News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Painted rock treasures spring up around Lyons and beyond

Take a walk, find a rock!

Christmas rocks are popping up along the trail by the Lyons ponds, bringing good cheer to those lucky enough to find one.

“My husband and I found two on Dec. 12 and brought them home, then thought maybe we were supposed to re-hide them,” posted Coleen Elser on the Lyons Bulletin on Facebook. “Well, we found three more today, re-hid two, and left one where we found it. They are so cute, and really made our day!”

Three days later, Elser and her hubby walked the trail and “replanted” the first two rocks they had found. 

“The three we re-hid were gone and no new ones!” she said. “Hopefully all good things have not come to an end.”

The mystery unfolds with posts from the locals, including Donna Baumann and her granddaughter who hid a few rocks last summer.

“Hopefully they were found by now,” Baumann said.

Hank Williams surmised that more than one person paints them.

“I think they hide them for you to keep,” he said. “They do it around Mill City, too. I think whomever it is, is pretty amazing for doing it.”

“How adorable  is that!” said Lauri Jackson about the photo of the two found by the Elsers. “Maybe folks should take the rock and leave a coin – just in case it’s the boys. They will probably check on their rocks.”

Even with all the subtlety surrounding the findings, no one “‘fessed up” to who left “Christmas” greetings around the pond – until now.

“There is a local rock painting group!” posted Colleen Gulstrom. Linda Deam suggested looking for a Santiam Canyon Rocks! logo on the “treasures.”

Students from Mari-Linn School have been blessed to be given a number of them, and they are now painting and hiding their own around town.

“I’m so excited,” said Debbie Johnston. “The Rock Fairy is back at Mari-Linn School this year. If you are local and would like to help spread joy to the kids, you can drop the painted rocks off at the main office and they will be placed around the school by staff. Then watch for pictures of the kiddos as they find them, as the school will post them.  

“Please do not hide them on school grounds yourself,” she added. “Also, make sure they are labeled. I hope this will be a fun year for all!”

Not all painted rocks have been placed around Lyons. Becky May posted one with flowers outside Grocery Outlet in Stayton. The rock inspired her back into hiding rocks too and “made my day.”

The group encourages others who find rocks, no matter where the location, to post on its Facebook page. Like the teddy bears of yore, more than a few rocks have had quite the travels. 

Rikkindan King found a rock on the step of her drink trailer at Page Lake Powell Campground in Arizona and passed it along. That same rock was found by Denise Rothleutner who carried it back to Washington state and left it “with a lovely lady at Pacific Beach State Park.”

Leilani Palmer found one with the message “be strong” hidden in 2019 by a Santiam Canyon Rocks! member in Montana. The rock traveled with her home to Ohio.  

Another SCR! rock was found last year at the Alabama Hills Bakery. And Deam found a rock on Route 66 and left it at Lake Geneva, Wisc.

Rindi White posted a photo of her son with a rock he found two years ago on the playground at Pioneer Peak Elementary School in Palmer, Alaska. Laura Camp found a Canyon rock last Fourth of July in Denali, Heali, Alaska. Johnston painted 10 of these rocks and planted them when she traveled.

Another rock was posted that was found in Prineville by Pamela Kuruce and ended up on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“I can’t wait to see where it’s off to next!” Kuruce said enthusiastically. 

People are invited to paint a rock and leave it for others to find. A label for the back of the rock that identifies Santiam Canyon Rocks! can be found on its Facebook page. Mod Podge the label to the rock, and before hiding, spray the label with protective clear coat.  

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