Since I can remember my Father has brought home rocks from his hikes. They have always been a part of our home, his office, the living room, the staircase, our kitchen table.
When joining him on a hike, it’s fascinating to watch him going through the process of selecting a rock – or two. It’s a process of picking one up looking at all sides laying it back down, picking up the one next to it, carrying it a few minutes until a more suitable one catches his eyes, where he will swap the one in his hand to then ending putting one into his backpack.
Sometimes the rock will be too big to carry up and back down the mountain. So he will lay it down, or hide it somewhere next to the trail to pick it up later on the way down. Mostly he will then take a different route back down the mountain, leaving the chosen rock hidden. Mostly by then he will have already found a different rock to take home. If not, he will keep in mind where he has left the rock for the next time he will hike that trail again… what not always will be the case. So every once in a while when we are sitting on a summit and he is be explaining the mountain names on the horizon to me, there will always be the occasional mountain where he mentions still has a rock waiting for him. One that he hid so he can pick it up later.
Those rocks that make it home, he will use a sharpie to write the name of the mountain, altitude, and the date he climbed it, on it.
He started his collection in 1960 and it keeps on growing. In 2009 when I documented his rocks I counted 537.