A GINORMOUS DAY OUT

I love the feeling of being on top of the world. Who doesn’t love the adrenaline rush and confidence boost as you look at something you’ve conquered? There are very few places that can give me that feeling. I count Elephant Rocks State Park as one of those places. An adventure from start to finish with its majestic views from the top of large red granite boulders certainly gives one a feeling of grandeur. Anyone would feel at least a little bigger standing atop this granite gargantuan.

The best part about Elephant Rocks is it gives me a chance to let my hair down and loosen up, so to speak. Exploring these rocks always transforms me into a curious child, the self-guided trail giving me freedom to roam without getting lost. Touching and slipping through the smooth granite structures makes one satisfied.

Over the summer, the call was strong. It was time to explore Elephant Rocks State Park again, so I gathered up a few friends and set out to conquer the
ROCKS.

On top of the massive granite mountain lie mammoth granite structures faintly resembling elephants lazily sprawled in a pattern perfect for climbing and hiking. From this point of view, Elephant Rocks itself seems to be set up like a giant natural playground. There are gaps to jump, crevices to squeeze through, and even a couple of ponds to add to the pleasure. And if you aren’t a fan of heights, don’t worry! When you climb at Elephant Rocks, it does not feel like you’re going higher until you look down at the gorgeous, hilly woods below.

Adding to the adventure between, around, and on top of every rock are little surprises like names and comments carved in the rocks. Through a little research, I learned the carvings are from 19th-century miners, who inscribed them on the rock surfaces. I also learned through my research that the boulders themselves are nearly a billion years old! I was stunned by how strong and big the boulders still are, even though a million millennia have passed since their massive beginning. If Elephant Rocks were women, they should be pleased to know they look very, VERY young for their age.

Don’t let the stones’ old age keep you from jumping, climbing, and playing amidst these almost magical rocks. It would be your loss if you didn’t indulge yourself with the rewarding experience of exploring this park. Nothing could keep Paige Cummins, Olivia Jordan, and Emily Cieslewicz from coming with me to these marvelous boulders.

When we arrived at Elephant Rocks, I asked who had been there before. All but Emily had been there before, so I was especially curious to see how she would respond to the might and beauty of these lichen sprinkled rocks. Emily had no obvious first reaction, but throughout the day you could tell she enjoyed climbing around and wedging through the rocks. When I asked her about the rocks later, Emily said, “Elephant Rocks was like, wow. It’s a local landmark, and everyone should do it at least once.”

Olivia nodded, and added, “It’s someplace I’d take my kids to. Elephant Rocks is like a playground for little kids and big kids. It’s definitely an adventure, and you have to explore it all.”

Personally, I liked seeing all the names and shapes and wondering about the people who made them. The carvings made the rocks feel timeless to me. If I had the opportunity, I would have carved my name into the boulders so I would be forever immortalized like the miners are now. Emily, Olivia, and Paige agreed. Curiously though, Emily added, “If you mean now, no! That would be defacing the rock now. I mean, if everyone were doing it back then, I probably would have, but now? No.” Olivia agreed. Situations and consequences change with time, I guess. Emily’s reaction to the rocks caused her to want the rocks to stay bold, majestic and un-scarred. She surmised, “My memories with Elephant Rocks will be enough to immortalize them without causing any latent damage.”

What a beautiful way to suggest how deeply Elephant Rocks had awed her. I remember my first time at Elephant Rocks feeling the same way, like the rocks were a giant adventure giving me memories to last a lifetime. I was not expecting them, though, to give me a base on which I would gauge my future adventures; there is nothing like feeling on top of the world like I did when I first climbed at Elephant Rocks. And every time I go back, I get that same rush (as well as sore legs, but the rush and exploration are well worth it). My name might not be carved in stone, but these rocks’ majesty will be immortalized in my memory.

-by Morgan Campbell

CLICK HERE TO VIEW DIGITAL EDITION WITH PHOTO SPREAD AND VIDEO. (August 2014 ISSUE)

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