Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Although my ultimate destination was the South Shore, the goals of this trip were primarily the area of the "Boston Beltway" or Rt. 128, perhaps better known to some as I-95 and some of I-93.

Day One: Coming in off the Mass Pike, and heading southward, a series of stops were made to visit caves in areas adjacent to the Beltway. First stop was the cave of many names: one Devil's Den but also at least three other names have referenced this site. Moving closer into town along another historic road - the old Boston to Worcester Turnpike (Rt. 9)- I revisited Gooch's Cave to at least sort out which one it may be portrayed upon a old postcard. Back to 128, and farther south, I dropped in at a small cave/rock shelter on DCR property. Another old time mention was of a "pothole" on property of one of the early town's inhabitants. My inclination at this point is that it is/was a large depression that is now a pond. Something along the line of a glacial kettle hole. Farther back to the west I sorted out an abundance of reports and photos (both modern and antique) on another Devil's Den to see how many caves were involved and what went with each reported site. Ultimately they all pointed to one location but this at least clears up a bunch of confusion. Moving on down south I hiked a property that was the site of an archeological study a few years back. I was reported two Indian rock shelters existed here - one large enough to shelter 30 people! I saw no real evidence of such sites but the local attendant did confirm that archeological digs had taken place here. Before setting up camp on the South Shore, I finally was able to locate a rock that I've looked several years for. It takes its name of "Glad Tidings" from two stories surrounding its history.

Day Two: Somewhat backtracking, I dropped in to the Blue Hills to search out a cave deep in its forests that I've seen on a couple past occasions. Interesting here was access was along an old right-of-way that was Rt. 128 in it's earliest days. I continued working this area trying to gather information on the possible site of a reported (1898) "Rattlesnake Den" which included walking another old section of the Rt. 128 highway that is abandoned, but still mostly paved. Moving on to the south side of present day 128, I sought out the "Garden of the Gods" in a local town forest, a serene location of glacial boulders. A reported Devil's Den (got to love that name!) is reported in the area and needs to be worked on in the future.

Day Three: Returning once again to the Blue Hills Reservation, I visited a large hunk of rock that has been known in the past as Grepon. A small talus cave lies along one side. I then got my first chance to visit the famed Quincy Quarries now managed as part of the Blue Hills, DCR, property. having time to kill while waiting for the local library to open, I retreat to the South Shore once again to visit House Rock. This old favorite is said to be the largest glacial boulder in the State and well represented on old postcards. The Rock has been portrayed with numerous "profiles" including Queen Victoria, the Sphinx (same view), as well as a minor sphinx and a couple other humanoid faces. Meanwhile at the local library, I followed up on last year's discovery of Writing Rock and a local Indian cave in an adjacent town. But the bad news was inclement weather moving in later that night so I pulled up camp and headed back up the good old Boston Beltway leaving at least one more reported Devil's Den and an Indian cave to work another day.