It was a place name on a USGS quadrangle map that sparked my interest in Julian Rocks. I thought, after all, if it is named on a map, it’s probably noteworthy — heck, the topo sheet was named after it, so it must be cool. Poor access and private property prevented the “just go check it out” style I was used to. One day I casually mentioned I was interested in this place I saw on a map called Julian Rocks. His forehead lifted, and he looked at me sideways. “I’ve been wanting to go out there for as long I can remember,” he said.|
Dr. Russell and I talked about it on many occasions after that, which led to Julian Rocks getting an almost mystical and elusive quality in my mind. In this paper, we address many aspects of this singular place. My interests are geologic, so I compiled the material presented as “The Geology of Julian Rocks.” Dr. Russell addresses the historical points of interests in sections titled “Julian Rocks as a Dam Site” and “Julian Rocks as a Bridge Site.” Additionally, he presents a geneology section on the Julian Family.
My interest in Julian Rocks was heightened from the research I had done for while taking Advanced Field Geology at CSU, Chico in the spring of 1996. My field area was northwest of Julian Rocks about 15 miles, where Thomes Creek descends from the Coast Ranges. So for half a semester, I drove over on Newville Road wondering about Julian Rocks to the south. I searched for geologic writing that referenced the locality so that I might at least know what it was like. I found some stereo air photos, which provide an airplane’ view, although only in black and white. I also performed some three-dimensional renderings of the area using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and specialized computer software. In this way, I had ‘as good as possible’ concept of what it was like.
I nearly abandoned any notion of seeing it in person, until an unusual set of circumstances arrived in March 1997, allowing me to “go check it out.” Doc had secured permission from the land owner! My expectations were considerably high. It was about a four mile hike from the ranch house where we parked. We hiked along the south bank following animal trails, or near the water’s edge. As we got closer, my excitement grew. I was actually going to see it. Then, about a half mile away I could see Stony Creek coming through a long, slender ridge. It reminded me of airplane fuselage. Once we arrived, I climbed to the top of the ridge. I could see on either side, and I was struck with a very rare sensation. I was at a very special place, a place that few people had seen, but all had enjoyed.