405 Rocks: A Treasure Hunt
There’s a hobby sweeping across the state that most people have found themselves just stumbling into while walking through the park or running errands. Rock enthusiasts have been gathering rocks of all shapes and sizes and painting various quirky, whimsical or beautiful paintings onto them and leaving them around town to be found.
“Well I found my first rock in front of Arvest Bank in Midwest City last week. I put it back, I had never played before. But now I’m looking forward to introducing this game to my granddaughter,” said Robert Hansen who discovered the hobby by accident.
This rock movement isn’t solely in Oklahoma of course, it can be found all around the nation and even worldwide. There are many rock groups that can be found online, especially on Facebook. The Facebook group “405 Rocks” is one of the Oklahoma groups and here rock enthusiasts share pictures of the rocks that they paint and find. Many of the rock artists will post a photo of the rock and give a hint to where it is located, which makes it a fun treasure hunt for those who know what they are looking for. Of course there’s also those that just stumble upon the rocks and aren’t really sure what to do with them at that point if they have never heard of it. Most rocks will have “405 Rocks” painted on the back which when people look up, can find the group and more information on this fun hobby.
Although these rocks can be found all around town, Regional Park in Midwest City seems to be a very popular place to find them.
“I was walking at Regional Park one day and happened to see this rock by the second bridge. I really didn’t pay much attention until I found another one, so I picked it up and found one more. After reading the back I wanted the first one too because I thought they were so pretty,” said Cheryl McCaulla. “Now I have been painting and hiding rocks since August of last year. I find it to be relaxing and therapeutic. I know it made my day when I found my first three, and I still have them. I wanted others to have that same feeling. I love all of the rocks and the groups offer so much encouragement and positive feedback, so I will continue to paint rocks until my vision worsens or my hands shake too much.”
There’s no age limit on who can enjoy this hobby, and it can be done all by yourself or with groups of friends, making it a simple and easy hobby to get into. You also don’t have to be an experienced or exceptionally skilled artist to paint rocks. Some of the local enthusiasts didn’t even find their first rock locally, they were on vacation or visiting other places when they stumbled upon their first rocks.
“I was spending time with four of my grandkids in Keller, Texas this summer. We went to a park and each child found a rock. That was our first exposure. We looked it up on Keller Rocks and Ft. Worth Rocks and they have several thousand members, very active groups. The next day we painted rocks and placed them,” said Edie Shelter, who lives near Tinker AFB. “I researched ideas, supplies and techniques and now my grandchildren and I love painting rocks. I’m almost 61 yet I’ve always remembered getting an F on an 8th grade art project, the teacher told me I couldn’t draw. All those years I believed that, but not I’m having so much fun expressing creativity that brings a smile to the finder and creates memories with my grandchildren. I hope the groups continue to grow.”
There can be something quite satisfying in both finding these little treasures and hiding them anticipating the joy and thrill of someone else finding them. The online groups allow people to see if their rocks have been found, but sometimes you just may never know who picked it up or where it went on its travels. Some people keep the rocks and replace them with their own painted ones, and some rehide the rocks in other areas. There are no hard and fast rules on what you have to do with them.
“I found my first rock in early September while on vacation in Vancouver, Washington. I found it totally by accident. We were geochaching and instead of finding the hidden container I was looking for, I found this little painted rock face down hidden in the grass. Shortly after we found another one. I vaguely remembered seeing a few posts in the past about painted rocks, but didn’t know the ‘rules’ of this rock thing. So I reached out to friends on Facebook asking them to help me understand what the deal was about,” said local rock enthusiast Terri Bailey. “They informed me that if you find one, directions are typically on the back of the rock. The idea is, if you take a rock that you find, you paint another one to hide out in the world somewhere to ‘pay it forward’ and spread kindness to another person. I loved the concept. This world needs more positive like this and it makes you feel great to brighten someone else’s day. Before I found that rock I had never imagine myself to be an artistic person. Now I’ve found something that I enjoy and I get to use it to make random people in the community happy. It’s crazy cool”
You can find the different rock groups on Facebook for more information and ways that you can jump in and start becoming a rock enthusiast yourself.