Thursday, October 29, 2015

Again: the Southern Berksires ... & CT!

Once again delving into the lands of Southern Berkshire, and adjacent Connecticut, Gary L. and myself landed in Winsted CT. Here we looked up old Jumbo Rock still perched high above town where once, in the late 1880's, in had a bandstand/dance floor built upon. Before pulling out of town, we quickly visited the impressive soldiers monument, made from Quincy granite.

Old Jumbo Rock - circa 1900

Rolling back up the valley towards Massachusetts, we looked over the possibilities of finding Pulpit Rock in Robertsville. This is another site pictured in the DeMars photographs from long ago. Further research will be need here, but we have a pretty specific location.

Jumbo Rock

Finally landing in Massachusetts, one excursion was made into the woodlands to find access to the area of Hanging Mountain. There is photo, once again by F. H. DeMars, of a Tipping Rock in the vicinity. Although this initial trip yielded little, a second trip was made by another route into the base of the mountain. Numerous talus features were seen on this all-too-brief trip, but Tipping Rock was not one of those. Much more needs to be done at this location.

Tipping Rock by F. H. DeMars - circa 1900.

While driving the area of Hanging Mountain, a massive boulder was spotted. Upon inspection, it turns out to be one of the largest I have recorded in Berkshire County.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Southern Berkshires

It was back to the southern Berkshires on two different days. Both included Great Barrington Historical Society member Gary L. The first, took us back for a second attempt at locating a cave that I had not seen in years, and we missed on a previous trip a few weeks earlier.

Cave entrance in the Southern Berkshires

On the way to our second destination, a quick stop was made at Indian Rock along the Green River to see an ancient land boundary marker. Then it was over to the New Boston area to look up an unnamed rock pictured in antique photography by F. H. DeMars of Winsted CT. The original photograph showed a pastoral view of a hillside with church steeple at the bottom and a valley extending beyond. A rock of significant proportions was also in the scene, but not surprising: the rock, hillside, and view are all overgrown.

Over 100 years ago - open hillside and valley view

Two days later we were back in the Sandisfield - Otis area. A presentation - and hike - was being given by DCR's Tom Ragusa along the old Knox Trail. Tom has spent years searching out the original route that Henry Knox brought the cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. On this day, we traversed a section between Sandisfield and Otis, sometimes along trails and wood roads, but more often through woodlands. Here and there slight physical evidence remained including a cleft rock or a worn patch of the old trail known as Ye Trodden Path. The big bonus for this individual, was a chance to revisit Abiel's Rock. A huge boulder just off the Trail.

The cleft rock along the old Knox Trail route

Afterwards (and after lunch) we continued our journey down into Colebrook CT to see the site of the old town of Colebrook River. This site is often under the wasters of the Colebrook River Lake. But on this day, the water level was low enough to visit the old iron bridge, probably the only relic left to testify to the location of the town.

The old Colebrook River bridge

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rocks, rocks, and MORE Rocks

In what will likely be the final ocean visit of the year, I took to the road. But, the first stop was down in western Worcester County to make an attempt at a long standing project. There are a number of boulders here mentioned in history, and of primary interest, was one from an old USGS file. It had been sought for several years, and on this day it was successfully located - now 'buried' in the woods. Several more boulders of notable size were encountered during the day's search.

U.S.G.S. file photo dated 1907

By the time I hit Middlesex County, I had to make a decision based on time. I chose to continue on to Cape Ann, dropping in to a local cemetery. Here, an old relic of the past makes for quite a monument. A huge outcrop of stone has 16 steps carved into it, likely done by stone cutters who once worked the local quarries. I finished this day out on Pigeon Cove rocks with the huge surf piling in from an out-to-sea hurricane passing through.

A most interesting start to the second day took me up to the Bay View/Lanesville section of Gloucester. Here, a huge tract of land, now owned by the Essex County Greenbelt, was explored. It was dotted with many glacial boulders surrounded by towering pine forests. On an adjacent piece of land, I connected with the landowner who filled me in on the history of the area, and his geologic wonder: Moving Rock. The day was finished up visiting a cave in the Cape Ann woods and hitting the beaches of Beverly to check on a future kayak launch site.

Moving Rock

On the morning of day three, the lone kayak trip of this week took place. It's one I've done on two previous occasions, although this time proved a bit more challenging with the ocean still VERY 'unsettled' from the recent hurricane passing. However, I made it up - and over - the tip of Cape Ann, from Lanes Cove, down the eastern side to the Devil's Den. Once again, the day was finished off visiting a cave in the local woods.

On the fourth day, I dropped down off the Cape for my first ever visit to the Breakheart Reservation. A fine property with craggy summits and one good sized boulder. I was able to reach Castle Hill, Wolf Rock, Eagle Rock and Breakheart Hill.

Castle Hill

The fifth day found me finishing up the trip and heading home before rains moved in. I returned to the Middlesex Fells with the focus around Bear's Den and Boojum Rock. The only lead I have on Druidical Rock is in this general area. Although it is considered destroyed by road construction, I combed through the adjacent woodlands on the chance it may have survived. A pleasant area, but no Druidical Rock turned up.

In the mouth of the Bear's Den