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Vancouver Rocks! Find little treasure hidden around Vancouver that will brighten your day

On a summer afternoon while walking my dog, Luna, something pink caught my eye. It turned out to be a rock, painted pink with polka dots wedged in between two branches on a small tree.

I stopped to admire it, but I did not take it with me assuming it could belong to a little one who might have lost it and later may come back looking for it. I soon learned it was actually decorated for a community project called “Vancouver ‘Rocks!'”

Created by Angelique Vines Reagan, this group encourages creativity for all ages while exploring the Vancouver area and building community. Vancouver “Rocks!” has a Facebook page with over 28,000 members for people to post their findings, share hints on where to find hidden rocks, where they have been found and to reveal unique rock designs. Although participants can keep the decorated stones they find, they are encouraged to “make one if you keep one,” and replace a rock to keep the fun going.

The idea behind these colorful rocks is to paint, hide, find, keep, and/or re-hide them in the Vancouver area. Even though these are called Vancouver Rocks! they are not limited to just the Vancouver area. Rocks have been found all over Clark County and some have even journeyed across the river to Portland.

People have demonstrated their creativity with the various designs and themes for rocks they have painted. A wide array of themes includes Disney characters, seasons and holidays. Some artists have even developed their own style that marks each rock they decorate.

Other rocks are painted with inspirational messages, quotes or compliments. Members are encouraged to keep the subjects of their rock painting appropriate for kids, since children are the most avid rock hunters.

One family came up with a way to give back to the community while hiding rocks. Every time they go out to hide rocks they bring a trash bag with them to pick up litter they may find along the way.

Washington State University Vancouver is not immune to the Vancouver “Rocks!” phenomenon. Students have spotted a few around campus. Valerie Teegardin, a chair on the Students Activity Board shared one of her findings on campus.

“I didn’t know it was a ‘thing’ until I came across a newspaper article about the Vancouver ‘Rocks!’ [Facebook] group. I had forgotten about it until I saw some painted rocks on campus a couple weeks ago.”

Teegardin keeps the small triangle shaped rock in her office for decoration. It was painted to look like a tiny watermelon or strawberry, though Teegardin has yet to decide on which one it resembles the most.

Teegardin's rock. Photo credit: Quetzali Ramirez

Teegardin’s rock.
Photo credit: Quetzali Ramirez

Teegardin’s discovery “made me start painting rocks myself, although I must say it is harder than you’d think!”

Others have been spotted on tables at university events, found on the steps on the way to classes, or placed at the foot of A-frames.

“I saw some painted rocks on campus … [that] were light blue with an outline of Mickey Mouse ears painted in black. What was particularly cool about the rocks is that they were placed near SAB’s A-frame that was advertising our Disney on Ice ticket registration. No one on the SAB had painted them,” Teegardin said.

During a walk with Luna one evening, after playing fetch at the dog park, the sun began to set. The sunset shined just enough to engulf the park with the last couple hours of the golden hour that peeked through the trees, and Luna led me to a bench at the bottom of the hill.

As we approached I noticed a white egg like object placed in the middle of the wooden bench. The first thing that came to mind was how it resembled a dinosaur egg. Puzzled, I picked it up and realized it had green and pink polka dots all over it.

Turning it over, the rock’s green paint read, “Bayzil Age 4, Vancouver ‘Rocks!’” Luna had led us to stumble upon our very first Vancouver Rock.

Photo credit: Quetzali Ramirez

Photo credit: Quetzali Ramirez

Filled with the excitement of finding my very first rock I snapped a picture and posted it to the Facebook group, within the hour Bayzil’s family had seen the post and commented that she was happy to have seen that someone had uncovered her work of art. I decided to rehide it in a flower pot in the Salmon Creek area for someone else to enjoy.

I recently came across another artistic rock while browsing the collection of used books at the store Boomerang in downtown Vancouver. At first I was too distracted by the books on the shelves to notice the bright lime green painted rock with a black and white pattern surrounding a heart in the center leaning up against some books on the bookshelf.

This one I have held onto until I find the perfect location to place this carefully painted masterpiece. It undoubtedly will brighten someone’s day. Keep an eye out for it, who knows, maybe it will appear somewhere around campus.

For more information on where to find them or become inspired to create your very own rock visit the “Vancouver ‘Rocks!’” Facebook page.

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