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Rock Stacking

Hughes Mountain is the perfect place to stack rocks. The rocks have sharp geometric shapes in a multitude of sizes, and they’re lying all over the place. Hikers stop to create stacks on their way to the top. It’s said to be good luck to make a stack; the higher the stack, the better the luck.

Rock balancing is an art. I have always been fascinated with stacking rock. It takes patience and sensitivity to get past five or so stones high; sometimes it can appear to be physically impossible. The ability to balance rocks against the incessant, predictable, pull of gravity is certainly a skill. Sometimes the points of balance are so tenuous and fragile you can only sit and stare at the stack in awe. There's a quiet, playful, magical simplicity about balanced stones that brings us back to a primal, childlike amazement - and it’s all free.

This 573 Magazine Story is sponsored by Fisher Furniture in Ironton, Missouri.

Stacking rocks is an exercise in self-discipline. In order to achieve a great stack, you must master your frustration and self-doubt. When you get it right, those insecurities seem to drain from your body.

Achieving balance with stones is like achieving success in life: How many failures and tumbles can you bear before you succeed? How many times will frustration and lack of patience ruin your plans? Will you give in, or will you continue to stack your stones until you achieve your dreams?

One thing you can say about the 573 is we have a very diverse collection of rocks and minerals. The area has been mined for centuries, and even longer by native peoples who used our rich diversity of rock for both art and tool.

I have always loved rocks and rock collecting. I'm not a hard core rock collector, and I know nothing of the names of rocks and very little about how they came to be, but I love them all the same.

One of the best things about the 573 is our crystal clear streams and the beautiful smooth rocks that line their bottoms and decorate their beaches. I can guarantee you, if it weren't for the clear water and the beautiful rock, I may not have chosen the 573 as my permanent home.

Some are filled with fossils, and the varieties of colors are rarely found in other parts of the country. But the best part about the rocks is they are weathered. Some are tumbled smooth from time in the river.

When you hold a rock in your hand, it's like holding a piece of fine sculpture. How can something so beautiful be simply rolling around for anyone to handle? Millions upon millions of rocks: You can't help yourself from finding rocks to stack.


words & pics by t. smugala

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