The following piece was collected from an eighty-four year old woman who lives in Cascade, Colorado. She will hereafter be referred to as the “Informant” and I the “Collector”.
Informant: “There’s a rock on the drive up the mountain pass called Turtle Rock. Every time you go up that road, we all wait silently in the car looking for the rock. It’s a larger rock with a smaller rock behind it and slightly to the side. What happens is that as you drive by, it looks like a turtle poking his head out of his shell. As soon as you see it, you have to yell and jump around. It’s good luck if you can spot it because it’s really hard to see, especially if you’re driving quickly. All the locals know it’s there. It used to be a game to see if someone could make the steep climb up to the rock. In all my time I only ever saw one person do it.”
The Informant learned of this place and the tradition wrapped around it simply by living in the area and hearing from other people all about “Turtle Rock”. She believes that she has known about the rock that looks like a turtle phenomenon for as long as she can remember. She believes it is just a funny rock formation but it never fails to make her laugh.
I love the stories that spin meaning from natural occurrences. Like the idea that a certain rock formation can have a meaning that everyone who lives in the area surrounding the rock knows. I believe it’s a way to identify yourself – if you are from Cascade, Colorado, then you must know about Turtle Rock. And if you don’t, then are you really a Cascade native? Furthermore, having an identity that is interwoven with the land around always seems like the most solid identity a person can have.