Thursday, September 25, 2014

From the Lake to the Ocean

This trip was dedicated (or suppose to be) to Rhode Island. However, more and more in recent times, I've learned a valuable lesson: do not rely on conditions being favorable for kayaking.

The first day started pretty much as planned, dropping into the Massachusetts side of Wallum Lake. First on the list was to scout out a "snake ledge" first showed to me years ago by an employee at the Douglas State Forest. This area encompasses some of the territory covered in the old book "The Wallum Pond Estates", a subject I've revisited time and again over the years.

A bit of hiking eventually brought me to the supposed site of the snake ledge. Closer inspection showed it to be an old granite quarry. Indeed, further exploration in the area turned up a number of these old quarrying sites. Conditions on the Lake proved too windy, so I thought I'd move to the southern end (in Rhode Island) where a small put-in would allow me to access that end. It was here I expected to find Patitents (sic) Rock from an old postcard. There are several postcards (including a corrected spelling) showing this same rock. But wind conditions at the southern end were even worse than at the northern.

"Patitents' Rock at Wallum Lake

So I took to the road, a bit farther, hitting Forger's (one of many names for this cave) Cave before spending the night in the area. Early morning brought favorable conditions to go out and explore Wallum Lake. A multitude of erattics lined the shore as well as its bottom. Patitents Rock was located, the lake fully explored, and I moved on to the Newport area.

The Rock at Wallum Lake

Next morning brought disappointment in small craft advisories out on the ocean. So the time was filled visiting an old favorite, Purgatory, exploring Third Beach, then doing a significant portion of the Cliff Walk (something only slightly looked at in the past) while being buffeted by heavy winds coming off the ocean. The afternoon saw Pirates Caves and a close up of the geologic makeup of the area. Although it is primarily know for its colorful shale, there is limestone present.

Green and red shale @ the Pirate Cave coastline

Rains were forecast to move into coastal areas on the fourth day, so I decided to pull the plug on this trip to Newport a day earlier than planned. I headed inland to southwestern Worcester County (Massachusetts) for my first ever look at some Indian caves. This hillside is primarily broken talus that could take the better part of the day to explore. A number of large erratics, balanced/perched boulders, and a modest sized overhang are also present. At present, I'll be looking over my information and correlate it with that already existing, to see exactly which are considered the Indian Cave(s).

The Indian Cave overhang

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Tale of Two Days

Two very interesting days: The first saw Gary Leveille, from the Great Barrington Historical Society - and myself, take on two sites in southern Berkshire County. The first was the Bear's Den. One of many cave formations to 'bear' that name. The next stop took us to the Tipping Rock. As an added 'bonus', stops were made at a nearby cemetery whose entrance-way contained a giant erratic. Another local cemetery provided a pastoral setting with gravestones set into the side of two large elevated mounds. These were actually a kame.

Passage within the Bear's Den.

On the next day, I rejoined Gary for a talk at a cemetery in North Egremont. Following a break, we both joined another member of the Great Barring Historical Society: local author Bernard Drew. Bernie provided a program on a tract of conservation land that also contained an old marble quarry and marble sawmill dating back to 1829.

The old Levenworth quarry

Friday, September 12, 2014

This time around, it was six days out. Primarily stationed on Cape Ann, but per usual, visits along the way in - and out - took place.

Entrance to the old mine.

First up was a very old silver mine up in Middlesex County. Upon arrival, I quickly discovered exploration would require more equipment than I usually carry. However, the entrance area was photographed before moving on and leaving it for a future visit.

Day Two saw kayaking out of Lanes Cove and down (south) the coast, reaching my goal of Lobster Cove right about high tide. An interesting area, which is more of a long and relatively narrow inlet. But a good chance to check out the exposed granites along the shoreline, as well as a few large erratics. Off shore winds that persisted during my stay, made for choppy going on the water, therefore this was the only opportunity I had to use the kayak on this trip. Later in the day towards low tide, I was able to make my way out to Salt Island plus visit a small sea cave along the Gloucester mainland.

Small sea cave (sea spout) along the Gloucester shore

The next three days involved a pretty extensive exploration of some the area's prime woodlands and hiking areas. Days three and four covered sections of a trail network near the Essex - Manchester town lines. First time out was an old mill site, Pulpit Rock (and a near by marginal cave), the Bishop's Grave, and finally the Bear's Den. The next day covered an extensive area I had not seen before: southern parts of the old Manchester to Essex Road, Baby Rock, and Ship Rock. Along the way a generous number of glacial erratics, perched boulders, and towering outcrops of granite, showed themselves.

Baby Rock

The fifth day took me back in to Dogtown to explore a section of woods not previously seen. This trail ran along a high ridge with numerous glacial erratics before turning more inland, where I eventually ended my journey at Racoon Rocks. Later on, I trucked up to Rockport in an effort to find trail access to it's central woodland sections. Although, this proved unsuccessful, I did stumble upon a huge deposit of glacial boulders, somewhat reminiscent of Racoon Rocks.

My final day on the road saw me cover a site in Middlesex County on an old postcard displaying a large boulder in a local cemetery. Then on to Estabrook Woods in Concord to look over an old lime mining site, the dilapidated remains of an old kiln, and Indian Rock. The Rock has a pretty impressive circumference of 60 feet with heights averaging 5 to 7 feet.

Dropping down to Route 2 allowed me to travel the good old Mohawk Trail all the way west to Shelbune before turning south for the last leg of my journey home.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Down in Old Hampden.

Another "lead" - another trip! A buddy, from the last several years, clued me in to where a possible cave - or caves - might be found down in central Hampden County. I had several other sites in the area to visit, so they all went together nicely to fill out a day.

A rock outcrop at Goat Rock

The 'caves' proved to be more myth than legend, but nice ledges and a bit of a fine view. Next, I finally got to hike up to Goat Rock in Hampden. The front of the ledge has fractured, and the dislocation of blocks of rock, provided a couple 'caves' - sort of.

Roasting Rock

Down in Town, I visited Roasting Rock, moved some years ago to the local historical society. And on the way out of town, one of those painted rock 'formations': this one of a dog. A quick spin through Monson to check into access for a local point of interest, then off to Ware.

Reservoir Park with rock - early 1900s postcard

Ware is the site located on an old postcard labeled "Rock. Reservoir Park" My hypothesis was it might be Grenville Park. No match was found, but towards the end of my visit, a trail through the park's interior yield a good half dozen, modest sized, erratics.

Then on home to start packing for the next adventure!