DIY Sculptures at the Shawnagunks Rock Gardens

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The Rock Gardens are a fantastic concept—a regenerating, infinite, open-source art project set on a bald peak of the Shawnagunk Ridge in Kerhonkson.

 

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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.

 

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…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.

 

 

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But the stones remain scattered around like Legos, and the next summer brings the gaggles back to build a new round

 

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Apparently, many of the sculptors enjoy drugs.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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On the entrance to the lean-to

 

 

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

 

 

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