Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mug Shots

Mug Shots - MI00163

I originally was going to title this "Mug Science" Some time ago, I bought the mug with the eagle on it (far left). It became my favorite mug, meaning it would be the mug of choice to use in the morning. Some time went by and I received the mug pictured in the center as a gift. The combination of the sentimental value and the print design made this the new favorite. More time went by until finally the mug pictured on the right became the mug of choice. Can you guess why? Think about it and the answer will be below.

The mug on the right is a "New Hampshire" mug. It pictures autumn foliage, a moose, a lighthouse, a covered bridge, and the since fallen "Old Man Of The Mountain" I really enjoyed seeing the "Old Man" but that was not the reason for this mug's primary usage. Ready for the reason? It's the handle. Bouncing between different mugs, I'd feel how the handle was roomier than the pirate mug. The mug with the eagle is about the same size, but has a different shape. Comfort plus fun logo made the winner, but comfort is what made it first place. Just trivia.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Return To Bolton Notch

Cave - BNP00039
Yeah, I went back. Internet searches gave me a better description of where to find the caves, so I returned with my goal of finding them. Success! Here's the story:

As soon as I arrived it seemed that the wildlife was letting their presence know to me. A black bird immediately flew right out in front of me, heading off to the right. Shortly after, another followed. Half a moment passed and then another flew slightly above me, flying along the trail going off ahead of me. Just a few steps after that, and a garter snake cut across the path also heading off to the right.

A little later, I looked downward. There were a huge number of tiny toad hopping about. They probably were less than half an inch in length. I couldn't begin to even guess how many there were. They were just about everywhere along the way.

It was a relatively short walk from the parking area, to where I had found the largest of the caves. It was large enough that a person could easily fit in there with plenty of extra space. As far as the trail, it had rained the day before, and the ground was still wet and was slick in a few places. A bit of extra care was needed in a few places that had a bit of steepness and some places had a steep drop off. Other than that, the walking was easy.

I later revisited the upper part of the cliffs, and was very please to find something else that I was told about. There is a huge flag painted directly on the side of the ledges near the top. When I visited the top of the ledges during the first trip, I simply couldn't see the flag because it was over the edge of where I was standing.

I think what I saw was worth the second trip.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Two Hikes One Day

When it comes to hiking, in the past I had two general ways that the trips would start.

One way was that I would pick a destination and a calendar date. I would then contact someone to join me, and as long as our schedules and the weather held out the hike occurred.

The other way, was the way it would usually happen. I would decide at the spur of the moment that I was in the mood for a hike. I may or may not have had a precise destination. I'd call a friend and go, or sometimes go it alone.

This current year has started out just about nothing for me in the way of hiking. I just haven't had the motivation.

A friend called yesterday. "What are you doing?" he asks. My answer was I had plans to go with my sister to visit a store's closeout sale. "Give me a call later if you feel like doing something later," he said. "What did you have in mind?" I asked. "Hiking." he said.

I called back after the store visit, knowing that it would be up to me to come up with a suitable destination. It wound up that three of us went. Rather than I initiate the start of a hike, in a sense he did. So it began.

The destination was Bolton Notch State Park in Bolton, Connecticut. The main path through the park was a former railroad bed, part of the Airline Trail. It was fairly level and smooth and several people were riding their bicycles on it.

According to a sign there: "On this site once stood the Bolton station of the Hartford, Providence, & Fishkill Railroad. The railroad was built from Waterbury to Providence in the 1850's"

We walked a bit along the railroad bed trail. It had ledge along some of its side, rising fairly high and a stream that ran along parts of the trail. We later turned back and then took a path leading uphill eventually to the cliff area. There was a some graffiti and nice view of the highway.


I had seen an internet reference to there being a marble zone up there with some caves, some large enough for a person to fit into. I was only able to spot a small amount of marble. There were some gaps in rock, but not what I would call a cave. Perhaps I just missed them and they were nearby. I may try a second trip later to see if I can find more of the marble and the caves. Most of the rocks in the area were metamorphic. Mica schist was very noticeable, sometimes with a sprinkling of garnet.

We came back down to the railroad bed, and went a bit in the opposite direction of out starting walk. There was some construction equipment, and where they dug exposed some pegmatite material. The trail then led under the highway. I found this very interesting, as we were in a nicely arch tunnel.

That could have easily been the end of our trip, but we decided to head down to nearby Gay City State Park. Why there? I had heard that there were some ruins of an old mill there and wanted to have a look.

Mill Ruins - HEBCT00003

We had a quick walk around. It was rather funny as one friend did not want to follow the path I thought went to the ruins, because the mosquitoes were biting too much for him. We decided to just walk around a bit in sunnier parts of the park. We walked along the pond and then saw a sign that said Mill Ruins. I had misread the map. How cool. We did get to go the ruins after all.