Photo by Kat Gleason
There is always a pattern, even to randomness. How else would they be able to develop programs that generate random numbers? Our Talus wall needed to look random and natural . In other words it couldn’t look manmade . We needed to discover a pattern. First, because a pile of rocks seem fit together better with time we knew we had to try to fit our rocks closely to match that tendency and give the rock slope a feeling of having been there a while. Secondly larger stones tend to show up near the surface so we didn’t use a lot of the small ones near the top.
We laid many rocks with any length along the same orientation figuring clusters of rocks fall and land generally along a similar path. Larger rocks with any obvious grain in them we sometimes laid along side each other too. These could simulate larger boulders that had cracked on impact along fault and cleavage lines creating smaller boulders which might appear laying together somewhat parallel to each other.
We laid several on end where their length and uneven weight might cause them to tip and get stuck in a somewhat upright position out of the rubble.
Certain boulders we placed on the pile just looked wrong at first. We intuitively knew rocks would rarely settle that way. The rule then was to turn them until they looked right or move them to a new position. Any trouble makers we busted up into smaller rocks.
We have to thank our excavator guy Bob Baker too, who seemed to catch on quickly to these rater loose rules and especially liked busting rocks with his bucket.