Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cross Rock, Berkshire Co

Cross Rock

Balance Rock, Berkshire Co

Balance Rock

Dabbling in the area of HDR photography, I ventured out to my favorite old proving grounds at the Balance Rock State Park. Here one can find an assortment of old relics in Cross Rock, Split Rock, as well as one of the Northeast's best know perched erratics in Balance Rock. Although the jury is still out on how useful HDR may be in my own projects, it can produce some 'lush' results. In the end - it still comes down to lighting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

King Philip's Cave, Connecticut River Valley

King Philip's Cave

Continuing on once again with the Connecticut River Valley rock formations, I worked a series of precipitous sandstone ledges. Niches exist in these cliffs including one minor cave formation known locally as King Philip's Cave (King Philip also had his "chair" at Table/Jutting Rock). Hopping over to the east side of the Connecticut River, I took on conglomerate based bedrock. In this region I reexamined familiar old sites with names long ago forgotten. Some of these included Fern Cascade, the Arch the Fissure, and a possible site for Wild Cat Den. This whole area is a fascinating piece of geology with a long extended ledge which is a hanging wall of a fault. Fern Cascade leaps over this wall with the Fissure being a natural passageway between the wall and the Arch. The Arch is a massive detached section of the hanging wall that itself has separated, with its own natural passage running through it. The likely Wild Cat Den is a boulder cave formed from fallen sections of the same ledge. In another region of town, I parked at another popular cascade that also has its own archaic name in Munsell's Cascade. While hiking through the woods another splendid ledge with its own marvelous rocky formations was discovered. But being close to the end of my day - I left it for future exploration. But one quick stop was made at the spot formerly know as Stony Hill, somewhat chopped up by a latter day highway relocation. It was from this location several pieces of antique photography show beautiful views of the Connecticut River and the mountains on the far side.

Monday, April 20, 2009

King Philip Rock/Quinsnicket Cave formation, Rhode Island

King Philip Rock/ Quinsnicket Cave formation

Cobble Rock, Rhode Island; late 1800's

Cobble Rock

Vacation has once again arrived and I raced out ahead of incoming inclement weather to try and get a couple days in. Back in the late 1990's I spent a considerable amount of time in Massachusetts just to the north and east of the Rhode Island border. It is here I returned to a favorite old haunt of mine in Boulder Cave which is really a large glacial erratic with a modest overhang to it. Split-off pieces complement the "cave" experience by forming a crude exterior wall. To my surprise, a measurement of this big boy boulder came in with a girth in excess of 100 feet. Slightly closer to the Rhode Island border, I looked into a series of ledges where both conglomerates and the red slates of the Wamsutta Formation presented themselves. Much of a mystery to me was a small cave formation I examined here some 10 or 11 years ago. I thought I clearly remembered its location but it did not turn up on this visit. Finally moving into "Little Rhody" I used the Warner Trail to access rocky areas in the northeastern most parts of the State. A hiking group that passed through this area in recent times logged a small cave, although none presented itself on my inspection. Zipping over to the Town of Primrose, a geographic site from its history called the Blunders was investigated. This was a pass between two elevations of land that was a favorite picnic spot for residents in days gone by. On to another old favorite in Cobble Rock which itself was a favorite in olden days and graced many an old postcard. A couple of cave-like features and one other perched erratic also grace the area nearby.

On the second day I finally got to visit several sites that have long been on my list. Snake Den Park with its old quarries, and, ledges that use to be home to reptilian species. Hipses is an erratic that was part of the ancient boundary when Narragansett Indians sold land to Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. History records this as an Indian rock with its cave-like openings. One local person mentions Indians training to make arrowheads at this site. Also not far away: an ancient soapstone quarry used by Native Americans. Evidence suggests pottery made from rock at this site may have ended up as far away as Cape Cod. Ending my day were further explorations into Lincoln Woods where rumors of caves have occasionally surfaced. My journey took me to Goat Rock, Pulpit Rocks, old marble quarries, the Druid Circle, and a rocky formation some associate with both King Philip and H. P. Lovecraft.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Early spring brings the Boston Antique Photo Show which is not in Boston but out in Middlesex County. Following that I get the chance to visit Worcester County on the return home. This year I returned to the Wachusetts Reservoir region. Two "profile rocks" have shown themselves on old postcards. In-between those sites, I investigated a "Lover's Leap". The legend here is of a Native American couple, from different tribes, leaping to their deaths rather than allowing their opposing tribes to separate them. Apparently a couple of antique newspaper accounts mention other occurrences of people falling from its lofty ledges. The first profile rock is an isolated boulder lying close to the main highway. The second, exists (or existed) in an old railroad rock cut. It is indefinite from the old postcard what exactly is the 'profile' at the rock cut, but a couple examples were seen on my own visit. It also seems probable, after photo and image comparisons, some small portion of the rock mass may have changed over the years. And on the way home, a visit to the final resting place of John Smith the Hermit who made his home in a nearby rock shelter cave on Hermit Mountain. Toby, his favorite cat, is buried just to the rear of John.