Mystery of the Rocks

Ancient rocks in the Rio Grande Gorge

Um, what’s that in the lower hole?

I hiked a different trail this afternoon, imagine that. We found a real gem in the Rio Grande Gorge, but I’m not naming it here until I can check something out. You’ll see why.

Those rocks! I don’t know what they are, but igneous for sure: lava, basalt, granite? There’s a place with great honking piles of them lying around like the crumbled walls of an ancient city; here and there immense solitary boulders dominate the view. High above it all are towering cliffs pockmarked with caves. The vibes in this general area are remarkable. I felt a deep, beneficent presence several times along the trail.

The gorge is such an unusual environment anyway, being sheltered from the wind and wild and having the water. You don’t see the weather coming from ninety miles away like you do up top, but there are caves and holes and hot springs to lead you to the underworld. Humans have been exploring there for thousands of years: hunting, fishing, hiding, holding ceremonies… Maybe that old spiritual spoor is what I noticed. No city in the world has lasted longer than a miniscule fraction of the lifetime of the gorge, yet some version of our kind has always known this place, at least once it cooled off.

Speaking of the underworld (oh those holes), at one point while editing the featured photograph for this post, I accidentally enlarged it a little bit and noticed something that got me all excited at first: “Ribs, by God! Must be a skeleton in there!” Of course, when I blew it up even larger and posted the image below, I saw something else.

mystery of the rocks

I have to go back, of course. After that, I’ll tell you where that is, if no one blabs it in the comments. Ain’t no ribs, but a) I’m only 99 percent sure, and b) there still could be something in there. If I had the nerve to go far enough in, I’m sure there would be. It might even be alive!

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  • Rita March 31, 2014, 12:15 AM


  • Joe March 31, 2014, 9:32 AM

    Dang! You found my ex-wife…

    • JHF April 2, 2014, 10:23 PM

      (Sorry, I was out of town for a day. Didn’t get to this.) Yours or somebody’s! As I explained in a reply to a comment in the following post, it may be a while before I get back to this particular spot to check, but I certainly will.

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