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Basalt maze tantalizes hikers

Volunteer places rocks by hand

by: Photo by Susan Matheny - Telephone Pioneers of America volunteer Clyde Wright of Culver stands in a section of the maze he created around boulders near the marina parking lot at Cove State Park.


   Thousands of small rocks, hand placed by 86-year-old Clyde Wright, line the roadway and parking lot of the Cove State Park marina.
   As a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, Wright has volunteered his time to work on projects at Cove Park for 20 years.
   His latest effort began in July 2011, to bring safety to a blind corner at the entrance to the marina parking lot, where two close calls with cars had occurred.
   The corner was full of boulders and 7-foot tall bitterbrush bushes that blocked visibility.
   Wright had an idea to make the corner safe, while also adding something fun for kids to do -- build a maze.
   "I removed the bitterbrush around the boulders so there would be access, and opened up the area," Wright said. There was a lot of bitterbrush and the tedious work took him 11 months.
   He also lined the perimeter of the maze with small rocks, to keep people in the designated area.
   Recently completed, the maze consists of huge basalt boulders, up to 11 feet high, with 125 yards of looping paths that wind around them.
   Flags mark the routes: red for beginners, white for intermediate, and blue for advanced hikers.
   "The maze is so kids can come up and go between, under and through the rocks, but they're confined to the area so they're not affecting the park," Wright said.
   The path also gives them a chance to see rock lichen, native plants and wildflowers, and lizards up close.