A popular legend on Frye Island tells of Captain Frye. While being chased, the Captain came upon a large rock now known as Frye’s Leap with no way of going around it. So he decided to jump and swim across the channel—a deep and treacherous passage called ‘The Gut.’ The cliff rises nearly eighty feet, guarding the island’s narrowest point and featuring ancient Native American pictographs. Today, faint traces of the paintings can still be found on the cliff’s surface: a wigwam and chief, a Native American girl, a wounded bear, a war dance, and a deer.
Another tale tells that in the days when deep snow covered all the hills and ice never thawed from the streams, Manitou, The Mighty One, sent his son from his dwelling at the top of the distant mountains down to earth. The son’s breath warmed the land and mists rose until he could no longer see his mountain home. All at once, he felt himself falling through the air to a place beside waters of a lake. Before the mists cleared enough for him to see his surroundings, he fell in love with the spirit of the lake—a beautiful girl. This was against the father’s wishes, and he changed his son into an unshapely mass of stone, binding him to the earth as a mass of granite. But, according to Native American beliefs, the Frye’s Leap cliff is actually the guardian of the lake from intrusion, and its rocks can still have conversation with Mighty Manitou, whose voice is thunder and weapon is lightning.