Stoned on the River

Susquehanna River Rockville Bridge (4)

The Rockville bridge spanning the Susquehanna river

No, I am not talking about smoking ghanja while swimming or boating. Maybe i should have labeled this post “Stones on the River”. (This post is jammed with almost a GB of pics so may load slowly for some) My post was inspired by Lorna’s From Peneverdant blog post on Penwortham Bridge and wanted to post about our own Rockville Bridge which to quote Wiki “The Rockville Bridge, at the time of its completion in 1902, was, and remains, the longest stone masonry arch railroad viaduct in the world.[1] Constructed between April 1900 – April 1902 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, it has forty-eight 70-foot spans, for a total length of 3,820 feet (1,164 m).”  The bridge has stood firm all these 104 years against ice flows and floods and has iron plates on the upstream side of their piers. Every once in awhile an upper stone will give way and a freight train will lose a car or two over the edge and then what a clean-up that is if the cargo is benign like coal. The RR men often stop their trains on the bridge waiting in line to get into the Enola RR yards where i grew up and are able to take in the beautiful view. Lorna – its not about “my bridge is bigger than your bridge” lol, as both are beautiful for sure. Your post just inspired me to scan these photos and write this story.

Susquehanna River Rockville Bridge (3)

Mermaid? Nah, just a swimmer

Now I used to rent an apartment in a 200 year old house about a quarter mile downriver from the Rockville bridge and right across the road we could walk down a hill to the river, as did many other good (fishermen, boaters and swimmers) and bad (pimps, whores, drunks, homeless, druggies, illegal squatters, etc) people. So it was best to go down there on a weekday in the late morning when usually only the good people were there, but Never at night. When the official river level at Harrisburg was below 3.2 feet in mid to late summer we could walk across downstream from these falls (that the fishermen loved) over to the low islands and the water would only be up to just above our knees. In the spring the islands had some unidentified tall plant with beautiful purple flowers as you can see in one picture. In other pictures you can see the Appalachian mountains which formed 480 million years ago and from this point north is a series of mountains cut through by the river that are very close together. Geologists from all over the world come to see them. The Susquehanna River is Far older than the mountains, probably melting off from one of the first glacial periods, and as they rose the river kept cutting through them. Needless to say the fossils one finds are also around 480 million years old and are everywhere if you know in what kind of sedentary rock to look in.

Susquehanna River Rockville Bridge (2)

Some of these large rocks have holes in them from stones getting caught in shallow holes them ground around in the floods creating the holes and perfect round stones

Susquehanna River Rockville Bridge (1)

Spring purple flowered grasses on the islands and shore

Now we used to go down to the river with a big safety pin pinned to our swim suits. Why? Because certain areas on the rocky islands were Full of Goddess stones, the ones with holes naturally eroded into them. I used to be good at finding the big stones and my friend would just sit down and literally go through the small stones around her and find a half dozen within reach. We hung these in various ways and even made necklaces. See, we Pagans in PA are easily entertained, LOL. We also found lots of very round stones and those shaped like lingums and yonis and other strange forms. We would also find “river jasper” mostly yellow in color but i did find one precious red jasper one that is smoothed like a worry stone. Jasper is a flint like rock and i am sure the AmerIndians made both smooth beads and sharp arrows out of them. My most precious find, in the first picture below, was a nice triangle shaped stone and in the center was some black coal dust so i got out my safety pin and popped that out and it is the most perfect Goddess Yoni stone i have Ever found. Why the coal dust? Well before railroads the big anthracite coal mines up north shipped their coal down in large barges which often spilled coal or just plain wrecked. In fact a hundred years later they would dredge the river just to get that coal.

River Goddess stone (1)

Goddess Yoni stone

Just had to stop and resize the rest down as WP is grinding and complaining and may crash on me here with too many big res pics.

millstone 2

River round stones and my Grandpa’s old millstone

River Stones (1)

Holey Stones

River Stones (2)

More Round Stones

River Stones (4)

I had to check in my Freud book to figure out what these represent ;)

River Stones (3)

“My Precious” – anatomically correct lingum or hermaphrodite stone, red jasper, oblong black stone with white snake, yellow jasper. the Devil’s head or Yoni stone, and stones with round indentations not totally through

Below are photos of the Juniata River near me which flows into the Susquehanna a couple miles down, and a photo from an Army helicopter flying over where they merge at Clark’s Island (looking for pot fields) where there was a big AmerIndian encampment as they were slowly pushed north and west, but that story is for another post. I will say Lots of artifacts have been found on the larger islands and i have seen people with cellar’s full of them. The natives would manufacture tools on the island and others in boats would stop by to shop and trade like a drive-thru. Many pieces found are ones they were flint knapping and broke the wrong way and just tossed in heaps.

Juniata Susquehanna split taken by Kirby on guard duty

Where the Juniata and Susquehanna merge


View of the Juniata from the mountain top behind my house and man is that a climb but well worth it and i have even seen eagles up there as a couple routinely nests on the craggy edge at a bend in the river where the fishing is perfect for them to raise their young, usually two eaglets a year.


“Down by the River…..”

So there’s my long story about our beautiful mountains, rivers, biggest stone arch bridge in the world, and wonderful stones to be found all over. I love living here, except maybe today when the temp was minus 2*F with wind chills in the minus teens. I went out for 20 minutes to shovel maybe 2 inches of fluffy snow and was getting frostbite on my thick gloved hands by the end. Brutal. Enjoy the pics, some of which are from an old pre-digital camera and the rest from my high resolution cell phone camera, love those, up to 5MB pics. All the photos here I took (except the one from the helicopter) and are Copyright 2014 GLHoke.

6 thoughts on “Stoned on the River

  1. Wow, in your area everything is so much vaster, from the brook at the back of your house to the Susquehanna River. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pics :)

    • LOL. Well they certainly grow it in the mountains and on the islands and in the corn fields here, which how it sticks out like a green thumb in a brown field in September/October and why the cops use the National Guard helicopters to find it.

    • Thanks JJ. I am no expert but do love getting the right shot at the right time. Its all about the light angles and composition, and a little photo editing with a freeware program called

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