Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall into... Fall!


When does a four day trip turn into a one day affair? When DCR decides to close down state camping facilities due to a little wind. Ah well - for one long day, some important objectives got covered.


Indian Rock

First up was a site laying in the shadows (almost) of the famed Blue Hills of Norfolk County. This area can hold an interesting mix of 'different' rocks along with the more famous Quincy Granite. An area of scattered erratics has a formation locally known as Indian Rock, which has a slight purplish hue to it. I've also seen greens in this general area during the past (see: Petrology of the Alkali-Granites and Porphyries of Quincy and the Blue Hills, Mass. [1913], U. S. A. : Charles H. Warren). A small rock shelter/lean-to type of formation was also spotted just to the northeast of Indian Rock.


Minister's Rock

A slight hop to the north (and north side of Rt. 93) - and a slight bit of poking around - found me the Hermit's Cave. It is an old lead I've had kicking around for some time, and always understood to be little more than a very small niche under some exposed bedrock.

A short excurions to the southeast brought to the Land of Sachem's Rock (later visited) to check on the status of Minister's Rock. Several years back, the 'evil' development project moved into the area with its backhoes and other construction equipment, and I feared for the rock's safety. Fortunately, it had been recognized, and left unscathed. Well, except for a good scrubbing to clean it up a bit.


Indian grindstone

Most of the remaining afternoon was spent with local resident Marjorie, a woman of some years, who has a sincere interest in rocky formations and other sites of historical interest. Marjorie has a small Indian grindstone located in her back yard. We also got the opportunity to do a bit of hiking on nearby conservation land and look for an old fish weir. Not to be seen due to to high water levels.


Sachem's Rock - circa early 1900s postcard

Finally before leaving the area (and discovering a lack of campsite availability), I made a quick trip to nearby Sachem/Sachem's Rock. One of the more historic rock sites we have in Massachusetts. Where "on March 23, 1649 o. s. Massasoit traded with Myles Standish and others this land called Satucket".

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rockin' On...



Old Patients Rock @ Wallum Lake


Three years after my initial investigation, I returned to Wallum Lake in northwest Rhode Island. The purpose of this trip was to introduce fellow explorer, Mike G., to the lake and its multitude of rocks. We first stopped by Patients Rock, before making out way up the west side into Massachusetts. Then it was on down the east side, back to the put-in. Still missing is a somewhat mysterious postcard showing Hunt Rock on this lake.

Then, together, we made our way about two-thirds of the way south across the State, to visit a more recent discovery: a small cave in the Arcadia Management Area. Afterwards, a relatively insignificant site was looked at as we made our way back up towards the Warwick area. Parting ways at this point, I made my way back across the State line into Massachusetts for the night.


Gilly's Cave

On the second day, two towns in Massachusetts, just to the northeast of the Burnt Swamp Corner in Norfolk County, were investigated. This is an area I spent much time in during the late 1990's and early 2000's, locating significant rocky formations. Several cave and cave-like formations were found, along with large erratics, including a very nice balanced boulder.


The Balanced Boulder...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tri-State Tramp


Meeting up with Mike ('Rhody' Mountain Man) G., the goal was some small time caving in the region near the Connecticut and Rhode Island borders. First stop was right at the rendezvous location. 'Lightning' Cave has a brief reference in an old 1800's history, and this site, of very small cave-like features, may be the deal.


Into the Mouth of the Lyon!

Moving on over to Connecticut, gave us the opportunity to examine the small - but visually impressive - Lyon's Den. Afterwards, it was on to a location once known as the Seven Wonders but more recent history (100+ years) finds it called Squaw Rocks hearkening back to an association with the Native Americans who once dwelt in this area.


Part of the Seven Wonders complex

The second day brought me out of a RI campground into Massachusetts. I planned on once again visiting two sites first seen during the Spring of 2016. An Indian rock shelter that I failed to locate last year, brought me back to an area just a bit north of the State Line. I was furnished coordinates by a local history expert as to where the shelter might be. Once again, the search proved fruitless. However, I did spend a bit of time scouring the woodlands to see some moderately impressive granite outcrops.


Out of the Mouth of (the likely) Rattle Snake Cave

The second - and final stop of the day - was a return to the likely Rattle Snake Cave(s) for further photographic opportunities.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Lee-ward side of things...


South Berkshire again - and boulders were on the list!


Gary L. once again joined me as we set out to search the source of a turn-of-the-century photo. This one showing late 1800's/early 1900's ladies in long gowns enjoying the day by a stream with a large boulder for company. Luck was with us on this one. It did not take long to locate the boulder, laying pretty much where it was in Days of Old. A beautiful locale in a ravine with small falls.


The Boulder on the Brook

The next site to check on was pretty much straight forward. It was part of Berkshire Natural Resources Council's properties. A loop trail of about two-and-a-half miles brought us by some pretty impressive boulders within modest sized boulder fields.


BNRC property boulder

Before finishing off for the day, we did a quick drive by of one of Southern Berkshires larger boulders, laying alongside Jacob's Ladder Trail.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Into the Great Southern Berkshires!


With several leads hanging around for the south-central Berkshires, it was time once again to connect with the knowledgeable dude of the region: Mr. Gary.

First up was a quick spin by a local lake shorelne in the Glendale area for a match of a rock outcrop from an old photograph. A well qualified 'maybe' presented itself. But the whole shoreline is privately owned and access not possible. A short drive away, brought us to one of the local historic properties/attractions, to follow up on a reported Spouting Rock. The site was depicted upon an painting and hearkened back to the late 1800's when the property was a school, and the rock was used for oratory purposes. A likely match was made and the bonus of a small cave underneath an adjacent boulder. Further back in the woods, was a significant exposure of ledges. The area's geology invites additional research.


The likely 'Spouting Rock'

A bit of motoring brought us over to the entrance trail for Ice Glen, across the famed Memorial Bridge. Recent times relocated an inscribed boulder from around the 1930's that once lay along an old section of trail. Our first attempt to locate it proved fruitless, although we saw many fine rocks including the Shark's Fin Rock. We relocated to a local expert in Town, where additional information was gleaned through a phone call to an area author. Lunch brought us to Lee and a quick peak at an abandoned(?) area quarry. We also started an investigation into a giant sized boulder, from an old news article, that once could be located in a local brook.

The inscribed Sedgwick boulder

To finish off our day, we headed back towards Ice Glen. This time, successfully locating the 'lost' inscribed boulder.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Smallpox, the Quinebaugs, Whitefield and Flint



View through BAB/Smallpox Den

On this particular day, a meeting with Mike ('Rhody' Mountain Man) G. into the central portions of Worcester County of Massachusetts. My long anticipated return to the BAB 1819/Smallpox Den was on tap. This particular site greatly expands the story of smallpox and early attempts at inoculation. Fortunately, it came off without a hitch and allowed us to move on to other sites in the region.


Initials "BAB", along with "1819" at the Den



Grey Ledge

Not much further away stood Grey Ledge: a massive overhanging rock shelter. According to local tradition, the last two of the Quinebaug Indians once lived here., also being buried nearby. After a long investigation, mostly for photographic considerations, we moved on to a nearby well marking the site of an old camp. Before leaving the immediate area, we followed a rocky ridge-line coming across two other minor cave formations. A short drive further west, brought us to Indian Rock and nearby Whitefield Rock, one of George Whitefield's rocky pulpits from which he delivered his famous sermons.

Just enough time remained in the day for a final drive to the northeast to examine Flint Rock - or Sampson's/Samson's Pebble as it is often called nowadays.


Flint Rock from an early era postcard

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Return


Two weeks short of a year, the time has arrived to put together a multi day trip. Unless, one wants to include a lengthy stay in the hospital as an example of 'Grand Adventure'.


Balance Rock from a postcard a few decades ago

But I picked up - where I left off last year - setting my sights upon eventually arriving in Cape Ann. But first things first, as I made my way through two Middlesex County towns/cities. Stop #1 involved looking up the site of a couple old soapstone mine, now more of water-filled ponds. Several miles to the southeast found a splendid example of a balance rock.


The 'pot hole' @ Shaker Glen from an old Magic Lantern Slide



The 'pot hole': present day

Even further to the southeast, beginning to reach the Boston suburbs at Woburn, were two examples of Indian Bowls. These formations are more natural and really examples of pot holes.


The Old Man of Joppa; early 1900's postcard

The second day was an all Cape Ann day, looking into sites on this island/peninsula. Up first was a revisit to an area that seems to be the final outcome of the Old Man of Joppa search. The years have definitely obscured the formation with construction and vegetation growth. However, a local person of knowledge, has defined it as this location. It is one that caught my eye many times during my travels through the area,a very prominent, very high, ridge of rock. The perspective depicted in the old postcard is not entirely clear as to how big this ridge actually is.


Sea Rocks and the boulder cave

Moving on up to the northern tip of Cape Ann, the Sea Rocks property provided some massive sized boulders with caves underneath. Slightly further south, I scouted out the former location of a plaque, on a boulder, dedicated to Ralph Waldo Emerson. My walk along the coast began at Chapin's Gully, took me past the Great Gargoyle, Blue-Quartz dike, and ended up by the Frog.


The Great Gargoyle - circa 1915 to 1930

This particular day was finished by a visit to the rocky summit of Poles Hill and a 'secret cave' upon Cape Ann.


Appleton's boulder

On day three, it was time to leave my 'island home' behind if only temporarily. Chugging along the old highway east, my first goal was a farm. Not any old farm, but one with a plaque on a magnificent boulder, dedicated to early settler Samuel Appleton.

Continuing along the highway a bit to the northwest, I finally (after many years) got to look at an old lead from the John Henry Sears' geology book on Essex County: Metcalf Rock. The name (further research needed) has lent itself to an old smallpox cemetery in the region. I believe - at least at this point - Metcalf Rock may be a somewhat broad area of rocky outcrops. Although one major, flat topped rock, was encountered right about at the location designated by Sears on his geologic map.

Cradle Rock- circa 1900

And still further west I dropped into the local library to try and dig up information on another vague JH Sears reference to a Mineral Paint Mine. Little success to be had on this one - or trying to find legitimate access to the nearby Cradle Rock. This long lost rock has finally turned up on a map, but apparently rests way back in someone's private back yard.


Sliding Rock

Breaking camp on the fourth day, it was time to head on home. But not before furthering my explorations in Middlesex and Essex County. I started the morning at Indian Cave, hoping for an improvement over the photos of last Spring. Then wandered down to the Lynn shoreline, where the partially receding tide allowed me access to a couple boulders. The first, I attempted to match with an old photograph but was not totally successful. A short walk north brought me to the much better know Sliding (or - Slippery Sliding) Rock. Best know (but not visited this time around) is Red Rock, just a short jaunt to the north. The tide was not quite far enough out to allow me access to the Cliff Cradle a short distance north in Swampscott.

Leaving Essex County behind, it was time to head on west to look into Prospect Hill Park and its rocks. The final stops were just north, in Lexington, where three erratic sites were checked, one not being found. An old paint mine was visited in-between the Lexington boulder investigations.

And Home - via the Mohawk Trail!