point of rock

Travelers tend to identify a point of rock as that place where they encounter an elemental difficulty. For the mariner, a point of rock extends into the sea, and may threaten shipwreck or offer desperate refuge after the boat goes down. Climbers refer to the point of rock as that place where the approach up a grade or talus slope becomes the start of the ascent on the solid face. Horse packers in mountain country sometimes refer to the point of rock as that place where footing becomes treacherous on exposed bedrock, or where passage is tight at a precipitous turn in the trail. At such places, the underlying rock addresses the traveler, becomes a landmark, handhold, threat. There are two significant points of rock on the Santa Fe Trail, one in New Mexico and the other in Kansas. They served as both landmarks and lookouts.

Kim Stafford