Sunday, March 28, 2010

Return to Stone Hill

This weekend brought a stark, frigid reminder winter is not quite done with us yet. However, under gray skies and near freezing temperatures - I set out. Making my way up to the northern Berkshires, I wanted to finish up a small project at Stone Hill where last summer the brutal heat offered up a whole different envirnoment.

The bedrock of Stone Hill proper is pretty much quartzite, and on my previous visit I saw plenty of ledgy, rocky areas that bore investigation. Additionally, one local farmer reported a site know as Sunset Rock apparently upon the Hill. The broken rock along the western perimeter of the Hill yielded one very small cave among the boulders. Upon reaching a memorial stone bench, I ascended upon the summit and looked for obvious signs of a Sunset Rock where one might get a view off to the west.

Several possible sites, close to one another, presented themselves, and sans foliage, a pretty good vista could be had of the still snow covered westerly Taconic Mountain Range. To finish my exploration in the immediate region, I looked into another access trail that approached Stone Hill from the East.

Taking the scenic route home, I jogged on over western portions of the Mohawk Trail across the top of Berkshire County. My only other stop was to photograph small cave formations along the North Branch of the Hoosic River.

Monday, March 22, 2010

So once again it is time to roll out a brand new season in the outdoors. Many of the unexplored sites that need to be investigated not surprisingly lay far beyond a one day's journey from my home in the most western portion of Massachusetts. They will be dealt with on occasion and most certainly on vacations. But for this day - a return into the Connecticut River Valley. As far as western Massachusetts goes, this is the one region to first thaw out from Winter.

The goal on this day was verification of a site know to rock climbers as Sunbowl. I've had various locations tossed my way over recent years, none of which proved accurate. But finally with something more definitive in hand I set out. Coincidentally, this overlapped with my last year's goal of searching out the trails running through the old section of mountains once known as Paradise.

The walk up into the mountains and locating Sunbowl went surprisingly well. I had suspected this ledge to be one I first came cross four years earlier and I was right. Moving along, I connected with the Paradise trails, looked over a familiar craggy ledge, then traced the route of a mostly obliterated trail back to my car.

Farther north I entered the ledge system once called "Home of the Rocks" which has been explored on many previous occasions. I stopped first at the likely site of Cozy Cave, worked along past the Curve Rock (once again unsuccessfully trying to identify the site an antique photo was taken), finally setting up cameras at the Grand Porch. The overcast skies made good opportunity to finally get half decent photos of this gigantic open-faced rock formation.

I decided since I was in the immediate area of Titan's Pasture, I'd dropped in to the cave located there to see the situation on a bat located there this past year. The bat was not home so I set about exploring the talus caves formations below (and probably within) Titan's Pasture, on over to the Grand Porch. One is fairly 'worthy' at probably 40 feet of passage length. Maybe of greater importance, I recognized it as the first location I came onto some years back when I first took on the investigation of antique photos of rock formations in the area.

With this early season adventure on the wane, I traveled back out of the Valley once again, through mountain towns still showing generous amounts of snow.

Titan's Pasture and it's cave, Connecticut River Valley

Titan's Pasture and it's cave

Thursday, March 11, 2010


My, oh my! It seems that Spring has been wanting to come on in for the last week. With last weekend's arrival of the 'perfect' late winter weekend (which in reality was very spring-like) I am reminded the end of the winter sabbatical is close at hand. Only time will tell if this is for real or what some call a 'false Spring'. Per usual, the snow has left the back yards - the higher elevations still deep in Winter.

But time to start preparing once again. A few early projects in the lower elevations and the Connecticut River Valley have already been mapped out. The third week of April will hopefully culminate with a return to Rhode Island and the Narragansett Bay area.

October 2006 @ Cannon Rock