HitchcockJim's Page



INTRO: A common theme I run across is what was "up" with the long ago interest in geologic sites to the point where they were attractions and, in some cases, giving them names that almost gave them an "identity" all their own. Many of us living in a modern age of technological wonders have allowed one of our most valuable assets - imagination - to grow old and stale. Oh, it's still there, waiting for those willing to exercise that ability...

Profile Rock, Worcester Co

Secret of the Rocks

Scattered across the broad landscape of Massachusetts and Rhode Island are an enormous number of natural - and some not so natural - features. Capturing the attention, and sometimes the imagination, of even the States' earliest inhabitants, they comprise a veritable hidden trove of treasures!

Some are rightfully classed as historic sites, others are occasionally known as Victorian, or Gilded Age attractions, harkening back to a period of time when their interest was at its peak. Others came to light during an era when motor coaching was gaining popularity and postcard collecting was in its Golden Era.

Sadly, some sites no longer exist. Others have 'fallen silent' as the society that bore them 'life' has moved on to other pursuits. Here, they will be given a chance to tell their story one more time...

Metcalf Rock Small Pox Cemetery; Essex Co

Metcalf Rock Small Pox Cemetery
Hornblende Diorite @ Metcalf Rock ; Essex Co

Hornblende Diorite @ Metcalf Rock

The Appleton Boulder; Essex Co

The Appleton Boulder

Part of the 7 Wonders complex - early 1900s PC image

Part of the 7 Wonders complex - early 1900s PC image
Same area present day

7 Wonders - present day

The Two Caves - Blackstone Valley region

The Two Caves - Blackstone Valley region

Exploration at the Seven Wonders; CT

Exploration at the Seven Wonders
BNRC property boulder

BNRC property boulder

Lunch Rock - Boston in the distance; Middlesex Co

Lunch Rock - Boston in the distance

Activities Synopsis:

'17

June 26, 2017

Meeting up with Mike ('Rhody' Mountain Man) G., the goal was some small time caving in the region near the Connecticut and Rhode Island borders. First stop was right at the rendezvous location. 'Lightning' Cave has a brief reference in an old 1800's history, and this site, of very small cave-like features, may be the deal.

Moving on over to Connecticut, gave us the opportunity to examine the small - but visually impressive - Lyon's Den. Afterwards, it was on to a location once known as the Seven Wonders but more recent history (100+ years) finds it called Squaw Rocks hearkening back to an association with the Native Americans who once dwelt in this area.

The second day brought me out of a RI campground into Massachusetts. I planned on once again visiting two sites first seen during the Spring of 2016. An Indian rock shelter that I failed to locate last year, brought me back to an area just a bit north of the State Line. I was furnished coordinates by a local history expert as to where the shelter might be. Once again, the search proved fruitless. However, I did spend a bit of time scouring the woodlands to see some moderately impressive granite outcrops.

The second - and final stop of the day - was a return to the likely Rattle Snake Cave(s) for further photographic opportunities.

June 22, 2017

South Berkshire again - and boulders were on the list!

Gary L. once again joined me as we set out to search the source of a turn-of-the-century photo. This one showing late 1800's/early 1900's ladies in long gowns enjoying the day by a stream with a large boulder for company. Luck was with us on this one. It did not take long to locate the boulder, laying pretty much where it was in Days of Old. A beautiful locale in a ravine with small falls.

The next site to check on was pretty much straight forward. It was part of Berkshire Natural Resources Council's properties. A loop trail of about two-and-a-half miles brought us by some pretty impressive boulders within modest sized boulder fields.

Before finishing off for the day, we did a quick drive by of one of Southern Berkshires larger boulders, laying alongside Jacob's Ladder Trail.

June 9, 2017

With several leads hanging around for the south-central Berkshires, it was time once again to connect with the knowledgeable dude of the region: Mr. Gary.

First up was a quick spin by a local lake shoreline in the Glendale area for a match of a rock outcrop from an old photograph. A well qualified 'maybe' presented itself. But the whole shoreline is privately owned and access not possible. A short drive away, brought us to one of the local historic properties/attractions, to follow up on a reported Spouting Rock. The site was depicted upon an painting and hearkened back to the late 1800's when the property was a school, and the rock was used for oratory purposes. A likely match was made and the bonus of a small cave underneath an adjacent boulder. Further back in the woods, was a significant exposure of ledges. The area's geology invites additional research.

A bit of motoring brought us over to the entrance trail for Ice Glen, across the famed Memorial Bridge. Recent times relocated an inscribed boulder from around the 1930's that once lay along an old section of trail. Our first attempt to locate it proved fruitless, although we saw many fine rocks including the Shark's Fin Rock. We relocated to a local expert in Town, where additional information was gleaned through a phone call to an area author. Lunch brought us to Lee and a quick peak at an abandoned(?) area quarry. We also started an investigation into a giant sized boulder, from an old news article, that once could be located in a local brook.

To finish off our day, we headed back towards Ice Glen. This time, successfully locating the 'lost' inscribed boulder.

June 3, 2017

On this particular day, a meeting with Mike ('Rhody' Mountain Man) G. into the central portions of Worcester County of Massachusetts. My long anticipated return to the BAB 1819/Smallpox Den was on tap. This particular site greatly expands the story of smallpox and early attempts at inoculation. Fortunately, it came off without a hitch and allowed us to move on to other sites in the region.

Not much further away stood Grey Ledge: a massive overhanging rock shelter. According to local tradition, the last two of the Quinebaug Indians once lived here., also being buried nearby. After a long investigation, mostly for photographic considerations, we moved on to a nearby well marking the site of an old camp. Before leaving the immediate area, we followed a rocky ridge-line coming across two other minor cave formations. A short drive further west, brought us to Indian Rock and nearby Whitefield Rock, one of George Whitefield's rocky pulpits from which he delivered his famous sermons.

Just enough time remained in the day for a final drive to the northeast to examine Flint Rock - or Sampson's/Samson's Pebble as it is often called nowadays.

May 18, 2017

Two weeks short of a year, the time has arrived to put together a multi day trip. Unless, one wants to include a lengthy stay in the hospital as an example of 'Grand Adventure'.

But I picked up - where I left off last year - setting my sights upon eventually arriving in Cape Ann. But first things first, as I made my way through two Middlesex County towns/cities. Stop #1 involved looking up the site of a couple old soapstone mine, now more of water-filled ponds. Several miles to the southeast found a splendid example of a balance rock.

Even further to the southeast, beginning to reach the Boston suburbs at Woburn, were two examples of Indian Bowls. These formations are more natural and really examples of pot holes.

The second day was an all Cape Ann day, looking into sites on this island/peninsula. Up first was a revisit to an area that seems to be the final outcome of the Old Man of Joppa search. The years have definitely obscured the formation with construction and vegetation growth. However, a local person of knowledge, has defined it as this location. It is one that caught my eye many times during my travels through the area,a very prominent, very high, ridge of rock. The perspective depicted in the old postcard is not entirely clear as to how big this ridge actually is.

Moving on up to the northern tip of Cape Ann, the Sea Rocks property provided some massive sized boulders with caves underneath. Slightly further south, I scouted out the former location of a plaque, on a boulder, dedicated to Ralph Waldo Emerson. My walk along the coast began at Chapin's Gully, took me past the Great Gargoyle, Blue-Quartz dike, and ended up by the Frog.

This particular day was finished by a visit to the rocky summit of Poles Hill and a 'secret cave' upon Cape Ann.

On day three, it was time to leave my 'island home' behind if only temporarily. Chugging along the old highway east, my first goal was a farm. Not any old farm, but one with a plaque on a magnificent boulder, dedicated to early settler Samuel Appleton.

Continuing along the highway a bit to the northwest, I finally (after many years) got to look at an old lead from the John Henry Sears' geology book on Essex County: Metcalf Rock. The name (further research needed) has lent itself to an old smallpox cemetery in the region. I believe - at least at this point - Metcalf Rock may be a somewhat broad area of rocky outcrops. Although one major, flat topped rock, was encountered right about at the location designated by Sears on his geologic map.

And still further west I dropped into the local library to try and dig up information on another vague JH Sears reference to a Mineral Paint Mine. Little success to be had on this one - or trying to find legitimate access to the nearby Cradle Rock. This long lost rock has finally turned up on a map, but apparently rests way back in someone's private back yard.

Breaking camp on the fourth day, it was time to head on home. But not before furthering my explorations in Middlesex and Essex County. I started the morning at Indian Cave, hoping for an improvement over the photos of last Spring. Then wandered down to the Lynn shoreline, where the partially receding tide allowed me access to a couple boulders. The first, I attempted to match with an old photograph but was not totally successful. A short walk north brought me to the much better know Sliding (or - Slippery Sliding) Rock. Best know (but not visited this time around) is Red Rock, just a short jaunt to the north. The tide was not quite far enough out to allow me access to the Cliff Cradle a short distance north in Swampscott.

Leaving Essex County behind, it was time to head on west to look into Prospect Hill Park and its rocks. The final stops were just north, in Lexington, where three erratic sites were checked, one not being found. An old paint mine was visited in-between the Lexington boulder investigations.

And Home - via the Mohawk Trail!

April 15, 2017

I missed out attending the big Worcester County postcard show back in March due to unfavorable weather. But, I thought I'd take in a smaller show in Greenfield this past weekend. It also afforded me the chance to connect with Quabbin expert J. R. Greene.

After the show, I returned to my 'rocky friends' further south in the Connecticut Valley. A mysterious old image from a glass slide has surfaced with a theory it may be in Western Massachusetts. To me, it looked to be something very similar to what exists in the Mt. Toby region. So, I looked over two sets of ledges there.

The first ledge is home to the marvelous Sunderland Cave, whose written record goes back to the early 1800s. The second set of ledges was once know as Graves Ledge, as it was the boundary to Mary Jane Graves' property.

In the end, I was unable to positively identify the site of the old glass slide. But I did make use of the time to photograph a few of the sites previously done by John Lovell almost 150 years earlier.

April 10, 2017

Rust never sleeps...

or so it's been said. With the (slightly late) arrival of a new season, I'll be putting that to the test. Returning from a significant medical 'calamity' may prove to be slow going. But only time will tell.

Something relatively close nearby was my objective. West of the Connecticut River, and in the Land of Hampshire County. This old lead had been kicking around for 20+ years and it finally go the 'do over'. Martha's Rock and/or cave with nothing more than a mere mention.

So into the approximate area I descended. Down into a stream valley brimming with winter runoff. Sweeping stealthily through the area, I eventually came up a significant possibility. A good length of ridge composed of rock Williamsburg Granodiorite. Near the middle of it's traverse, was a lofty rock outcrop towering above the stream below. Could this be Martha's Rock? No definite answers were forthcoming on this particular day.

Any 'caves' found were no more than small animal dens. The biggest one contained two eggs, likely belonging to some turkey vulture. On the way out, a couple signs of ancient quarrying and tool marks were discovered.

On the return home, a quick stop was made to look over an alternate access a local cave. The route used in the past has now been built upon. This one would involve a steep hike over a washed out woods road.

'16

November 17, 2016

To describe returning to the outdoors after such a long absence, is beyond the scope of this webpage. Five months after my last trip, and sidelined by health issues, it was practically a celebration, even though muted by my recovery efforts.

Mike G., of Rhode Island fame, made his way into the Berkshires and I acted as mostly a tour guide to some of the local sites. The first of two days included an old trolley bridge, Centennial Rock, the Little Egypt Lead Mine, the Cole Farm Boulder, and Reynolds Rock. Later in the week saw the exploration (by Mike) of a south county cave discovered last year in a carbonated sliver while I was with Gary L. of Great Barrington. A quick run was made up to MJ's Cave, and a visit to one of the nicer Bear's Dens in Western Massachusetts and its associated Ghost Cave.

This likely finishes my travel and exploration season for this year. I'll be working on coming back in the new year at 100%.

June 10, 2016

Ten to fifteen years ago, I had a major project going on in the Connecticut River Valley. It encompassed locating - and identifying - sites from old stereoview photography by John L. Lovell from Amherst. Also, noteworthy, were writings of this same area by the Reverend David Peck, pastor of the Sunderland congregational church at that time.

After numerous trips, the project went mostly dormant due to a lack of additional photography (there were well over five dozen stereos in one series alone) and an inability to locate certain sites. A small cache of stereoviews surfaced recently, and breathed a certain amount of new life into this long running project.

On this particular day, with new photography in hand, I was able to visit the long known Grand Porch and see exactly what view, photographer John Lovell had captured. Much tree growth prevented a modern replication of that 145+ year old view. Nearby, a final positive id was possible on the Kitchen and Pantry, and that was successfully captured with a modern day photographic view. Also re-photographed was the "Curve Rock Looking North" entry in the series.

Moving along to another set of ledges, the newly found stereos presented a mystery. A second view of the same site. Possible? Lovell often did a couple - or even several - views at a site but they had different listings on the backview of the stereo. But at Pulpit Rock, we were presented with something entirely different: two different photos fitting the same spot on the backlist. I was not completely successful at identifying the new acquisition as being at Pulpit Rock, but I will hold that theory for future consideration.

This day's visit to the ledges was finished up with a well identified (despite lacking the antique photograph) Kittie's Nook and a chance to photograph it from a new angle. From here it was on to the Town of Leverett to look into some recently acquired conservation land and its ledges. Not much of geologic interest here, except a couple spots that show the effects of weathering upon the rock. Otherwise, just some nice woodland property

June 3, 2016

Time once again to visit the northeast portions of the Bay State. I used the traditional methods of way in/way out, which simply means catching some locations during the travels to and from my ultimate destination.

The first day brought me into Billerica where I quickly located the Asa Pollard memorial boulder. Asa was the first person killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill and the rock rest by the roadside, out in front of his old homestead site. Another stop at Gilson Hill, brought me to a suspected Indian (grindstone) rock which is informally known as the Rowell Memorial Stone. Numerous erratics dot the surrounding forest including a large one at a lower level, northeast from the summit.

Moving deeper into the urban environment, an erratic of significant size was located down near Horn Pond in Woburn. From there, it was just a short jaunt over to the east to check in at Melrose. Visited here were Cleft Boulder/Chapel Rock, the Great Stone Face, Dwyer Cave site (presumably destroyed), and the Tower Caves, which are most likely over the town line in Essex. From here it was only to brave the city traffic to make my way up to Cape Ann.

Nothing significant was planned for this visit to the Cape. I made use of the time to relax and putter about. On the morning of day two, I dropped in to the rocks at Pigeon Cove. A long shot, but once a plaque existed somewhere on the rocks as a memorial to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Unfortunately, the plaque has not been seen in ages and its exact location unknown. But I used the opportunity to make my way south back to the Inn that bears the name of Emerson, looking over all my favorite old spots from years past: Frog Rock, Dick's Dream, Meteor Rock, the Great Gargoyle, Chapin's Gully, Pulpit/Singer's Rock, and others. A quick look at the Granite Pier proved it was once again usable (previous coated with horribly slick algae) for future kayak trips. Then brief visits to Lanes Cove, Poles Hill access, Red Rocks and other Essex County Greenbelt lands in that vicinity.

Day three brought me down to another old favorite: Lynn Woods Reservation. Over the years this location has provided much enjoyment and MANY rocks! I continued explorations both north of Walden Pond then to its south. A number of impressive boulders were seen, measured, photographed and catalogued.

The final day was scheduled to be an 'iffy' weather day. But the rains held off and the morning brought me down to Acton. After having Egg Rock in my notes for many years, I finally got to see it! Then just a quick jump to a nearby section of town to visit a 'cave' shown to me by Dan Boudillion many years ago. Sometimes know as Potato or Indian Cave, it is actually a stone chamber which has been nicely restored in recent years.

Completing my tasks in Acton, it was only to turn towards Rt 495, then down to the Mohawk Trail for my return home.

May 20, 2016

It was six years ago I began my adventures into kayaking. Early on, I had intended to visit the basalt formation at Titan's Pier. So many years later, I finally got around to seeing this unique, and interesting, geologic formation laying along the mighty Connecticut River.

The conventional wisdom is to start a river adventure paddling upstream and that way you can take advantage of riding the current back on the tail end of your trip. However, with limited put-in possibilities, this had to be done in reverse. Titan's Pier was not far from the Oxbow put-in and quickly sited within the first quarter hour. After photos and an examination, it was decided to continue downstream and visit the dinosaur footprint park.

The 'dino prints' were still a good distance to the south, probably about an additional three and a half miles. After putting to shore and disembarking, the site was visited. Then began the long paddle upstream which would eventually return me to the Oxbow.

May 12,2016

Continuing on with investigations into the Blackstone Valley region, several towns in its northern region were picked out to work an accumulation of information I had in hand. During two days, I pursued the report of a Dead Man's Cave, House Rock, and Shelter Rock. Library and town hall visits got the ball rolling and I await further information from a couple local sources. A drive by in the approximate area House Rock is reputed to be in, did turn up a massive outcrop of rock.

Visiting this area, allowed me to drop in on several sites first visited long ago. These included King Philip's Lookout/Lookout Rock and cave beneath, Shinning Rock (old quarry site), and a cave that came to light approximately 15 years ago. The cave was in an area threatened by development, but appears safe for the immediate future.

Ending the two day trip, was an extensive search of the woodlands above the Rhode Island border for a rock shelter mentioned in an old archeological report. Numerous rock ledges were looked over but no positive id was forthcoming.

April 28, 2016

It has been a long time since a dedicated visit to the mighty Blackstone Valley. Oh - I do go through there on occasion, as a route back and forth to Rhode Island. And not long ago, about the only caves found there was the Purgatory Chasm series. More modern times have added to those. And it does depend on your definition of the boundaries for the Blackstone River Valley.

A recent lead brought me into the Valley about a dozen miles from Worcester. A stop at the library, and a connection with a local man, gave me the information I needed to pursue that lead. But first - a second visit to Upton's Stone Chamber (sometimes referred to as a 'cave') which is perhaps the best know of these structures in the Northeast. A lot of water in the main room so only a cursory examination could be made.

Next up, was also a second look, at a heavy area of talus on Peppercorn Hill. There are stories of Indian cave(s) here and I did a pretty thorough search a couple of September's ago. However, recent information gave a 'more definitive' location. This ended up being the same major pile of talus I had gone over before, and nothing of any additional significance showed itself.

Moving on, I wanted to look up the first burial ground in Town. Not too much trouble locating this and in the same general area was suppose to be a boulder. A rock mentioned in the WPA's Massachusetts Guide published in 1937. The boulder turned up visible from the same location I parked to hike in to the cemetery.

Day one was finished up looking up the cave location and a good find it was. Looks to be two separate caves in the bottom of a small ledge. If this is indeed the correct location it would be Rattle Snake Cave, of which only one reference, have I found so far.

The second day was kicked off looking up an old site from long ago. Indian Cave, whose claim to fame were Native Americans using the area to harvest quartzite. Occasionally this cave has been know as Quartz Cave, along with a couple other names.

The remainder of the day - and trip - took me back into Rhode Island. The Cobble Rock area was visited, particularly to look over other rocky formations in the area. Connors Farm in Smithfield was checked out before heading home. This fine piece of conservation property was said to have 'caves'. What cave formations that may be here, are VERY minor - at best.

April 20, 2016

Back to the southern Berkshires with master of south county history, Gary L.. Two sites in Great Barrington were looked at. The first was a split rock along the Appalachian Trail (very minor formation) and a BIG boulder not far from the ski area.

We followed with a visit to Red Rock, NY and its namesake rock. Tradition has it the rock was painted red so the town would have an actual 'red rock' to name the town after! Around 1860, a marble obelisk was placed upon the rocky summit.

April 16, 2016

A chance to drop in at another postcard show. So off to Greenfield I go. Not too bad a selection of cards, and afterwards, the opportunity to visit the local Bear's Den.

Using a bit of an unusual route for my return to the Berkshires, I took the Mohawk Trail all the way to North Adams. However, before descending the big mountain down - and around - the hairpin turn, a stop was made to take in a really big boulder. This one lies pretty much on the boundary of Florida and North Adams. Right around 70 feet in circumference, and 14 feet high, this appears to be a big chunk of granite lying about an area of mostly schist. So a true erratic, indeed!

April 14, 2016

The early photographic work of Winsted CT's Frank W. DeMars (late 1800's to early 1900's) does leave an interesting body of work. It also leaves some sites needing to be searched out. One such one is Pulpit Rock in the Robertsville section of Colebrook. A local history source narrowed down the location for me last year and on this day I set off.

Accessing the area took a bit of planning but soon I arrived in an area of ledges and rocks, apparently peeled off of those ledges. The photographic image we have to work with is not entirely the best but I felt enough there to identify it. A good search of the area was made, some pretty fine boulders visited, but Pulpit Rock itself was not identified.

On the return home, still in Colebrook, I stopped by another large boulder. This one marks the site of where a local schoolhouse once stood. That schoolhouse exists, but has been relocated to an adjacent plot of land.

April 9, 2016

A quick spin by one of New England's most recognized boulders: Balance Rock in Lanesborough. I recently received an antique photograph from a friend made some years ago in Eastern Massachusetts. Probably early 1900's, it showed a man standing upon a rock. It was a long shot that it was taken in the area of Balance Rock, but I checked out that possibility anyway. Sadly, to no avail.

Working a tip from a local caver, I journeyed on to northern Berkshire County. The results were quite remarkable. A series of ledges, while down below, boulders of a remarkable size. A couple of these will easily be among the largest in the county.

March 29, 2016

Once again, I found myself back in the southern Berkshires with Gary from the Great Barrington Historical Society. This time we dropped in to the Audubon Sheffield kiln property. Nice remains of an old kiln that was operational for a very brief time in the early 1900's. Several good sized quarries, and a perched glacial erratic, can also be found.

A slight relocation to the west and we were hunting down (unsuccessfully) a very small cemetery. Good news here: Gary returned to finally locate it a few days later. We headed up into the mountains to look over a gigantic sinkhole with a cave entrance. Then still father west to Sunset Rock, just over the State line into NY.

We took a quick look at the Copake Falls furnace, in the processes of being restored. Then the 'Wallace Bruce Rock" on Whippoorwill Rd in Hillsdale NY. A magnificent specimen of quartzite! Turning back into Massachusetts, we saw a nicely preserved kiln. This one sitting along a local resident's driveway in an area where iron ore once was mined. Finally: passing by an old section of Henry Knox's trail.

March 26, 2016

Now and then I'll take in a postcard show, almost always combining the trip with the opportunity to take in some natural settings. This was a first time for me visiting the show in Spencer, although I have looked over a couple things in town during the past. Not much presented itself in the way of postcards. But often it is more about the contacts you make! I reconnected with a dealer from the Blackstone Valley who gave me background information on her home town. Then I met up with another dealer from the South Shore who was able to give me a lead on a previously unknown (to me) cave down that way.

Connecting with Rhode Island's Mike G. at the show, we eventually moved on to the land of the Smallpox Cave. This rather interesting geologic feature was examined some years back but something new had arisen! A reported second cave in the vicinity, with initials carved at the site. A pretty good search was made but turned up very little that could be called a cave. And no initials were seen. It might be mentioned the original Smallpox 'Cave' is nothing more than a ledge at this point in time. However, the writing of its inhabitant, during the early 1800's, IS still visible.

March 24, 2016

Time has come to move beyond the Berkshires. Two areas where rocky formations might be located were on my radar screen. First up was Trustees of the Reservations land in Franklin County with The Pebble. Nice boulder around 13 feet high and 56 feet around. Notable were a number of quartzite exposures in the base rock. A couple being pretty big in diameter.

Afterwards, the majority of the day was spent across the Connecticut River. Here, a large area of ledges used by climbers. The premiere feature called The Roof. A long (90') overhang with a nice sheltering area underneath, the depth is none too significant. I can only imagine if Native Americans ever slept here. A series of ledges nearby make up what is called Happy Valley and provide more than ample opportunity to test one's climbing ability.

March 11, 2016

Three sites in the Southern Berkshires were my goal on this particular day. The first was a long overdue, first time visit, to Burgoyne Pass. I also wanted to verify, if - or if not - an old route still existed into the Pass from the East. I also had been made aware of a plaque on a rock that existed somewhere near this area.

Apparently the old trail/woods road into Burgoyne Pass, at least from Beartown Mountain Road, has been abandoned. However, I did encounter old sections along the way. This happens to be the most direct route in, and the rocky notch through the mountain can be reached in a relatively short time after a modest climb. The plaque - I did not see, but learned later on, it is down the mountain to the west.

Then on down into the Tryingham Valley to view Gorilla Rock. This somewhat modest sized rock is out in a pasture and only can only be viewed from the roadside. I finished farther down the Valley near the old Ashintully Estate (former home to Egyptologist Robb de Peyster Tytus) investigating a possible karst formation. This did not pan out as hoped. Although we have a water source present, it was entirely diffused with a lack of exposed bedrock. Overall, the area geology did not offer significant potential.

March 8, 2016

First trip of the year with Gary L. from the Great Barrington Historical Society. We did not have great success on this day, but worked a number of sites. The first was Pow Wow Rocks reported to be an Indian encampment. Next was a rough hike into a karst area near Masshole, a giant sinkhole that contains a cave entrance.

Down in the farthest most corner of the State, we did a drive by, scouting out a location from an old postcard, where a young lad posed on a rock ledge at the site of an old schoolhouse. This did not bear fruit although we saw a couple possibilities.

The final stops were in Stockbridge. First, looking over an old location for Rt 7 (before it was called Rt 7) north of Great Barrington. There is also a forgotten cemetery here, an old carriage road, and a modest perched boulder on a steep hillside. Ending the day was a visit to something I had never seen before - except in old postcards: the monument to the Stockbridge Indians. A large slab of rock taken from Ice Glen and sitting upright in a small park.

March 6, 2016

Real - or false spring - only time will tell. After one of the mildest snow-free winters I can remember, weather that is more like April has graced our region. Taking advantage of that, I have sprung into action for another year.

Combining business with pleasure, I headed south to Falls Village Connecticut for the quarterly meeting of the Northeastern Cave Conservancy. After killing a good number of hours there, I headed over to Great Falls. On my last pass through the area (October 2014) the well visited side of the Falls were taken in. Here, I saw across the river, two boulders that I hoped would match an old postcard. A possibility, but water levels would have to be lower, and a significant amount of brush not present, to make an identification.

On the trip north, a short stop was made in Stockbridge to visit the so-called Sliding Rock.

'15

December 25, 2015

On a Christmas Day that brought forth weather of a most usual nature, I returned to Little Egypt. Remarkably, it has been over nine years since my last visit. I did a more thorough check of the old lead mine, paying particular attention to any wildlife. On the hike out, an old foundation was found directly downhill from the mine entrance. I also stopped in at the nearby gorge to check out some impressive water flows down into the ravine.

December 6, 2015

It has been an extraordinary Fall! So it remains to be seen how long the decent weather lasts, and what can be accomplished.

After Rhode Island's Mike G. returned home (previous post), I returned to the northern Berkshires. We had failed to locate Jacob's Cave on our quest together, but this time I was successful. It is small resurgence cave in the area of contact between the schist and marble.

On a brisk - but clear - Sunday, it was back into south Berkshire. Here a number of stone cairns were looked at. Also in the immediate vicinity: a small shelter cave and the story of a cave used as a Native American ceremonial site. As darkness began to fall, a drive by of a Indian mound. Some have said certain 'energies' surround this particular site. November 20, 2015

A very active week with three out of four days around the central Berkshires, and one trip out into Hampshire County. All this coincided with a visit from Rhode Island's Mike G. (the mastermind behind ) to the Berkshires.

Areas covered were Liberty Cave, Elephant's Den, Valentine Cave & associated features, a nearby karst, Phelps' Disappointment Cave, Sugarloaf Porcupine caves, an attempt to locate Jacob's Cave, and finally out to the Counterfeiter's Cave in Hampshire County. On the latter adventure, we had the pleasure of local cavers Mike T. , Tristen M., and Zack Y.

November 9, 2015

And once again, it was back to the Southern Berkshires, more specifically: Great Barrington, to connect with my 'partner in crime' Gary from the local historical society. After a long absence - for both of us - we returned to the impressive balanced/perched rock formation at East Rock.

Then after drive by a local quarry site, and a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge (no kidding!), we dropped down to Canaan CT to check out a possible site for Tramp Rock and/or Weary Willy's Haven of Refuge. Stymied once again! The lead did not pan out and we cruised the state line area looking at possible sites from an old Frank DeMars photo.

Returning to Great Barrington, we checked into a cattle tunnel adjacent to a Housatonic River bridge and Mt. Peter (aka: Petra) where there once was quarrying activity. Stone from here was used to build a house, almost across the street, and one local church. Nearby to Mt. Peter, was a long ago abandoned section of highway. Barely noticeable now, but it's location is marked by parts of the remaining stone wall.

November 3, 2015

A long standing goal of mine was Pulpit Rock in Rowe. Some years ago, I made it into the area but fell short of actually reaching it. Access was always an issue but in recent times I discovered a hiking had been put through the area. So on to Rowe I went.

My first stop was down at the base on Negus Mountain, where I had been clued in to the possibility of some large boulder formations/caves. Although I did not take on climbing Negus, I did find a couple boulders of worthy size around it's base. Driving on through Rowe, I climbed the ridge that Negus is part of (as well as the hiking trail I was looking for) and saw a good number of erratics in the woods . I finally arrived at the local substation where I hoped to picked up the trail I had seen at two previous locations.

The trail was found and the beginning of a long hike towards the north was undertaken. Along the way, a fascinating piece of projecting ledge was found with talus and a couple small caves within. Along the ridge a couple superb views were to be had, but upon finally arriving at the area of the (supposed) Pulpit Rock, I found the view somewhat obscured. As to what is 'officially' Pulpit Rock, remains somewhat nebulous. At the expected location, slightly back in the woods, were several rock outcrops. One did project itself upward, but really not any view of the valley comparable to the previous sites I passed. So this leaves me with a bit more to investigate.

October 29, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

October 17, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

October 9, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

September 21, 2015

Connecting once again with Great Barrington Historical Society member Gary L., we had a number of items on our plate for the day. Starting off in Great Barrington, a visit was made to Dancing Rock, a perched erratic that has come to light in recent times. Then going through the center of Town, we hit the memorial boulder behind the Town Hall and a quick walk to the Robber's Roost Cave.

On into Egremont, we made an unsuccessful attempt to find an Indian mortar stone mentioned as part of the Town's history. Heading north, we hiked on in to the dark regions a bit west of Tom Ball Mountain to locate the Devil's Den. This is the 'premiere' Devil's Den in Massachusetts with an entrance amongst the largest of all caves in New England. Minerals, coloring the rock from deep, dark red, to pale green and white, add to the effect of it being Satan's Lair.

At the end of our list, we were going to make an attempt to locate two caves that had access shut off my modern development. In the end, we were unsuccessful. However, a new cave was discovered and some nifty karst features seen.

A roadside boulder, with its own small history, finished our day as we were heading back into Great Barrington.

September 17, 2015

Even though we're heading towards Fall, the hot weather persisted. So off to do some kayaking and get priorities done before the chilly winds of Winter blow on in. Four days out and the first along western areas of the Narragansett Bay. I wanted to check more coastline for possible cave activity and found a suitable put-in. BUT a big pickup truck with two Sea-Doos onboard decided to occupy the ramp so I went off to search other possibilities. I looked over four other access points, none suitable for kayak launching. But by the time I finished, I had pretty much covered the area I wished to explore from water.

On to Exeter for further investigations at the Queens Fort. Here among some of the largest boulder piles, I was shown to the Queens Chamber. A talus formation, almost cave-like in nature. I finished up the day with more time at the old Rocky Point amusement park.

Starting off the second day, I took my act over to Jamestown. I wanted to do a check for a future put in on the northern part of Conanicut Island. Then it was down to the very southern end, to look at a site where stones from an old shipwreck had washed up on shore. On to the boat ramp for kayak time! It was out on to the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay, and across to Newport. After quickly scouting the Pirate Cave area, I returned a bit south from the put in location, aiming towards Horsehead, a home named after a nearby rock formation. I did actually see - for the first time - a rocky eminence rising from the water resembling that of a horse's head.

After spending my second night on Aquidneck Island, I continued my eastward trek onto the mainland, or eastern shore of the Sakonnet River. Looked up a Bear's Den and headed all the way south to the mouth of the River. Kayak time again and I headed out to the islands off Sakonnet Point. One was rumored to have a cave, and a couple cave-like formations were seen, but nothing of any consequence.

On day four it was time to return to Massachusetts and start looking into a list of five possible sites in Norfolk County. In all, four were visited including a Devil's Den, an Indian Rock, a perched boulder, and Joe's Rock. Devil's Den is a huge rock outcrop. Indian Rock was a massive erratic and now probably the largest in Norfolk County. The perched boulder was an attempt to locate a Cart and Oxen Rock listed in an old AMC hiking guide. Identification on this site is still unsure. Joe's Rock is a fairly well know ledge with little history other than a Native American named Joe living in the area. Of curious interest was an Indian signal tree.

September 1, 2015

There are a number of sites I've had lying around on lists for many years, just waiting to be visited. So a decision was made to lump a bunch of them together along the Middlesex and Essex County border. And while I was up in the northern regions of Essex County, I'd catch up on the Haverhill and Amesbury sites as well.

Kicked off the first day on the Squannacook River in Townsend, using it to reach Black Rock. Then on to Lowell to catch up with Sheep Rock after hiking a circuit along the Glacial Rock Trail. I learned upon exiting the forest, an Indian Head Rock lies within, but returning to the woods did not find anything definitive. An online photo of the supposed rock, left a lot to the imagination as far as this being a definitive profile. I also learned later a Horsehead Rock should be out there, somewhere in those woods. A second stop in Town at a local park was to investigate a possible king Philip's Rock. Although, the one historical reference I could find, made it see pretty iffy that Metacom ever really was associated with this piece of rock.

After the first of two nights in the Andover area, I tried to beat the heat (unsuccessfully) with an early morning hike. This took me over Holt Hill (passing the Solstice Stone) to Boston Hill where I connected with Elephant Rock. Then on up into the most northeastern regions of Massachusetts at Haverhill and Amesbury. This brought me the Dustin family memorial boulder, a look around at Indian Rock Road (no rock seen here) and a lead on a peculiar rock up at the castle at Winnekenni Park, where I did not find the sought after stone. Continuing on I hit up the Union Cemetery in Amesbury looking for a boulder from a postcard. It was not here but the boulder, with plaque, for the First Meeting House site was. Dropping in at the local library gained me the information to find the aforementioned boulder from the postcard, or the Golgotha Boulder as it is known.

Slipping back over into Middlesex County, I started the third - and final day - visiting a cave site that has been built up around in recent years. So, no, I was not able to 'directly' access the site. Then to a nearby Indian Rock that was left intact when the neighborhood was built up around it during the 1970's. I finished off the trip on the Sudbury River trying to gain access a site attributed to Thoreau. But impossible landing situations made that a no go.

August 24 2015

Returning to the Land of Quabbin, gave me an opportunity to reconnect with the East Quabbin Land Trust. They were having an open house at a recently purchased farm, that also happens to be the location of Bell Rock. This was visited as part of a guided tour. Previous to this, I landed in Barre to further examine a reference to the Stone House and hike some Trustee of the Reservations land.

The Stone House reference comes by way of an old map. Although there is a small rock shelter in this area, I am of the mind it refers more to an imposing set of ledges nearby. This section of ToR land was new territory for me, although MANY years ago I visited the Indian Grinding Stone on the same property.

A night's camping, then it was off to Royalston. I got in my first visit of the famous Royalston Falls, preceded by seeing another site from my long ago past: Profile Rock. The day was finished off with a visit to the local library where I scoured old records for other sites of interest.

July 24 2015

Dry summer heat has returned. So what to do? The water! For some time, I've had several postcard images of a very large lake in eastern Worcester County. A lake containing quite a few rocky islands. With the appropriate access in hand, I set upon the water investigating each island, often with summer homes upon. Some pleasant paddling, but little at this point that I can positively identify of the old images. I suspect one - Bennett's Rock - may be a shoreline feature and that would require a much more extensive search.

Later on that first day, I was very excited to locate a Middlesex County Indian cave that has long been lost and even thought destroyed. It is not much of a shelter, really just a split rock that has shifted and formed a small overhanging area. Afterwards, I visited a nearby similar - but smaller formation - that I first uncovered years ago, and originally thought might be the aforementioned Indian Cave.

The day was finished up with a quick trip into the Middlesex Fells expressly for the purpose of photographing one particular side of the Multiform Boulder seen during my April trip. The photo confirmed the second of my two antique glass slides, as being the same boulder.

The second day was kicked off with a social visit to an area friend, checking out a kayak put-in I would use later that day (towards high tide), and a visit to Rafes Chasm. Since it was getting towards low tide, I carefully picked my way over to the Flume for some close up photos. Just before mid afternoon, I returned to the general area to do a kayak launch. My paddling took me out - and southwestward - for a look at several small, rocky islands. I was rewarded with a couple of small sea caves and an arch.

A light schedule on the third day. I moved up to the north to check out their local Devil's Den, which recently, has come into the public domain. The Devil has a pulpit in the immediate area as well. The whole trip was finished off on the next day looking over some area conservation land that promised significant ledges. I barely scratched the surface here with bugs and heat being oppressive. So I removed myself to Thoreau Country (back in Middlesex County) to check on a future kayak put-in to explore some of Henry David's old haunts.

July 17 2015

I've been wanting to head down into northwest Connecticut to finish up a search for the local Indian cave. And since I was heading south, a good time to investigate Frog's Landing. It was brought to my attention, in recent times the poor old froggie of Frog Rock fame was inaccessible.

Even though the Frog was mostly shutoff from easy access, I managed a way in. Then on to Connecticut where I tried an alternate route to Indian Cave. This proved to be a no go as I battled through dense growth which included much thorny brush. I eventually abandoned this approach, and returned to the original, attempted, access point visited last fall.

Even this proved no easy feat, but bushwhacking and fording a stream brought me into a beautiful area of sylvan wilderness at the base of a mountain. Ledges at the base of that mountain contained the sought after cave. A weathered cave formation, it proved quite spacious at almost sixty feet long and up to twenty feet deep in one section. A couple fire rings gave testimony to it not being totally forgotten.

June 25 2015

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.

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.

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

June 14 2015

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.

June 11 2015

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".

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.

June 3 2015

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.

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.

May 23, 2015

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.

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.

May 15, 2015

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.

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.

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.

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.

May 7, 2015

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.

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

May 4, 2015

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.

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.

April 29, 2015

Two things took precedent on this journey. It was to focus on Rhode Island but also to continue working items that got left behind last year. With that in mind, I added on a visit to eastern Worcester County to finishing checking up on reported caves. And that was where my trip began.

The reported caves (with one reference to "Porcupine Caves") proved to be just that: porcupine dens. A number of them were seen and I'm still going over location data to correlate them in to a map that designated their location. At a previous stop in town, I looked in to 'caves' that have been called Indian Caves. Once again, porcupine dens, although one was actually large enough that some adventuresome person might squeeze in. The local history expert reports a chamber within the ledge, but significant cleaning out of the den would have to take place before even attempting an entrance. The day ended with Indian (Head) Rock and locating a marvelous set of ledges pictured on an old stereoview, described as being on the Forester Barnes place.

Harrington's Cave. What followed was mostly visiting rocky ledges/shelters while making my way across the State to eventually land in Warwick. Part of the day's mix included the Devil's Footprint/Canonicus Monument, Queen's Fort, Mt Tom ledges, and Indian Rock/Cave.

Day three was spent primarily in Rocky Point Park, followed by Drum Rock. The old amusement park is gone but the rocks remain! And there were many photographs taken of Rocky Point over the years. A favorite, simply called The Cave. The Drum Rock visit was only my second, and the first in 14 years. It gave me the opportunity to closely examine the mechanisms behind this Indian signal rock. It is considered to be one of at least two such rocks in Rhode Island rock, Rolling Rock being the other.

Fourth day, was a laid back day. The morning was killed with research at the North Kingstown library. Then a jaunt down the road to see Pettaquamscutt Rock. Before turning home, a thorough drive-by was done in and around Indian Corner for the sake of finding any rock that might match several legends. These include blood flowing from the rock, buried Indian bones and a skeleton on the prowl looking to retrieve his stolen 'head'.

April 19, 2015

This was basically enjoying a beautiful day - and tying up loose ends. I needed some definitive information on the site of Elsie Venner's Cave, so took to the woods with pack and equipment. A small amount of ice still prevailed at the entrances. But no surprise, considering the winter we've just been through.

April 17, 2015

A long and ugly winter is finally beginning to pass. So lets focus on what can be accomplished in the coming year. Usually, what was left behind from the previous year gets a priority, and that will be worked on as I venture into different sections of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

But the first trip of this season was focused primarily on the Middlesex Fells, Cape Ann, and few stops in other areas of Essex County. So first stop was Bear Hill in The Fells where the historic Cheese Rock (so named by early Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop) was reportedly located. Generally, it is thought to be Bear Hill, or a ledge of that hill, overlooking to the north/northwest. However, one old book has a picture of it being an isolated boulder. That boulder was not uncovered on my trip, and I move on to the south, and the old Silver Mine.

It took a bit of doing to find the old Silver Mine site, but it allowed me a good look at the local woodlands. I also had a picture off an internet site showing a cave formation of some type in that general area. A stroke of good luck while wandering, took me down a side trail and to that cave formation. Very small, perhaps 3 feet deep on one side and 4.5 feet on the other, it was difficult to tell if natural or man made. No tools marks presented themselves, so perhaps just a weathered rock formation.

After finally visiting the Silver Mine (long ago capped by concrete), I moved on to an area of the Fells to the east. Old writings mention some of the Fells' largest boulders might be found here. This is an example where aerial photography helped plot my course. Several fine examples of erratics were located, with at least one matching an old Magic Lantern Slide in my collection: the Multiform Boulder. My time in Fells ended with a trip up around Pickerel (aka: Turtle) Rock before heading off to settle in to Gloucester.

The next day I continued on from a previous year's trip, with a more in-depth investigation into large boulders around one of the local reservoirs. It also gave me the opportunity to cross over that reservoir and examine close-up, Cave Rock, first seen last year. This was a huge rock, sitting on a steep shore, with the illusion of a passage beneath. No real passage here as it was a few feet under an overhanging edge with about a half dozen small pieces of broken rock forming a crude side wall. The day was finished out with a quick jaunt on a small section of the Old Rockport Road. Still keeping my eyes open for the Old Man of Joppa but I fear him lost.

The third day brought me once again to the shores of the Atlantic at Pigeon Cove. Over the Winter a small stash of old photography surfaced depicting sites in the area. One was of The Great Chasm (aka: Chapin's Gully), another of Dianah's Baths, and still another of Dick's Dream. What ended up being most curious (maybe not) was the Dick's Dream photo did not match anything at the previous know location. Also, on old maps of the area, I see Dick's mentioned in two different locations and a different location for Diana's Baths (different spelling) that what is in the photo. Once again, I am reminded "history" is not absolute. The day was finished up in the vicinity of Pigeon Hill where once again I looked for Boiling Spring (nothing!) and took a friend to Profile Rock and Rowe's Tomb.

My first goal on the fourth day was to locate a possible second entry point to a moraine in Peabody. I was somewhat successful, but entrance would have to be made through a housing complex and that entrance was well populated at the time with maintenance/landscape workers. However, I could see one of the more splendid examples of perched boulders in that area, just outside the perimeter of the lawn, and inside the edge of the woods.

I wanted to do some reconnaissance of the Nahant area for possible kayaking adventure around its shoreline. The conclusion here is, it might be somewhat of a logistical night to pull off. I managed to eke out a tiny exploration (by foot) on a section of Nahant's shore, where one old writing mentions a possible cave. Nothing seen by me on this visit. Driving back inland, I stopped by to check access - and visit - the Pirates Glen. Next stop, I found a huge boulder that is the likely Shoemaker Rock I've been looking for many years. Before pulling out of the area, I tried to negotiate a massive apartment complex to find a large boulder in the nearby woods seen on aerial imagery. No luck this time around.

My final day was rained on. I set course for home hoping a break in the precipitation would allow me to get out again. Alas, it was not to be!

January 1, 2015

The year ended/began upon a quiet note. The traditional November trip was made down to Connecticut and involved but a small amount of history, and perhaps even less geology. A stop was made to the local centennial tree, still in pretty good shape for being over a hundred years old. A drive-by to search out a possible (and likely) site of Witch Rock and a return to Rockwell Park. In recent times, the park has returned to (at least partially) filling the old lagoon that provided so much recreational enjoyment to the locals back in the park's early days. An interesting stone tower exists along side the lagoon, and old postcards show it to be an anchoring point for swings and slides. Visited was Crescent Lake, by Chauncey Peak and Lamentation Mountain, which showed some of Connecticut's best examples of trap rock ridges.

Some time after returning to the Berkshires, I took up an old project from years past: a stone cross in Connecticut that looked down on the valley below. I first saw it as a child and over the years its exact location became somewhat nebulous. At one point it was even questionable if it still might exist. Making use of aerial imagery, it was 'rediscovered' and my associate made a field trip to confirm it.

Not quite so traditional, just the second time I've done it, was a First Day hike over in Williamsburg. Although it was on the Petticoat Hill Reservation of the Trustees of Reservations, it really doesn't climb Petticoat Hill. A couple obscured lookouts, a high elevation vernal pool, and a VERY rocky ravine with animal dens, were along the way. There is a commemorative boulder at the property's entrance dating this reservation to 1906.

'14

November 14, 2014

This season looks close to winding down. But still nice enough weather to take on another goal: Flag Rock. This prominent outlook lies on the 'back' (west) side of Monument Mountain. The area was also said to hold some interesting geology as well.

The trip did not disappoint. Ascending from the south, Gary and myself eventually found ourselves in an expansive ravine, that more and more showed massive blocks of talus. As we closed in on Flag Rock, an area contained three of the largest pierces of talus I have seen in Massachusetts. Indeed, a couple even boasted cave-like formations underneath. Walls of the ravine contained other cave formations and a free standing pinnacle somewhat reminiscent of the Devil's Pulpit over near the Monument Mountain summit.

Finally arriving at Flag Rock, we enjoyed breathtaking views of Housatonic and the mountain ranges beyond. We then began a steep descent only to turnoff to take in an unnamed cave. I had twice visited this geologic curiosity about six years prior.

October 29, 2014

Another journey into the southern regions of The Berkshires. Joining with Gary, from the Great Barrington Historical Society, once again, we journeyed to a far off corner of the aforementioned Town.

The Ice Gulch - or Gorge - is a rugged piece of landscape not to be taken lightly. It use to be somewhat remote, as far as access goes, until the 1980's when the present Appalacian Trail location brought it within reach. Nonetheless, climbing through this cliff-lined, craggy formation, strewn with large boulders, is not for the beginning outdoorsman. On this particular day, Gary and myself were content to visit the first couple hundred yards, and peer down beyond into a virtual noman's land of geologic wonder.

The remainder of this day proved to be more of a pleasant persuasion. Up the road aways, we saw a minor karst system with tiny caves and much evidence of underground water activity. And up the road from here was a wonderful old dam and glacial erratic.

Continuing our journey, we dropped in on the local Indian cave, and a park that boasted old mill sites and a small set of falls.

The day was finished up exploring an old mention of a balanced rock being on the back side (west) of Monument Mountain. We did not come up with a solid lead, but within days, Gary and fellow historical society member Bernie, had located a likely site. A beautiful big old boulder but not really worthy of being in the class of balanced .

October 20, 2014

Once again I got the opportunity to travel with fine company. Mr. Mike was in the Berkshires for the week, so after putting our heads together, we decided on a north Berkshire route. This would put us in a position to see caves that Mike had on his list and a few others out that way.

First up, right in the Heart of the Berkshires, was a stop over at a perennial favorite: Wizard's Glen. Mike got his thrill pulling himself through a couple rugged talus caves.

Rolling up the eastern side of North Berkshire, first stops were at what I label 'historic caves', in the vicinity of Brodie, due their inclusion in the book(s) of author Clay Perry. The name has since been passed on to a cave of more recent discovery (1960's).

Next was the northwest most part of Berkshire County, as well as that of Massachusetts. In order, visits were made to McMaster's and Carmelite Caverns. These were fairly routine explorations with McMaster's proving itself as a major mud hole. Carmelite are somewhat shallow caves but Mike managed to wiggle in to a bit of a new discovery within the system.

Traveling over the northern regions of the County, next was an overview of a branch of the Hoosic River with two caves along its bank. Then up to the Natural Bridge where once again the historic vs modern use of a cave name presented itself.

On the way back south, it was fitting that our last stop was to the final resting place of Clay Perry himself. A man who inspired many and will continue to do so for generations to come.

October 13, 2014

Columbus Day brought me back to the northwest corner of Connecticut. Its been some years since my last visit, that being a one time shot at finding Baldwin's Cave. This visit brought Gary, from the Great Barrington Historical Society, once again out with me into the wilds. Our first stop in Salisbury was the ominous Hanging Rock. Indeed, it does just 'hang' there, precariously perched above the Village, on a sloping hillside.

Next: a quick drive by of a former cave site that has been filled in in recent years. A quick look to see if we might access (easily) the local Indian Cave (not successful) followed, before heading on down to Falls Village. Here, we looked up Lost Brook, where a possible karst area may exist. Then it was on to the Great Falls itself, which is pretty impressive even at low water levels. A small cave in the area was explored.

Then on to The Land of Goshen (literally) where we hoped the historic Tipping Rock might be located. An initial wrong turn landed us near Rock House, where we later learned a possible Indian cave may exist. Correcting our direction of travel, a neat old cemetery was explored before making our way to the location to begin our hike.

A bit of a walk, and a bit of a search, did eventually bring us to the 'long lost' Tipping Rock. Other features of interest in the area, were old cellar holes and one gigantic boulder, big enough to camp under.

From there, it was only to roll on north. Back into the friendly confines of the Berkshires. That which we call home.

October 10, 2014

Two day trips occupied me during the last couple weeks. First to Centennial Rock in the Northern Berkshires, then late last week to a foothill of Mount Greylock's: Rounds Rock.

Hard to believe that eight years have already passed since my last visit to Centennial Rock. This 'sister rock' to better known Brown's Boulder, was tough to read on that last visit. Now, not much remains of the inscription. I imagine Brown's has fared no better, as it's been probably over a dozen years since my previous visit, and at time it was well on its way to being illegible. Both are the work of Captain John Brown from Cheshire. One to commemorate the American Centennial, the other: a poem of unrequited love for Susan Baker, owner of the Baker's Quarry Cave and surroundings.

Rounds Rock is an interesting little 'hillock' that offers a relatively short circuit trail to the summit and back. Around the early 1960's, a regional caving publication had a list of caves, with a reported "Rounds Rock Cave' and that being just a man-sized pothole. There is a slab near one of the summit overlooks and one could fit an adult into it. Looks to be another reference lost to time.

But getting 'lost' on the return allowed me to check out some prominent ledges with porkie dens, and one big slab of rock that had peeled off a nearby, second ledge. A couple other pieces of talus were scattered about and probably a few more porkie 'caves' in there.

September 25, 2014

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.

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.

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.

September 20, 2014

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 entranceway 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

September 4, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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!

August 30, 2014

This & That: Gleanings from the past week.

(8/24) Finally! With further information provided, I located a HUGE rock with it's own 'cave'. Located in central Berkshires, it is so large - Google Earth can pick it up! One significant piece fractured, and dislocated, provides an entrance-way and a passage. The ceiling/roof is made up of three different sections of stone fractured from the main boulder, and shifted forward. Great bushwhacking on a muggy, buggy, summer day.

(8/26) A ten year absence, but a return to another old gem: a small cave in the "Marble Heart of The Berkshires". First an ascent to the overgrown hilltop, from which the cave gets its name. Then a descent down it's side to explore the netherworld. Much of this hill lies in quartzite, but more southern regions are marble. This cave is not far from the proverbial contact zone.

(8/29)An accidental encounter with Wikipedia's entry on the Pittsfield Cemetery brought something interesting to light. It claims the largest piece of red granite in the world might be none other than the Allen monument, a 42 foot obelisk within the cemetery. Seeing that the historic old cemetery is an old 'haunt' of mine, I could not resist. Where else can one find themselves surrounded by such artistic pieces of stone. The massive spire was quickly located and photographed amongst an unrelenting onslaught of mosquitoes.

August 20, 2014

No use in wasting time now that Life has offered me the opportunity to turn my attention more fully to the Massachusetts and Rhode Island landscape. So for two days I set out to see what might be found.

Starting out in Franklin County, I attempted a long overdue return to Camp Rock, first seen MANY years ago. Unfortunately most of the roads leading in are closed off. I tried a different approach on this day, only to find myself once again blocked by a DCR gate. Eventually, I may have to hike some distance to get in, but I have one more approach to try.

Next up was Pelham Brook, which I found very flooded on my visit there in late April. I finally set about to further work the postcards of the Profile Rock/Stone Face. Some years ago, I made a very iffy call that it was one particular boulder in the edge of the stream. Reviewing my photography over the past winter, had me doubting that 'conclusion'. Another boulder in a series of photos taken, seemed to have some slight, definitive, signs of that profile on the postcard. Albeit that the rock had been beaten up from almost a century of laying in a stream that is prone to regular, heavy flooding.

So, much was gathered on both the theorized site and the previously one, including some better, more definitive, locations. And then it was time to move on.

It was over the Connecticut River, then down to more fully explore the area surrounding the Rattlesnake Gutter. This included a 'mystery' left to us regarding a small cave(s) from the old WPA Depression era book: Massachusetts Guide. Nothing much for 'new' caves was found although someone from the local area mentioned there might be. This only sets the stage for a future investigation.

Camping in a local State Forest, was followed the next morning by a look at the nearby Indian Kettles. Then time to head over to the east side of the Quabbin Reservoir to begin a look into reported Indian caves. Some tough hiking at two locations (one previously visited eight years ago) did not yield the caves. This is something that will be worked later when it's cooler, less buggy, and visibility is greatly enhanced. However, the highlight of the day was making two new contacts from the local town.

August 7, 2014

Time to once again head out to Essex County, eventually landing on Cape Ann. This was both an unusual - and special - trip as well. Unusual in that a light agenda was planned. This was meant to be more for rest and relaxation. Special, in that it is a new direction in my life - retirement!

As is often the case, one or two sites are taken in as I make my way across Massachusetts. On this, the first day, it would find me just south of the Mohawk Trail at Redemption Rock. In its vicinity lies an old - now unused - tomb once containing the remains of at least two members of the Everett Family. Although I first visited this site a number of years ago, much to my chagrin, I was unable to find in again several years ago. This visit went well and I quickly found the old burial chamber.

Landing in West Gloucester gave me a chance to look up an old postcard of the Fishermen's Rest memorial located in a local cemetery. Not surprising, things have changed a bit since the days when the picture was taken for the old postcard - approximately 80 years ago.

The next several days were spent visiting my usual favorite site up at Pigeon Cove, kayaking rivers on the west side of Cape Ann, hiking out to 'Cave Rock', and revisiting Merlin's Cave - first seen on my late April trip.

When day five rolled around, a receding tide prompted me to move on Middlesex County. Here, I returned (via river) to the Two Brother Rocks, some of the earliest land boundary/landmarks for Massachusetts. Their history can be traced back to the 1630's. Upon returning to the put-in, a thunderstorm (with weather service warning) was moving in. So the time had come to roll on to Rt 495, and home via the Mohawk Trail.

June 4, 2014

Four days of pretty good weather were to be had on the latest vacation. So this took me down to the Narragansett Bay of Rhode Island, primarily visiting - and staying over - on Aquidneck Island.

The journey in, landed me first in Middletown where the kayak was immediately pout into use looking over a large section of coastline along the Sakonnet River. A few 'cave-like formations' showed themselves as well as the isolated pillar Woods Castle.

The second day brought me over to Conanicut Island for the further exploration of a very small sea cave spotted there on my visit of September last year. I had intended to cross the Bay to Newport and do a bit of that coastline. But high surf advisory mad journeying out beyond the coves very treacherous.

A few of the more outstanding geologic sites on Aquideneck were visited the third day. These included the Cliff Walk (portions closed for repair), Purgatory and its sand lenses, and the Pirate Cave at Newport.

On the way out, day four took me over to Tiverton to visit Fort Barton where I hoped to match an old postcard of a ledge simply marked "The Fort". No luck but a good section of ledge does exist with much overgrowth. The last stop before home was in Massachusetts where some of my favorite Dighton Conglomerate formations exist. These include Wildcat Rock, Abram's Rock, and Lion Rock.

May 18, 2014

A couple very interesting pieces of old photography surfaced a few years back: Prospect Rock in Becket, and a view from Prospect Rock, towards Blandford. Both were somewhat poorly scanned images intended for an internet auction. One hypothesized location might be near the old Becket quarry. Since I was already interested in further explorations of that property, I set out in search of rocks!

My goal was to hike the trails on the perimeter of the old quarry preserve. Maps indicated several features worth looking at, and I'd keep a look out for Prospect Rock along the way. Ultimately, Prospect Rock did not show itself. But the geologic features marked on the quarry's trail map - and one that was not -proved worthwhile.

These included a large deposit of glacial boulders with very small caves/dens. This was perhaps the largest accumulation I've seen in Berkshire County. Now if this was Essex County, in particular Cape Ann it would be considered very minor. A couple other boulders were marked on the trail map. Both were located, one being quite large but fractured in several places along its length. The other was of minor interest, being quite 'average' and not even very large. But near this one was a slightly larger rock with a large metal ring attached. Likely associated with one of the 'motions' (small quarries) right in that vicinity.

Upon completion of the quarry circuit, a small pink granite quarry was visited about a mile and two-thirds away. Some remnants of a cutting/finishing shed, and equipment, remain.

May 11, 2014

Down in the southern Berkshires lies a most beautiful lake. It had been my goal for a couple years to kayak on across its waters as part of a small project. On this lake, numerous postcards portray a "Bull Head Rock". And the impressive Indian Cave Lodge can also be found along the shore.

So on a sunny, but sometimes very windy Sunday, the lake was accessed. The Lodge was sighted from the water and Bull Head Rock visited twice. Once on the way to the lake's end, and once on the return. It does appear to be a marble boulder. Not terribly surprising considering this is an area of marble, generally highly calcitic, and the home to a more inspiring local landmark: Elephant Rock.

May 3, 2014

Always interesting to see how a trip unfolds. The Spring vacation plans had me eventually ending on Cape Ann. One thing was clear from the beginning: it would once again be overshadowed by the prospect of lousy weather.

But the adventure began by reaching the Mohawk Trail and making a quick jaunt up to the Town of Rowe. In going over photographs of boulders taken in 2008, something significant caught my attention. A possible, more likely prospect, for the Profile Rock from that town. The effort to gain additional information was mostly thwarted by high water levels in Pelham Brook so this will warrant a return visit.

On to Worcester County, for verification of some unidentified antique photographic material. One image I had already identified from my own records as the Pulpit Rock/Devil's Pulpit. But the second necessitated a personal visit. It also turned out to be the very same rock, but photographed from a distance, probably over 125 years ago. While in the area, a stop was made to Half House (Rock).

Moving on to Cape Ann, I made a brief visit to the ocean at Pigeon Cove before settling in for the evening.

By the second day, the threat of inclement weather was already a real possibility. So keeping things short - and local - I looked into a 'sliding rock'. This is one of those old local sites from people's childhood memories where as youngsters they would slide down an inclined rock surface. The interesting part is the 'smoothing out' of the rock after years of use. Then a warm up hike was made to Goose Cove after checking out the water level at the Goose Cove Reservoir. Here a couple of Babson's marked cellar holes can be found.

A hike followed into the outer perimeter of Dogtown where a nifty cave was located. A bit more hiking brought more boulders and the possibility of future explorations. This is a section of Dogtown I had barely touched upon in past visits. On the way back to HQ, I returned to a perched boulder formation first discovered in October 2013.

The third and fourth days were basically devoted to working around the rain. I decided early on to use the time to extend my explorations of Dogtown into areas I had never seen. The third day ended with the discovery of another cave, while combing through an area of significant boulders. The fourth, saw a visit to an old quarry within the perimeter of Dogtown, and a quick searh through 'Joppa' for it's Old Man formation.

Before leaving town on day five, I took my guide, from earlier in the week, back into Dogtown to see my own modest cave discovery. Then over to the "dead pirate boulders" before saying goodbye. Heading home, I made a final stop into Fitchburg to look over geologic features (apparently there may be some I missed) including old Moses Rock.

April 22, 2014

It may be safe to say Spring has finally arrived. For this individual, it now comes the time to get into shape after a prolonged Winter layoff. Although nothing of significance has been taken on as of present, an upcoming vacation (with the cooperation of the weather) should prove a chance to 'dive in' head first. Although it hopefully won't be literally.

The last couple of weeks have finally cleared the lakes of ice so the kayak can be brought out. This is one of my favorite forms of exercise and recreation. As far as the other side of my outdoor pursuits (hiking and possible research) a couple small time items so far. I looked into a hunch that 1880's photograph "Devil's Fish Rock" might lay up at Balance Rock State Park. This did not pan out.

An old postcard of a cascade (presumably small) on the Murray Crane Estate has been investigated a couple times in past years. There is very little for waterways on the old estate, and it seemed to come down to the exit of a roadside pond. That water flows through a culvert to a much lower elevation. But as it exits the pond, it drops into (what is now) a cement encasement leading to the culvert. This seems to be a likely possibility but nothing at this time actually confirms this.

And finally a return to the reconnaissance work started late last year when it was attempted to find out the fate of a small cave in an area of significant housing development. This completed coverage of a large track of land in and around that development without the cave showing itself. I will presume it has been covered over or outright destroyed. Hopefully at some future point, I may be proven wrong.

'13

December 8, 2013

Ah - reconnaissance. What can be said about the word that has lent so much to the world of caves and caving. Perhaps in a not so literal sense one could use the word as a search through history as well.

On one cold December day it took me out to a region near the base of the Taconics. And back in time as well, as around twenty five years have elapsed since my last 'reconnaissance' of this area. A cave was found here those many years ago by a couple caving associates and I was lucky enough to visit it with one of them. But the passing of time has brought a new generation of cavers along and one was interested in the site so out I went to try and relocate the cave.

Time has also changed the area significantly as large houses and large developments have encroached upon the old woodlands. A thorough search by myself failed to located the cave, and coordinates from the earlier era, may prove that it was covered - or destroyed - in the process of construction.

However, it has been found that coordinates from long ago are not always right on the mark so the cave may still be hiding out there. A second trip was planned soon after digesting all that came from the reconnaissance trip, but it seems winter may now delay things until spring once again returns.

For geo aficionados, it is an area laying in the C unit of Stockbridge Marble, which not far away, contains (at least partially) the renown Massachusetts cave Great Radium Springs. So although the cave that was sought is not significant in the speleological sense, it would be disappointing to lose. Either it's existence or location.

November 17, 2013

A two stop visit. The first took me to the land of Williamsburg Granodiorite and schists intermingled with quartz and occasional bits of pegmatite. This was a geology hike and field trip put on by the Williamsburg Woodland Trails

A lot covered glacial geology (kame terraces amongst the features seen) but a healthy amount of those schists, with quartz, along with granodiorite was to be found. According to local bedrock geo maps, some marble is around but not in this immediate vicinity. Unfortunately, our hike fell upon the extreme northwest sections of the Easthampton Quadrangle and, to the best of my knowledge, no bedrock geology map was ever produced for this quad. Normally there would have been some fine views (indeed - the name of the trail is "Big View") but VERY gray, overcast, and drizzly conditions were the order of the day.

Finishing up, I continued over to the Connecticut Valley if only for a brief trip to work on my old project involving antique photography of rocky formations. Two more old stereoviews came into my possession and it was my goal to set up "Then & Now" views. With that accomplished, a leisurely bit of time was spent looking into fallen blocks of conglomerate rock that had formed a small cave. Probably that mentioned by famed geologist Hitchcock and probably the 'lost' Wild Cat Den.

November 11, 2013

The traditional November Connecticut visit! In recent years, I've been able to slip in a little 'work' while making my way down to my eventual destination in the Waterbury area. On this occasion, a stop in the southern Berkshires. I had just enough time to make a quick dash into the woods to look over a giant erratic recently brought to my attention by two local historians. And good Lord was it ever big! A quick pace proved it to be probably over 80 feet in diameter. My estimate was seventeen to eighteen feet high. I cannot recall any other freestanding boulder in the Berkshires of this and it may sneak its way into the Top Ten biggest in Massachusetts.

Continuing my way on into Connecticut, I eventually looked up a number of other erratics lying about Cheshire and Wallingford. These probably torn from the Hanging Hills of Meriden eons ago. A stop at the restored lock of the old Farmington Canal was included.

The second day included a look at a rock that was cut through as part of a trolley route that descended Southington Mountain into Marion by way of Merriman's Curve and a former bridge over the rock cut on Route 322.

November 3, 2013

On a very cool and crisp autumn morning, a chance to bring things full circle after 45 - or so years. Joining eight other cavers, we were off to relocate the (somewhat) lost Cave of the Dead Cow. This is something my Father and I had sought out during the latter half of the 1960's.

Coordinates left to us from the 1980's got us to the general area. At least a couple more hours were devoted by the group to finally locating the modest sized sinkhole entrance. Once finally explored, it was discovered the discontented cow that fell in circa 1938 (or its remains) had now vanished since the 1983 exploration.

On the return - several other karst features were looked over including a resurgence, and two caves: Privacy and Crapper Caves.

October 19, 2013

A perfect day for a perfect hike! Joining Williamsburg Woodland Trails, and over thirty other hikers, an ascent was made to The Balance Rock - another old favorite of mine. Then along the ridge, with one view down the Valley into Amherst, before descending to - and returning - via an old discontinued back road.

October 18, 2013

The Last Hurrah - as far as this year's vacation schedule goes. The site was my traditional Essex County adventure. Landing in Peabody on the first day a more extensive exploration was made on one on three glacial moraine sites I've come across in recent years. This extended exploration yielded many perched/balanced erratics and probably a half dozen old quarry pits. The day was finished visiting the M S Foley Stoneworks where fine sculptored artwork in stone can be seen - and bought.

-Day two saw me complete what I considered the primary mission of the trip: circumnavigating the peninsula of Marblehead Neck. Along the way, an island was visited to check into a possible cave sighted from shore last year. No go on this one. However, a small eroded formation was seen nearby whose 'cave effect' was enhanced by a small rock plopped into its upper reaches. The trip took me around the lighthouse at Chandler-Hovey Park and south along the east side of the Neck. I was especially on the lookout for an old Victorian Age attraction known as The Churn. Basically it looked to be an eroded dike chasm from all the images I have seen. Nothing I saw really struck me as being that site. However upon my return and, subsequent viewing of aerial imagery, I did confirm that a narrow dike chasm I saw was indeed the Churn. The south side of the Neck provided an excellent outcrop with two more dikes, one being partially eroded away. I finished up my visit to that section of Essex County going up to Salem Neck where a small seaside cave formation had been located the previous year. Although it appears to be formed in a number of boulders, the boulders (at least some) seem to come from the very same section of bedrock.

My third day saw me returning to place that has been left aside for quite awhile: Dogtown. I had come across a story mentioning a 'deathmatch' between a young lady and a band of pirates back in the early days of Cape Ann. The story says she killed - or mortally wounded - the pirates and they were buried under a boulder at Dogtown. I located the alleged site, explored a bit at another site around Tent Rock, then moved on to another section of Dogtown. This took me into one of the rockiest sections of DT where the woods are nearly completely floored with deposits of glacial boulders. One of outstanding size was located before picking my way through the boulder field and returning via a designated hiking trail.

When it came to my last two days I had to make a decision as to more time on the water (not the most ideal conditions) or to put in more time hiking, which I was greatly enjoying at this time. Also, being my last visit to the area this year, I wished to spend some time at favorite spots that had not seen for some time. But I started the days adventures returning to the site of the pirate deathmatch, accessing it from a different direction. Along the way I came across another marvelous boulder with carving that indicated it was a boundary marker between the Towns of Rockport and Gloucester.

Finishing up at the deathmatch scene, I moved on and explored a trail that had caught my attention out in West Gloucester. It led to a possible quarrying site (something rare for this part of town) and a splendid perched boulder that sat with either end on two rocks below. The rest of the day was indeed spent at two favorites in Rafes Chasm and the old Stage Fort Park.

My fond farewell (for this year anyway) to Cape Ann was up to Rockport with a visit to one of its Profile Rocks. Then it was time to move on to other objectives in Northern Essex County. The first was a more comprehensive examination of the Nubble Squid. The second (finishing my day) was an old mining prospect for silver. This whole area was once one of the most heavily mined areas in Massachusetts. Numerous minerals were take from the ground including

September 26, 2013

Landing on the west shore of the Narragansett Bay, it was my intention to kick off fours days with further water-based explorations of the rocky coastlines in the Bay. On this day I went south looking over the coast of the Bonnet, and an area just to its south. At that point I paddled across the West Passage of the Narragansett Bay to re-examine a section of Conanicut Island (Jamestown) seen in June. What I thought to be a cave previously was merely the all too typical recess and shadow in the rocks.

The second day was devoted to exploring a number of sites on the northern portion of Aquidneck Island. A stand old growth forest managed to escaped the ravages of time. Then I fulfilled a long desire to look at some of the coal history of Portsmouth, examining several shoreline sites while also looking at a couple possible future kayak put-ins. Sandwiched in there was a quick walk by a section the old Hessians Hole, part of the early Portsmouth history. Finishing the day: a long awaited trip to another historic site: Lawton Valley, once the location of early grist mills.

I returned to water and coastal explorations on the third day. This time from Jamestown itself. Leaving the Fort Wetherill area, I re-examined some sections visited last year and was pleasantly surprised by the find of a shallow sea cave. One (Pirate's Cave) has been reported in this area for many years and this is the only likely possibility I have ever come across. Then it was only to shoot across the mouth of Mackerel Cove, leaving granite behind for a more slaty Rhode Island Formation. Cruising down the coast I saw another possible cave site and visited (unfortunately at high tide) a number or rocky formations including the Bay's major sea formed cave. On my returned, I looked over the two recently discovered cave sites while capturing photos. The day was closed out by a low tide visit to a site on Aquidneck visited the previous day, revealing much more rocks including fossil bearing formations.

Day four saw me leaving Aquidneck Island and making my way up to the Snake Den. A multitude of old granite quarries exist here as well as the rocky ridge know as Snake Den. Some small cave formations do exist here. I attempted to work a nearby site known as Round Rocks only to find roads into the area closed - or non existent. A later aerial view search reveals the area now incorporated into a massive quarrying operation.

September 13, 2013

A couple days to relax on the South Shore before heading on north, up around Boston, to the North Shore.

The trip was kicked off by dropping down off the Pike to start a search for another Devil's Den in Worcester County. The cave also has a connection (at least in an alternate name) to a historical figure. My details were slim, but I hoped I to get lucky. Unfortunately NOT! So this one will have to be worked further at a future date.

Landing on the South Shore, I set about checking the relationship between high tides and the entrance/exit to two salt water estuaries. Primarily, I watched the Gulf (River) which is suppose to be navigable just around high tide.

The second day sent me up to the Squantum section of Quincy for a more in depth look at its ledges and where the profile of Benjamin Butler once lay. Careful examination could not reveal anything for a positive id (it has been determined Ben no longer exists) but a set of photographs was taken for later examination. The same was done for nearby Squantum Head which has also suffered deterioration since the Golden Age of postcards portrayed it. It might be mentioned the Ben Butler site may be identified from a large rock laying in the water just in from of its former site. That area is highly susceptible to erosion being mainly composed of argillites, a slat like rock, whereas the Squantum Head is much more a tougher conglomerate. Indeed, an abandoned slate quarry exists nearby that was also examined.

Out of Squantum and back more to the south lies the land of many boulders. Indeed the original name of Cohasset is Quonahasset or "long rocky place" as named by the Native Americans. A number of sites there provide excellent examples of glacial geology and a couple were visited after my years absence of many years. Wheelwright Park has the Devil's Armchair, Big and Little Tippling Rock, as well as a split rock formation. The Whitney and Thayer Woods have an assortment of glacial boulders with names like Ode's Den, Rooster Rock, and the Bigelow Boulder.

Day three proved to be somewhat of a bust. Traveling up to Marblehead, I intended to continue (by kayak) the shoreline investigation of Marblehead Neck. Unfortunately, winds, high seas, and eventually rain moved in and squashed those plans. So I continued the trip on up to Cape Ann to set up camp and reconnect with old friends.

The next day brought in late season brutal heat. I monitored the situation down in Marblehead but ninety-six degrees with an air quality alert and heat advisory left me to toot around Cape Ann on that day. I thought of launching the kayak out of Rockport but difficulties ensued at two different launch points. I used the time to examine Loblolly Cove as well as a postcard of that area called "The Maid", another rocky formation. Then some hiking over at Goose Cove in Gloucester before retiring from a VERY hot day.

With the vacation time winding down, I was determined to get into the ocean at least once. The choice was Ipswich at Little Neck. Here I cruised over to the southern part of Plum Island before turning south towards Crane Beach. I landed to looked over the Skull, a rock formation, not looking very skull-like in recent times. Moving on, I entered the Ipswich River, relaxed amongst the sand dunes, then returned to the beach launch area to call it a day.

Severe thunder storms moved in that night so it left the final day to pick up the wet equipment and head on home.

August 11, 2013:

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I was favored with some fine company. Gary from the Great Barrington Historical Society took me out to check into a report of a filled cave along a major stream. There was evidence of an entrance that was 'brought down' in the past along with a few, very small, remaining passages in the "e" unit of Stockbridge Marble.

Our second stop was an abandoned marble quarry in the "g" unit of Stockbridge Marble. Up in the back was a small karst area taking in a good amount of drainage. One large opening leads to a historic cave with the sound of falling water resembling that of a pan of frying bacon.

August 1, 2013:

The ultimate destination was once again Cape Ann. But always nice to pick up a couple things on the way. So on Day One I came off Rt. 128 to check on the status of two pieces of property: The Pirate's Glen and Indian Rock. The Glen apparently has no formal access and the actual ownership/access of Indian Rock still seems to be a bit up in the air. However, one town official says he will investigate it for me.

Returning to Rt. 128, I proceeded to roll on into Cape Ann making brief stops to look up a possible location for the "Green Canyon", one of those childhood retreats. Talk of caves did not materialize but certainly many a quarry pit was passed in the process. Afterwards, a quick look at some shoreline sites in Pigeon and Lanes Cove, with a return to "Muffy Howards Haunt" (some boulder cave formations) where an old rock quarry lay upon the way. Then on to camp!

The second day found me traveling down to Magnolia for a kayaking adventure but pea soup fog made that probably not a good idea. My second choice was back to Lanes Cove where fog still prevailed but a little easier to follow the west coast of Cape Ann north, and over Halibut Point. This was a repeat - and expansion - of last year's trip, this time taking me down into Pigeon Cove and the Devil's Den. On the way I got to see all my favorite old sites along the shore including the Great Gargoyle, Bathtub, Cathedral Rocks and the Giant Steps. On the return around Halibut, I pulled around to once again look at the sea boulder caves and make another stop at the old Folly Point Quarry.

Day Three: I worked a few leads at a leisurely pace. These included looking for erratics perched upon Wolf Hill in an old late 1800's geologic publication and a 'sliding rock' in East Gloucester from a local resident's youth. I also took in part of the Old Rockport Road that I had not yet seen before. This is an area I'm always on the lookout for the long lost "Old Man of Joppa" formation.

The fourth day was also a repeat and extension of a kayak trip from last year. I finally made it out of Magnolia with the Lady of Rock/Great Stone Face watching me pass by. Then I shot over to Rafes Chasm before making a line across Gloucester Harbor to Eastern Point. Then it was up the east side, past Bull Dog Rock and Brace Rock, to look for possible clues verifying the exact location of Sea Rocks - the old Jacob Loose home. I did find old stone steps carved into the sea side rocks just about where the house use to be located but I will have to study the present - and past - photography for any further clues. The return was pleasant with a stop in Brace's Cove and a quick look over the small section of land that divides it from the fresh water Niles Pond.

My last day was spent enjoying some down time hiking Poles Hill with Sunset Rock. Then on up to Pigeon Cove to visit my stone seat by the ocean where a 'footprint' formation was see in the rock by the old Swimming Place.

June 24, 2013:

Once again, returning to Connecticut, it's namesake river, and author/naturalist Beth L.

Another brutally hot afternoon and a trip down the Connecticut River from Middletown to Bodkin Rock where a pegmatite outcrop exists. On the return trip, a journey into a gorgeous place, of quiet retreat, at Pecausett Meadows.

The following day, a very small section of land containing numerous dinosaur prints was visited at Powder Hill, Middlefield. The trip was finished up at Crystal Lake trying to gain access (day camp activities prevented this) to a set of rocks depicted on an old postcard. These are likely what is known locally as Suicide Rock.

June 6, 2013:

The vacation got kicked off on a blistering hot Sunday morning down on the Salmon River in Connecticut, near its mouth on the Connecticut River. Various tributaries were explored as well as the Salmon itself, right on up to the dam. Well, at least the others made it up to the dam ;).

Camping on the first night was in the northwest section of Rhode island, at a State facility I had not seen in probably a dozen years. But the rains moved in over night and the next morning was spent trying to locate the site of an old Counterfeiter's Den under some very wet, adverse conditions. I accepted an invitation to pull back into Connecticut for the next (almost) 24 hours, with the rainy day turning to sun once in central Connecticut. This allowed a visit to Westfield Falls, and to try and locate an old cicada nesting grounds as this is the year for the little creatures to spring forth.

The following morning (Day three) I made it all the way to the Narragansett Bay (western edge) to visit the Rolling Rock. Then it was out on to the bay itself to continue my explorations of island coasts. A small sea cave was discovered in the process as well as a sea arch.

Day four proved to be what I had originally got into kayaking for. A section of the Newport coast (VERY choppy and rough seas at times) was explored for the specific purpose of seeing the Pirate caves, and locating Spouting Cave/Rock. Various rumors surround these two features regarding their demise - or partial demise - and it was nice to see they seem to still be in good condition.

Day four proved to be what I had originally got into kayaking for. A section of the Newport coast (VERY choppy and rough seas at times) was explored for the specific purpose of seeing the Pirate caves, and locating Spouting Cave/Rock. Various rumors surround these two features regarding their demise - or partial demise - and it was nice to see they seem to still be in good condition.

On the fifth day, I headed on out of the area via Jamestown, so I took the opportunity to further look over access to the shore by land. I stopped for updated pictures of Indian Head Rock then worked my way back up into the Ocean State's northwest environs. Here I meet good bud Michael who helped me to finally realized my dream of seeing the long, lost Counterfeiter's Den.

From there it was only to make my way north and back onto the Mass Pike home.

May 19, 2013:

I had the pleasure of spending a day with author and naturalist Beth L. down in the Middletown CT area, exploring areas of historic and geologic interest. I will let Beth (being a much better writer than I am) tell the story through her own blog: healingnaturect

April 26, 2013:

The beginning of the vacation season arrived for me with a return to Essex County and Cape Ann. As seems the case in recent years rain played a factor and a good one-third of my time was left useless by heavy rain. Additionally, the conditions for kayaking were very marginal and that played into diminished activities on that front.

However, the first day was superb and that allowed me to make my way to Cape Ann by way of Middlesex County. First up was a quick look at an early lime quarry site. Next: I had in hand an antique photo of a huge boulder mentioning it as being located about a mile north of Long Sought For Pond. This happens to be the location (roughly) of two large erratics I visited in 2007 with the names House and Barn. It is likely the photo was of the Barn, smaller of the two, but not enough is there to make it a more positive ID.

Afterwards, I continued on to finally land in Pigeon Cove for looks at my old favorites along the rocky shoreline.

Traveling over to the west side of Cape Ann and Lanes Cove where I inspected the damaged breakwater and rehabilitation project on a fishing shack

The next day and a half proved to be a complete rain out but by the third day I had mosied on up to the Pigeon Cove area once again for a quick look at the Profile Rock and further photos (sans foliage) of Rowe's Tomb. Working a possible lead on Boiling Spring in the area, I found a couple different areas (both with multiple resurges) that may have been it. But once again nothing matched with an old postcard which really doesn't give too much to go on.

The fourth day brought a much anticipated return to kayaking with an adventure carefully planned to make the best use of limited weather conditions. The trip involved the Fox Creek and part of an old historic canal connecting two major rivers in the area. The Fox led to the Ipswich River, quite close to its mouth, and from there it was on into the Atlantic Ocean for a brief spell. Following, was a quick trip up to Newbury to see Carsey's Rock. There are four or five rock outcroppings surrounded in the salt marshes and I am assuming at this point, Carsey's is the easternmost, and most isolated, of the group.

The trip back to my lodgings found me examining a boyhood hideout of a former Gloucester resident. At the site was a large deposit of glacial boulders with several lean-to type of caves. An unexpected surprise was a small quarry in an adjacent area.

The final day found me in a local cemetery where I had heard "geologic formations" existed. It turned out I had passed by this burial site numerous times without realizing what lay secreted farther in the back. Numerous - and some very large - erratics lay amongst the gravestone, often being incorporated into the landscape. Some had plaques another was make part of a man-made stone edging around a burial plot.

A trip to Pools Hill for a quick look at the old hospital ruins followed. Also in the immediate area was a large, quarried erratic and old well. Afterwards I may the trip once again up the rocks of Pigeon Cove but farther that the on my first day. Here I ended up by a blue quartz dike (probable Metoric Stone) and Dick's Dream with the Spouting Rock putting on a decent show. The trip was finished with a quick return to the Profile Rock for photos and to tie the kayak down for the trip home.

'12

December 3, 2012:

Old friends: one that I first met about ten years ago at Sachem Rock in East Bridgewater recently renewed contact. At that first meeting, I found out about past relatives, and old photographs, from my home in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Several of those old photographs are now part of my own collection.

Recently I was sent a copy of another old photo by the friend showing a Victorian Age relative standing next to her bicycle at a rocky location. It was conjectured that it might be Reynold's Rock (Cheshire) but a trip out there proved it probably wasn't.

I did drop in to the rocks at Balance Rock Park (as past photos showed relatives visiting that site) and was once again unable to match anything with the photograph. Surprising on this visit were the vast number of trees that have fallen since my previous trip. One was a pine over fifty feet tall whose top now lays upon Split Rock, which once boasted its own large tree growing forth from its large namesake crack. Picking my way through downed trees, I eventually landed at Cross Rock.

Novemeber 6, 2012:

Another November tradition takes me down Connecticut way. Much like last year's trip, I made use of the drive through northwest Connecticut to further my knowledge on sites that were photographed by Winsted photographer F. H. DeMars. Apparently a favorite area of DeMars (and close to his home) was a waterfall, chasm, and associated power plant built at the falls in the late 1800's. With an eye towards assisting DeMars granddaughter in identifying sites on his old glass slides, I was able to access a lower area of the ravine. However, the main chasm (with a still operating hydroelectric facility) may be impossible due to landowner considerations. The journey eventually landed me down near Waterbury where sections of an old canal/rr line, and in one case a trolley crossing, were investigated. The Barnes Museum in Southington was also visited this day.

On the second day, Indian Rock in southwestern Hartford County was seen.

Novemeber 3, 2012:

Come early November, a large postcard show is put on each year in Barre, MA. So a chance to not only go ' fishin'g for more antique images, but maybe catch a couple sites out that way. The show did prove to be more successful than usual with a few rare gems coming my way.

Afterwards, a couple sites around Town were hit including 'The Cave' (rare old images of this exist) and its nearby Porcupine Den. The Cave somewhat qualifies for the title of "Victorian Age Attraction" due to it's use way back during that time. A set of initials and dates from 1860 was spotted amongst the rocks. A stop by Indian (Head) Rock provided a splendid view of Mt. Wachusetts and a chance to tidy up the trail that had suffered blow-down in recent times. Along the back roads, the view through leafless trees allowed drive by sightings of many rocky formations including boulders, large rocky outcrops, and a couple 'quasi-cave' formations.

October 12, 2012:

With the traditional October Essex County visit, the list of long vacation excursions basically winds down. Unfortunately conditions never allowed for a kayak launch and exploration of the coastline from the sea. However amongst the inclement weather and gale fore winds, some interesting sites were to be visited.

Early on the first day, the second oldest lime site in New England (after Newbury, MA) was looked over in Bolton, MA. Conservation land includes a network of trails and the old quarry and lime kiln. The next stop up in Tyngsborough finally culminated a search begun a few years back when I was searching for another rock pulpit used by George Whitefield. The history of this rock turns out to be much more extensive than previous thought as Indian chief Wannalancet spent the final years of his life in the vicinity. Wannalancet at that point in time was staying with Johnathan Tyng and would sit upon this rock. It is now once again marked with a plaque after the previous one had been stolen. My earlier information had the rock near the burial site of Tyng (where Wannalancet is also buried) and indeed the cemetery is a "stone's throw" away. Upon arrival in Cape Ann, two West Gloucester sites were visited: some gigantic boulders at Tompson's Reservation and Mt. Ann.

Day Two brought 'iffy' weather so local sites were worked at the Profile Rock, Rowe's Tomb, and Andrews Woods. Some down time was spent out on the rocks at Pigeon Cove and the area of Lanes Cove and it's historic cemetery.

Day Three brought on the rains, although lighter in the morning hours so trips up to Newbury, West Newbury, and Groveland were possible. I finally was able, through two different hikes, to get into the area of rocks history records as the "Nubble Squid" - or, as it has been called in modern times, the Knobble Squid. The location is not overly rocky by Essex County standards, but it is by comparison to the immediate surrounding area, which is strangely lacking in outcrops or erratics.

Cradle Rock lies somewhere not too far away but several past attempts to locate it, including a Town Hall visit on this day, still proved unsuccessful. However, a token visit was made to the Stickney Boulder and Great Rock on the Newbury/Newbury town line. Another old lime site - the Devil's Basin- was descended into once I got a sleeping fox to vacate the old pit. The Fourth Day brought fair skies but terrific winds as I shot on down towards Marblehead. A variety of sites were located including possible (but turned out not probable) kayak launch sites. However, it did enable me to do some old fashioned reconnaissance by foot of the coastal rocks. During that time a small sea cave was located and one good kayak launch point eventually found.

Rain once again arrived on day five so some local touring was the order of the day. My final bit of time on the Cape for the year was filled walking a local park with an old hospital (foundations) site, an old well, and a gigantic boulder that had been partially quarried.

September 15, 2012:

My arrival into Essex County was by a slightly different route on this occasion. I wanted another look at an old soapstone quarry where diverging opinions exist if there is - or is not - soapstone still present. Certainly I did locate a large number of quarried stones that could be the mineral. But being beyond my limited knowledge of mineralogy, I finally moved on.

The plan was once again to continue with kayaking the coastlines, in particular Cape Ann, so upon arriving on the Cape I set about checking into a local site that would gain me access to the Magnolia section of Gloucester's shoreline. The day was finished up looking into another section of Tompson's Reservation at Sunset Mountain. The mountain is large sections of exposed granite with one perched boulder seen.

High surf warnings from an off shore hurricane plagued the trip for at least its first half, but I found some land based activities to occupy myself with. On the second day I wandered down into the southern regions of Essex County to look at an old Indian Cave. Nearby, at a major highway intersection, I looked into the possible existence of a large perched boulder photographed many years ago. It was unlikely that with all the modern day construction, including a massive mall, it would still exist. It did not show itself.

Turning towards the ocean, I reached the shore at Revere and would begin a journey north to check into multiple locations for future kayak launches. I eventually ended up exploring some Audubon property, Swallows Cave, and Castle Rock, as part of my northward trek. I also got down below the Lynn seawall at low tide to see Sliding and Red Rocks. Traveling still further north, I worked the shore areas of Swampscott, Marblehead, and eventually Salem where I found a nifty (future) launch site and a small cave in the boulders along the shore.

Day three began with another check of the surf at Rafes Chasm. With still too much in the way of heavy seas to take on, I retreated for an inspection of Ravenswood Park, a site I had briefly visited only once some years ago. After finishing up in Ravenswood a jaunt down the road into Manchester was made to visit the Coolidge Reservation. Before leaving the area, a final check was made of the nearby launch site (in particular - parking) to prepare the way for the next morning.

The next three days were basically devoted to straight kayaking adventures along the coastline. The fourth day was started at Magnolia with a short trip down the coast to check over Kettle Cove. The it was back up along the coast past Rafes Chasm, Normans Woe, Normans Woe Rock and across the outer edge of Gloucester harbor to Eastern Point. My return across the Harbor was made a bit more north so I could take in additional stretches of the coast I had previously missed.

With days four and five, I basically finished covering most of the western side of Cape Ann, leaving by way of Lanesville. The trip north - and around Halibut Point - passed by the old quarry at Folly Point and ended out in front of Chapin's Gully. South on the following day, passed Plum Cove, Hodgkins Cove, and Annisquam. On both days many an eroded dike was seen but that is a typical feature of Cape Ann.

August 24, 2012:

With my eye on eventually ending up on the South Shore, a slight detour was made on the first day out into the Blackstone Valley. The goal was to locate Hell (cave) in Purgatory Chasm. I was successful but later on determined this is not what one explorer calls "Damnation Cave" so more to be done here. A very pleasant surprise was the location of Devil's Pulpit within the Chasm. This I missed on a previous visit although His 'Stairs' were found on that trip. But of greater interest is the old postcard of the Devil's Pulpit is not what the park once had a sign on. That sign has since disappeared.

Moving on through the Valley, my next stop was a beehive stone chamber that has finally come into the 'public domain'. Part of a Town park, this has been one of the most studied of all lithic features in New England.

Moving on into Norfolk County, three sites were next investigated. One would binge a stream access to an island containing Devil's Footprint formations. The stream, alas, was too dried up to even attempt pulling out my smaller kayak. But downstream makes a good access to the Charles River. Something for future consideration. The second stop also brought me very close to the Charles (and another dandy put in location) but to look up the old powder house on Powder House Rock. The final stop before heading to camp out on the South Shore was a small cave formation formed by the splitting of a huge mass of rock not far from the suburbs of Boston.

I returned to my more leisurely vacation mode for the second day looking over coastal locations. In particular, where kayak access might be granted. Part of that day was out at the old Scituate lighthouse. The tide was in but even the gigantic 'Pebble' could be seen sticking above the ocean surf. Later that day, I finally made use of a very small kayak access and my small boat to navigate the Gulf and one of its branches. A portage across a road, and further navigation up a very winding and ever diminishing stream, got me in close enough. Close enough to finally located the Cleft Rock from local history which I have been seeking for around ten years.

Early the next morning I dropped in on Indian Rock and the nearby old well. More tooting about the coastal areas found 'resident sticker required' to be the norm when it came to parking and accessing the ocean. But early in the afternoon found me in Hingham where smooth access was made to the Harbor. Out there were many islands to explore with a variety of rock to be seen. Farther out I could see the closer of the islands making up the Boston Harbor Park. But I chose to skirt the outer perimeter of World's End and down towards the mouth of the Weir River.

I broke camp and pulled out of the South Shore early morn on the fourth day. A bit to the north, I landed at Squantum to once again look over the rocks - and some territory that had escaped me before. After a surprise find of an old quarry and Miles Standish Monument off in the woods, I worked the rocky confines of a low tide seashore. Somewhere - likely here - the profile of Benjamin Butler once existed in the rocks. Although I would love to confirm that, I fear the very brittle argillites have disintegrated to a point where Ben may have disappeared. Another park near the beginning of Squantum lay along some giant mud flats (tide now out completely. But this small bit of territory had a rich Native American background.

Late morning finally found me back on Cape Ann. Some woods contain gigantic boulders (some small caves) were up first. After checking in to camp, I explored put in possibilities to Gloucester Harbor but eventually settled for more exploration of the Little and Annisquam Rivers.

Day five found me once again found me enjoying the site of one of my most favorite spots of all: Pigeon Cove and its rocks. But with 'work' to be done it was time to put the touring kayak into action on the ocean. Heading on down the coast, a variety of rocky areas of the coast were looked over. Shooting the Gap at Straightsmouth Island, The journey south continued passing through Whale and Loblolly Coves. Shortly before reaching Lands End, the turn was made out to sea to catch up with Thatcher Island. From there it was across to the more northerly tip of Straightsmouth Island, down its coast, through the gap again and across Sandy Bay. I wanted one more look at the Devil's Den and came away with significantly better photos than my previous visit in June. After my arrival on shore, with just a bit of time to spare,, I shot on over to the old ruins of the former hospital in Rockport.

On sixth - and final day - I once again visited the rocky shore of Pigeon Cove to see the Bathtub and Swimming Place now emerged from the ocean at low tide. Then it was down to Pavilion Beach for a tour of sections of Gloucester Harbor. These included Ten Pound Island, Rocky Neck, Wonson Cove, and down past Niles Beach (Southeast Cove) towards the Eastern Point Lighthouse. An old geology publication mentioned cave formations within this area, and although the sea had 'worked' the rocks pretty good at some areas, there is nothing I would call a cave.

August 4, 2012:

It began apparent very early into my most recent vacation trip, that the focus should be on learning the ropes of kayaking and all the equipment. However, that certainly did not preclude the possibility of my usual 'norm' with the rocks and history to be explored.

All started off with a bit of a bang as I made my way across the Rhode Island border from Massachusetts and ended up in the water of the Mt. Hope Bay. A lead had surfaced on a cave there and here was the opportunity to check it out. Right in the neighborhood of King Philip's old seat of power! The cave is small. Barely able to hold one individual but its uniqueness is that it lays within a vein of quartz at an area once know as White Rocks.

The second day I decided to dig deeper into the old research files. A project I had long tried to work unsuccessfully from the shore: Profile Rock around Newport Harbor. It had been established in the past that the location was really adjacent to the Harbor (or part of) at Brenton Cove. So a very through examination of the rocky ledges was made along the Cove's perimeter. Nothing really definitive showed itself although I'm confident the area of the postcards was covered. Probably not too surprising as this seemed to be a very marginal feature likely relying on a illusion that at least partially was accented by shadows. But a tour of Newport Harbor followed carefully checking the rocky shoreline areas. In a prelude of what was to come, many interesting 'cave-like' features were seen but nothing that anyone could call a cave. Farther out on the rolling seas, I passed by old Fort Adams and briefly turn down the coast before bringing myself back into Brenton Cove.

I made the trip out Conanicut Island and the Town of Jamestown on the third day to continue exploration of the rocks between the Dumplings and Southwest Point. Although this area is reported to have a (Captain) Kidd's Cave, nothing of significance was noted. But the cave was reported to be a small hole in the rocks and yes - something like that was seen near the reported location. Nearby is also the "White Streak" a significant vein of quartz within the cliffs. Difficult to gain access by land at low tide, the view from the ocean is close to astounding.

A fairly significant profile feature was seen near Southwest Point but I have learned how difficult photography can be (nearly impossible?) from a bouncing, moving boat. The southern tip of Beavertail is also a good place to spend some time. A couple 'quasi cave' formations in an arch, and adjacent cave with intact columns, are located here. A small sea cave up the western shoreline was investigated a few years back.

A large portion of my 'down time' was spent working various shorelines and setting up future access points. By day four that paid off handsomely as I set off from the southern shore of Newport, on some VERY choppy seas, to see what might be seen over at the old Spouting Cave/Rock. The voyage was anything but routine, however I finally did end bouncing up and down - and all around - off the shore of Spouting Rock. Nothing noteworthy was seen but perhaps the view from ocean level is not the best way to view it. There is another story floating around that it was dynamited in recent times because of the landowner's impatience with trespassers. Sadly, it may be that the best images are from the library of antique photographs that exists.

A break for lunch then it was back to the water. This time on the mainland to the East at the Sakonnet River. There was a past report of a cave in this vicinity and some significant outcrops of Purgatory Conglomerate do exist. But a cave - probably doubtful.

The fifth - and final day - was shaping up to be brutally hot and humid. So I got an early start and dropped in to visit some of my all time favorite (Dighton) conglomerate rock formations just across the border into Massachusetts. Amongst these were Abram's, Lion, and Wildcat Rock. Just a bit further to the west, the geology now becomes the Rhode Island formation, which I definitely noticed while out at Devil's Rock.

Already beat up by the heat by noon, I made a hasty exit to my car for the long journey hone.

July 8, 2012:

Always a treat to return to past areas of explorations. The Rowe Historical Society was having a program on the Hoosac Tunnel. And I had already planned to return there for the purpose of identifying a postcard.

But the day began off the Mohawk Trail a bit farther to the west. Near the borders of Florida and Monroe is a deposit of glacial boulders and within one of these boulders is a small cave formation. Very insignificant as far as size goes, it is more of a home to the porcupines. But on my way out of the area, I traveled a back road new to me. From the car, I saw numerous boulders of gigantic proportion. But with the hot sticky weather, and trying to stick to a time schedule, I settled for marking their location for a future visit.

The next stop was at one of the more glorious vies in western Massachusetts. A stone balcony on Hunt Hill overlooks the Deerfield River and the Valley.

Eventually landing in Rowe, I worked the society members for identification on my postcard image, which is likely from the local Pulpit Rock. The program, which focused on the lining towers used in construction of the Hoosac Tunnel, proved very educational. On the way out of town, I stopped off at Pelham Brook for a quick visit with the old Profile Rock/Stone Face. Not looking too much like it's former self, in recent times.

June 9, 2012:

After much anticipation - and delay, the new kayak finally found its way to salt water. Still, as I made my way towards Essex County, it seemed as if the recent weeks of rain might be a premonition of things to come. Upon arrival, the better part of two days was spent waiting out rain showers. During that interval, big boulders in the West Gloucester woods were checked out (first day), and shoreline sites on the second. Among those seen along the Cape Ann coast were Plum and Folly Coves, Halibut Point, and Pigeon Cove. The storm surges along the ocean were quite impressive but also a reminder of how dangerous it could be venturing out too far onto the rocks. I did get to see the Halibut Point sea boulder cave(s) completely immersed, while over at Pigeon Cove, the surged reached up to the base of the Great Gargoyle. Also located was one more site from an old postcard, but this was in an area well visited in the past by the Giant's Stairs/Cathedral Rocks. Pigeon Hill and Granite Pier also got a look over while in the area.

On the third day the rains did give way for a significant portion of the day enabling me to head on up to Newbury. On my way to the Parker River, a curious stone - an ancient milestone marker - was seen by the side of the road. But I finally got the kayak on out to the river with a couple hours to go before high tide. Working my way upstream, I navigated as far as that section of the waterway would allow. In the process, I passed two islands. One contains the Balance Rock. The second is accessible by land and, previous to entering the river, I had stopped in to catch Gerrish Rock as it slowly sank beneath the waters just off that island. But on the return down river, the rising tide made for a tight squeeze under the bridge but saved me climbing up an embankment to the car: the waters now reached the very bottom of the tires!

The fourth day was more for R&R as the rains once again moved in by early afternoon. However, in the morning I squeezed in Pool's Hill which is sometimes called Hospital Hill for the old Rockport hospital that once existed here. The 'Turtle Mound' is also located nearby. Downtown: the Headlands where a significant dike can be seen amongst the rocks of the shore.

The fifth day got off with a bang as part of the Tompson's Reservation with Eagle Rock was hiked. This is a BIG piece of property and certain sections contain significant boulder formations. So a return visit will be in order. A Rockport quarry was visited and my local guide explained this was perhaps the most recent of the area's past quarrying operations. Like many of the others, it now contains water. The morning was ended with a return to Hospital Hill where my guide showed me the ruins of the old hospital, now surrounded by woods. The afternoon was spent once again out on the water. The Jones River brought me out to the Annisquam where I headed north until reaching the ocean by the lighthouse.

Significant thunderstorms gave way to bright sunshine for the morning of the sixth day. It was the day to head home but I still had my primary goal ahead of me. To cover a portion of the Rockport shoreline from water. This included two visits (pre-low tide and low tide) to the Devil's Den, the Pigeon Cove area (often visited by foot) and south to (almost) Straitsmouth Gap. Observation from the sea allowed me to see two exposures of the great Pigeon Cove porphyry dike. Other observations were old postcard sites, discovery of a small sea cave formation, and in general just get a different perspective on the whole area that is unattainable from shore. But then, that is what the whole goal of kayaking was about!

May 7, 2012:

Building upon the recent trip to Greenfield, I returned to the Connecticut River. Entering the River north of the French King Bridge, I was enjoying a steady current downstream - and towards the French King Rock. Ah - but river currents can be a tricky thing. Especially for the still 'green' kayaker dude. Upon approaching the Rock I found strong, swirling waters that made a landing pretty much impossible. But on my VERY close encounter (of the hard kind) I did notice French King to be a rock of the conglomerate formation.

Making my way down river, I went under the Bridge, and into the Millers River. Shortly, I disembarked to examine a 'quasi cave formtion' but my return to the river and upstream was short lived as I encountered some impassible white water conditions. So I return to the Connecticut River and muscled my way up stream, examining very marginal quasi cave formtions along the west bank. I stopped opposite the French King Rock once more for few photos before making my way across the River and back to the car.

Barton Cove provided a much more sedate setting as I paddled the shoreline for a pleasant and interesting examination of the local geology. I was finally able to gain access (and float into) another of those 'quasi' cave formations I had seen in years past from an opposite shore. Also seen was a neat little cave that I had visited some years earlier.

April 30, 2012:

An afternoon was spent scrounging the central Berkshire countryside for signs of marble; finding dolomitic, calcitic, and contacts with the local schists. Even a couple quasi-cave formations presented themselves. But the next day, it was time to return to the conglomerates: my somewhat dormant projects within the Connecticut River Valley.

More ledges were examined for long lost formations photographed by John Lovell from Amherst over 140 years ago. No success to be found here. But I returned to a well known site that Lovell also covered at one point. Here a premiere cave formation exists that has long been know to history - for almost two hundred years! I recreated a number of Lovell's views, shot a few of my own modern interpretations, before moving on to another set of ledges.

In returning to Graves Ledge - or Rock Shelter - I came with a much more 'improved' image of Etta's Nook courtesy of a recent internet auction. Although I must have visited Etta's more than a dozen times in the past, I finally got to see exactly where JL had taken his photo from. A modern 'now' photograph is pretty much obscured with tree growth. But before leaving the Valley again, I was able to visit the ledge above Etta's and see it's geologic connection with Graves' Cave. The Cave is formed by gravity assisted movement of a large section of the cliff that is adjacent to Etta's, and forming the Nook's left wall

April 25, 2012:

The central Berkshires, to the north, offers a significant area of Cheshire Quartzite. Of course, the type locale would be Cheshire where a marvelous exposure exists at the Cobbles. This also happens to be somewhat across the valley from the schists and Stockbridge Marble karsts where many of the central Berkshire caves can be found.

So with my vacation plans to the Ocean thwarted by foul weather, I used the opportunity to ascend the Cobbles, accessible via the Appalachian Trail. Notes from the late speleologist Alan R. "Al" Plante suggested crevice cave formations in the vicinity. However, my observations indicate the best opportunity for 'caves' (and I use that tern VERY loosely) may exist in the talus that has come off the face of the Cobbles. Better examples can be found about four and a half miles to the S SW at the Gulf and Wizard's Glen.

But a pretty good (almost 180 degree) view can be had from the quartzite ledges. A view across the Valley that allowed me to see a mass of dark gray rain clouds moving in over Mt. Greylock. Soon, being pelted with freezing rain, I made a quick check of the ledges and talus before descending back down to the trailhead.

[4/28/12] Not wanting to show any 'favorites' amongst the rocks, a long forgotten marble quarry right in central Berkshire County was visited. According to an old geologic bulletin, this was the likely Brodie Quarry.

April 14, 2012:

Greenfield offers up a pretty good postcard show during April, so a chance to visit the Connecticut River Valley. After scooping up a modest bunch of select cards (including a rare 'cave'), I headed out further East. Here I searched out the confluence of the Millers and Connecticut Rivers for possible put in locations. This would allow access to both rivers and a possible visit to the Millers River Cave(s).

Along the way a pretty good land based look was gained of King Philip's (French King) Rock in the Connecticut. There is one story that the first planting of a French flag on American soil was at this location. Seems I've also heard one of those buried treasure stories in connection with the Rock.

March 21, 2012:

The unorthodox 'winter' and its weather has not gone wasted in recent times. Ice recently receeded in local lakes, eventually leaving altogether, allowing me to start up kayaking once again. Time will be devoted to training and testing new equipment for the eventual return to the ocean.

But, tying up one loose end: a return to a shoreline feature in the Central Berkshires at Pulpit Rock.

January 1, 2012:

I would hate to call any trip into the outdoors "routine" but perhaps the term I'm searching for might be "low keyed". Such was First Day, something I always wanted to do an outdoor hike on, but usually I'm socked away hibernating at home for the winter. This year provided no excuses as the most perfect of weather - and most perfect of opportunities - prevailed.

Williamsburg Woodland Trails is one of many organizations who in recent years watch over and protect much outdoor landscape across Massachusetts. They have an annual First Day hike and this one provided just the right opportunity. The beautiful weather brought a record number of walkers (around eighty) to a sponsored hike by WWT and a pleasant surprise to leader Gwen Blodgett. I had met Gwen several years earlier at the local Balance Rock after investigating the Walking Club Plaque farther to the north.

On the return home, I did a more intensive search for the local mineral Cummingtonite at one of the sites looked over recently. Success at locating the mineral in ledges along an old abandoned road.


'11

December 24, 2011:

VERY late into the season, it is often surprising what may lay almost right under your own 'nose'. A local municipal park has a network of trails which include the remnants of a pond that once was a focal point of local activity.

But the trail map for Springside Park mentions something I had not known of previous to this past summer, the mention of 'Indian rocks' at several locations around the perimeter of the pond. I have yet to find how bona fide this 'title' might be - or just some local people having a bit of fun.

At one - the largest - of the Indian rock outcrops, exist a natural stone 'seat' that minus the foliage, can look down upon the old pond. It was here that I was struck with the fact this was a marble outcrop, later to confirm the 'e' unit of Stockbridge Marble.

December 4, 2011:

Rounding out another year in the outdoors was something close to home. Cummington, MA was the location and 1824 the year. Here a mineral was discovered for the first time (other locations later on) and named for the Town as Cummingtonite. Consulting my collection of geologic maps provided to be a lucky decision as a number of fairly precise locations were given.

On this day five were considered for investigation, with at least four of the locations probably located. Several samples were collected along with some quartz and garnets often associated with sites of cummingtonite

November 27, 2011:

A fine stretch of late Autumn weather has allowed me the luxury of returning to old haunts within the Connecticut River Valley. Largely forgotten this past year, it was more due to lack of firm leads than anything else. Mountains and ledges had been gone through, sometimes a multiple of times, searching for the elusive sites photographed some 140 years prior. But the time comes to move on to new goals with the hope of returning to the old one day.

On this day however, it was time to revisit old sites Fern Cascade and the Arch on what wss to eventually be an ascent of Roaring Mountain, lying in the shadows of its slightly taller neighbor Mount Toby. Part of the route I took brought me along the original carriage road that was built mid 1880's to bvring travellers from the nearby railroad station to Toby's summit. A summit house once briefly graced the summit as well. But my path diverged up the Robert Frost Trail and on up a spur trail to Roaring Mountain's summit.

A break for lunch left me with just enough energy for a pleasant stroll down the spectactular set of ledges once know as Graves Ledge. The upper set of ledges with Graves Cave, as well as lower set with all the familar sites beginning with Castle End and running to Fortress Rock were visited. With the foliage now off for the season, a rather interesting, long range photo, of Kittie's Nook was taken.

Enough daylight was reserved so on the return trip a casual exploration in Cummington could be had. Back in 1824 a mineral located in this town was given the name "Cummingtonite". Apparently modern society being what it is today, there is more internet sites devoted to corrupting this into something of a sexual nature as opposed to it's scientific value. However, three locations were quickly checked over (including an apparent old quarry site) without seeing anything that might catch my eye as the mineral.

November 20, 2011:

Poplar Mountain in Erving MA is (as they say) the "type locale" for Poplar Mountain Gneiss. Erving Conservation Commission (with help from Mount Grace Land Trust) has developed a series of trails that presently run up to the bottom of the Mountain's summit where one can view plenty of the gneiss in the exposed ledges. My hike was with mostly local people, some from the conservation commission, and one representative from Mt Grace Land Trust.

For the following hike, I jumped south across the Millers River and on into the Wendell State Forest. A beautiful walk along a secluded brook, a view of Lynn Falls, and a climb up through the Hidden Valley Memorial Forest (once again - Mt Grace Land Trust property) brought me to some VERY impressive rock ledges. Farther along the Metacomet - Monadnock Trail, one crosses a main forest road with significant overhanging ledges and some 'quasi' cave formations. With the main gate at the State Forest entrance locked, it only remained to walk the road back on out.

November 13, 2011:

What to do with a late afternoon start and a diminished amount of daylight available? With no long drives possible, it is always a pleasure to return to my roots in the Central Berkshires. And one of the stories that inspired me as a child: that of Elsie Venner by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

A small cave in the broken rocks of a schistose mountainside came to be associated with that story. It was one of my early caving experiences and one of my first three attempts a cave mapping. Not a skill I totally developed as it takes as much artistry as technical know how to produce a 'worthy' map.

Little has changed at Elsie Venner's over the 45 plus years I've visited it off and on. The somewhat gray, overcast skies, of a late Fall day made ideal conditions for photographic pursuits. So I came away from my big nostalgia fix with perhaps the most 'worthy' photographs I've take here. Certainly much better than my map back in 1968 turned out.

November 8, 2011:

The traditional November excursion into Connecticut took the 'scenic route' out of the southern Berkshires to make a stop at the old Rock Schoolhouse. Slightly relocated, the goal was to identify the rock in an old photograph as being the one that lays next to the former schoolhouse location. That being accomplished - I rolled on to the vicinity of Bristol and Waterbury.

Sights taken in on this day were old railroad lines, Connecticut's longest train tunnel, a search for glacial geologic phenomena at Birge Pond. The afternoon was wrapped up at the local carousel museum.

The second day saw the Finch Brook Preserve, Lake Compounce (or - an attempt to access rocky features within), and sections of the Tunxis Trail including a historic graveyard.

November 5, 2011:

On the verge of closing out another season, it is one that has been most unorthodox for me personally. The number of excursions were cut to include primarily my vacations. And, destinations were mostly the seacoast. All this was in 'the plan' but left me missing some of my more traditional haunts. So with that in mind, it's on to the rocky interiors of Massachusetts with what good weather remains.

A large postcard show out in central Massachusetts brought me into Worcester County. Afterwards, I took on a few small sights in the Town of Hardwick associated with the East Quabbin Land Trust.

Swinging northward, I passed by the entrance to Indian Rock which was mostly snowed in from the freak October snowstorm. The next destination was a back road to attempt a different access from past visits for Shelter Ledge (old Indian Cave) and Rum Rock. A fair amount of snow, and plenty of down tree limbs, made for an interesting hike to the two rocky formations. But after a long night of work, and daylight on the wane, it was time to head on home.

October 8, 2011:

October has traditionally been spent up Essex County way and this year was no different. Essentially, it was a continuation of the September visit, this time involving (not quite) four days.

The glacial moraines around Peabody were revisited for measurements on a giant sized erratic spotted there last September. Before leaving the area, a search was made for an erratic once know to local youths as Shoemaker Rock and another look at 'access' to Pirate's Glen. I also rambled through the old Saugus Iron Works with an eye towards learning of other mill sites along that river. One is depicted on an old postcard having a huge boulder nearby. But as I discovered, many mills once lined the mighty Saugus River. Swinging on up to Cape Ann, work was continued in the Pigeon Cove vicinity. Access was checked to one of the larger quarries, and a bit of tourism in downtown Rockport.

Second day was devoted to two Essex County towns where old leads on Cradle Rock and the Nubble Squid were worked in Groveland while Parker River access and Carsey's Rock were looked over in Newbury. Both town libraries were visited.

The third day started in northern Dogtown but soon swung up past one big old quarry finally reaching one of the mammoth Rockport quarries. In days past it was known as the Upper Pit of the Pigeon Hill Quarries but is now a major swimming hole for the local people. Another jaunt up the coastline to Pigeon Cove for more work, finally ending at Pigeon Hill itself with the Profile Rock and checking additional routes into the old quarries.

The fourth day was to be a hot one. So some pleasant, leisurely hiking was done at the Heap of Rocks and old Rattlesnake Dens before heading on home.

September 15, 2011:

Five days out in Essex County became somewhat evenly split between rest - and recreation. The initial stops were in the Lynn-Peabody area where Goliath Rock was the first stop. Turned out to be nothing more than a pretty average rock outcrop. The area is also home to some pretty significant glacial moraines and I continue to make significant finds along these. Included are numerous 'perched' erratics, one gigantic boulder (which I'm quite sure will rank among Essex County's largest), and a couple old quarry sites. Before heading out to the Cape (Ann) I finished up checking into a boulder spotted on aerial imagery. It was a possibility for the old Wigwam Rock but doesn't seem to fit the old photos and description.

The remaining four days saw two half days out on the Pigeon Cove shoreline continuing on with the identification of historic sites and photographs. Some kayaking was found on the Little and Annisquam Rivers. Red Rocks was hiked. A drive by was made on Sea Rocks the old Estate of Jacob Loose. A couple of the old Rockport quarries and another quick trip into Profile Rock rounded out the tour.

Parts of this - and other recent vacations - have been spent laying the groundwork for future sea going investigations which will only grow with time.

August 11, 2011:

Some good presented itself as I was about to begin another vacation. It appeared I might be able to get my 'travel boat' back on the water again. So this spoke loud and clear about returning to coastal areas. I decided to put part of a day trying to pick up where I left off in Newport, Rhode Island.

But it was not meant to be as upon my arrival the area was shrouded in fog and the seas - just VERY choppy. So after a morning of casual sight seeing, I rolled on up to the area of Fall River for further investigations into Rocky Woods where old King Philip (aka: Metacom) once use to roam.

The second day brought me out to the South Shore coast of Massachusetts, an area I have spent much time over the years. Wanting to keep things on the 'light' side I proceeded to work a series of old leads and sites. First stop was the Cleft Rock near Manomet. Many years since I saw this intriguing split rock formation.

Rolling up the coast I continued on with the investigation of a Devil's Rock. This town reportedly had at least a couple, along with a couple more rocky formations named for old Satan. I'm not altogether convinced this rock that I got a second look at is the real deal. Some scratches (probably glacial) but I don't see 'footprints'. However, it is impossible to tell how much imagination the local people in Colonial times used in seeing these phenomena. But it seems I'm getting closer, as the the rock written of in local history, was in - or near - an old brickyard. There are old bricks here and a hand-drawn map found a couple years back, marks the brickyard as very close by. Likely coming in by river may be necessary.

Library visits were made intermittently as a bit of relief from the scorching heat. After once such stop, I continued my trek up the coast dropping in again on another King Philip's site. This was also to check a legitimate access route across conservation land where previously I had to ask (but much shorter) to cross neighboring territory. One note: this particular King Philip's Rock has one reference to being Pulpit Rock.

Still farther up the coast: low tide, The Nubian Head Rock, a library, and some reconnaissance to see if some type of access might be had to another Cleft Rock written up in local history. Although I have repeatedly tried this many times over the years, the feeling is of being completely stymied. What would have been perfect access, was an old railroad bed. However, recent years has seen that railroad reactivated. The rest of the area is covered with residential neighborhoods and swampy meadows.

The same can mostly be said of nearby Sunset Rock. Once the place to obtain beautiful views, It now has the same railroad line below it, and residential backyards bordering its opposite side.

On the third day, I sat sipping MickeyD's coffee while waiting out some foul weather that had moved in the previous night. Eventually I took to the coast examining a number of rocky sites but also with an eye towards some possible water access routes. I came on in by Kent Rocks, but soon found access to a local river a bit inland where finally I could pull out the kayak. Sailing the lowering tide towards the ocean, I passed a number of fine rock outcroppings. One towering monolith was later identified as Buck Rock. On the return, a trip down a side inlet brought me to Landing Rock where baptisms once took place during the 1800's.

The fourth - and final day - was planned to be a light one. Having secured knowledge of a kayak access point from a local individual, I set out for the Indian Well, Indian Pot, and other glacial potholes. Although these are suppose to be along the shoreline - they never were seen.

August 1, 2011:

Summer heat is here for the foreseeable future so we work minimally. I'm presently trying to come up with a good method for scanning glass slides and negatives that are beyond the normal size a scanner will handle. Think I may found some success there. This also involves taking me to the nearby Gulf to compare my images from 1923 with present conditions there. Some modern day changes to the landscape may make some identification impossible.

However, a major segment of my vacation time approaches and time to ponder its course. If I am able to return to being on the sea - far from certain - that will play a major force in my decision. If not - well it's the usual land based activities.

A new kayak is being 'broken in' but this will be only for local recreational use. It has already proved it's usefulness with my first ever water tour on parts of Onota Lake. Here the long sought after Pulpit Rock was finally found.

July 17, 2011:

Recent projects have involved sifting through enormous amounts of old photographic material. Eventually this will translate into a large amount of field activity. I've been helping out the Granddaughter of Frank DeMars with identification on some of her Granddad's old photographic images. Frank was a prolific photographer and postcard producer, mostly active in northwest Connecticut and southwest Massachusetts.

My own collection has grown with the addition of photographic negatives. First of the Oven Mouth in Norfolk County - circa 1930's. Second are a few glass slides from the travels of Mary Constance Todd and her husband to the East Coast during 1923. I have obtained those of Mary's visited to the "Gulf Rocks" or what is better known as Wizard's Glen which includes Lucky 7 Cave, amongst others.

June 9, 2011:

Five days out on the road evenly split between the Newport, Rhode Island area and Cape Ann. This was intended to be primarily a seafaring adventure, but problems, both moderate and severe, beached me early on. So some of the time in the Newport area was spent trying to resolve those issues (unable) and the rest - more like a normal tourist.

But before problems sent me to shore, I was able to explore the area of Purgatory, revisiting Negro Head, the adjacent Lovers Pass, some small cave formations, and finally entering the interior of Purgatory itself. Some of the aforementioned problems were temporarily resolved to allow me to investigate a reported cave site on the east side of the Sakonnet River. Shoreline visits were also made to the vicinity of Profile Rock and Pirate Caves Also: a marvelous hike in the woods of Tiverton to High Rock while waiting for low tide on the Sakonnet River.

Before pulling out of Town on the third morning, I went off to old favorite in the 40 steps at the Cliff Walk. Photographed here were more historic sites that have surfaced in antique photography.

On into Cape Ann, camp was set up to prepare for an early morning call next morning. That call brought me back into examining old quarrying activity in Gloucester. Also being the site of the Chief Wingaersheek formation. Breakfast with an old friend charged me up to take on the Rockport shoreline. What ensued was six plus hours 'cooking' under the sun while slowly making my way up the rocky coastline visiting, and confirming, historic sites that included the Swimming/Bathing Place, with its marvelous Stone Bathtub, and Pulpit Rock. Along the way I once again got a gander at the sites visited - and passed - during April including Cathedral Rocks, Singers Rock, Chapin's Gully, finally ending by Dick's Dream. Spouting rocks abounded and a marvelous pegmatite deposit exists among these rocks. On the return, I was stunned to see the previously, nearly empty, Stone Bathtub completely submerged. Ah - the power of the mighty tides!

Fifth and final day brought intense heat. I weathered it for a short duration, returning to the Stone Bathtub for more photos and to examine it during its emptying phase. One final trek was made through the sun to visit the Halibut Point shoreline and a couple sea-boulder caves.

May 10, 2011:

Over the winter an interesting antique postcard surfaced revealing a view from "Indian Rock" in Dalton, central Berkshires. Although the image did not show the rock itself, I did not let that discourage me from searching out the location of this heretofore unknown (to me - anyways) site.

Using a former Appalachian Trail access, I worked my way into the area that would possibly line up the view seen in the postcard. It did not take very long to come upon a large glacial boulder with a nearly smooth, level surface. Certainly would make for a good meeting site. And - another source had mention a "Meeting Rock" in the general vicinity, that also having a Native American background.

Reconnaissance of the area both before - and after - the photo session, revealed nothing more than that several token, small erratics. Nothing on the order of what I assume to be Indian Rock.

On the hike back, I scouted the old AT route but it has all been obliterated in recent years. But down near the Housatonic River, I discovered an old dam site that had been breached in the attempt to return the mighty river to its more natural state.

April 20, 2011:

Spring has come very, VERY slowly. Good days seem all too far and few between. But a roll of the dice and on up to Essex County to see how far I could go.

Day One: Working information that surfaced just after my last visit to Essex County, I trolled through the moraine containing Ship Rock in search of Kimball Rock. A few good sized boulders were encountered, although nothing nearly equaling the size of Ship Rock. At a location marked on my source map (albeit: somewhat of a small scale) the 'largest' of these boulders was found and I assume this to be Kimball Rock. Now to determine the source of its name.

Lookout Rock (mentioned as being a boulder) was given a second go now that a more definitive location was found. Several erratic extended from the crest of a hill downward. The largest, at the top, was assumed to be Lookout Rock. However, views were mostly obscured due to newer growth. A nearby outcrop along the hillside offered just a slightly better view.

With a bit of time to kill, I quickly drove up the interstate into the more northerly portions of the county to try once again and identify the Ordway Boulder. A local history expert verified, on my last pass through the area, it would be in the same section of woods as the previously visited Haystack Boulder. Still no luck on this one and seeing the property is being carved up for development, I have to wonder how long future visits may be possible.

Day Two: Early morning and time to roll on to Cape Ann and Pigeon Cove. Very quickly gaining access the sea shore rocks, I began the process of identifying sites from old images. Chapin's (Great Gully) is well know, down to Singer's Rock, and on to Cathedral Rocks and the Bathing/Swimming Place. Reversing direction, I passed the Gargoyle, and looked extensively for a much sought out prize: Dick's Dream. I got up as far as the Frog (completely swamped by a ferocious surf). An abundance of marvelous dikes were to be seen along the way, but could not find what Dick might have been dreaming of.

Coming down the coast, I was pleasantly surprised to find a rock depicted on an old postcard of Pigeon Hill. In one version of this postcard, it is called Profile Rock. A somewhat marginal example of this phenomenon. But there it was, once standing proudly against the backdrop of the vista below, now surrounded by the growth of recent generations. Down below, I took in the sites available from the Granite Pier.

One longer hike out to the Devil's Den, and a short jaunt on the Old Rockport Road, finished the day.

Days Three and Four: Ah - the almighty rains rolled in over night but were light enough for me to slip out in the morning to the very rocky Poles Hill. The next morning saw very slight improvement, so I ran with it, stopping off at the Stone Chair and swinging up and around Halibut Point to Pigeon Cove once again. Despite the constant threat that rain would descend upon me, I went back out on the rocks in a slightly different area from two days previous. I came back by the Frog, spied something that looked like Dick's Dream, but gave it a thumbs down on my previous pass by two days earlier. Not having my printouts with me, I shot a couple of photos to look over later.

Meteoric Rock was listed on the back of an old stereoview as being among these rocks. One local, theorized it to be an elevated gabbro dike which I did find. However, without the actual photo - it's hard to complete the identification. I worked back down the coast to photograph (again) Singer's Rock which had been washed out by the sunlight two days previous.

I usually like to include a Dogtown hike on each visit, but threatening weather made long treks out into the open iffy at best. Finally a decision was made to go for the Briar Swamp area and Racoon Rocks. Destination reached: the rain started slow and steady. So retreating to the car, the long journey home was made once again.

April 9, 2011:

A pretty straightforward visit to the Connecticut River Valley. I decided to take in a postcard show in Greenfield then head South down the Valley and see how far I could get. Not too far really, but considering this was after working the whole week previous and all night too, I got in a nice trip.

The afternoon was spent hiking the southern end of the Pocumtuck Range once again ending at a small cave formation that has been called King Philip's Cave. It is but a small alcove eroded out of the Sugarloaf Arkose but it comes with spectacular views of the valley below.

April 3, 2011:

The weekend start off with a brief jaunt to the central Berkshires. This was to give my cameras a 'test run' after the long winter layoff. It also gave me a chance to look over a rather large boulder mentioned to me by a co worker. Afterwards a drive along the back road confirmed plenty of snow still on the ground as well as sections of rock that looked to be from the mountain looming behind. Final destination was good old Reynolds Rock, a fine photographic test, standing amongst the snow still spitting from the previous day's northeaster that never fully materialized.

Sunday started in earnest as I was out in central Massachusetts as the sun rose. The first destination was way out in Middlesex County - the Boston Antique Photo Show. A couple hours here was enough before moving on to the area in and around the Wachusetts Reservoir. I basically worked the area visited back in February when snow and wind were the order of the day. First sought out was an Indian Rock first visited some years back. It apparently is now a decoration in front of a newer home.

Off in the nearby woods, I worked the story of two Tory Caves. Like many stories of history, there are discrepancies as to location. In the past I looked at one location which was basically a bit of a ledge outcropping. No cave passage of any sort. But I was told a new location might hold more promise. After a walk through the woods, and some intensive searching of ledges and glacial boulders, little was to be found. Possible two overlapping erratics might provide a bit of shelter. I confirmed my observations with two young men I ran into and then looked over a monstrous sized boulder before moving on.

Over on the other side of Wachusetts, I returned to the "Clamshell Cut" which was the site of several old postcards including one dubious "Profile Rock". There have been some minor changes to the walls of this rock cut, including a 'knob' that I imagine once was the nose for this very minor profile feature.

Continuing on , I dropped in at the Rowlandson Rock - or Boulder - site of where Mary Rowlandson was said to have spent her first night in captivity during King Philip's War. From there it was but a brief drive over to examine some rocky cave formations brought to my attention by a local man posting them on his internet photo site.

The day was finished up on a section of the Mid-State Trail where the Everett Tomb is located. Now where did that tomb go? I saw it once a few years back. Ah well - next time. Darkness was moving in and it was time to catch the Mohawk Trail back to the Berkshires

February 12, 2011:

A mid winter break took me out to the farthest reaches (from my perspective) of Worcester County for a lecture on the history of the Wachusetts Reservoir. Much has been written regarding the much larger - and later built - Quabbin Reservoir but this is the most comprehensive gathering of information I've seen on Wachusetts.

But since it is a bit of a drive for this individual, I thought I'd try to mix in a little project work along the way. It was met with only moderate success as snow and biting wind turned back attempts at reaching most sites. But one pleasant surprise was a local library within the region between the two great reservoirs. Here the origin of a mysterious postcard "Everett Tomb" was investigated. By the time I left, its story had been partially explored. But being off in the woods, the time for a physical visit will have to wait.

Moving along I tried to get in to Rowlandson Rock and a railroad rock cut that has several postcards of its likeness, including one "Profile Rock", but here's where weather got the better of the situation. Even the local Profile Rock along the main highway was encrusted within an icy robe. Arriving in Town for the lecture I first scouted out their local library where information on a local Tory Cave/Bear's Den was found. The presentation went off without a hitch and I even reconnected with Fred from the local historical society whom I met on a couple occasions in years past. Fred has - and continues to be - a very valuable source of information on the local area.

Lecture finished, it was time to wander north to the Mohawk Trail for the return home to the Berkshires.

'10

Novemeber 13, 2010:

November is traditionally the time I journey on down into Connecticut. Rest and relaxation is the first order of business but certainly included in there is a chance to explore different territories, different histories.

Day One started off on one - of many - old railroad lines that have been converted in recent years to bike paths. This one in Farmington took me across the Farmington River, north, past an abandoned side line. This spur ran up to a somewhat dilapidated building that once held a former business, while the rail trail continued it's northward journey for many a mile more. On the return trip, after traversing the River once again, a pleasant surprise was to be had in a more rustic trail, that wound it's way along the river bank before returning near the vicinity of the parked car.

Another, nearby, bike path also along a former RR bed) was scouted by car before retuning to another section of the Farmington River that once carried the Farmington Canal over over the river by way of a viaduct. All that remains are a couple abutments and foundations.

Day Two was devoted to the shoreline after a quick spin past a local rock that a previously investigated trolley line once ran through. Upon arriving at Lighthouse Point in New Haven, lighthouse, rocks, and other historic features from the past were given a going over.

Then on over to the other side of the bay where a gem of local history lies in Savin Rock. The "Rock" gave it's name to a once thriving - and long gone - amusement park. Today a museum remains as well as an ocean walk. But my interests were once again drawn to the rocks where one old postcard mentions a 'profile' and Savin Rock. It is not entirely clear if this is meant to be a 'facial profile' in rock (maybe a possible interpretation) or profile in it's more general meaning - as in a side view. However, photos were taken for later study, and the perimeter of Savin Rock itself was studied where one profile of an 'old man' type could be found.

With the Savin Rock museum closed, research was limited on the return trip to the cuisine of the famous local hot dog stand. Two thumbs up on this 'historic' and tasty location.

October 13, 2010:

This is the one I look forward to all year. The annual return to Essex County which has me staying out on Cape Ann. This year I had enough on the Cape to keep me busy but first...

Day One: Coming in by the standard, routine approach - Rt. 128 - I stopped in at one of my old favorites Ship Rock in southern Essex County. It is always a challenge to try to photograph this boulder because of it's enormousness size and generally I arrive during early day when the rock is drenched in sunlight. Moving on a bit to the southern perimeter of town I reexamined a patch of conservation land just littered with glacial boulders, some of significant size. One worthy specimen is a classic perched/balanced rock just over 60 feet in circumference. Last - before pulling out of town to set up camp - I ascended at ridge quite close to the town boundary where power lines had opened a path showing dozens upon dozens of perched boulders left from the glacial age. All this area was once the object of study of the Essex Institute - now merged with the Peabody Museum - during the middle 1800's.

Day Two: Some excellent Fall weather and I took to the most northern portions of Cape Ann. A local woman had provided clues to a couple possible caves in that area and searching coastal areas found a couple cave-like features formed in gigantic boulder piles. I later confirmed this as one of the caves mentioned to me by the local woman. I followed this with her second lead passing by old quarries (of which - many exist in this area) to a ravine I thought might be the cave location. With nothing seen here - I moved on.

Down the coast is Pigeon Cove, the location of many old photographic and postcard images. Especially of rocky formations. One is the Devil's Den and Profile Rock. Success was to be had at locating this old site. Still further south lays a section of Gloucester once know as Joppa. A good chunk of woodlands was covered in another less than successful attempt at locating the Old Man of Joppa profile formation. After chowing down some bogus supermarket pizza, I decided to work off my meal in the southern extremes of Dogtown visiting Tent Rock and five of Babson's inscribed boulders.

Day Three: Now we come to the Dogtown walk. Wouldn't be a visit to Cape Ann without one significant hike through the moorlands that once was the main settlement of Gloucester long before residents took to the coastal areas. Working with a newer publication I picked up late last year, I walked a unnamed trail down towards Babson Reservoir where my book told me rocks larger than Uncle Andrews and Peter's Pulpit - two of the largest erratics in Dogtown - might exist. Although numerous boulders were to be seen - some of pretty big size - I cannot say they exceeded the aforementioned rocks in size. But I made a circuit by coming back up the Babson Boulder Trail and verifying that the backside of Uncle Andrews Rock (aka: Spiritual Power) was the site represented on an old glass slide I picked up the preceding winter. Cellar hole #23 (stone seems to be missing) finally was located. This one belonging to Col. Pearce, a wealthy Gloucester family, and one I had an postcard of the old cellar hole.

To the northeast, near the Goose Cove Reservoir, another section of old Dogtown was investigated. One cellar hole marker on the road in was found, one on a rock in the Reservoir (visible only because of low water), and two were found along the city street leading away from the waters. Goose Cove has(had?) a small waterfall depicted on an old postcard. The site was located but with water running on the low side, did not appear particularly significant.

Once again shooting out to the northern extremes of Cape Ann, I further worked cave lead #2 from two days ago, weaving my way through many an old quarry, but still finding nothing noteworthy. Then out to the ocean side at two locations, at one - visiting Chapin's Gully and the Great Gargoyle.

Day Four: Down in the urban town is a patch of nature that survived and is known as the Magic Garden. Following my visit to the Garden, I returned to scour another section in Joppa coming across interesting boulders and ledges but no Old Man. Coming down the coast I decided to spend my final hours in town at sentimental favorites in George Washington's profile and Rafes Chasm Park. On the way back out of the area, I found my way to Singing Beach at Manchester looking over rocks at both ends of the beach. Postcards depict Eagle Head (shape of an eagle's head) and one of the Sentinel (rock). After experiencing the 'singing' of sand beneath my feet towards the beach's southern end, it was time to leave Cape Ann once again...

Addendum: The return home brought the usual sifting through, and going over, all that had been gathered. Additional research brought up some very interesting information on sites in the vicinity I had just covered near Ship Rock, et al. Long sought Wigwam Rock appears to have been mostly taken for construction purposes some years back. Still I would like to pinpoint its location. Lookout Rock, also once looked for, has showed up on a map with a pretty definitive location. And a new entry: Kimball Rock. All will be worked on during future visits to Essex County.

September 26, 2010:

A casual, laid back day, as once again I joined area naturalist Aimee Gelinas and her group. Destination this time around was the Chapel Brook property of the Trustees of the Reservations. The two primary features located here are Chapel Falls (mostly dried up from summer draught) and Pony Mountain with its rock face favored by technical climbers.

On this day a magnificent view was to had from Pony Mountain's summit with trees just beginning to show their fall colors. Also seen: several very old trees and one cellar hole.

September 22, 2010:

In recent years this aging baby boomer takes himself during September on out to the South Shore area in the Bay State. This year was no different. Stops are often made at various locations both to and fro.

Day One: Ditching off of the Mass Pike for a short jaunt down Rt 128, my first stop was ... a flat tire! Once that issue was resolved, I made my way into northern Wellesley to the Boulder Brook Reservation. Nice area to find in a basically suburban neighborhood but not much for boulders despite it's name. Perhaps it's main feature is a side of Rocky ledge which also marks the boundary with the town of Weston to the north. Nearby is a big boulder (sometimes called the Bates Boulder) in another park - Kelly Park.

A bit to the other side of town are the remains of an old estate from the second half of the 1800's carved up long ago into more suburban neighborhoods. I first visited the area some twelve years ago and found residents - at least the one I talked to - very gracious. Apparently with new owners, the situation has changed significantly. It is now patrolled by security officers. So attempts to update information on this area was largely futile.

Moving on down to The Blue Hills I initiated two searches. Both basically turning up nothing. The first was an attempt to find the location of a Rattlesnake Den written about in an old publication from the early 1900's. I started this last year and continued by covering a slightly different tract of land. Although I saw plenty of rocks on this visit (hey - after all - this IS the Blue Hills!) nothing that would fit the description. A small cave formation called the Hermit Cave by its modern day photographer also did not turn up, but likely just the wrong area was searched.

Day Two: Early morning brought me to the eastern region of the Wompatuck State Park for a reexamination of a small cave found there several years early. Perhaps Rattlesnake Den might be a good name but then it would confuse matters as history records another site nearby with the same name. But a closer examination shows much of this cave's origin is due to displacement of a large, fractured piece of the parent outcrop. A similar - but smaller situation - would be seen later in the day within the same town. I finished the walk by making a circuit past the Burbank Boulder (incidentally: slightly wrong location is marked on their trail map) and trying (in vain) to find legitimate access to Cleft Rock before breaking at the nearby Scituate Library.

Emerging from the Library I made the short distance to the local historical society to further work on another lost erratic called Damon's Rock. Although it seems after numerous tries, I finally have narrowed its location down. But another site where access may be a dicey situation. But being already down by the ocean, I made the tour up the coast visiting the Nubian Head Rock, Well Rock, and the Old Man of the Rocks before heading back into Cohasset.

At the Cohasset Historical Society, I shoved a recent eBay find under their eyes for possible identification but to no avail. Afterwards, in driving part of the coastline, I caught a distant view of Daniel Webster (profile rock) sitting at the ocean's edge. Down on the boundary between Cohasset and Scituate is a rock at Bound Brook, incorporated into and old mill site. Landing Rock, where I was told baptisms once took place, also lies in the vicinity pretty much shut off by private land.

Great Brewster Woods (access behind the Cohasset Town Hall) is a fine walk and the site of one Lion's Den whose exact location is somewhat lost to history. In the past I thought it to be a marginal cave formation in the far northern parts of the Woods (also formed by displacement of a section of ledge) but now believe it was one of several rocky ridges within the GBW.

Day Three: A more leisurely pace than the preceding day, I caught up with some work at the local wifi spot. Then heading into an adjacent town I looked into a reference by eminent geologist Crosby from the early 1900's. He mentions a feature resembling (but much smaller) than nearby Cavern Rock. Indeed a small spot survived amongst much developed land that contained minor rocky formations. Wether any of these were what Crosby had written about is uncertain. But speaking of Cavern Rock, since it was nearby, I dropped on by to update my photos on this spectacular rock formation.

In another part of Town I continued the ongoing search for what some have called Writing Rock. Each visit seems to bring me a bit closer and local "Dave" talked with me at great length about the neighborhood which was once part of a large estate. Somewhere in this area the rock should exist.

Skipping over a town I was granted permission to examine Rocky Woods. One of several such locations with that name around Massachusetts. Even though I only saw a portion, indeed it had much in the way of erratics and especially high, rocky ridges. I had theory that a lost "Devil's Den" might lay here but that did not prove true - at least on this visit. But to the north is the Town Forest where one individual I've contacted in the past believes Devil's Den might have - or may still lay. But some pleasant walking was to be had and I revisited the Garden of the Gods, an area of glacial erratics.

Day Four: Seems there is no end to the heat of summer! With a hot day building before me, I decided to put in a short day before making my way home. I had what I thought might be an alternate access to a site I visited last year outside of Plymouth where one - of two - possible "Devil's Rocks" might lay. My access road soon turned up as invalid and after checking out an access point to the local river, I moved on.

Better luck was to be had farther east in Plymouth County where a possible Indian mortar/grindstone was examined. For real - or not. One cannot say. But the day (and trip) was brought to a conclusion in the Village of Rock where after several visits, the location of the ledge (and old postcards) from which the village took its name was verified.

September 12, 2010:

Under somewhat threatening skies, I made the trip over the northern end of the Quabbin Reservoir for an abbreviated day. I continued on with a project from the early June vacation when this area was hot, humid, and very buggy. But on this much cooler day I finished searching out yet another Devil's Den. Not much here but some extended ledges and very small cave formations. More like porkie dens would be a better description.

But Rum Rock is in the same general area, and I've been somewhat stymied in obtaining decent photos, so I dropped in on that giant erratic as well. Nearby is an "old Indian cave" or so I ws told by a local history authority in the past. Whether it's true -or not - is once again lost to the annals of time.

Finishing up the day, just for kicks, I stopped at Counterfeiter's Cave in Hampshire County upon my return. This is not a 'true' cave but a man-made tunnel of mysterious origins. In recent years its entrance has been capped by flat rocks and a boulder on top.

September 5, 2010:

Once again we stand at the doorstep to another Fall. Exciting for me personally as it has always been my most favorite time of the year. But to get things started, I returned after a seven year hiatus to some of the most spectacular ledges in all of Massachusetts lying just east of the Connecticut River. It was during the late 1990's and early years of this century, I spent much time combing through their cracks, crevices, and caves.

Some of the more interesting cave formations include the historic Barn Door Cave (largest entrance in Massachusetts) and -the more recently named - Serpents Cave. However many caves exist in the fracturing and talus of these cliffs. I basically spent half of a day working photo shots at Barn Door and then trudged along the base of the mountain to the more northern end where Serpents Cave lay. Down below Serpents, lies a small cave formed by the fracturing, and gravity assisted movement, in a section of ledge.

August 28, 2010:

It does happen every so often that I 'connect' with a group of other like minded individuals. On one beautiful late summer day I met local naturalist Aimee Gelinas and others at the Chesterfield Gorge for an examination of its natural history. This is also the location of a marginal profile in the rocks sometimes know as the Old Man of the Gorge. Towards the end of Aimee's program we were treated to a flock of four merganser ducks floating their way down through the gorge on the Westfield River.

Afterwards, going solo, I dove into some remote wilderness to relocate a cave used a couple decades back by a modern day hermit. On my initial visit a few years ago visible signs of his presence remained. On this day it was seen to have been 'refurbished' by more modern day visitors.

August 7, 2010:

Recently a friend from Gloucester expressed an interest in stone carving mentioning soapstone. I had visited several sites over the years that also included a couple (there are four in Massachusetts) used by Native Americans for pottery. All this rekindled an interest in my second favorite rock soapstone (conglomerate being the first) or its more 'scientific' name: steatite.

Modern day bedrock geologic maps show the existence of bodies of ultramafic rocks mentioning some as talc sites. Historically, they have been labeled as soapstone. These bodies extend roughly along the area of the Berkshire County border with Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties, and indeed one big old mine has become a habitat for bats.

But on this particular day, I revisited a massive open cut quarry in the southwest portions of Hampshire County. A damp, bug infested old hole it remains much as I remerged it some years ago. Obvious signs of people carving and hammering on the rock exist. But most of what exists as the 'greasy-feeling' rock soapstone is know for, is a crumbly schisty rock.

In the immediate area I investigated a similar body marked on the geologic map but it looked to be a very small quarrying operation. Any signs of those operations seem obliterated but some minor ledge is exposed in the area.

The trip home brought me by way of the Middle Branch Westfield River where once again the geologic map indicated the presence of ultramafic rock. Although I somewhat confirmed the rocks exist, almost none of it really qualified as talc - or soapstone.

August 4, 2010:

Day One: brought me into Norfolk County by way of the Mass Pike and Rt 495. First destination was an old canal site along the Charles River and an Indian Cave in the immediate vicinity. The origin of this cave seems quite interesting as a softer, almost chalky, lens of rock (sample now being analyzed) in the surrounding bedrock was susceptible to weathering.

Rocky Woods is a name that pops up in local geographical databases every now and then. I dropped farther south to take a look at one such area. I had started working this area a few years back when a written work on the area mentioned a cave in these woods, a House Rock, and a Great Rock. It is primarily within the region of Dighton Conglomerates and many of these 'puddingstone' boulders and outcrops were indeed to be seen in Rocky Woods. Somewhere in the local area is the site of an old postcard called the Playmate, paying homage to a rock that was played upon by someone's Father during his childhood.

But Rocky Woods are an immense piece of territory and any cave would have to be guided to. I saw no such thing. I did see House Rock once again at the farthest reaches of my hike, another large accumulation of conglomerate boulders forming a sort of small Garden of the Gods/Rock City effect. A gargantuan boulder of conglomerate also exists here with a circumference of 103.5 feet!

While in the general area, I decided to drop in on some of my other favorite conglomerate features laying a couple towns away. Abram's Rock, Wildcat Rock, and Lion (or Lion's Head) Rock are some of these. One having petroglyphs upon it's surface.

Day Two: At dawn I made the trip down into Rhode Island to give my kayak its maiden voyage upon the ocean and finally bring it into use as a bona fide piece of research equipment. My original destination was quite busy even at early morning light so I retreat a bit north where an old ferry route provided ocean access to an area where an old report on bird count mentions Swallow Cave. Sailing the coastline where the ocean is in non stop motion proved both interesting and challenging. The conglomerate ledges of the coast offered many fractures, some even where the sea could get behind, but nothing in the way of a true cave. Perhaps the birds nested with the multitude of fissures to be found along the coast.

The rest of the morning was spent visiting old haunts with the hope of once again putting in the kayak. But - not unexpected - this time of year is not good to visit a tourist favorite such as the Newport area. My springtime trips to the region have always offered the better opportunities at getting into the variety of geologic sites along the coast.

Returning to Massachusetts, I decided to hike in to another Rocky Woods, which was a primary destination and research topic for this trip. It is reported to have an abundance of geologic features, the best being one of the many rocky features know as King Philip's Cave. Other notable sites include Devil's Hoofprints, King Philip's Soup Bowl, and the Devil's Bowling Alley. After departing King Philip's, I headed on over to Profile Rock before finishing up the afternoon at one of the two local libraries in Town.

Day Three: Driving through the dark, dawn found me once again returning to the Narragansett Bay in pursuit of another cave lead. Parts of this shoreline had been looked over several times in the past with varying results. Small cave, "quasi-cave" features can be found but I was hopeful of finding a real genuine outstanding sea cave! The kayak was brought in through a narrow access strip to the ocean. Putting in, I began a tour of the coast which eventually landed me in an area of features I had looked at in the past. Some inaccessible from the bluffs above. One I got into several years past by means of a rope. One small cave and one quasi-cave formation existed with a small cove. Turning the boat back around I rounded a corner to be faced with a gaping cave entrance within the cliffs. While circling about the outside, the ocean decided to push me closer then on in. Once beached underground I found the cave to be more substantial than it first appeared from the outside. Total length here, probably 50 to 60 feet.

Retreating to a local wifi site I relaxed over coffee catching up on more mundane matters. Eventually hitting the road, I returned to Massachusetts and the library I had waited to open since arriving in Bristol County. Gleaning all that I could from sources there I mad a quick spin out to Joe's Rock, another historical site of human habitation often mentioned as a cave but just some heavily fractured and split rock outcropping. Then returning past the library I scouted the outside perimeter of Rocky Woods for a couple features I learned of during my recent library visit. Finishing off an early day I connected again with Bob, a local antique dealer who has been a valuable source of information over the years on the immediate area.

Day Four: was left during the planning stage as an optional day. Sleeping in to 5 am made it too late to avoid the early morning crowds down at the Rhode Island beaches. Besides: the oppressive summer heat was already making its return. So I decided to take one more early morning walk through Rocky Woods to familiarize myself a bit more with its path system. Then with it already 75 degrees by 7 am, I turned the car homeward.

June 27, 2010:

Pulpit Rock at Onota Lake has been worked on several past occasions but with the securing of a 'new' postcard, I gave it a go once again on one sticky, gray, summer afternoon.

By comparing the newer image to other images of the Lake, it seems confirmed that the site was on the south side of Onota. Much of this is now in private hands and been well developed including boat docks.

Although Pulpit Rock still did not present itself on this adventure, I'll be bringing the kayak out on the lake for a final determination. Presently: I suspect it to be gone!

June 2, 2010:

Vacation has once again arrived. Unfortunately of the hot, humid type during which I generally limit my outdoor activities. But with that said onward I trekked into the great wide open...

Previous to embarking on what was to be primarily a south Worcester County adventure, a local history on one of the Quabbin Reservoir towns came to light, and it furnished enough information - and incentive - to begin my wanderings there.

Day One: Entering the region just to the east of Quabbin, from the north, I began my search by looking for an old historic spring in Peter Gore's Spring. An issuance of water from the forest floor seemed to be the likely location for this geographic feature.

An underground spring was up next and it proved to be a site I once visited in the past. Some have this on an inventory as a stone chamber and indeed its construction is along those lines.

Bell Rock was revisited after a number of years as it was in the vicinity of some reported caves. Not much was seen for caves other than a small, insignificant overhang on ledge. However, it may be worthwhile to pursue a more expanded search of the area.

Near the center of town, history reported a "huge boulder" marking the "exact geographical center of town". One boulder seems to fit the location.

On an abandoned section of roadway running through the woods, a stone watering trough was located.

Farther into the wilds lay the Lion's Den, a geologic feature comprised of a ledge and natural arch of rock separated from the main face by several feet. One can enter this space between rocks through an opening in the base of the arch.

An extensive search for the Indian's Cave followed but nothing definitive was brought to light. It apparently was a boulder that lay against a ledge. Many ledges were seen in the area where history recorded its location but none had the boulder described. Could it be the boulder has rolled away downhill?

A rocking stone or "Teeter Rock" was also said to exist in this same section of town, but again, this did not show itself.

Before heading southeastward to camp, a quick jump into the woods was made to search for another Devil's Den. Amongst the relentless onslaught of mosquitoes and deer flies, a fast walk-through the forest turned up a nice set of ledges honeycombed with small caves. A more extensive investigation was left for better days.

Day Two: After a night of heavy thunderstorms, the air was thicker with humidity than the previous day. But on up into the land of Brookfields was my destination. I had been here the previous year in an unsuccessful search for an Indian shelter cave that was home to the last of the Quaboag Indians. On this quest - I was more triumphal locating the rocky ledge and nearby features of a well and chimney leftover from the days of a previous landowner.

One town to the east, investigation was made of an old postcard known simply as "ledges". My suspicions were these ledges may have been part of an old slate quarrying operation and that proved to be true. I quickly looked for a stone chamber in town but since entry lay through the parking lot of a (opened) business, I deferred on this one to a later date. Next I killed a couple of productive hours (out of the heat) in the local library where sifting through their records obtained information on the slate quarry, another stone chamber, and a balancing rock.

Retreating to the south, I ended not far from the Connecticut border, trying to outrace the coming rain. I located my site in Dennison Rock just as the heavens opened up and a friendly neighbor invited me in to stay dry. A while later, the rain abated enough for me to venture out for photographs. Just enough - as a night of constant rain began on the drive back to camp.

Day Three: Juggling the possibilities of what to do before returning home, I faced another day of intense heat and humidity. So I opted for the casual, somewhat leisurely option, of working my way back through the Quabbin Reservoir region.

Pulling in to the Rock House Reservation, I remembered an old record of glacial scratches on a rock across from it's entrance. This happened to be a large, heavily fractured, glacial boulder that caught my attention on each previous pass through the area. There are some indications of glacial movement across this rock but I would not say they are significant. Of greater interest, I found a nice talus cave in the broken rock alongside the rock outcrop.

Closer to Quabbin, I stopped only briefly to look for two sites from old postcards: a stone drinking fountain and "Reflection Rocks", a pastoral scene of rocks within a river. Neither were located.

Next stop was to look at the progress of East Quabbin Land Trust's project at Indian Rock before once again taking on heat and bugs in an unsuccessful attempt to located the site of an historical reference to a natural bridge within the Quabbin woodlands.

Finishing up, I passed by the 'center of town boulder' seen two days previous for a couple of quick photos. Then it was all but to head back over the northern end of Quabbin to pick up the Mohawk Trail on my way back to the Berkshires.

May 24, 2010:

After paddling around local lakes for the past several weeks it was time kick up the learning curve and take on a river - the mighty Connecticut. My main objective was to scout the mid portion of the River in Massachusetts for access points, but I also hoped to work some of my more normal geologic investigations into the mix.

Internet sources mentioned a state owned 'beach' area on the Connecticut's east side so I took that up first. Most of morning was spent trying to locate the site in vain. I talked with two local people, drove to the top of Mount Holyoke looking for DCR (state) employees all without success. The feeling here is it my be an isolated parcel of land and only accessible by water but I will be looking into that further.

Meanwhile back over on the other - west - side of the river the journey took me as far south as the Dinosaur Footprint Park in Holyok. The dino park does offer an expansive view of the river with several rocky ledge outcrops on the river's opposite bank. Somewhere a bit north lies a future watery destination in Titan's Pier, an outcrop lying along side the water.

After briefly looking over an access point at the Oxbow, it was decided to head north for a quieter portion of the river at Sunderland. First order of business was to check some 'non formal' areas of river access and try to verify the exact location of reported riverside rock ledge. After locating the ledge (indeed walking over the top of it) I decided to head downstream to the formal, legitimate access point in town to put in my kayak.

Paddling north - and upstream - presented no real difficulties initially. I landed at the first of the two islands that would be passed, then continued upstream to located the ledge lying along the river opposite island #2. The area between island and shore proved to be a major challange with heavy currents, eddies, and even the occasional whirlpool. But upon making the ledge, a couple quick photos were shot before turning around to ride the current back south. From there it was all but to pack up and head on back over to the Berkshires.

May 9, 2010:

Since my return from Rhode Island less than three weeks ago several things have been happening. I finally received my long awaited kayak and have been familiarizing myself with its use. One adventure took me down pass the backside of old quarry buildings used in the refining of limestone located on Cheshire Reservoir. Another - out to several islands.

You might ask, what that has to do with geology - or even history. However, I have become increasing aware that certain sites are best - or only accessible from water. Certainly this all plays in to my searching out sea formed caves. And I am reminded of a certain cave report in western Massachusetts that was located on a island. In this instance, a buddy and his canoe were able to paddle me out to my destination although the 'cave' was more of just a rocky formation. So a new activity to keep me going during those hot humid days I don't wish to be in the woods.

Old Berkshire Park, once located just to the east of the southern end of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, often appears on old postcards. After a long absence from this picturesque trail I returned one cold, brisk Mother's Day morning to investigate one site visible on one of those old postcards. I also reexamined part of a long ago abandoned road that ran out across the rail trail and entered southern Berkshire Village. This in the days before a Route 8 (approximating the old trolley route) existed from near the present day Berkshire Mall north to the Berkshire Village area.

April 21, 2010:

Three days in Rhode Island were devoted primarily to cleaning up some leads and furthering information on previously know sites.

Day One: Rolling on in to the Ocean State's southwest region I revisited a small cave (hereafter: Tippecansett Cave) quite close to the shore of a lake. Like many of the cave/cave formations down this way, it exists in the broken portions of a ledge - or bedrock. Frost action along with gravity assist played an obvious part in these caves genesis.

Farther to the south is a series of caves near the State border with Connecticut. One group is located at what is called locally Dinosaur Rock. It was my hope that with a brand new, WAAS enabled, GPS I might finally settle the issue of what state one or two of these caves lay in. At least one - North Dinosaur Cave is sufficiently east of the State boundary to safely say it belongs to Rhode Island. Upper Dinosaur Cave though was a bit more of a problem. GPS coordinates put it about six meters west - into Connecticut. Still not enough of a margin to say for sure. However, later use of detailed aerial photography pinpoints this cave in Rhode Island - by about twenty feet!

Relocating North Dinosaur Cave was a small task as I had only visited it once previously. With that accomplished, it was time to hike north in search of another reported cave. This definitely took me over into Connecticut and it was the new find of the day. Over fifty feet of cave was located in broken ledge and talus, with multiple entrances.

Retreating to the auto and moving it slightly along the access road, it was time to look once gain at the Pioneer Caves and Glacier Cave. The former is some broken bedrock where a small individual might make their way underground. The latter is more accurately a "rock formation" as it is a vertical crevice in bedrock although a very small chamber exists underground.

A short drive was made south to search out an alternate access route to Narragansett Cave whose only previous visit was the summer of 2007. The trailhead was located prior to retreating across the State to Newport for the night.

Day Two:

Day Two: A somewhat light and relaxing day was planned that kept me in the immediate vicinity of Newport. I took my traditional trip to an all time favorite in Purgatory. Examining its formation, the conglomerate bedrock that takes it name from, I walked down towards the nearby beach where sand lenses can be found within the bedrock formation. Amongst these lenses are found the Devil Footprints and Squaw Tracks as well as many antique carvings done long ago when Purgatory was a Victorian Age attraction.

Within sight of Purgatory are the Hanging Rocks which were ascended. Spectacular views can be found from the top and in it's giant crevasse (sometimes called the Lion's Mouth) is where George (Bishop) Berkeley is said to have sat while writing.

The Newport area does have a number of historical references to caves. On the drive in to Purgatory the location for one such cave was sought out. But upon leaving the area, I stopped to pursue it further. Supposedly located on the shore of a small lake with limited access, I scanned the shoreline from the opposite side but nary a clue could be found. At that point I retreated to the relative comfort of my room for my own writings.

Low tide brought me out to famous cliffs and Cliff Walk to finish up some business, which has been going on for some years, surrounding the former location of Conrad's Cave. Descending to the sea, a careful examination was given to the cliff and adjacent seawall to see what - if any - of the former grotto might exist. But Conrad's has been fully reclaimed by the sea unless the seawall might hide a portion. Unlikely as a 1950's postcard shows the cave pretty much gone at that time.

Day Three: Before leaving the area, another favorite once again was visited: the Pirate Caves. This is the finest example of sea caves along the Narragansett Bay. Low tide and some minor wetsuit equipment got me into all but the largest of these formations. And my last stop on the way out of town, was the northern beginning of the Cliff Walk. Somewhere in this area is a geographic (geologic?) feature known as Mary's Seat. Although databases list this as a cliff, it may very well be a rock in the shallow ocean at the end of Easton's Beach.

At this point it was decided to return to the southwest and finish what I started on day one. I checked into caves reported along the North - South trail only to find a number of animal sized 'caves' along with one turkey vulture spooked by my climb into the rocks. Finishing up was a hike from the new access point into Narragansett Cave which took me past many giant erratics. Of greater interest was a huge rock lined ravine, once again with animal sized caves.

Upon completion, it was a long trip up the eastern side of Connecticut to hook up with the Mass Pike home

April 4, 2010:

The Easter 'menu' was to bring a routine investigation to a number of relatively tame sites in the northern section of Massachusetts' Connecticut River Valley. 'Routine' is another of those famous last words that often gets lost along the way.

Reaching an area bordering the west shore of the great River, I intended to take a quick look again at Sheeps Cave which lays in the collapse of a large cliff face. Here is where things got sticky as I ended up wandering a section of woods that were eventually found not even the correct location for the cave! Adjusting my location, I moved on only to find the old woods road to the cave lost. But old notes scribbled on my atlas gave me a clue and upon entering the woods once again, I found the old road to be completely obliterated! However, a vague familiarity with the direction to the cliffs eventually got me there where a much more precise GPS location will negate a future repeat of today's difficulties.

The rest of the day was to be devoted to looking at several rock climbing locations, always a good opportunity to view some spectacular examples of the local bedrock. However, ambiguous directions that did not match road names on my atlas led me astray for awhile. But after aborting the attempt to locate my first site, the access road was located by luck as I was driving on to my second destination.

This ledge was no easy feat to locate - or get to. It is most of the way up a large mountainside where evidence of past quarrying was seen. It took several attempts, and back tracking, but eventually way up in the upper reaches of the mountain a massive ledge of gneiss was to be found. And no short piece of rock was this either as it stretched for at least 700 feet with shorter sections continuing still on further.

Although the access route to the noble ledge was marked at intervals with flagging tape and painted saplings, it proved of little help in either the ascent - or descent. I eventually resorted to bushwhacking my way down the mountain which brought me a great stroke of luck. I stumbled into a major abandoned quarry complete with numerous tool marks and plenty of leftover rough cut rock.

So finally making a descent to my car, it was only to drive down and over the Miller's River to catch the Mohawk Trail back west to the Berkshires.

March 28, 2010:

This weekend brought a stark, frigid reminder winter is not quite done with us yet. However, under gray skies and near freezing temperatures - I set out. Making my way up to the northern Berkshires, I wanted to finish up a small project at Stone Hill where last summer the brutal heat offered up a whole different envirnoment.

The bedrock of Stone Hill proper is pretty much quartzite, and on my previous visit I saw plenty of ledgy, rocky areas that bore investigation. Additionally, one local farmer reported a site know as Sunset Rock apparently upon the Hill. The broken rock along the western perimeter of the Hill yielded one very small cave among the boulders. Upon reaching a memorial stone bench, I ascended upon the summit and looked for obvious signs of a Sunset Rock where one might get a view off to the west.

Several possible sites, close to one another, presented themselves, and sans foliage, a pretty good vista could be had of the still snow covered westerly Taconic Mountain Range. To finish my exploration in the immediate region, I looked into another access trail that approached Stone Hill from the East.

Taking the scenic route home, I jogged on over western portions of the Mohawk Trail across the top of Berkshire County. My only other stop was to photograph small cave formations along the North Branch of the Hoosic River.

March 21, 2010:

So once again it is time to roll out a brand new season in the outdoors. Many of the unexplored sites that need to be investigated not surprisingly lay far beyond a one day's journey from my home in the most western portion of Massachusetts. They will be dealt with on occasion and most certainly on vacations. But for this day - a return into the Connecticut River Valley. As far as western Massachusetts goes, this is the one region to first thaw out from Winter.

The goal on this day was verification of a site know to rock climbers as Sunbowl. I've had various locations tossed my way over recent years, none of which proved accurate. But finally with something more definitive in hand I set out. Coincidentally, this overlapped with my last year's goal of searching out the trails running through the old section of mountains once known as Paradise.

The walk up into the mountains and locating Sunbowl went surprisingly well. I had suspected this ledge to be one I first came cross four years earlier and I was right. Moving along, I connected with the Paradise trails, looked over a familiar craggy ledge, then traced the route of a mostly obliterated trail back to my car.

Farther north I entered the ledge system once called "Home of the Rocks" which has been explored on many previous occasions. I stopped first at the likely site of Cozy Cave, worked along past the Curve Rock (once again unsuccessfully trying to identify the site an antique photo was taken), finally setting up cameras at the Grand Porch. The overcast skies made good opportunity to finally get half decent photos of this gigantic open-faced rock formation.

I decided since I was in the immediate area of Titan's Pasture, I'd dropped in to the cave located there to see the situation on a bat located there this past year. The bat was not home so I set about exploring the talus caves formations below (and probably within) Titan's Pasture, on over to the Grand Porch. One is fairly 'worthy' at probably 40 feet of passage length. Maybe of greater importance, I recognized it as the first location I came onto some years back when I first took on the investigation of antique photos of rock formations in the area.

With this early season adventure on the wane, I traveled back out of the Valley once again, through mountain towns still showing generous amounts of snow.

March 11, 2010:

My, oh my! It seems that Spring has been wanting to come on in for the last week. With last weekend's arrival of the 'perfect' late winter weekend (which in reality was very spring-like) I am reminded the end of the winter sabbatical is close at hand. Only time will tell if this is for real or what some call a 'false Spring'. Per usual, the snow has left the back yards - the higher elevations still deep in Winter.

But time to start preparing once again. A few early projects in the lower elevations and Connecticut River Valley have already been mapped out. The third week of April will hopefully culminate with a return to Rhode Island and the Narragansett Bay area.

January 5, 2010:

Perhaps one of the more intensive investigations over the previous decade was that of the Stone Face on Pelham Brook in northwestern Massachusetts. It was originally brought to my attention by Matt B. over at the Stone Face Gazetteer during the early part of the decade with the arrival of a curious image in my e-mail of an old postcard. Subsequent trips to the Town of Rowe brought forth another postcard of Profile Rock also reported to be along Pelham Brook. The whole investigation was complicated in that both images bore little resemblance to one another.

Perhaps the easier part was hypothesize they were the same rock - despite the obvious difference - due to the matching backgrounds. Next came the Herculean task of finding the proverbial needle in a haystack - one rock along a very long mountain stream. Despite the enormous nature of this task alone, a likely suspect was located. Two trips to this rock alone, with numerous photographs taken, still left me wanting for a better prospect.

A renewed search was made towards the of 2008 after a night of heavy downpours. Pelham Brook is typically your normal sleepy mountain stream but on this day it had become raging torrent. Indeed, at some point in the past once such torrent took out the local bridge downstream also leaving me to wonder if the old location of Stone Face/Profile Rock was somehow affected. Despite the obstacles a second candidate in my search was found perched in the bank just alongside the torrents of water making their way through the ravine. A quick photograph taken, I climbed on out to research my find further while at home the following winter.

The winter passed and another visit to my hypothetical boulder in the Spring of '09 for another - more extensive - set of photographs still yielded nothing definitive. Finally in the waning days of 2009 a breakthrough! Careful, intensive examination, of the more recent photographs revealed several matching points of reference on both postcards. So although this was quite the chore - it has finally paid off.

Epilogue:

Location: Living in Western Massachusetts

Activities/Interests: Outdoors, hiking, geology, local/natural history research, photography, the local java cafe.

And a final word regarding sites listed: Should they be accessible to the public you will see some notice regarding that. All are most welcome to e-mail me, but please remember: I usually am able to visit these sites only through the graciousness of many private landowners. Thanks!

B.K.

Links of Interest:

Got blog? Memoirs of a Rolling Stone.

For those of you into maps - especially old ones or topographical maps - checked out the site with old topos of New England at Historic USGS Maps.

Or check out the Library of Congress’s collection of historic panoramic maps for the country.

Mail? Click here.

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