Friday, September 12, 2008

Time once again for the annual South Shore - and points thereabouts - adventure.

Day One: Coming on in from a westward approach, the early morning first stop was at the Borderland State Park. Here lies an assortment of glacial erratics in the Ames Boulder, Balance Rock, and Split Rock. The mighty Ames is a worthy seventy four and a half feet in circumference but is split pretty much through it's mid section. Balance Rock is a modest thirty seven feet around, but a fine specimen as it sits perched on the edge (and hanging over) a small ledge. The gargantuan Split Rock is a tremendous mass of rock that would rank amongst the very largest in Massachusetts if not for being split into several sections. Afterwards, a small stone chamber in the park was visited. I skipped on through a Bristol County town, hoping to research at the local library but alas it was a late day opening so I moved on further east into Plymouth County. An old friend near Sachem's Rock was not home so I continued the trek east to a Plymouth area town on the ocean shore. Two productive hours were spent culling through old manuscripts and papers from long ago past residents for definitive information on area sites Pulpit Rock and two Devil's (footprint) Rocks. Although I was somewhat successful, the search for these old gems has been narrowed down from a "needle" in a hayfield to the proverbial "needle" in a haystack. I did give it a go on the Devil's Rocks but this project will have to await a future day. Time though to move up the coastline and set up camp.

Day Two: Once again at early morning light I made my first trek on into Whitney Woods where a bountiful array of glacial boulders can always be found. I wandered old roads past Rooster Rock and eventually ended up at a magnificent rock that had split and leaned upon itself to provided a nice rock shelter. Then on to the Bigelow Boulder named for late nineteenth century local historian Victor Bigelow. I tried to find access to a more definitive location I came up with for Rattlesnake Den but no luck getting in. The location of Widow's Rock was given another go but left still unfound. I'm not quite ready to call it day on this one as the old accounts of its location are somewhat ambiguous. Then another unsuccessful attempt to find access to where Cleft Rock should be located. This is an all too familiar scenario where land, or growth - housing and/or vegetation - makes getting in to old sites quite impossible. I returned for a second look at what should be Aunt Betsy's Rock but with no landowner around to verify my hypothesis, I had to settle for a few pictures from the road. I relaxed in the local library for a couple hours before resuming by southward trek. Here I once again found indefinite access to old sites Wild Cat and Rattlesnake Hills. Supposedly a Rattlesnake Rock should exist on its namesake hill. Then on to Till Rock where a modest sized boulder lays perched upon a small hilltop. With low tide on its way, I turned northward and towards the coast to revisited the likely Nubian Head Rock. A positive ID may be nearly impossible as the old postcard shows a very dark and indistinct image. But I arrived at tide's lowest point and the face is there upon the rock. A nearby historic lighthouse provided the parking as I sought out identification from an old image of shoreline rocks Pebble, Junior Pebble, and Castle Rock. A bit more successful here and I turned back towards camp, stopping off to locate Indian Rock.

Day Three: The final day was divided between one Norfolk and one Plymouth County town. In the first town I once again visited House Rock to identify a number of other rocky sites mention to me in communication with a former resident. Here are local attractions Eagle Rock, Indian Rock, Turtle Rock, and another Split Rock. A bit to the southeast I spent three good hours in the library's local history vault primarily looking for clues to a Wolf Rock but coming away with another gem in Absalom's Rock. Old maps and historical manuscripts gave me a rough idea where to find Wolf Rock but a small amount of time in the dense woods and vegetation proved unsuccessfully. Greater success was to be found at Absalom's Rock with just over a hundred feet in circumference making it the largest in Plymouth County (so far) and worthy of inclusion into the list of State's biggest boulders. Rain was moving in, so back onto the Boston Beltway and westward home.