Saturday, May 23, 2015

Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me ..... a Valentine?

A breezy, cool day provided near optimal conditions to visit the deep woods and locate sites for two central Berkshire caves. The first - Liberty Cave - is in the vicinity of historic Crevice /Counterfeiter's Cave. The second, is a fairly recent find: Valentine Cave.

The search for Liberty Cave went off without much fuss. It was located in the bottom of a steep-sided sinkhole, one in a line of smaller sinks. This is a cave opened by area cave diggers in recent years.

Valentine Cave proved to be more of a challenge. Located in one of the foothills of Mt Greylock, it was not an obvious entrance. I had explored the area several times in past years, unaware of the nearby presence of marble, in an area that is predominately schist. The Porcupine Cave(s), mentioned in Clay Perry's cave books, are part of this area, but located in those schists.

Entrance area at Valentine Cave

It took a thorough search, but on my final pass through the area, the entrance was discovered. I was coming down out of the impressive ledges of schist when it was found at the base of a small marble ledge. Of further geologic interest: it was quite literally right at the contact zone. Explorers (of which I was not on this day, working alone) have found around 200 feet of passage within. Which, by local standards, is pretty impressive.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk Counties

Continuing on with a long list of objectives, three different counties were visited: Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk. The first day was kicked off in northern Norfolk County, 'sandwiched' between Rt.s 495 and 95. Once again, an Indian cave had been reported, and once again a marginal feature was uncovered. From there it was a short trip to the Charles River that provided the begining of a kayaking adventure, that eventually landed me on Devilsfoot Island. Again, Old Man Satan had left His footprints in the local bedrock.

The local 'Indian cave'. Ledge and talus formation.

A bit of a jump east into Brockton was next, where it was said the 'remains of an Indian cave' existed. Now what exactly the remains of a cave should look like - I'm not sure. But at the described location, was a boulder outcrop but not even a shelter could be had. Time to move on to the South Shore for camp setup.

The second day started with a jaunt to the north, looking for some legitimate access to a site containing (sometimes called) Writing Rock. Numerous access points were visited but apparently a successful (future) trip will depend on contacting a local individual who lives nearby, and has taken people through his own property.

The Old Sow, off Scituate's shoreline.

From there, it was down the coast for visits to the Scituate Historical Society and the local library. Several of my old images were scanned, and left, at the society providing for later identification. Then the coast in the area of the old lighthouse was checked out, and the location of a boulder sought. This boulder was seen on aerial images, and when tracked down, proved to be HUGE. Probably the second largest I've seen in the South Shore area. Its likely identity is Damon's Rock, which I have sought many years for, but one or two more pieces of evidence need to be followed up on.

Balance Rock @ Franklin Park, Circuit Drive - early 1900s postcard.

The trip was finished up in West Roxbury where caves were reported to be. Little seen at this location. But a pleasant investigation into geologic and historic sites within Franklin Park made for a nice ending.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Great Barrington

A return to the Southern Berkshires, along with Gary Leveille from the Great Barrington Historical Society. We looked at a couple sites in the Mansfield Pond area including Whale Rock and an unnamed erratic along a local hiking trail. Then a quick drive brought us to Simon's Rock (the school) where its namesake boulder can be found.

Eventually, we made our way up into Housatonic where Gary and Bernie Drew had discovered late last fall the 'balance rock' written up long ago in the local paper. A short, but tough climb, brings one to a very large section of rock (not unusual for Monument Mountain) that is more perched/hanging than balancing. Also in the vicinity is remains of a cement reservoir that probably fed to several local houses.

Housatonic's perched/hanging boulder

The day was finished off by visiting the site of a railroad turntable in the Van Deusenville section of town.

Monday, May 4, 2015

In Search of the Titanic

A pretty much straightforward trip up to the Mohawk Trail. I had been clued in to a large rock in that region. It coincidentally happened to be an area I passed through several years ago, and spotted numerous erratics off in the woods. At that time, I was on a tight schedule and could not stop.

Boulder Cave

In the very same vicinity was Boulder Cave, so I made a stop to grab photos before Spring finally sprung and the site became completely enveloped in green foliage. The large rock I sought out was enormous and probably the largest I've seen so far in Franklin County. It apparently is well known to boulder climbers and goes by the name of Titanic. By and large, the whole area turned out to be an area of significant glacial boulders.

The Titanic