Before we get to the Balanced Rock, I’d like to share something I forgot in last weeks post. It’s a tradition that goes back to 1929 in the small town of Arco, ID. Every year, the graduating high school class climbs this mountain to paint gigantic numbers of their graduation year on the side of the mountain. They call it the “Numbered Mountain” or “Graduation Mountain”.
Imagine your 18 again & getting ready to graduate. You and all your buddies get to go climb the side of this mountain and paint your graduation year for all to see. You don’t get in trouble, you’re not deemed a vandal. In fact, the town expects it of you. How cool is that!
This is probably the only time city kids are envious of small town country kids.
So I’m driving thru Buhl, ID a couple weeks ago, & drive past this small little brown sign the read “Balanced Rock 18 Miles –>” & thought… What the heck? Then I remembered talking to my friend Tyson the last time he was out this way & he had mentioned a balanced rock as well. And since there are very few places left for me to see before Tyson gets to them, I decided to go check it out. I’m glad I did.
So with the help of the posted signs & my NAV, I started out to see what this rock was all about & why it was so special. After all, it’s just a rock, right? Driving south of Buhl there is plenty of sprawling farms & pasture land. Then it abruptly goes rock canyon on you.
There was a small turn off to a park, but I blew right by it. I wanted to see this rock. Although I did have to stop for a couple of pictures. The canyon walls were to spectacular not too. About another mile down the road on the right, there it was, bold as you please. Sitting there for all to see. The Balanced Rock…There is a sign across the street that has some info about the rock on it…I was expecting to have to drive thru some park or something to see it. But no. There’s even trails up the side of the range to walk up for a better view. So I grabbed my camera & broke a sweat. The odd shape, especially being top heavy like it is, & the fact that it’s sitting on such a small pedestal really is quite amazing considering the extreme winds this area gets on a fairly regular basis. But this day was hot and I was really hoping for some kind of wind about half way up. I took several pics of different angles so you get an idea of the overall shape of this thing. It doesn’t seem like such a long way up. It only took about 15 minutes to walk up to the top. But looking back down, you can see that it’s quite an elevation change. This angle you see just how narrow the pedestal is. This rock will eventually fall from it’s perch. Whether it be a week from now, or a hundred years. It will be a sad day & I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it. Is it just me? Or does this rock look like the top half of a giant dinosaur skull?
Turning into the small park & pass the sign led you into a picturesque setting of a small canyon lined by impressive rock walls. With a creek running along your left side, this small park had an immediate serene & calming effect.
The further into the park you go, the trees thin a little and the canyon walls come clearly into view.
With tall rock walls to the right…
& a creek to the left. It’s no wonder I came across a few people just wandering around with cameras. The creek I found mesmerizing. It was full of 3 – 4 ft long water plants that moved in tandem to the flow of the surface water. A double motion of sorts. It was a bit hypnotizing… The creek was also loaded with fish. How many can you spot?
As far back as you can go in a car, there are a couple picnic areas & some unusual items. For starters, there was what looked like (to me anyways) this home made wedding arbor. I consulted the princess for the correct term for this structure, & she said arbor. So for anybody reading, & they know this is actually something else, well… it’s the princesses fault. But whatever it is, it was both out of place & looked like it belonged there all at once.
Behind the very last picnic area, were these huge flat rocks. They are so flat in areas, that they look almost manufactured. Like shards of some giant broken pottery.Behind these bizarre rocks and the out of place arbor, is a trail that follows the creek back. I only followed it back for about 100ft due to time constraints, but it offered some nice views.