Friday, May 27, 2016

Along the Way: Footprint Rock

Footprint Rock, Ohio
Rock in foreground
“What’s on the agenda for today?” Zech asked as we finished packing the truck.

I rattled off a list of places we were going to try to get to ending the list with: “But first we’re going to stop at Footprint Rock.”

“Ok,” he replied, obviously not impressed with the name.

Having read about this rock many, many years ago I knew I had to make the short detour to visit it while I was passing through the region.

In mere minutes after leaving Richmond, Indiana, we were standing at Footprint Rock in Ohio. A small brown sign along the road marks its location and if you’re not looking for it, it is easy to miss – we were looking for it and almost missed the sign. A number of older directions talk about the abandoned gas station that was located here, but it had been demolished by the time of our visit.

Footprint Rock
Can you see the footprint?
Located on the northern side of Route 40, the rock is roughly four miles east of the Indiana/Ohio state line. Reading some comments people had posted over the years I thought it was in the middle of a field, or even in a slightly more remote location,  but instead it is only a couple yards off of Route 40. At one time the rock was a major attraction in the area, but after the interstate was built, traffic on Route 40 lessened and many forgot about this strange rock formation.

"So what is it?" Zech asked as we studied the rock and its strange footprint in the middle of it. Of course we took pictures of it from every angle and did a shoe size comparison of it. Locals claim that it is the footprint of a prehistoric man. Some have claimed that it is the footprint of a man-like dinosaur. 

The Footprint
“Optical illusion?” Zech asked. I had to agree that this was the case. The footprint is easier to see and make out if you’re looking at the rock from the east or west, along the lines of the grooves caused by erosion. The added fact that water was in the footprint also made it easier to distinguish.

Footprint Rock is a neat thing to visit if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make a special trip just to visit it. Of course, if you do get to that part of Ohio and stop, let me know what you think.

Strange Side Note: A couple years back a rumor began circulating that if you placed your bare foot in the print, closed your eyes (and in some versions count to three) and reopened them you would be transported back in time for a brief second or two. A rock that allows for time travel.... I personally did not test that theory...

A close-up of the Footrpint

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