Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From the Archives

Lately I've been reviewing some of my old vacation photos.  Because of my habit of photographing "funny-looking rocks", some have tantalizing views of stone structures.  At the time, I didn't know what they were.
     So for a trip down Memory Lane....
     Here are two from a Sierra Club hike through Baylor Pass in the Organ Mountains east of  Las Cruces,  NM.  Since it was 1999, I used a Kodak disposable film camera, and had the pictures put on a 3-inch floppy.  Thank heavens my computer can still read it!
     Here's a rock that looks deliberately placed on top of a tall  boulder.
Along the trail was this strangely shaped propped boulder.
 Perhaps these structures served as trail markers, or had some other practical meaning for travelers.
     Now it is 2003, and I am proudly using a recently-affordable digital camera.  Walking along a trail, I see this strange pile of rocks and snap a quick shot.
This really looks like a pedestal boulder, and I wish I could go back and get more pictures.  It won't be anytime soon, because this is in Sequoia National Park!

Now it is 2005, and I have included this strangely balanced boulder in my overview of Canyonlands National Park.
Maybe this was produced by erosion of the rock under the boulder.  I see smaller rocks under it and to the right.  This area has many interesting sites, such as these granaries tucked away in high caves.
And from the same trip, here is one of my favorites, at nearby Arches National Park.

Maybe it too was produced by erosion of the underlying stone, but the rock to the right looks placed. It's a prominent sight along the trail to the Dark Angel.
This is a natural feature with a strange resemblance to a veiled human figure.
     Now for a change of scenery, here are some glacial erratics on bedrock, photographed in 2008.
 At the time, I thought the park rangers did this to keep hikers from rocking the boulders on themselves.
This is at Rocky Mountain National Park.
     There are stone structure all over the southwest, and in California.  The one area I visited and didn't photograph any stone structures was Washington State.  There was not a single structure in hundreds of photos from Olympic National Park and nearby areas.  The Indians there were very adept at carving wood into fine boxes and implements, so maybe carved wood was used instead of stone.  However, I did see this familiar sight at the Makah reservation, while visiting Cape Flattery.
A bent tree pointing the way to one of the most beautiful views.


1 comment:

  1. Greetings from Seattle. I recently came across your blog. Great shots of canyon country.

    I am writing because I thought that you and the readers of your blogs might be interested in my new book--Cairns: Messengers in Stone, which weaves together the cultural and and natural history of cairns from around the world. Chapters include the geology and ecology of cairns, burial cairns in Scotland, cairns on expeditions, and stone stacks. Part history, part folklore, part natural history, my book shows that cairns are more than a random pile of rocks, they provide habitat for plants and animals, a means of communication, and guides for travelers worldwide. For more info, you can go to the cairns page on my website,

    Cairns is available at independent bookstores and on Amazon.

    Thanks kindly,
    David Williams