Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last Hurrah

With the traditional October Essex County visit, the list of long vacation excursions basically winds down. Unfortunately conditions never allowed for a kayak launch and exploration of the coastline from the sea. However amongst the inclement weather and gale fore winds, some interesting sites were to be visited.

The old lime kiln

Early on the first day, the second oldest lime site in New England (after Newbury, MA) was looked over in Bolton, MA. Conservation land includes a network of trails and the old quarry and lime kiln. The next stop up in Tyngsborough finally culminated a search begun a few years back when I was searching for another rock pulpit used by George Whitefield. The history of this rock turns out to be much more extensive than previous thought as Indian chief Wannalancet spent the final years of his life in the vicinity. Wannalancet at that point in time was staying with Johnathan Tyng and would sit upon this rock. It is now once again marked with a plaque after the previous one had been stolen. My earlier information had the rock near the burial site of Tyng (where Wannalancet is also buried) and indeed the cemetery is a "stone's throw" away. Upon arrival in Cape Ann, two West Gloucester sites were visited: some gigantic boulders at Tompson's Reservation and Mt. Ann.

The Whitefield/Wannalancet Rock

Day Two brought 'iffy' weather so local sites were worked at the Profile Rock, Rowe's Tomb, and Andrews Woods. Some down time was spent out on the rocks at Pigeon Cove and the area of Lanes Cove and it's historic cemetery.

Day Three brought on the rains, although lighter in the morning hours so trips up to Newbury, West Newbury, and Groveland were possible. I finally was able, through two different hikes, to get into the area of rocks history records as the "Nubble Squid" - or, as it has been called in modern times, the Knobble Squid. The location is not overly rocky by Essex County standards, but it is by comparison to the immediate surrounding area, which is strangely lacking in outcrops or erratics.

Cradle Rock: circa 1905

Cradle Rock lies somewhere not too far away but several past attempts to locate it, including a Town Hall visit on this day, still proved unsuccessful. However, a token visit was made to the Stickney Boulder and Great Rock on the Newbury/Newbury town line. Another old lime site - the Devil's Basin- was descended into once I got a sleeping fox to vacate the old pit. The Fourth Day brought fair skies but terrific winds as I shot on down towards Marblehead. A variety of sites were located including possible (but turned out not probable) kayak launch sites. However, it did enable me to do some old fashioned reconnaissance by foot of the coastal rocks. During that time a small sea cave was located and one good kayak launch point eventually found.

Rain once again arrived on day five so some local touring was the order of the day. My final bit of time on the Cape for the year was filled walking a local park with an old hospital (foundations) site, an old well, and a gigantic boulder that had been partially quarried.