Thursday, September 26, 2019

To Connecticut ... and beyond!



Squaw Hole @ Bolton Notch

On this latest sojourn, I once again met up with Rhode Island's, Grand Explorer: Mike G., whom we call the Rhody Mountain Man - or just RMM for short. The first stop of the morning was to examine small cave formations in marble beds at Bolton Notch, CT. These cave formations have a long ago history connected to the Native Americans of the area. With this under our belt, we pressed further east to the Wolf Den where Israel Putnam made his famous wolf kill within the small cave. Finishing up our day together, we went over to the 7 Wonders to see the 'new' discoveries RMM made with the assist of some old time literature describing rocky formations that can be found there. I then bid Mike goodbye and headed on over to RI for a one night camping stay.


Sliding Rock @ Fall River

Upon arising the next day, it was across Rhode Island with my eye on landing in Fall River, MA. First order of business was to drop in at old South Park, now known as Kennedy Park, to see the Sliding Rock. I then shifted to the northern end of town to take a new set of photos of Creeping Rock that would replace the poor results I obtained two springs ago. Jumping over to Dartmouth, I found absolutely no success in accessing the Nonquitt shoreline as it is all a private, gated community. But I did locate a kayak put in a couple miles north. So stay tuned: more may follow. Before heading off to my campsite for the next three nights, I sought out the location of the now collapsed Profile Rock in the Assonet section of Freetown. Another great loss of a unique geologic feature.


House Rock @ Fall River


Gary Rocks - early 1900's postcard

The third day was begun by hopping over to the west side of Taunton - often known as Westville - to continue previous explorations in the Rocky Woods section. Several boulders - and several walks - were involved. One to 're-acquire' the location of House Rock which I seemed to lose along the way. But, it did allow me to track down a large split rock formation (strangely) called ... Split Rock! After killing the morning in Westville, I headed on up to Norton for the purpose of which I brought my kayak along. This was the search of Barrowsville Pond for Gary Rocks. A Miss Gary disappeared in the fall of 1782 only to have her body found the next spring wedged in these rocks. A weed choked pond made for difficult navigation but I was successful. Heading north, I kayaked up the waterway feeding the pond to see pleasant surroundings and wildlife.


Solitude Stone

Day four started slightly to the east at the rock that the Town of Rock takes its name from. Then it was north to the Land of Bridgewaters to observe the present situation at Minister's Rock, which has (seemingly) been incorporated into a modern housing development. The next couple hours were spent with local resident Marjorie, an old friend I first met over 15 years ago at Sachem's Rock. A bit to the west was Pulpit Rock and Solitude Stone. The day was finished in the north in northwest corner of Plymouth County at Indian Cave, sometimes called King Philip's.


Split Rock @ Borderland State Park

Day five was the final day and time to pull up camp. I knew it would likely be a short day but made it count with among the boulders at Borderland State Park. Included was Balance Rock, the gargantuan Split Rock, and the Ames Boulder, named for the family who once owned these grounds.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Richmond Boulder Train



One of the more interesting entries in the field of glacial geology in Berkshire County, is the story of the Richmond Boulder Train . Lines of boulders that the ice age glacier ripped off in the area of The Knob over across the State line in Lebanon, NY. These were spread across a distance, that some sources say, reach as far as near Lee, MA. I was able to join a Hertigae Walk this day to hear more about this - and to take a short walk to observe a couple of the large rocks.

Monday, September 9, 2019


Long overdue, this journey eventually landed me back in Essex County, with my usual overnight accommodations upon Cape Ann.


Bennett's Rock - early 1900s postcard


Wolf Rocks

However, there were things to do on the ride in. This began at a large lake in Harvard. The purpose was twofold: to get use to traveling with a kayak again. And to give the lake a second look over (previously done 4 years prior) for a couple of historical sites from the golden age of postcards. A little more success on this paddle as Bennet's/Bennett's Rock was located but a definitive match for the Hanging Rock still eluded me. Certainly there are plenty of rocky islands that have been carefully checked out. But they just do not match what I have on several old postcards. On the way in to Cape Ann, a return to a nice pile of several boulders forming Wolf Rocks in northern Middlesex County.


Sliding Rock - circa 1870s

After the first night on the Cape, I began the second day with a quick look at a possible kayak put-in out Ipswich way. Then with low tide approaching, it was southward to Lynn and Swampscott. There was more images to match plus combing Lynn Woods for 'lost' rock formations. Lynn shoreline found me at Sliding Rock (apparently a bit dislocated from its historic images), Red Rock, and The Cradle. Deep in the woods of Lynn Woods, began a long hike through areas south of Walden Pond. Sites visited were Echo Rock, the likely Sugar Loaf Rock, Fox Rock, Halfway Rock, and Union Rock.


The likely Sugar Loaf Rock

Day three brought me back into the Dogtown for some modest investigations starting with the area around Dogtown Square. There's the rocks marking where James Merry was attacked - and later died - by a bull, Granny Day's cellar hole (#25) and nearby well, and a possible site for Flint Rock - marked on an old Dogtown map. After all this it was up Wharf Road to where Abram Wharf once lived at cellar hole #24. Abram ended his own life way back and, in one version of the story, crawled under a rock to carry out this deed. Although we will likely never know the exact spot this took place, a cave-like formation found near his old cellar hole would be one possibility.

I usually make at least one trip circumnavigating Cape Ann on each visits. After finishing up at Dogtown, I moved up the coast to Lanes Cove where part of the time was spent on Essex Greenbelt property. A bit further north the 16 steps carved into a large rock outcrop in the local cemetery. Coming around the northern tip of the Cape, an abbreviated visit was made to the Atlantic Trail. Then one more investigation into a boiling spring but the old image is so indefinite, a positive id would be nearly impossible. Profile Rock was also is this vicinity but starting to overgrow once again. I ended my time in Rockport by checking in at the newly restored Mill Pond, close to the center of town.


The Great Stone Face among the rolling surf

Day Four kicked brought morning rain, the likely remains of an offshore hurricane. Consequently, rough seas were present. But, I investigated the Harbor Loop area near downtown Gloucester before moving southwards to observe the angry seas from the Rafe's Chasm area. From there it was but a short drive to see those seas beating up on the Lady of Rock/Great Stone Face. By afternoon, the rains had ended and we were even treated to a bit of sunshine. This allowed me back up into Rockport where a hike into their Devil's Den took place.


The Devil's Den

On Day Five I wanted to give the old shoulder another test with the kayak. I pulled out of Jones Wharf and made my way up to the Annisquam River and eventually (just barely) out into the Ocean. The seas were still rough from the passing hurricane, so I retreated back to the inland river and shore. Next was following up on a tip of a possible minor cave formation along the Gloucester shore near one of its popular beaches. A bit of hunting (we were around low tide once again) found a chamber hidden away under a massive boulder. What followed was a walk of the backshore to once again see George Washington's profile and search out a couple other old images, including 'Uncle Joe'. However, Joe remains 'lost' if he even still exists.


Uncle Joe - from an early 1900s postcard

The Sixth (and last) Day found me lacking in energy so it was decided to leave town early. I tried a short hike in Fitchburg's Coggshall Park and stopped in Erving to pay me respects to the Hermit of Erving at his final resting place.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ware was I?


The primary purpose on this adventure was to enjoy a beautiful summer day! After that, I wished to continue exploring how far I could take my 'compromise shoulder' on a kayaking trip. But - there is always the backdrop of working some project - or another. So two locations. In Belchertown and Ware Massachusetts.

This particular Belchertown location, I've now combed unsuccessfully three times for a minor cave formation. Not a big priority, but someday I wish to solve this mystery. The Ware River was a new experience for me. I've at least partially solved the problem of getting a mid sized kayak upon the car roof. The river is nice, albeit a bit weedy and shallow, in certain portions. An old history mentions something called the 'Skulls' in the area. No further description is available. I saw nothing unusual on my trip (such as a rock formation) even with going ashore for a brief firsthand exploration. Perhaps the most 'unusual' things seen was an abundance of turtles and the remains of an old rail line crossing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

North to the Adirondacks!


A BIG nostalgia trip to a (commercial) site of geologic formations! I was a child traveling with Dadwhen I last visted here many years ago. Part of a regional cave convention that took place that weekend which included visiting the large Crane Mountain Cave.


Approaching the Bridge

Years later I had the opportunity to experience this section of the Adirondacks with good bud Gary from Great Barrington. Natural Stone Bridge was all that I remembered - and some. Very nicely done for a 'commercial' attraction. Plenty of caves to be seen. Lots of history and explanation of the geology clearly outlined.


Some of the pothole formations

On the return trip, near the State line, we passed by two cave locations in search for their entrances. One was long ago taken out by highway construction. The other, we did not have clear enough directions to.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Along Comes Worcester County!


The desired goal was a combination of two areas: the Essex-Middlesex Counties, then finish up with Mike G. (aka: Rhody Mountain Man) down in southern Worcester County. The weather has not been cooperative enough to string that many fair days together and it did not happen. So, it came to pass to build what I could around the day I was to meet Mike down in Worcester County. That resulted two days covering central Massachusetts leads.

It all began when I landed in an eastern Quabbin town to see what could be dug up on a Rattlesnake Den and a Missionary Rock. Information gleaned at the local town hall netted me a fairly accurate location for the Den - but near the local school, so that was set aside for a future date. Missionary Rock (like so many) is still a 'work in progress' as I try to narrow down its location.


Shelving Rock

From there, I backtracked slightly to the northwest to catch Shelving Rock, the site of an early settler's shelter before he finally built a more permanent residence. Then over to the local Audubon property where a waterfall, a chasm, and a small cave was to be found!

Next up was Mount Wachusetts for possible identification of two old postcards. Unfortunately, nothing definite despite one intriguing reference to a cave along the Mount Wachusetts road.


The Double Boulder as the Poised Rock. Circa 1870s

After jumping over to the east of Worcester for the night, come morning, I headed southward to the famed Purgatory Chasm in Sutton to meet Mike. I had combed the area at various times hoping to locate Damnation Cave. Withe Mike's help, a definite fix on its location was to be had. Last year I was apparently in the mouth of the cavern but failed to make a positive ID upon it!


RMM extracts himself from the depths of Damnation Cave

After a quick tour of the rest of Purgatory, we moved on to the next Town west for further investigations in Clara Barton's (Red Cross founder)ramblings through the local woods. Both of us had looked through the woods for several reported sites of caves used by Clara/ and or other local figures. Several rocky - but VERY small - formations had previously been located by Mike. We visited those before saying our goodbyes and returning to out respective homes.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Berkshires and Rhode Island connect in Connecticut.


On this particular day, the Rhody Mountain Man (occasionally known as Mike) connected with myself, and Connecticut's long time caver Peter F., to continue the 'process' of locating Dutchy's Cave. This being Mike's 7th(?), and my second trip in pursuit of that goal. It's not that Dutchy's is a 'lost cave'. It is know to locals, but outside of the area - few do know exactly where it may be found!

The hike is is a bit of a jaunt being around 2.25 miles, following the Naugatuck River for a little over half of that. Then it was a turn up into the hills, fortunately a trail made that a relatively easy route to follow. Upon arrival at the 'new'suspected located, we spread out to initiate a search. A tiny bit off on the location, however shortly after our arrival the site, the cave was found!


A check of the equipment outside of Dutchy's Cave

Dutchy was a gold prospector from the Civil War era, although this site was unlikely ever a gold producer. Fool's gold might be a possibility as the right mix of minerals are present. There is a good indication of mining near the mouth of the cave including drill holes. The cave also offers an assortment of carved initials, including one dated 1779.


Examination of the interior of Dutchy's Cave