Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Essex County/Cape Ann

Spring has come very, VERY slowly. Good days seem all too far and few between. But a roll of the dice and on up to Essex County to see how far I could go.

Day One: Working information that surfaced just after my last visit to Essex County, I trolled through the moraine containing Ship Rock in search of Kimball Rock. A few good sized boulders were encountered, although nothing nearly equaling the size of Ship Rock. At a location marked on my source map (albeit: somewhat of a small scale) the 'largest' of these boulders was found and I assume this to be Kimball Rock. Now to determine the source of its name.

Lookout Rock (mentioned as being a boulder) was given a second go now that a more definitive location was found. Several erratic extended from the crest of a hill downward. The largest, at the top, was assumed to be Lookout Rock. However, views were mostly obscured due to newer growth. A nearby outcrop along the hillside offered just a slightly better view.

Lookout Rock

With a bit of time to kill, I quickly drove up the interstate into the more northerly portions of the county to try once again and identify the Ordway Boulder. A local history expert verified, on my last pass through the area, it would be in the same section of woods as the previously visited Haystack Boulder. Still no luck on this one and seeing the property is being carved up for development, I have to wonder how long future visits may be possible.

Day Two: Early morning and time to roll on to Cape Ann and Pigeon Cove. Very quickly gaining access the sea shore rocks, I began the process of identifying sites from old images. Chapin's (Great Gully) is well know, down to Singer's Rock, and on to Cathedral Rocks and the Bathing/Swimming Place. Reversing direction, I passed the Gargoyle, and looked extensively for a much sought out prize: Dick's Dream. I got up as far as the Frog (completely swamped by a ferocious surf). An abundance of marvelous dikes were to be seen along the way, but could not find what Dick might have been dreaming of.

Drawning of Dick's Dream from "Pigeon Cove and Vicinity" 1873

Coming down the coast, I was pleasantly surprised to find a rock depicted on an old postcard of Pigeon Hill. In one version of this postcard, it is called Profile Rock. A somewhat marginal example of this phenomenon. But there it was, once standing proudly against the backdrop of the vista below, now surrounded by the growth of recent generations. Down below, I took in the sites available from the Granite Pier.

One longer hike out to the Devil's Den, and a short jaunt on the Old Rockport Road, finished the day.

Part of the 'Devil's Den' outcrop

Days Three and Four: Ah - the almighty rains rolled in over night but were light enough for me to slip out in the morning to the very rocky Poles Hill. The next morning saw very slight improvement, so I ran with it, stopping off at the Stone Chair and swinging up and around Halibut Point to Pigeon Cove once again. Despite the constant threat that rain would descend upon me, I went back out on the rocks in a slightly different area from two days previous. I came back by the Frog, spied something that looked like Dick's Dream, but gave it a thumbs down on my previous pass by two dys earlier. Not having my printouts with me, I shot a couple of photos to look over later.

Meteoric Rock was listed on the back of an old stereoview as being among these rocks. One local, theorized it to be an elevated gabbro dike which I did find. However, without the actual photo - it's hard to complete the identification. I worked back down the coast to photograph (again) Singer's Rock which had been washed out by the sunlight two days previous.

Singer's Rock: circa 1870s - above; and present day - below.

I usually like to include a Dogtown hike on each visit, but threatening weather made long treks out into the open iffy at best. Finally a decision was made to go for the Briar Swamp area and Racoon Rocks. Destination reached: the rain started slow and steady. So retreating to the car, the long journey home was made once again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


View out of King Philip's Cave

A pretty straightforward visit to the Connecticut River Valley. I decided to take in a postcard show in Greenfield then head South down the Valley and see how far I could get. Not too far really, but considering this was after working the whole week previous and all night too, I got in a nice trip.

The afternoon was spent hiking the southern end of the Pocumtuck Range once again ending at a small cave formation that has been called King Philip's Cave. It is but a small alcove eroded out of the Sugarloaf Arkose but it comes with spectacular views of the valley below.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Return to Wachussetts

Cave formation in north-central Worcester County

The weekend start off with a brief jaunt to the central Berkshires. This was to give my cameras a 'test run' after the long winter layoff. It also gave me a chance to look over a rather large boulder mentioned to me by a co worker. Afterwards a drive along the back road confirmed plenty of snow still on the ground as well as sections of rock that looked to be from the mountain looming behind. Final destination was good old Reynolds Rock, a fine photographic test, standing amongst the snow still spitting from the previous day's northeaster that never fully materialized.

Sunday started in earnest as I was out in central Massachusetts as the sun rose. The first destination was way out in Middlesex County - the Boston Antique Photo Show. A couple hours here was enough before moving on to the area in and around the Wachusetts Reservoir. I basically worked the area visited back in February when snow and wind were the order of the day. First sought out was an Indian Rock first visited some years back. It apparently is now a decoration in front of a newer home.

Off in the nearby woods, I worked the story of two Tory Caves. Like many stories of history, there are discrepancies as to location. In the past I looked at one location which was basically a bit of a ledge outcropping. No cave passage of any sort. But I was told a new location might hold more promise. After a walk through the woods, and some intensive searching of ledges and glacial boulders, little was to be found. Possible two overlapping erratics might provide a bit of shelter. I confirmed my observations with two young men I ran into and then looked over a monstrous sized boulder before moving on.

Over on the other side of Wachusetts, I returned to the "Clamshell Cut" which was the site of several old postcards including one dubious "Profile Rock". There have been some minor changes to the walls of this rock cut, including a 'knob' that I imagine once was the nose for this very minor profile feature.

Continuing on , I dropped in at the Rowlandson Rock - or Boulder - site of where Mary Rowlandson was said to have spent her first night in captivity during King Philip's War. From there it was but a brief drive over to examine some rocky cave formations brought to my attention by a local man posting them on his internet photo site.

The day was finished up on a section of the Mid-State Trail where the Everett Tomb is located. Now where did that tomb go? I saw it once a few years back. Ah well - next time. Darkness was moving in and it was time to catch the Mohawk Trail back to the Berkshires