Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pinnacle of (half) Success!

18 years is a long time. But I try to get back around to sites that have not been visited in a long time. Especially, if there's something new to be gained from such a visit. The Pinnacle is a local (and not official) name to an elevation in central Berkshire County. There is also a 4 acre parcel on that site belonging to a area land conservation group.

Entrance to the cave @ Pinnacle.

So, it was my intention to revisit the two caves located at the Pinnacle, and to see in what proximity they may be to conservation land. In the end, I was only half successful. The smaller (and less important) cave remained unfound. This despite the fact I considered it the easier of the two to find. However, while giving careful inspection to a significant run of ledges, the 'major' cave in the area turned up. High in the ledges, a cave formed by fracturing and movement of large pieces of rock, or whose formation is described as tectonic, in nature.

Interior of the Cave.

As for our "lost" cave - that's for another day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Get the Lead Out!

Long have I heard about the mining of lead - or more accurately galena, the ore it's derived from - down in the settlement of Loudville. An opportunity arose to visit that site as part of a geologic history tour. Locations visited on this day included an air shaft, tailings pile, old water course for draining a (closed) adit, site of a reverberatory furnace, and site of the processing operations.

Ruins of the firebox to the old reverberatory furnace

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Almost Quabbin

The time has come to work more, in and around the Quabbin Reservoir region in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, once again, the hot sticky weather has descended upon us. Something I do not tolerate well and only serves to limit this guy's activity.

So setting my sites upon the Belchertown area, I began with familiar territory. In the ledges near the town's three lakes is a 'weathered' cave formation. Not terribly deep - or impressive - but a lot going on in this area geologically. It will give me more to ponder during the off season, during those times I retreat to become the 'armchair adventurer".

Juniper Cave - weathered cave formation

I took a quick spin by the location of the town's stone chamber. Not surprising, the access was buried behind significant brush, some as tall as eight feet and VERY thorny. I've seen it once this way previously, and the only time I've accessed it was sans foliage. Even then it was a bit of a 'thorny issue' picking one's way through the brush and vines.

My final site was a local wildlife management area. There is a small cave formation here (looks to be another weathered formation) with three names from the 1800s inscribed in the rock. Some pleasant walking but the exact location was not known, and consequently not found on this particular trip.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

High above Housatonic

On this day, I returned to the far side of Monument Mountain, high above the village of Housatonic. This was to follow up on last November's trip, to the same area, with a more in depth look at some of its features.

Almost 500 feet of elevation later, I arrived at my first site: what appeared (from below, and a distance) to be a 'window' (cave?) in the upper ledges. Climbing up through the talus slopes, I eventually arrived. Unfortunately, the image seen from below is more of an illusion. The reality is a huge, detached piece of ledge that had shifted forward. It left, up in back, the parent ledge with an overhang. No real cave present, except for a crawl down under the gigantic piece of rock that had come loose.

Moving on, I eventually reached the site of several enormous boulders first investigated last Fall. These are massive pieces of rock with the two laying beside the trail each measuring well over 100 feet in circumference. The position of each is such that a sheltering cave lies beneath.

The backside of 'Pinnacle Rock'.

Just above these two boulders, is another enormous detached piece of ledge. This 'pinnacle' of a rock has not moved far from the original ledge that spawned it, but one can walk completely around, although some tough footing is to be found. In the immediate vicinity is an impressive section of ledge, fractured and slightly dislocated, to provide at least one small tectonic cave.

Tectonic cave