Friday, June 15, 2018

In Search of ...Boulders!


Catching up again with 'South County's Finest', Gary L., the purpose of this trip was to hopefully locate Meetinghouse/Town House Rock in northwestern Connecticut We also had information on other boulders, from a town website, and planned a return to Tipping Rock.

It all began with a hiking trip to the top of Haystack Mountain where a pre WPA era stone tower is located. The descent took us past a couple of small quarries that had provided building material for mountain construction projects.


Quarry - and stone tower (background - obscured by trees).

Moving on, we covered several more area sites reported to have boulders, even a "gigantic" boulder, and a reported Sheep Rock. These all yielded absolutely nothing. A search was then started for the 'prime objective': Meetinghouse Rock. Two different sections of the old roadway leading to a long-abandoned town associated with the boulder, but we came up empty-handed. We did visit a splendid erratic recently discovered on a recent trip by Gary and a smaller one I found during the day's search.

A 'stone's throw' to the south (and a moderate walk) brought us back to Tipping Rock. A fine example of this type of phenomena. We first visited this boulder back in the Fall of 2014.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

No Place Like Home!


It always good to return to one of my "home-away-from-homes", this one being the Cape Ann area. In more recent years, the route to and fro have taken on a more 'circuitous' path as I still have many sites in need of attention with a lesser accent upon Cape Ann sites.


An unidentified 1901 image of Balance Rock

So on Day one of this adventure, I started by a long overdue visit to the Balance Rock Farm in Worcester County. A little over a year ago, I came upon some old photos showing the Balance Rock and other local sites. After checking in with the farm's owner, and once again visiting the namesake rock, it was on to a neighboring town and it's own local version of the Profile Rock. Frome here, it was deeper into Middlesex County for glacial boulders at the Landlocked Forest (which bumps up against the Boston Beltway highways) and a revisit to the nearby Paint Mine location. Finally, late in the day, it was time to swing on up to Cape Ann, checking for possible rock/Indian shelters (nothing here) and a walk through the Red Rocks climbing area.


Rayne Adams Boulder @ Dogtown

I originally planned the morning of the second day to be split between Dogtown, and reach the seashore for other projects, just before noon. However, Dogtown had me tied up all morning visiting locations in its northwestern perimeter. These included the Rayne Boulder (gravesite?), Peter's Pulpit, Whales Jaw, Wharf Road, Dogtown Square, and the Merry/bull attack boulders. Later on, I continued a casual, leisurely pace, once again investigating possible rock/Indian shelters, Rockport's Emerson Plaque site on Andrews Point and Profile Rock.


Peter's Pulpit - late 1800's Magic Lantern Slide

The morning of the third day was an abbreviated jaunt to more northerly sections of Essex County to finally bear fruit on a long ongoing project: location of the Nubble Squid which was mentioned in John Henry Sears' 1905 book on Essex County geology. Over the years, numerous searches of various locations were undertaken but produced minimal results. This significant rocky area (which I've read is part of the Clinton-Newbury Faultline) only got a quick, casual look, before returning to Gloucester shoreline for low tide. Down at the seashore, I explored possibilities (but nothing definite) for the Old Man's Cave (antique image) and a look at the nearby, very small, sea cave. Afterward, it was to the location of the Old Man of Joppa formation to try and get a more definitive confirmation on this site.


One of the entrances to the Old Indian Cave



Appleton's Pulpit - early 1900's postcard


The fourth day once again brought me off the Cape, down to the Saugus vicinity. Here I looked into the Old Indian Cave, a balanced boulder, Cannon/Phaeton Rock, Appleton's Pulpit, Shoemaker Rock, and the Pirates Glen.


Shoemaker Rock


Day five saw me pulling out of town late in the morning after breakfast and a seaside walk. Down to Woburn for Rag Rock then on to Fitchburg's Cogshall Park. Although I did visit Moses Rock, there are other features here than needing to be examined. Picking up the Mohawk Trail, it was westward on to the Berkshires!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Success!


Ah how sweet it is. Success! Several years ago a couple of old postcards (reputed to be the same location) came to my attention. Along with (one of) Great Barrington's finest, we attempted to track down this site. Several failures were encountered along the way until an internet discussion brought valuable clues. So finally with Spring here, we set off with great hopes to finally visit Tramp Rock, possibly known as Weary Willy's Haven of Refuge.


Tramp Rock, as seen in modern days.

Acess proved to be a bit tricky as I had to wade a swift current across a somewhat deep river. But just inside the woods, on the opposite shore, the prize was waiting! A massive glacial boulder surrounded by many other smaller ones. The story here is that it may have been a hobo camp long ago when a nearby railroad line ran through these parts.


Tramp Rock from an early 1900s postcard

An added 'bonus' to the trip were visits to several other nearby sites including Point of Rocks, Cemetery Ledge, and the old Beckley (iron) Furnace.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tri-State Romp


Starting off four days of beautiful weather was one of the eminent geologic features in all of Massachusetts: Purgatory Chasm. Although I have visited it several times in the past, my more specific goal was the location of a lengthy cave I call 'Fish Diet Cave' - or aka Damnation Cave. I took the opportunity to visit most of the major features in the Chasm and update photos on some of them. A couple of the smaller caves I have not visited in the past were also explored.


USGS file photo of pothole in the Blackstone Gorge

Unable to locate Fish Diet, I moved on to the mighty Blackstone Gorge where high waters made for an impressive site! Downstream from the Rolling Dam, the river eventually enters the George with high rock walls. One has been depicted in the past on a postcard as Lovers Leap. A massive boulder in the river is also known for the king-sized pothole that runs through it. Before leaving the Woonsocket area, I made a trip to look the Cold Spring which sits in a park by the same name.


The Cold Spring



A likely King Philip and H P Lovecraft site overlooking the Pond

Next up was Lincoln RI whose Lincoln Woods boulders are a favorite amongst climbers. I concentrated on northwest portions of the park where I wanted to take a stab at identifying an old photo as well as photographing a minor cave formation. In the nearby settlement of Lonsdale, the Indian Red Rock was given another look after many years to see if it could be matched to its old photo.


The Wolfs Den, as portrayed on an early 1900s postcard

Day Two started off by connecting with RI authority, Mike G., from whence we proceeded down into the southwest corner of Connecticut to take on Wolfs Den. Then it was all the way back up to northeastern Rhode Island to see Bigfoot Cave, the site of the mineral Cumberlandite (state rock of Rhode Island), and the possible site of an Indian encampment: Mollie's Bedroom.


At the main entrance to Bigfoot Cave



Leif's - or Norseman's - Rock

By the third day I was back traveling solo making an early morning excursion to Rocky Point Park. This was a relatively quick trip, seeing the shoreline, catching the image represented on an old postcard, and a stroll past the cave formations located nearby. Hopping across the upper end of Providence Harbor/Seekonk River, I was able to make a mid-morning low tide at Leif's/Norseman's Rock before returning northward to Massasoit's Spring.


King Philip's Cave (above) from an early 1900s postcard


King Philip's Cave - modern day

Back into Massachusetts, I took a quick look at conglomerate outcrops in the area of Luther Corner before going on down to Fall River at Creeping Rock. North again to King Philip's Cave and a look at future water access to someday visit Gary Rocks. Moving on to the Foxboro State Forest, I attempted to look up a letterbox, mostly because its description included the 'stone face'. This proved unsuccessful, so off I went to the Wrentham State Forest to Boulder Cave before retiring for the night.


Boulder Cave



The likely Cart and Oxen Rock

The fourth day was somewhat abbreviated doing more rocky formations in Wrentham, which included a likely success at finally locating Cart and Oxen Rock, a couple caves, and a giant rock pinnacle. From there, another quick run was made into Purgatory Chasm in a final attempt to locate the Fish Diet Cave. Once again - no luck. But maybe next time!


The Pinnacle

Onward home!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Across the Wide Connecticut!


From time-to-time over the years, I've mentioned a large-scale project taking place in the mountains across (east) of the Connecticut River. I've also touched upon the fact, it is largely on hiatus due to a lack of information. But every so often, a little bit of something new dribbles in and breaths new life into it! So on Easter Sunday, I began the 'rebirth' of a new season by making that trip.

The general area under examination, are rock-cut terraces and cirques whose erosion have provided some of the most spectacular rock formations across Massachusetts. They were often visited, and fell under the keen eye of a local clergyman and photographer, during the 1860's. On this day, the section once known as 'Home of the Rocks' was the objective. A couple previously unknown antique images were uncovered, and I hoped to continue on with the identification and photographing those sites, along with others already found.


The likely Cozy Cave

The first stop was 'Kitchen and Pantry', (the likely) 'Cozy Cave', followed by the 'Curve Rock', under the 'Rock Shadow' and out into the 'Grand Porch'. The area below the Porch is 'Titan's Pasture', with the immediate area containing several caves formed by frost wedging/gravity assist. Weathering has also left massive rocks that long ago peeled away from the ledges and a few caves might also be found here. Just beyond the Pasture we run into the 'Bear's Den' and 'Kendall's Recess'.


Kendall's Recess: circa 1870. Bear's Den: lower left

After finishing photographic work in this area, it was needed to re-locate (whatever happened to my GPS coordinates?) the Devil's Pulpit and Cave. This colossal block of rock has moved away from the parent ledge but still remains physically connected. However, a cave was formed by the vacated space.


Looking through the Devil's Pulpit Cave

This much climbing on rocks and ledges is probably best suited for a bit younger individual. So after a long half-day, it was time to bid farewell till next time.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

South of the Border


The term "Scenic Route" can mean more than a well-intentioned definition for a much longer journey. The Route 8 corridor from Massachusetts into Connecticut has provided many fine, scenic memories - and explorations - over the years. In recent years: Church Rock, Hanging Mountain, and two enormous boulders at Otis and Sandisfield. South of the Border: Schoolhouse Rock, Jumbo Rock, and an unsuccesful search for Pulpit Rock.

On one bitterly cold Sunday morn, I made my way down that highway for a "meeting of the minds" (or what I like to call a "Geeks Convention") to plow over maps, exchange ideas, and enjoy some good company. Yes - the time honored tradition of rolling out the paper maps did take place, and we were able to leave one another a little more informed regarding our mutual interests in caves, geology, and archeology.


McCaffrey Falls in the southern Berkshire region

The trip home afforded the opportunity to make a couple quick stops, one being the Colebrook River Lake to check on the water level. Apparently the old town bridge, that had been left behind after the Army Corp project, was finally removed. I got in two photo opportunites just a bit farther north at a roadside waterfall and a giant rock in Sandisfield. The waterfall is apparently the same one depicted on an old postcard as McCaffrey Falls, but nowadays is generally known as Marguerite Falls.


Giant boulder in Sandisfield awaits the Spring

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Return of the Rhode Island Mountain Man...


There was an air of excitement late November, with the return of Rhode Island's own Mountain Man, Mike G., bringing his expertise to the Western Massachusetts region. I was fortunate enough to connect with him on two days (well: one-and-a-half, with an injury cutting the second day short) to visit old and new finds in the Southern Berkshires.


Mike as seen through the yawning cave entrance @ Sky Peak

The first destination was an old favorite of mine that I had not visited in nine years: Sky Peak Cave. It remains much as I last saw it, or have seen it over the past fifty years. Nearby was a cave-like formation is may have been the hide out of a man who committed murder across the state line in NY.

Sky Peak was followed by another area not seen in way too long a time: Silver Cave. This is part of a small karst area with the bedrock Owl. This being a basal limestone within the Walloomsac Formation. Similar to the much better known Owm marble within that same Walloomsac, of which Sky Peak Cave is a part of.

The day was finished just before dusk, high above the Village Of Housatonic, poking around the area of a cave brought to my attention a few years back.


Tight cave passage within the Carbonate Sliver

Two days later, we set out for a further examination into cave found a couple years ago, within a geologic phenomena called a carbonate sliver. As the name suggests, it's a 'sliver' (in a relative sense) of carbonate rock (marbles) within a large bedrock area of non-carbonate rocks (quartzose/micaceous phyllites). Finishing our investigations here, we hiked north to located other 'slivers' and a known cave that is likely within one of those. Unfortunately, a tragic accident occurred to this author, and it was enough of a challenge to make our way from the woods. Another day, to return.


'Fins' - or impurities - projecting from the wall @ Carbonate Sliver Cave