a fresh water lake filled with fish and ducks and waterfowl swimming under the shade of cottonwood trees, you may look over-head to see an F/A-18 Hornet from NAS Fallon making a sweeping turn in the sky. From the past to the present in the blink of an eye.
The Best Little Museum on the Loneliest Road in America
The Churchill County Museum and Archives is one of the finest small museums in the western United States.
In 2010, the museum completed a major project to enhance the facility’s lighting, completely changing for the better the presentation of exhibits and displays, and improving the visitor experience.
The museum added 6,750 square feet of exhibit space in 2004, adding to the 14,000 square feet of existing space for exhibits, artifacts, and detailed displays.
The museum showcases the lifestyles of Native Americans who inhabited the area years ago, and events that took place in Fallon and Churchill County that were of national importance! You’ll see reminders of the hardships settlers and emigrants endured crossing the infamous “40-Mile Desert,” the most treacherous part of the trail west. The museum also has an intricate, hands-on display of the Lahontan Valley wetlands and watersheds, including a representation of the 1902 Newlands Reclamation Project.
The Churchill County Museum also offers a Museum Store where you can find a wide selection of gift items and books that reflect many aspects of Nevada. Call them at (775) 423-3677 or visit them on the web at www.ccmuseum.org.
Tours: Second and fourth Saturday of each month beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the museum.
Location: 1050 S. Maine St., Fallon, NV 89406, (775) 423-3677, fax (775) 423-3662, web address: www.ccmuseum.org