A glacial erratic, if you want to get technical. But still, I drove an hour just to see this rock. Because that’s the kind of geography nerd I am. Physical processes have always been my favorite aspect of geography, and the French-heavy glacial terminology is almost musical, conjuring up images of soaring, rocky, snowcapped peaks, icy blue lakes and huge piles of jumbled boulders: tarn, esker, arête, moraine, cirque, crevasse, paternoster lakes, drumlin. Go on. Say them out loud. You know you want to.
It was overcast and rainy at home, but, aside from a miniscule sun shower while Happy Dog and I were basking atop the rock, it was a gorgeous day there.
Located a few miles southwest of McMinnville, Erratic Rock State Natural Site is part of Oregon’s state park system. If you don’t blow past the trailhead and parking pull-out (like I almost did), Erratic Rock is easy to find.
That’s Oldsville Road, just off Highway 18, in the background.
The paved trail is only about a quarter-mile long, but the last 150 yards or so are pretty steep.
There were quite a few distractions along this short trail.
I’ll leave it to you to figure out which were distractions for me, and which were distractions for Happy Dog.
Yaaaaaaay! There it is! It’s a Really. Big. Rock.
The surface looked exactly like slate to me.
According to the interpretive sign, Erratic Rock is a 90-ton or so (I mean, who can really tell?) hunk of metamorphic rock called argillite. Wikipedia says, “Metamorphism of argillites produces slate, phyllite, and pelitic schist.” That would explain, then, its slate-like appearance. Silly geologists.
Happy Dog and I enjoyed the sky and the scenery immensely.
Time to head back down.
Hmmm, I’m pretty sure we passed a number of wineries on the way here,
not to mention a monastery, at which reside the fudge-making Brigittine monks. Chocolate and wine? Yesplease.