Saturday, September 15, 2012

Once again ... Essex County!

My arrival into Essex County was by a slightly different route on this occasion. I wanted another look at an old soapstone quarry where diverging opinions exist if there is - or is not - soapstone still present. Certainly I did locate a large number of quarried stones that could be the mineral. But being beyond my limited knowledge of mineralogy, I finally moved on.

The plan was once again to continue with kayaking the coastlines, in particular Cape Ann, so upon arriving on the Cape I set about checking into a local site that would gain me access to the Magnolia section of Gloucester's shoreline. The day was finished up looking into another section of Tompson's Reservation at Sunset Mountain. The mountain is large sections of exposed granite with one perched boulder seen.

Peering into the old Indian Cave

High surf warnings from an off shore hurricane plagued the trip for at least its first half, but I found some land based activities to occupy myself with. On the second day I wandered down into the southern regions of Essex County to look at an old Indian Cave. Nearby, at a major highway intersection, I looked into the possible existence of a large perched boulder photographed many years ago. It was unlikely that with all the modern day construction, including a massive mall, it would still exist. It did not show itself.

The view down into the Swallows Cave entrances

Turning towards the ocean, I reached the shore at Revere and would begin a journey north to check into multiple locations for future kayak launches. I eventually ended up exploring some Audubon property, Swallows Cave, and Castle Rock, as part of my northward trek. I also got down below the Lynn seawall at low tide to see Sliding and Red Rocks. Traveling still further north, I worked the shore areas of Swampscott, Marblehead, and eventually Salem where I found a nifty (future) launch site and a small cave in the boulders along the shore.

Trying a hand at the Balance Rock in Ravenswood Park

Day three began with another check of the surf at Rafes Chasm. With still too much in the way of heavy seas to take on, I retreated for an inspection of Ravenswood Park, a site I had briefly visited only once some years ago. After finishing up in Ravenswood a jaunt down the road into Manchester was made to visit the Coolidge Reservation. Before leaving the area, a final check was made of the nearby launch site (in particular - parking) to prepare the way for the next morning.

Rafes Chasm - from the Ocean

The next three days were basically devoted to straight kayaking adventures along the coastline. The fourth day was started at Magnolia with a short trip down the coast to check over Kettle Cove. The it was back up along the coast past Rafes Chasm, Normans Woe, Normans Woe Rock and across the outer edge of Gloucester harbor to Eastern Point. My return across the Harbor was made a bit more north so I could take in additional stretches of the coast I had previously missed.

With days four and five, I basically finished covering most of the western side of Cape Ann, leaving by way of Lanesville. The trip north - and around Halibut Point - passed by the old quarry at Folly Point and ended out in front of Chapin's Gully. South on the following day, passed Plum Cove, Hodgkins Cove, and Annisquam. On both days many an eroded dike was seen but that is a typical feature of Cape Ann.