Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hike to Sunset Rock, Greene County, NY


During the same vacation we went to New York's North South Lake Campground and Day Use Facility in Greene County (I see on the blog that Norman was at this same park in September and visited Alligator Rock, which we failed to see.) and hiked along the Catskill escarpment to Artists Rock and Sunset Rock. We stayed on the much-traveled trail and didn't see any rock piles except those modern arty ones you see a lot on mountains these days. I wouldn't be surprised if there were rock piles in some numbers off trail.

We did, however, see propped rocks. I know this gets discussed here from time to time. I came upon it a few years ago writing an article for the Megalithic Portal about Vottovaara Mountain near the Russia/Finnish border where there are many seid or seitas most of them known to have been placed by people. Since then I have observed them at a number of lookouts I've visited.
The one at the top of this post is placed near the lookout known as Artists Rock. From there you can see a stunning view including mountains in four states. The propped rock just above and the one below were both at notable places. (I remember thinking so but cannot remember just which notable places they were at because I failed to take notes at the time.)

I have also seen propped rocks at Huckleberry Point, another Catskill lookout, at Ringing Rocks, especially above the waterfall but in other spots, too, and at Bears Rocks (this one has since been destroyed), a lookout closer to home along the Kittatinny Ridge. I noticed the one at Bears Rocks long before I got involved with all this and even tried writing to Salvatore Trento about it, back in the 1980s 0r 90s when his and Barry Fell's books were the only reading material I had on this sort of thing. The propped rocks are often just to the side of the lookout, away from where people gather. It's worth looking around for them if you hike.

Also on the way between Artists Rock, named because the Hudson River School painters admired the view and set up easel there sometimes, and Sunset Rock, I spotted this large split wedged boulder.
And then at the top, once again just off to the side from Sunset Rock itself, I saw the propped rock below. The small picture at the bottom is the view from up there, showing where the Catskills end and slope into the Hudson Valley.

Peter has said that for natural processes to have produced the large concentration of propped boulders at Foxborough in an area where they are otherwise absent or unusual is a statistical impossibility. Similarly the tendency for these things to crop up wherever there is a stunning view or other spirit-lifting prospect is at least an improbability. In Finland and northwestern Russia there would be no doubt that these stones were placed or at least propped by man.

8 comments :

pwax said...

Very lovely photos. Especially the first and the last. Also a nice presentation.

By "impossible" I meant statistically impossible if random.

Geophile said...

Oops--I knew what you meant. Just didn't make it clear. Thank you for the compliments. Means a lot coming from you.

Geophile said...

Also meant to mention that anyone interested in the rock pile and related sites in eastern North America might enjoy reading up on Saami (the indigenous people of Finland and northwest Russia) sacred stones and sites. Perhaps because they are a similarly formed society, egalitarian with earth-based shamanic practices instead of a religious hierarchy, there are some fascinating similarities, including which stones were revered and how they were marked, as with short walls near or leading to them.

I'm not saying they're of the same origin, but the similarities are intriguing. I think I first read about them in a book called An Archaeology of Natural Places.

pwax said...

I like to tweak Bering "Land Bridge" proponents by admitting reluctantly that -yes- maybe Native Americans populated Siberia.

Geophile said...

Good one!

Tim MacSweeney said...

That next to last photo - any more views of it? Looks like a distinct head, with an eye perhaps, a foreleg and a long low body of Something...

Geophile said...

No, sadly, I didn't take any more views of it. From the main viewing area you can't see that it's propped. It was only because I was wandering around, sort of blissed out by being there, that I ended up where I could see it. I wish I could get back up there and have another look around.

Mason Jar Beading said...

Nice photos! I reside not far from this area, and know it well. I live down in the valley where the Flint mines are..there are many areas on our property that we feel are paleo/NA ie knapping stations...as well as stone croppings