Amphibious -Short Animated Film
Frog Woman Rock is a distinctive volcanic monolith located in Mendocino County, California, in the Russian River canyon through the California Coast Ranges. The California Historical Landmark, adjacent to US Route 101, is a popular recreational site for rock-climbing and whitewater kayaking.
The Russian River channel through the Franciscan Assemblage is moved westerly against the steep, resistant face of Frog Woman Rock by an earthflow known as Squaw Rock Slide. The earth flow forms the east bank of the river where the vertical cliffs of Frog Woman Rock form the west bank. Boulders moved into the river channel by the earth flow remain while turbulent river flow erodes and transports smaller sediment particles of the earth flow down the Russian River. The remaining boulders form rapids varying from class III during summer flows of 300 cu ft/s (8.5 m3/s) to class V during heavy winter runoff events.
The Russian River canyon has long been a transportation corridor between the agricultural Ukiah Valley and seaports around San Francisco Bay. Northwestern Pacific Railroad tunnel number 8 was bored 1270 feet (388 m) through Frog Woman Rock in 1889 to bring the railroad up the west side of the canyon. Early wagon roads up the east side of the canyon were improved to form United States highway 101. The present highway alignment crosses Squaw Rock Slide on a bridge at milepost MEN 4.9. Early travelers through the canyon noted the upper portion of Frog Woman Rock resembles the profile of a head and face, with imaginatively humanoid or frog-like features. This profile can be most conveniently observed traveling southbound on highway 101 from mileposts MEN 6.4 to 6.2.
The European name Squaw Rock may have derived from the story of Lover’s Leap cited in the History of Mendocino County, California, published in 1880. The legend tells of a young chief named Cachow from the village in Cloverdale who promised to marry Sotuka, the daughter of the chief of the Sanel in Hopland. Cachow did not keep his promise and instead married another woman. The newlyweds were camped at the base of a large rock cliff along the Russian River. All three were killed when Sotuka, holding a great stone, jumped from the precipice onto the sleeping pair below.
The veracity of the above description has been debated. The 6 December 1891 Sunday Morning Star newspaper published a legend written by Dr. J.C. Tucker from the recollections of an elderly native American woman. This legend of Squaw Rock may have metamorphosed in retelling: A native American woman who died in the 1850s was said to have lived with a daughter, known as Pancha, fathered by one of the Russians stationed at Fort Ross. Pancha fell in love with a gold prospector identified as Archie Henderson. Henderson had broken his leg in a fall and was nursed through recovery by Pancha and her mother. Pancha became despondent after Henderson was later found dead. A man identified as Concho was believed responsible for Henderson's death. Concho was expelled from his tribe and the bereaved Pancha jumped or fell to her death. When people observed rocks falling from the cliffs through the following years, some said Pancha's spirit was casting stones down at some passing person she thought to be Concho.
In 1956, Squaw Rock was designated California Historical Landmark number 549, with a description based upon Palmer's 1880 Mendocino County History: "This early landmark, also called Lover's Leap, is associated with the purported legend of a 19th-century Sanel Indian maiden, Sotuka. Her faithless lover, Chief Cachow, married another; all three were killed when Sotuka, holding a great stone, jumped from the precipice upon the sleeping pair below."