The Shawangunks Rock Gardens are a fantastic concept—a regenerating, infinite, open-source art project set on a bald peak of the Shawangunk Ridge in Kerhonkson.
Every summer, gaggles of locals wander up to the Gardens and create. Some of the statues have been enormous—a few summers ago, I saw a 10-foot Tyrannosaurus composed of grey and brown boulders. I have no idea how people were able to do this without the aid of a backhoe.
…and, come winter, snow drifts over the statues until their shapes are smoothed into the ground. Spring arrives, and the sculptures are dismantled and dragged out by the snow-melt.
But the stones remain scattered around like Legos, and the next summer brings the gaggles back to build a new round
It was early in the season, so the creations were less impressive than at most times. Someone had built a giant lean-to up there, so anyone crazy enough to undertake a multi-day project was able.
According to my Trusted Source In Local History, McWilliams, the first season of the Rock Gardens occurred sometime in the 70s, when a bunch of SUNY New Paltz Undergrads decided they needed to alert spaceships where to land when aliens made first contact. The students must have given up, because I didn’t see anyone up there. Or the plan worked, and the aging students are whizzing around the multiverse right now.
To Get to The Rock Gardens from New Paltz:
– Get yourself to the intersection of 299, 32 and 208.
– Travel West on 299 for 12.4 miles
– There is a small parking area on your right directly before the road straightens out. Pull into it.
– Cross 299 on foot and mount the rocks on the opposite side of the road.
– Climb until you’ve reached the peak (only a minute or two)
– Turn right and continue, walking parallel to 299 below you
– In less than five minutes, you’re there.
– MAKE SOMETHING