Monday, September 7, 2009

The Natural Ice-House/Ice Cave; Franklin Co

The Natural Ice House/Ice Cave

Seems like Fall is beginning to make its way into the Northeast. Some dread it for no other reason than they hate what's behind it - Winter. Personally, it is with out a doubt my favorite time and begins a race to see how much I can get in before Old Man Winter closes my season out.

My objective on this day was a leisurely trip over to the 'far' side of the Quabbin Reservoir. Here in the former Town of Dana (modern day Petersham) I walked beautiful old roads lined by stone walls on my way to a remote hilltop to look over glacial erratics. Many of modest size were present with a good number 'split' by the forces of Nature. One in particular was most interesting as a tree had taken root and grown up by the side of a section of split-off boulder. Upon reaching the top surface of the rock, grew horizontally on the rocky surface before deciding o once more push upward vertically.

There were many stone walls running perpendicular to the main wall of the road that once sectioned off individually pieces of property. Almost no signs of previous habitation could be seen within those boundaries. But in one case a curious stone lined underground chamber did exist.

Upon exiting these woods I drove a short distance further on over to Franklin County. Still much with the realm of Quabbin, I dropped in on the popular Bear's Den, home to a former grist mill, legends of King Philip, and abode to the bears. Although best know for its picturesque falls on the Middle Branch Swift River, it is also home to some interesting speleology. Small caves have developed during the process of weathering out of small sections of the cliffs. Basically two very small caves are able to handle a human but many other "quasi cave" formations show the same forces that created those, are still at working creating future caves.

Returning north to the Mohawk Trail, I visited an access point set up by climbers to visit impressive ledges that also contain fine caves I've examined in past years.

Lastly, I busted the woods through damaged trees and broken rock upheavals to try to relocate the Ice Cave, less than four miles south of the New Hampshire border. Although a previous GPS reading (a device I have mixed feelings for) sent me on a bit of a wild goose chase, eventually it was found. Not much to this 'cave' although local history writes of it as a natural ice house. And cool it was!