Thursday, July 13, 2006

Speaking of Stone Turtles

by geophile

It's funny how things jog your memory. A few years ago I took a roll of film, not realizing it was black and white. I hadn't taken the pictures with that in mind and most of the subject matter did not come through well, so I set it aside. All this talk of stone turtles, though, got me thinking and I got it out to check. These three photographs were taken on a property owned by the electric company. Some of the trails run along a bluff above the Delaware River, including above some very risky rapids referred to as the Foul Rift.

The first time I went there, it was on a tour to look at the very old trees that remain there. The guide stopped at this rock outcropping and pointed at the feature in the first two photos. He said we would probably think he was seeing things but it reminded him of the head of a turtle. He had brought his young son out to sit on it and have his picture taken because of that resemblance.
I could see the turtle, but I thought that looking at it differently it looked like a bird's head, too, especially a crow's. This looks like it is a split wedged rock.

The rock outcroppings here were all very interesting. And at one place where people obviously sit to look down at the river, there's a rock that appears to be carved. My son has been after me to get a good picture of that, and I'll have to.

When I went there that first time, many rocks on the trail that went along the river had chunks of black chert in them. I was amazed to see how much of it there was. Unfortunately, on subsequent trips, I've noticed that someone has come in and taken it by chipping it off the rocks where it stuck out, and just taking the smaller rocks. I would think the presence of the chert gave the place a special value in the eyes of the First People.

Here's another feature I noticed there. I will probably notice more nex time I go, as this blog has opened my eyes to some things.

The plants at this place were also noteworthy. Wildflowers that are growing less common still bloom there, and a locally rare fern, the walking fern, creeps over the rocks. One spring we harvested some luscious mushrooms there as well. I don't pick many mushrooms, but this was a kind I was certain of. On either side of the road we drove in on, osprey nests could be seen at the top of the huge pylons. Nice spot.

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