Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Return to Rock Mountain

Returning to old Rock Mountain, whose perimeter was skirted during the recent trip on October 27, a southerly approach was taken. This visit was to include scouting for old settlements and cellar holes along with possible signs of additional quarrying activity.

The old mountain road served its purpose well as myself and hiking partner Tom located at least three former cellars long ago abandoned. One had an interesting stand of rare (for these parts ) black locust trees (now dead) lining the outside of the old cellar hole. Here and there a small ledge was seen that had been worked but that was more to the north, well out of the more southern areas underlain by Cheshire Quartzite.

At our final - and most northern cellar hole - we linked up with the area explored just two weeks previously. Turning towards the southwest we began an ascent of the former Rock Mountain - now called Sykes. Our climb brought us past outcrops of rock somewhat different - but belonging to the same geologic unit explored in the nearby pseudo-karst. Contained here was a good sized porkie den formed by weathering, frost wedging, and gravity assist.

Scooting over the summit area for a ways, little rock was seen but perhaps one more minor outcrop of rock worked in the past. A dark, picturesque bog brought us out near our original road which was followed back to the car.

Later on Tom was able to gather information at the local library mentioning what must have been a major quarrying operation run by the Sikes family from the mountain settlement. It will be the focus of a future adventure. My own impression is the name Rock Mountain is somewhat of a misnomer as the most rocky sections are really just outside what most would consider the boundaries of the mountain. But that's history for you!