Rocks in Water – California’s Gold (803)

We’re talking about rocks in the water! And in this episode, Huell visits three of the most fascinating of these rocks. First, Huell travels to scenic Lake Tahoe and boards a boat to Emerald Bay where he climbs all over Fannette Island, the only island in the entire lake. A sparsely-timbered, brush-covered upthrust of granite that rises 150 feet above the turquoise water, this island is believed to be a resistant rib of rock which was overridden by the glacial ice that carved out Emerald Bay. But the payoff comes when Huell reaches the very top of the rock and visits the historic stone “tea house” built in 1928 and hears about its colorful history. 

Next Huell travels to the very northern coast of California to see first hand some of the most unusual rocks you’ll ever see in the water. They’re part of the jetty system built to protect ship traffic in and out of Humbolt Bay. These huge, reinforced concrete shapes resembling children’s toy jacks, are 15 feet high and 43 tons each, with two eight-sided arms and an eight-sided connecting beam. This unique assemblage of rocks is the only design ever to hold up under the constant pounding of the heavy seas, and Huell not only walks out on the jetty for a close-up look, but is taken out to sea by the U.S. Coast Guard for an exciting view from the ocean side. 

Huell’s final destination is the most unusual because he ends up in the Mojave Desert — far from any water, fresh or salt — and what he finds on the desert floor are rocks that you’d never even notice under normal circumstances, but were once under water and, in fact, have a rich human story to tell.