Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That time of the year again - the South Shore adventure and a chance to work most of the Plymouth - and some of the Norfolk county areas.

Traditional site of John Eliot's Pulpit Rock

Day One approach by good old Rt.s 95/128 swinging around the outside of Boston. Landing in West Roxbury ('home' to the state rock: Roxbury Conglomerate) I proceeded to look into a couple of cave formations within. One is the traditional site of John Eliot's pulpit, an early preacher to Native Americans. The second site - like the first - was a split rock formation where the pieces of rock form a crude shelter. So far in my investigations, this is the typical 'cave' in these parts - and these rocks. However, also found in this area a few years back, a small shelter worn out from under a ledge. I believe occasionally used by the homeless.

Before leaving town I took a quick spin through a neighboring town where an early 1900's history mentions a former cave. All built up now, I can only image what might have existed within the area where a few outcrops of puddingstone can still be seen.

Arriving in the glorious Blue Hills, I continued on with a search begun in June of last year. A small, shallow cave by the name of Rattlesnake Den was written about in the very last years of the 1800's. I've theorized where the general area may have been and mapped out a section to investigate. Some fine hiking but no den so I'll give it a go at another time.

A couple of quick sites before setting up camp. To the south of the Blue Hills, a large perched glacial erratic. This was brought to my attention by a reader some years ago around the time I was looking for Squaw Rock in the same town. It may be this rock as one local resident thought, but again it may not. Finishing the day as I swung out towards the shoreline areas was conservation land which brings one within sighting of the Glad Tidings Rock with a couple of legends as to how it got its name.

Day Two began with a early morning walk at the Worlds End property in Hingham. A beautiful piece of property and a section called Rocky Neck which will be worth another visit in the future.

Retiring to a local library, I put in some quality research time before heading down the coast. One of the towns has a history replete with 'devilish' formations, Indian ovens, and a pulpit Rock. I have made several visits over the years always coming away empty handed. But persistence can sometimes pay off and with information gathered on a library visit last year I located their very own Pulpit Rock and a likely possibility for a Devil's Rock with His footprints. Hopefully much more to come out of this town in the future.

Landing back at camp to clean up and eat, I did some light duty by visiting the former site of Great Rock (destroyed) and Turkey Hill: hilltop farm land with views now under the protection of the Trustees of the Reservations. One more library then back to camp for the night.

Pulpit Rock

Day Three: Starting the day out in northern Plymouth County (in the same town where the county's largest glacial erratic lies) I went out to look into the story of a "Devil's Cave" near a major river passing through the area. An old abandoned railroad line provided the access and the 'cave' turned out to be a split rock formation. Other features in the area were Indian campsites, old dams and a factory, as well as a herring run.

Farther south in the land of Bridgewater, I revisited Sachems Rock although my main purpose was to renew an old acquaintance from the immediate area. Apparently they have disappeared but Sachem's, marking an ancient land boundary, still remains. Then on to Minister's Rock with its quaint inscription and a nearby Pulpit Rock.

Slipping briefly over into Bristol County, I connected with the local library to deliver a photo and information on their very own Devil's Footprint. Then on out of town (just barely) to hit another 'cave' attributed to old King Philip. This one is formed by the overlapping of some huge boulders near a hilltop.

An open faced rock shelter sometimes associatyed with King Philip

Indian/King Philip's Cave

Day Four: The original intention of the South Shore trip some years back was to devote time mostly to the towns of Cohasset, Hingham, Scituate, and even Weymouth. I really had not spent much time in these towns on this trip so as a parting gesture I hiked on in to Wheelwright Park. The park is home to Big and Small Tippling Rock as well as the Devil's Chair. Big Tippling is indeed a worthy boulder at 55 feet in circumference. But its dimensions do diminish a bit underneath as well as on top.

On over to the big event of the day: to meet up with members of a local historical society. The purpose here was to continue on with the search into "Writing Rock". Between the coffee, the crumb cake, and conversation with a number of very learned, very gracious members, much more was gained that information on just one rock. Apparently the rock had symbols matching some on the more famous Dighton Rock and has also been made off with! It's exact location is somewhat unknown.

Before turning the car homeward a brief hike was made into a neighboring town's Town Forest. This also was a continuation of a search started last year for another Devil's Den. It is somewhat conjecture that this devilish den lays in the area (also home to the Garden of the Gods visited last year) but it also may not. Nearby is a section of land known as Rocky Woods and, in the future, I may move my search more towards that direction.