I drove an hour to see a rock.

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.

Erratic Rock sign

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.

Erratic Rock trailheadHere’s a close-up of the interpretive sign, so you’ll understand why Erratic Rock is so cool.  You can click on it to make it bigger.

Erratic Rock interpretive sign

There were quite a few distractions along this short trail.

blackberries

wild sweet pea

geese

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.

Erratic Rock

Erratic Rock

The surface looked exactly like slate to me.

dog on a rock

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.

Happy Dog & I

View of the Coast Range

DSCN3833

Big sky

Time to head back down.

Trail from Erratic Rock

View from Erratic Rock trail

Hmmm, I’m pretty sure we passed a number of wineries on the way here,

Map to the wineries of Oregon's Mid Willamette Valley - McMinnville AVA and Eola-Amity Hills District AVA

not to mention a monastery, at which reside the fudge-making Brigittine monks.  Chocolate and wine?  Yesplease.

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