Boulder Field

There is just something about walking, hopping, and crawling across massive boulders that freaks me out.  It is difficult to put into words the sensation I feel when stepping onto a rock that weighs several hundreds of pounds, and more, and having it tip with my weight.  Ever since I climbed the draw between White Pine Lake and Red Pine Lakes and had to cross a similar boulder field that was literally between 400-500 yards across (and after having watched the movie 127 Hours), I have found them to be incredibly anxiety-provoking.  You would think that rocks of this size simply would not even budge with just a person’s weight moving on them…but they do….

I took this photo of a fellow hiker, Raj, on the way back from visiting Bells Canyon Upper Reservoir.  We had to cross the boulder field twice during the hike, once each way, up and down, and it was unsettling each time.  I had actually made the same hike two weeks earlier by myself, and it was even more nerve-wracking….


30 responses

  1. Nut Balls

    The several hundred pound rocks are bad enough…it’s the ones that are several tons that really scare the hell out of me. Boy, seeing Raj on there gives some serious perspective to just how huge these boulders are.

    September 7, 2012 at 8:53 am

    • Yes, Nate…those are very unsettling…and Raj’s presence in the shot really helps grasp the ginormity of them there rocks. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:15 am

  2. I can understand your anxiety Scott and I should think crossing is pretty hard work too.. As Nut Balls says, Raj in the picture gives real perspective!

    September 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

    • If they were all lying in a single layer across a plain or a beach or something, that would be different, but stacked layers-deep on the side of a mountain and not knowing how little or much it would take to put them in motion is the daunting part.

      September 9, 2012 at 7:18 am

  3. I’ve not lost the excitement of playing mountain goat.

    Have not done it for a while (no opportunity), but I think I would still enjoy it . Incredibly, I am basically risk-averse, but I’ve always found bouncing from rock to rock has always been a thrilling and fun activity.

    I’m envious . . .

    September 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

    • Well, yes, there sure is something “thrilling” about it, Emilio, daunting, adrenaline-pumping, imagination-triggering…. Let me know when you’re in town and I’ll take you out to White Pine Lake for a bit of boulder-hopping. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:20 am

  4. Know the feeling. Not crazy about it either. There’s always that thought that one step could unbalance the entire pile and have it slither on down the mountainside in one stupendous boulder avalanche and we would see these marvelous pics no more.

    September 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    • That would be so COOL!! Riding a boulder wave down the mountain side!!

      As for the pictures, they would still be boulders, now adorning a different site.

      September 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      • I was just thinking of the pulverized residue after a good mashing by those humongous boulders. Scott might not be in such good shape to provide more of his heavenly pics. But if you want to try it, have at it… 😦

        September 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        • Thank you, Miss Gunta…it might be hard to hold the camera after such a tumble. 🙂

          September 9, 2012 at 7:28 am

      • I think you’ve been watching too many cartoons, Emilio. 🙂

        September 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

    • Yeah, I think that might do more damage to my camera than simply dropping it. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:22 am

  5. These are some very serious boulders, and crossing such terrain is always a challenge–and also always something of a gamble. I’ve done a bit of it, too, and I have very healthy respect for caution and the delicate balance required. I’m happy to see that you and you son share this respect. Maybe you could try to rub a bit of it into Raj, too…

    September 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    • Well, we do share a healthy respect for the boulders, Gary, but we had already crossed the path that Raj is still standing on…we were just a little ahead of him. The trail to and from the reservoir led us this way…so we crossed it, as well. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:26 am

  6. Woo Hoo ! Boulder scrambling ! What a blast.

    September 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    • There is a certain “rush” involved…yes. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

  7. It looks like an ancient glacier “erratic” boulder deposit. Or was it caused by a landslide?

    September 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    • I’d suggest that they’ve fallen from the exposed granite mountain-top above…part of nature’s erosion process.

      September 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

  8. nice! near my university (kind of), there was a huge boulder field? slope?… there were tons of caves, tunnels, etc for climbing around it. Lots of string, colored string etc… it was fun, but now I think about it, certainly a bit dangerous!

    September 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    • Yeah, that would be rather freaky climbing into the caves and crevices among the boulders…sort of like crawling into a coffin. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:32 am

  9. Victoria

    Wow ! They are seriously big rocks. Don’t think I could cross this lot myself. I think I’ll stick to flat paths.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    • Yes, seriously big, Victoria. 🙂

      September 9, 2012 at 7:32 am

  10. Rubber legs or a broken ankle-that’s what you’ll come out of a place like that with. 9 times out of 10 it’s rubber legs.

    September 8, 2012 at 5:48 am

    • Definitely rubber legs, Allen…and scraped-up hands, as well.

      September 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

  11. Wow, crossing 4-500 yards worth of terrain like that must be physically exhausting on top of all the stress!

    September 9, 2012 at 2:01 am

    • It was, indeed, Finn…had sore-spots on my sore-spots the next day!

      September 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

  12. Now that’s what I call a Boulder Field! When they are stable they are great fun stepping niftily from one to the next. But just a bit unnerving when they start rocking in mid stride. The figure really gives a sense of the size of these rocks.

    September 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    • Yes, Andy…one hell of a boulder field! Topsy-turvey-gigantic-unnerving…compelling….

      September 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  13. Lisa

    Have you ever found yourself feeling nauseous when walking through them? I get ill every time. Mt. Pilchuck and Mt. Baker’s Chain Lake trail specifically.

    October 1, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    • No, I haven’t, Lisa, but I was more nervous than I had been anywhere else during my other outdoor adventures up to that point.

      October 2, 2022 at 9:40 am

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