Hiking, Nature, Photography

Stories in Stone

SIS 1_BrushyWashOneSunflower

Among the rolling hills east of American Falls, Idaho lies an area known as Blind Springs. Aside from rumors naming it as the stash site for a stolen Wells Fargo strongbox, it is largely nondescript—just acres and acres of brush and rock adjoining fields of grain or crested wheatgrass. My family once farmed and grazed cattle in the hills overlooking Blind Springs before leaving the area in 1967. In August of 1991 we took a drive through the hills, Dad reminiscing about his boyhood as we picked our way along the dirt trail. Suddenly we ran into (not literally) a wall of white and gray stone. I had long forgotten this excursion until recently when I went through a box of pictures and came upon photographs taken that day, particularly this one, which I thought showed an almost perfect likeness of Michael Landon wearing sunglasses gazing at the sky (far left).

Blind Springs

I couldn’t remember where this spot even was but it aroused my intrigue. Studying other photos I took that day and, with a little help from Google Earth , I zeroed in on the general area, grabbed my Mom, brother, and sister-in-law, and headed for the hills. The gravel road wound among grain fields for several miles, finally forking east to the dirt trail I hoped would take us to our destination. This we followed for roughly a mile, crossing over a hump and descending along a deep gash cut between two hills. The road leveled out and had begun to curve when, off to the right, I spied a lone gray stone partially embedded in the hillside, its scaly face eroded to expose grainy white rock. This was it! We were getting close! Overjoyed, I hopped out for a closer look.

SIS 2_Arches

This region sees little rain, so what caused this rock to break down so is anybody’s guess. We saw no rubble around the base. The rock seemed to have been chiseled and then sanded smooth and the debris hauled away. The hole on the far right was deeper than the others. A closer inspection revealed a hole bored completely through.

SIS 3_Hole in White Stone

SIS 4_Bored Through

This white pock-marked stone lay nearby. I’m no geologist, but I’m guessing this is probably limestone and that rain caused these indentations.

SIS 5_Pocked Stone

We loaded up and continued around the bend where, lining a steep embankment to our left, stood the object of our search.

SIS 6_Wall Amid Terrain

My imagination went wild as I stared. On the one hand, the stone wall resembles a temple from a Cecil B. DeMille epic; on the other, a place of torment where tortured spirits remain frozen for eternity. Twisted faces glower and grimace. Others seem to laugh. An elephant’s head and trunk appear left of center. A thousand stories of triumph and tragedy handed down through the ages and etched in stone.

SIS 7_Hieroglyphics

I counted seven faces in this spot alone.

SIS 8_Seven Faces

This bunch seems to be laughing. (Must be Miller time!)

SIS 9_Faces

Angry eyes glare out a fortress window.

SIS 10_Angry Eyes

Near the hilltop a cobra hovers.

SIS 11_Cobra

The years have not been kind to Michael.  My heartthrob now resembles an ape–proof positive that even something carved in stone does not last forever.

SIS 12_Ape

Another hollowed-out rock.

SIS 13_Hollow

An orc’s black head tops this white wall.

SIS 14_Orc

At the end of a gratifying (but hot!) August day we bid Blind Springs farewell and headed back to town for an ice-cold Pepsi.  On the way back I pondered that it might be interesting to come back in another fourteen years to see if the ape transforms back into Michael!

SIS 15_Stone Mountain


© KoppingAnAttitude, 2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and/or images without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.





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