Saturday, August 30, 2014

This & That: Gleanings from the past week.

Entrance to the Rock.

(8/24) Finally! With further information provided, I located a HUGE rock with it's own 'cave'. Located in central Berkshires, it is so large - Google Earth can pick it up! One significant piece fractured, and dislocated, provides an entrance-way and a passage. The ceiling/roof is made up of three different sections of stone fractured from the main boulder, and shifted forward. Great bushwhacking on a muggy, buggy, summer day.

Passage within the Rock.

(8/26) A ten year absence, but a return to another old gem: a small cave in the "Marble Heart of The Berkshires". First an ascent to the overgrown hilltop, from which the cave gets its name. Then a descent down it's side to explore the netherworld. Much of this hill lies in quartzite, but more southern regions are marble. This cave is not far from the proverbial contact zone.

One of two entrances.

(8/29)An accidental encounter with Wikipedia's entry on the Pittsfield Cemetery brought something interesting to light. It claims the largest piece of red granite in the world might be none other than the Allen monument, a 42 foot obelisk within the cemetery. Seeing that the historic old cemetery is an old 'haunt' of mine, I could not resist. Where else can one find themselves surrounded by such artistic pieces of stone. The massive spire was quickly located and photographed amongst an unrelenting onslaught of mosquitoes.

42 feet of red granite.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Mohawk Trail ... and beyond!

No use in wasting time now that Life has offered me the opportunity to turn my attention more fully to the Massachusetts and Rhode Island landscape. So for two days I set out to see what might be found.

Starting out in Franklin County, I attempted a long overdue return to Camp Rock, first seen MANY years ago. Unfortunately most of the roads leading in are closed off. I tried a different approach on this day, only to find myself once again blocked by a DCR gate. Eventually, I may have to hike some distance to get in, but I have one more approach to try.

Next up was Pelham Brook, which I found very flooded on my visit there in late April. I finally set about to further work the postcards of the Profile Rock/Stone Face. Some years ago, I made a very iffy call that it was one particular boulder in the edge of the stream. Reviewing my photography over the past winter, had me doubting that 'conclusion'. Another boulder in a series of photos taken, seemed to have some slight, definitive, signs of that profile on the postcard. Albeit that the rock had been beaten up from almost a century of laying in a stream that is prone to regular, heavy flooding.

So, much was gathered on both the theorized site and the previously one, including some better, more definitive, locations. And then it was time to move on.

It was over the Connecticut River, then down to more fully explore the area surrounding the Rattlesnake Gutter. This included a 'mystery' left to us regarding a small cave(s) from the old WPA Depression era book: Massachusetts Guide. Nothing much for 'new' caves was found although someone from the local area mentioned there might be. This only sets the stage for a future investigation.

A cave entrance!

Camping in a local State Forest, was followed the next morning by a look at the nearby Indian Kettles. Then time to head over to the east side of the Quabbin Reservoir to begin a look into reported Indian caves. Some tough hiking at two locations (one previously visited eight years ago) did not yield the caves. This is something that will be worked later when it's cooler, less buggy, and visibility is greatly enhanced. However, the highlight of the day was making two new contacts from the local town.

An 'Indian Kettle'.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some things old ... and something new!

Time to once again head out to Essex County, eventually landing on Cape Ann. This was both an unusual - and special - trip as well. Unusual in that a light agenda was planned. This was meant to be more for rest and relaxation. Special, in that it is a new direction in my life - retirement!

The old Everett Tomb

As is often the case, one or two sites are taken in as I make my way across Massachusetts. On this, the first day, it would find me just south of the Mohawk Trail at Redemption Rock. In its vicinity lies an old - now unused - tomb once containing the remains of at least two members of the Everett Family. Although I first visited this site a number of years ago, much to my chagrin, I was unable to find in again several years ago. This visit went well and I quickly found the old burial chamber.

Cave Rock

Landing in West Gloucester gave me a chance to look up an old postcard of the Fishermen's Rest memorial located in a local cemetery. Not surprising, things have changed a bit since the days when the picture was taken for the old postcard - approximately 80 years ago.

The next several days were spent visiting my usual favorite site up at Pigeon Cove, kayaking rivers on the west side of Cape Ann, hiking out to 'Cave Rock', and revisiting Merlin's Cave - first seen on my late April trip.

The Two Brothers (or in this early 1900s postcard: Brother) Rocks

When day five rolled around, a receding tide prompted me to move on Middlesex County. Here, I returned (via river) to the Two Brother Rocks, some of the earliest land boundary/landmarks for Massachusetts. Their history can be traced back to the 1630's. Upon returning to the put-in, a thunderstorm (with weather service warning) was moving in. So the time had come to roll on to Rt 495, and home via the Mohawk Trail.

The Two Brothers: present day