Before we begin on our hike to the high point, we cross the road, like very few chickens actually do, to visit Baughman Rock.
A hundred feet into the woods on a handicap accessible trail we come to an area which could only be “the Rocks.” There is an entrance to the Rocks in the form of a “rest area,” a wooden platform with benches, thanks to an Eagle Scout who no doubt earned his badge building this thing.
We pass a stone monument paying tribute to… Well, let me tell you about the name of these rocks. Appearing on a plaque affixed to the monument is the following…
Henry Baughman — an ill-tempered man — and his two sons were searching the fields for lost cows. The father became angry with his youngest son, August, who was slowing the search. The father struck him with a stick, knocking him unconscious. Henry, thinking his son was dead, hid the body amongst what is now called Baughman Rocks. Later, returning to the site, he could not find the body. On the testimony of his eldest son, Henry was tried, convicted and served a term for second degree murder. What happened to August remains a mystery to this day.
So many Native American myths tell of a young woman or young man, forced to separate from their lover and made sad beyond redemption, jumping off a cliff, getting hit by lightning, carried away in a flood, and then magically transforming into another entity, a spirit, a rock, a bird. In this case, I wonder if son August, unbeknownst to the myth-makers, floated above the rocks and as startled onlookers’ mouths hung open, magically transformed into the eighth month.
I wrote a letter to the Forbes State Forest foreman asking him if he knew why Henry Baughman was so ill-tempered. He did not.
Baughman Rocks is an area of boulders with deep crevices between. Great place for a family picnic. Unless Dad is ill-tempered.