Sunday, October 4, 2009

With the coming of October I am now compelled to focus on a handful of goals to finish out the season. Most known I usually take the winter to 'hibernate'. Since late winter of earlier this year, I've had a map. A map listing some rather interesting geologic (and historic) sites out amongst the tract once known as Brookfield. In the early history of Massachusetts this was a huge piece of territory and the westernmost settlement after the coastal areas. Now - like so many of the lands - it has been subdivided into a number of towns.

But with my list and map along I set out to work a couple of the sites with some ledges up first. Somewhere in the vicinity of these ledges was a Native American rock shelter/cave, home to the last of their kind in town.

The ledges were found without significant trouble although the exploration was a bit difficult moving along their mid section with cliffs above me and broken talus bordered by a bog below. When finished I made my way through a chimney to the top where I was rewarded with some spectacular 180 degree views. Noticing the map listed "Cat Rocks" nearby, I hiked on over to find some smaller ledges, probably the kind that long ago were the abode to wildcats.

At this point the trip began to take somewhat of a turn. I hiked back across the top of the high ledges as the map listed the Indian cave to the north of these. Upon arriving in the area I saw a complete lack of any rock exposures and what few words with the map could be interpreted as the cave was down at the ledges. So I revisited the base of the ledges to find a fair sized talus cave and was somewhat (but not entirely) content this might be the site.

Rock House; early 1900's postcard

The Rock House - early 1900's postcard

It was decided to leave the rest of the map - and list - for future explorations and take the scenic route back to western Massachusetts. This allowed me to stop in at the Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield which has a huge, bona fide Indian rock shelter.

Upon the return home, further research revealed the Indian cave originally sought was not at the ledges and the map was somewhat in error. Additionally some of the information (including place names) were ambiguous. So next time - the Cave!