IMG_0228I worked in the riverbed underneath the cliffs I usually stack on at the watchung reservation today. the little island I picked was near enough to land that I could jump back and forth without getting my boots wet, but I was presented with a problem during the  process. let me explain: invariably, the first step of any stack is to create a base, a level starting point from which your structure can grow. this takes much longer than any other step. below is the result of a half hour’s work: IMG_0193clearly, not a lot got done. here is another half hour’s work:
IMG_0196I’ve more than doubled the height of this thing, but in the grand scheme of things, this is not a very good speed to be working at. regardless, it’s necessary; without a well-planned base (especially with the brittle stone I’m working with here, not much better than compressed clay), later elements added are very likely to magnify some tiny imbalance further down the pile and topple the whole thing. once this was done, the next part progressed similarly faster. I capped the stack with a large stone, and started another thick layer of smaller elements above that. I wanted to continue this repetition of layers of small stuff capped by large stones, but there was nothing in the area that was large enough to play a similar role to the last cap… except… one stone across the river. now, the river’s not that deep, but I wasn’t too keen on getting my legs wet. IMG_0197however, the rock on the other side of this little guy seemed too perfect to ignore and the water only seemed to come up to ankle height, so I figured I’d go for it. the rock ended up being heavier than expected, and the water was deeper than I had thought, so the end result was… IMG_0200

wet legs and soggy arms. nobody likes that. worst of all, I was worried that the stone would be too heavy, and that the internal forces of the stack wouldn’t support it properly, so I was scared to lift it on; here’s how I felt when it worked. IMG_0202

the top of this rock was too rounded to allow for much lateral growth, and the pile was getting tippy in general; I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to spread it much further outwards. I phoned it in a little in finishing it off.

in the end, I really liked the way it looked on its little patch of dirt and gravel surrounded by the stream. I wish I had found the tenacity to build a few more, but my blood sugar was running low and I decided to call it a day. what do you folks think? more stacking in this location, or should I move up atop the bluffs again?

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