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

Saturday, April 6, 2019

And now: Spring!

With the arrival of a new Spring season, comes the chance to test the aging body. To see what another year of diminishing physical attributes might offer. Of course I speak with a bit of wry humor as after all - it is what it is.

Falls @ Robbers Cave - early 1900s postcard image

Against that backdrop, I began another year with good friend and partner Mother Nature. The first outing took me down south of the border into Connecticut where it was a day destined to be part social - part outdoor activity. On my list has been a sight know in past years as Robbers Cave that indeed did have an association with a long ago crime in Winsted. This is a rugged area that can be approached from several directions but in the end it is either from the bottom - or the top.

Joining with a friend, we took a stab at coming in from the lower elevations which necessitated a lot of climbing, often over very large boulders. Eventually we turned back near a small waterfall believing we were in close proximity, but still not quite at the site. This was later confirmed to be true when the two of us joined area cavers at an anniversary get together later that afternoon. So a future trip is planned.

The Devil's Tombstone

The following weekend brought me together with a south county bud for a trip on over to the Catskill Mountains in New York. The first stop was the famed Kaaterskill Falls. We poked around a bit looking for access to rocks known to be in the area (such as Alligator Rock) but many roads were found to be closed this early in the season. Then it was over to Stony Clove for the Devil's Tombstone (also known as Picnic Rock and even Pulpit Rock) before heading up to Prattsville for Pratt Rocks. On the ride back towards Catskill, we got a quick glimpse of Road Cut Cave (if it is even still open) a childhood memory when I visited it before this section of highway was opened.

Two of the formations at Pratt Rocks, Prattsville NY

Back in the Berkshires, we caught up with a neat perched rock not far off a back road, but still 'new' to the two of us! BR>

Perched rock - southern Berkshires

Friday, January 4, 2019

Something Old ... Something New!

Taking advantage of both some unusual winter weather (particularly lack of snow cover), AND some solid leads, it was off to the Connecticut River Valley!

First stop was in an area of Northampton, which has its own bit of history: Laurel Park. I've visited here on one previous occasion to search out another old postcard of Boulder Knoll. Today's trip brought me in search of Sunset Rock. Surprisingly, only a small amount of effort was needed to locate the boulder(s) which were found in the undeveloped woods. In reality, this is a split rock formation with a very clean, smooth cleavage. Not terribly big, but the postcard is the work of postcard maker Eddy Make, who operated out of Ware MA during the early 1900s.

Rock Roof - circa 1870

The Rock Roof - present day.

A short drive to the north, landed me just over the Connecticut River and in the midst of a long time, but mostly dormant, project. Dormant yes - but not dead! An influx of antique stereoviews, from Amherst's renown photographer John Lovell, has found its way to me! So once again picking up where past investigations left off, identification was commenced on the unorthodox geologic formations. Among the long forgotten sites confirmed were Russell Rock, Titan's Quarry, Tripe Lichen Ledge, and Myra's Retreat. Updated information was obtained on Castle End, Rock Roof, and Kittie's Nook.

Present day at Myra's Retreat

In the end, today was only a small part to setting the stage for a much larger expansion on this project come spring time. In all, 10 'new' images would come to me. Some sites (like Kittie's Nook) were previously identified from written records. It only remained to see exactly what the photographic eye of John Lovell captured on his trips through the wilds.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Finding Balance on the First Day

The image of a little know Balanced Rock near the Flag Rock section of Monument Mountain, provided the driving force for one First Day hike. The man behind this was Great Barrington Historical Society's, Gary L. The source was an early 1900s glass slide, photographed by a local man from Housatonic.

The Balanced Rock, near Flag Rock. Early 1900s.

Ascending from the 'back' (western) route, we made out way up approximately 675 feet of elevation to Flag Rock. Along the way, passing by some enormous boulders with their own cave-like formations. The view from Flag Rock, to the west, is nothing short of spectacular! Our directions had us bushwhacking to the south. Here, where the mountain began a steep drop off, we found our rock! One item of interest: the rock seems perched upon several small ones beneath. In effect, making this a pedestal boulder.

The Balanced Rock - Present Day.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Sliver of a Chance

Several years ago a small cave was discovered in the southern Berkshires. This would normally not cause much of a stir, but what resulted was of modest interest. The 'cave discovery' was in a geologic formation know as a 'carbonate sliver', which, in this region, is a portion of marbles usually surrounded by insoluble rocks.

Analysis of the local bedrock geology maps, revealed several other of these 'slivers' in the area, including a previously known cave off to the north. Today was the day devoted to examining those other slivers, plus returning to the cave I visited once before - probably around 50 years ago. So starting our trek, Rhode Island Mountain Man and myself, first passed by a flooded Carbonate Sliver Cave (recent discover) on to the north. Out in the middle of nowhere, we examined the location of two slivers, lying in relatively close proximity to one another. The first showed almost no exposure of rock - the second, an insignificant depression adjacent to a sharp hill, being the sliver itself.

Mike tries to extract himself from the cave's depths

Following the drainage north from this sliver/hillock, we eventually arrived at the sliver containing the 'major' cave in the area. Unfortunately, the perimeter around the cave was feeding significant water to the underground. Although access was gained to the cave's entrance room, the passages beyond suffered from fill.

Banded marble. Wet interior.

The journey out provided at chance for a further examination of the sliver with little rock exposure. Back near the beginning, we looked down into the flooded passages of the more recent discovery.

Later that week, we dropped down into northern Connecticut for an attempt at finding the elusive Dutchy's Cave. The large flows of water that were noticed earlier in the week were even more omnipresent. We had a number of stream crossings to make and it was made difficult by these water levels. Much trudging about did not gain us our goal. We did have the pleasure of passing by Turtle Rock, on the Naugatuck River, during the journey.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Rockin' the North Shore

Small cave formation within Franklin Park

Back out on the road less than two weeks after my last trip ended. It all began on Day One with additional time put in on places visited during that previous trip. This was areas in the outskirts of Boston. It all began with a return to Hemlock Gorge and its Devil's Den/Indian Cave. Then swinging less than 10 miles (as the crow flies!) it was once again Mattapan where a more careful examination was made of the boulders first seen two weeks prior. It included combing the grounds for additional geologic treasures and I was rewarded with the discovery of a second large deposit of Roxbury Conglomerate boulders. With a short time remaining to get out of the City before rush hour traffic, I backtracked a bit to make a quick excursion through the Wilderness section of Franklin Park. Again, additional boulders of conglomerate came to light and the rediscovery of a small cave first seen some years prior.

The Devil's Pulpit - and possible Whitefield pulpit

My ultimate destination was the favorite campsite on Cape Ann and my 'trusty' GPS decided to give me a tour of some of the most urban parts of Boston, prior to taking me out of the city. But by Day Two, I was ready to continue the travel up into the more northerly sections of Essex County. Here a more thorough examination was carried out of the Nubble Squid rocks, part of the Clinton-Newbury Fault. An old favorite was next at the Devil's Den and Pulpit, followed by the diminutive rock Bummers Rock before finishing this day at with a lead hanging over from long ago: Frazer's Rock.

Frazer's Rock - very early 1900s.

Dungeon Rock @ Lynn Woods.

Kicking off the Third Day, I wandered down to an old favorite hangout in Lynn at Lynn Woods. This was mostly to update information on several sites, some well known, and some not so well known. Here, I covered Dungeon Rock, Union Rock, and Forest Castle. An old 1890s map found upon my return home, makes it clear there are many more objects of interest to be found. Wandering through Lynn, I took a quick look at a street with the name Echo Grove hoping it might provide a clue to an old stereoview of a location bearing that name. Once again, additional research provided the information it was another site within Lynn Woods. This day was finished up at Lynn's Lovers Leap.

Lovers Leap.

Lovers Leap - circa 1870s/80s.

An intentional light duty day was planned for my Fourth Day so I stayed closed to camp catching the famed Pigeon Cove shoreline, lunching at Lanes Cove, at finishing down by the Blackburn entrance to Dogtown. Here I updated photos of Tent Rock, a somewhat little know quarry down near the reservoir, and visiting five of Babson's inscribed boulders: Be True, Be Clean, Save, Help Mother, and Get A Job.

Ship Rock - early 1900s postcard image.

Day Five brought us once again to the end of another camping trip. Pulling out of town, I headed down Rt 128 to land in Peabody. Here, a visit to a very favorite at Ship Rock. After that, I stuck to the same moraine as Ship Rock to investigate possible boulders discovered on aerial imagery. Some very huge ones, exceeding 100 feet in circumference, were located. Definitely some of the best discoveries to come out of this area in years. Then eventually on to the Mohawk Trail to make my way back to the Berkshires.

The BMW Boulder. Over 100 ' circumference and 16+ feet high.