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By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2010 – It’s not on the scale of Stonehenge. But stacked rocks popping up along an East County freeway are drawing the attention of passersby and sparking a mystery as to their origins. Just who has been balancing stones along Highway 52, and why?


Is balancing rocks a sport, an artistic expression, or a way to release tension during tough times?” asks Dennis Richardson, who noticed the array of man-made rock formations while driving between Santee and Santo Road, along the north side of the freeway.


Other theories for the balanced rock creations include shrines to unknown deities, memorials for highway fatalities, or secret messages being transmitted.


“The work of this creative artist (or artists) may go unseen by the thousands of commuters who use this major route in East County, unless you are a good observer,” Richardson concludes.


Do you have a theory to explain who may be balancing rocks in our region—and why? Or know who is responsible for these mystery creations? Or perhaps you've spotted additional stacked-rock creations in other areas of East County?  If so, please email


None of these man-made rock balancing sculptures can compare, however, with the scale of giant boulders balanced precariously in other areas of East County. (See photos below.) If rock balancing is a “sport”, then it appears that Mother Nature or the Almighty is still the master of this game!


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Rock Stacking in East County

We have a local artist, some say "madman" here in East County who has balanced rocks for the sheer joy of watching the energy blast from the earth in the form of blue orbs. He has done this for years, all throughout the county.

Sit down and watch sometime. Capture the orbs with your camera if you cannot see them with your naked eye. Do this wherever there is a stacking of rocks, then thank Tim Terry, the RockStakker.

Viva Tim Terry!

Mystery of rock balancing solved?

We received this email today from a reader offering a possible explanation for those mysterious balanced rocks.  Below is her theory. -- Miriam (Editor)


I have a feeling I know who’s up to the rock-balancing mystery.
I’m a “geocacher” here in San Diego and the area off of the 52 in Santee is chock full of geocaches. People (like me) head out for hikes with their gps hand-held units to search for tupperware containers (yes, there’s a lot of jokes about that), ammo cans, and other small containers. Inside are inexpensive items (sometimes) and a log on which to sign your name. I have a feeling that on these hikes, adults (and sometimes kids too!) might be stacking up the rocks while they’re relaxing or searching for a cache. While I haven’t stacked any rocks, I’ve seen them stacked around Lake Murray, Lake Miramar, and even in Balboa Park. Very pretty!
Go to to learn more about geocaching; it’s a great family activity and it’s very fun/great exercise!

Bonnie Stinchcomb
National University Testing Center Coordinator