The Pet Rock was all the rage in the 1970s. Four decades later, stones are rolling into popular culture again. But this time, instead of keeping them as pets, people are hunting them out in their “natural” habitat.
Alyssa Mouldon and her daughter, Elise Forys, recently started a Facebook group with a few of their friends that has people out and searching the streets of Highland for special, decorated rocks.
Similar to the video game fad Pokémon GO, players scour the community looking for their quarry. But unlike Pokémon, the rocks exist in real life.
Anyone can join. It’s fun for all ages, according to Mouldon. To participate, all hunters need to do is join the Facebook group, Rocks of Highland (IL). By joining the group, participants will be able to see pictures of other rocks that are being hidden, or have been found. They will also be able to receive and post their own clues on where to find rocks.
When a hunter finds a rock they have two options: the rock can be hidden again or kept as a special memory. Mouldon said they have painted and hidden at least 50 to 60 rocks so far, which are all hidden in locations ranging in tracking difficulty. Some can be easily found out in the open, others are in more remote locations. Participants do not need to wait to find their own stone to jump in.
“They can also create their own rocks and have the joy of hiding them for others to find,” Mouldon said.
Mouldon and Forys have painted animals, characters, sports, food, outdoor scenes and inspirational messages on the rocks. They said that designs can also be solid colors or decorated with glitter, it is all up to the hunter’s imagination. Forys said she likes the creative side of the activity.
“I really loved the idea of starting the group because I love any opportunity to draw, color and be creative,” Forys said. “I also thought our town would be a fun place to start this group because Highland is a great community. I think it’s turned out amazing so far and we are growing quickly.”
Rock hunting in Highland was born off of inspiration from other communities.
“I had seen how popular it was in other local towns and thought Highland would be an excellent place to start such a group, because of our hometown spirit, and everyone always wanting to be involved in public activities,” Mouldon said.
The trend stemmed from the Kindness Rocks Project, which was started to help spread inspiration and moments of kindness to unsuspecting recipients who find decorated rocks scattered in their town. The movement started in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with it’s creator, Megan Murphy, who started the activity as a hobby. But, it soon grew into something larger and has reached as far as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, India, Thailand, Haiti, Italy and England.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea seeing how it was encouraging people of all ages to go outside, families having fun doing this activity together and bringing the creativity out of people making new rocks and finding fun, interesting places to hide their rocks,” Mouldon said. “It may also show people different parts of town they may have never known existed.”
So far, Mouldon said the activity has received a positive reaction. In a week, the group has grown to include more than 130 people, and they hope to keep growing the group, according to Mouldon.
“We have received very positive responses from a lot of people that have also seen these groups in other towns and are excited that one was started in Highland.” Mouldon said.
Mouldon said the group will keep on hiding the rocks as long as there is interest.