Sunday, February 19, 2023

February 16 - 19, 2023

Starting off in northern Becket, we once again sought out the past route of Unkamits Path. This would be the area east the CCC camp, and west of the Pontoosuc Turnpike, all areas recently explored. Most of the way, a crude remnant of a trail existed, but any defining blazes were not seen. The trail disappeared entirely before even reaching the old CCC camp.

When finished, we dropped in to the Becket-Washington library for a bit research. The best research was yet to come!

On the next day, myself and two members of the Hilltown Hikers, descended upon the Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield followed by its neighbor: the Berkshire Athenaeum. In what seemed a limitless amount of information, copious quantities of data was explored that better defined the historical background of the Huckleberry Trolley line. It all made for a great prelude to the following day...

Starting in Blandford the Hilltown Hikers moved along old roads and the previous route of the Huckleberry Trolley line. Explored were several 'stations' or work encampment associated with the trolley line. Typical remains were foundations, wells and the occasional bit of odd metal merchandise.

The following day brought me back to Chester and its old train station. A Westfield resident brought his impressive collection of photos from the days of building the Huckleberry Trolley line with some railroad images within.

The end of February is upon us which means I will keep my eyes out for signs of Spring. I'm hoping this year to get back to my more traditional format of travels and geologic explorations. Two of the last three years were pretty much a bust as far as that was concerned. Pandemic, contractors, and health issues took up FAR too much of my time!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Back to the Pontoosuc

More exploration on the Pontoosuc Turnpike/Unkamit's Path. A bit more snow and ice exists than our recent trip two weeks ago. But onward we (Hilltown Hikers) pushed. Fellow member Tom had some previous experience with the Turnpike and we did locate a few other sites than on our last visit. One being the foundation and remains of some large building. There are also three bridges encountered and, once being destroyed by flooding, a rebuild took place incorporating some of the previous keystone bridge structure.

A few blazes were thrown up indicating the section Unkamit's Path shared with the Turnpike. But future work will involve cleaning out some of that old route that has become overgrown.

Sunday, January 22, 2023


Winding my way through the typical slow time of the year for the outdoors. It was one more time with the Hilltown Hikers meeting in Becket near the Washington town line. Back in the days of the Great Depression this area was one - of many - Civilian Conservation Corps camps that put many a young man to work. Although a good number of old relics could still be located, working from old photographs we could tell even more had gone missing over the intervening years.

Unkamit's Path is suppose to go through this area but any sign seemed to be lost. In the area a pretty little stream named Shaker Mill Brook ran. An old mill dam was present, one that dated back to at least mid 1800s.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Pontoosuc Turnpike

The old Pontoosuc Turnpike. An early road from Westfield to Pittsfield - and beyond! The Turnpike also provided a convenient rout through the hills for an early railroad that soon followed. Remains can still be found by the intrepid explorer. On this day we made such a search, also trying to pin down more of Unkamit's Path. With some poking around - and directions from the 1960s - we did ultimately find old blazed portions of Unkamit's. We also realized the Turnpike also provided a large section of the trail route. Not surprisingly, old foundations of homes and a possible sawmill were present.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

First Day

Ah, First Day and the start of a brand new year! A large gathering descended upon Sanderson Brook Falls in Chester to help celebrate 2023. Overall, the day was nice but the conditions extremely icy. Spikes provided the right recipe for success! Afterwards, it was further down the road to Russell and a search for some reported giant size garnets. Unfortunately, not to be found!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Frog Hollow & the old RR

Long LONG ago the railroad in Crescent Mills, Russell, came southward and crossed the Westfield River to it's west side. Hugging the base of Turtle Bend Mountain and eventually traveling down the route now occupied by Frog Hollow Road. I believe by 1860 that railroad route was left on the River's east side. A group of Hilltown Hikers covered this area which also plays host to part of Unkamit's Path. Evidence of a possible river crossing (such as abutments) was scant.

Later on, back more towards the center of Russell, we looked of a definite abutment leftover from the old trolley route through town.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Old Times in Middlefield

On a Sunday afternoon with a short amount of daylight to exploit. a small group of the Hikers descended upon Middlefield. This was near the southern end of where a succession of several reservoirs once existed for the benefit of factories in the nearby area. We rooted bout several old cellar holes the mill owners once occupied, one being 'modern' enough to have remnants of an ancient electrical system. We explored the nearby woods which itself was once the bottom of a reservoir!.

Just downstream from this area was an old CCC project that was going to resurrect a big reservoir for recreational purposes. Although that never came to be, one can see an old stone quarry, partial dam remains and a handful of drill bits left curiously standing in the ground. Out on the main road nearby were several foundations of the old mills.