Sometimes I wonder about people . . . .Around here, there are huge ‘balanced rocks’. Rock the size of small busses balanced on eroded stems of rock – looking really quite unstable. After all, they fell off the nearby cliffs at some point, or they wouldn't be where they are!
So, you’d think that folks would give these rocks a wide berth right? WRONG! In the early 30’s, it was apparently somewhat trendy to build living quarters under and around these things! One woman, Blanche Russell was so taken by these formations that, in 1927, she bought some land and starting building.
Kind of cool – but also a little weird. Voluntarily go to sleep under 40 tons of just balancing there rock?? Oh, pick me, pick me.
The following picture includes a pickup truck to provide some scale on how big these boulders are.
Perhaps being built into the rock, the houses kept cooler in the summer.
Another interesting factoid
Back in the 20's, automobiles had gravity fed engines - so that going up steep hills sometimes didn't allow gas to get to the engine; so cars would sometimes BACK up hills (not much traffic then, I guess). This may have been why Blanche Russell got stuck overnight and had time to think of such a silly thing to do with big, barely balanced boulders.
Wildlife Identification . . . not such an easy process
Mostly, I’m happy with the most generic of wildlife identification (little brown bird, lizard, another slightly different lizard . . . . ), but we saw these distinctly larger, fatter ‘lizards’ and I was moved to try to get a more definitive ID. Not easy, as I think there are over 50 species of lizard and skink listed for Arizona.
At first, I thought these were Gila monsters (mostly because I wanted to see one) but they don't have black faces or 'beaded' skin. So, upon reflection and some research, I think these are ‘Common Chuckwallas’ but, really, who knows.