Friday, May 14, 2010

Rock Hound Heaven

by Jean Henry Mead

I've always been a rock hound. As a child I collected rocks, displaying them on every available surface, much to my parents' dismay. Years later, when I moved to Wyoming, I discovered a treasure trove of colorful boulders, which I wrote about in my centennial book, Casper Country: Wyoming's Heartland.

While researching the book I learned that the high plains landmass, now known as Wyoming, was one of the first sections of molten planet to cool and solidify nearly four billion years ago.
Most of the rocks are huge, the size of pickup trucks and eighteen wheelers. One of them one tumbled down an embankment Wednesday afternoon in the Wind River Mountains. The boulder came to rest on the railroad tracks, causing the derailment of a southbound BNSF freight train, which slid into the river following several weeks of snow and rain. So the rocks are not only a pleasure to photograph, they're an ever present danger.

I prefer photographing boulders at eye level, such as the cluster at the entrance to Cottonwood Beach at Lake Alcova.

One of my favorites includes the huge boulder below, which resembles a whale, its mouth wide, ready to swallow a fossilized fish.

The large rock stacked atop another reminds me of a granite robot searching the skies for yet another approaching storm.

I envy the young rock climbers below, whom I photograhed last week near Black Beach, not far from Pathfinder Reservoir. I'd love to be able to hug the warm rock face. but I get dizzy standing on a step ladder.

To see more of my rock collection, go to Rock Hound Heaven (lower left panel photo album). Double click to enlarge the photos.

(c) copyright 2010 by Jean Henry Mead
Train wreck photo by Dan Cepeda of the Casper Star-Tribune


Mark W. Danielson said...

Big rocks, Jean. The slide reminds me of the old saying, "and the walls came tumbling down . . ."

Jean Henry Mead said...

The train crew was lucky, Mark. They swam to safety and no one was seriously hurt.