Blue Rock

Fractured Earth

MR 893

While exploring a rock outcrop, I found that it had a crack that more or less went through the whole formation. Caves are rare in our area, so I was curious if I could [safely] find one in this sandstone rock complex. While fractured rock is the name of the game in the Fransican sandstone make up of most of Humboldt County, its neat when you can explore a large, intact chunk of solid rock.

From the top of the rock I could see down in some places into a deep crevasse. This fracture went down as far as I could see, at least one hundred feet. I followed the crack to the edge of the cliff, and did my best to memorize a few trees that were growing at the base of the rock, in hopes I could find them on the other side. In this way I could try to find this fissure from the bottom and see if there were any caves.

From the bottom, I note that shadows create the illusion of potential caves, but closer inspection revels that this outcrop is solid. And massive, at least relative to other rocks near it. The cliffs here are 100-200 feet. I find the trees I remember, but dont see any openings. But there is a large talus slope, broken up rock the accumulates on the base of cliffs, that leads up to a small ‘valley’ in the rock face.

And…lo and behold there is a cave, of sorts. Right off the bat, this place is dicey. A cave has formed by large pieces of rock becoming wedged into the large crack. It looks precarious for sure, but its not moving. Well, unless there was an earthquake…. Still I work up the courage to go in…I didnt sweat all the way up here for nothing!

MR 912

I work my way in about 50 feet before I start to have second thoughts. Infact the thought of an earthquake is really hard to shake from my mind. I know as a fact that this rock outcrop sits right on a local fault known as the Gordon Fault.

Then I get to this spot where the ‘floor’ just disappears into darkness. I realize I am standing on large rock fragments wedged into the crack, much like the ‘ceiling’ above me. As I look down, I cant see anything that resembles a bottom. I attempted to use my camera flash to capture this depth, but the perspective was hard to shoot – at least with my phone camera.

MR 914

Well, no long lost treasure or hundreds of bats. But I was pretty satisfied with my adventure. For Humboldt County, this is a pretty unique rock formation. One for books for sure.


Blue Rock

I got a nice hike in in the Six Rivers off of Route 1 in the Pilot Creek area. On my map I saw this peak, simply 4042. A long time cowboy in the area told me they called it Blue Rock.

I approached it from the bottom, so through the old growth I started to make out a huge bluff. Seriously, the larger trees you see next to the cliff are fully mature Douglas-fir standing at 150-200 feet tall.

The rock face was loaded with cracks and fissures and many dark places extend in the rock. At the base, I noticed this one crack, which as I grew closer I could hear roaring water echoing from out of a crack… Taking a closer look the crack, or hole, was covered in deep green mosses and a cold air was gushing out of the rock like a industrial fan. And somewhere down there in the darkness, perhaps 50 or more feet, a subterranean stream was raging under the rock. Did the flash from my camera reflect off the water down there?

Some views from the top. Old growth forests as far as you can see.

This is a picture looking southeast, into the upper Mad River.

MR 149