Today was a day made for some writing/editing work and yard work, but . . . my guy and I managed to squeeze in a hike–yesterday.
Last week, our friend, Dick B., excitedly shared with us a hiking location we’d never explored–Notch Mountain in Porter. He had recently walked the trail with the Denmark Mountain Hikers, a local group that ventures off each Friday.
So it was, we followed Dick’s directions and drove to Porter in search of the trailhead. An easy miss, but we spied the wood kiln he spoke of as we drove past it and turned around at the Hiram town line, knowing we’d gone too far. Backtracking, the trailhead was across from Clemons Point Road and the kiln.
The sign–about twenty feet in from the road. Unassuming to say the least.
As we played dodge the water and looked at the slayed trees, we turned to each other and grimaced. What was Dick thinking?
But we journeyed on and the muckiness abated. Then, this foundation practically jumped out at us.
We weren’t sure exactly what we were looking at, but felt that this was a large house and there was either an attached barn or large shed, or the other structure was located quite close to the house.
Buried beneath the leaves, bricks indicated a chimney on an outside wall.
We discovered what may have been a tool shed–a separate, three-sided room.
Indeed, we even found a few tools, including a plow, which became significant as we continued to explore along the trail.
In the barn foundation, I like how one stone is wedged between the other two. It offers a reflection of how these rocks came to be in this place. The minerals, like quartz and feldspar, that are an essential part of granite’s make-up, interlock like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The end result: granite is one of the strongest and most durable rocks.
Using the plug and feather method practiced in the 19th century, small holes were hand drilled every six or seven inches across the stone. Two shims, called feathers, were placed in the hole and a wedge or plug was hammered between them. The farmer probably built this house in the winter when his farming duties weren’t as plentiful. And by drilling then, ice formed in the holes and helped to complete the work of splitting the granite. He and his family would have used a stone boat or sledge pulled by oxen to move the stones into place.
A little further along, we came upon a massive wall of medium-size stones. This farmer must have cleared many, many acres, thus producing an incredible stone potato crop. And then moved them all so he could plow. My fingers twinge and my back hurts just thinking about all the work involved–makes our yard work look so easy.
On either side of the trail were stone walls, indicating this was more than a logging road at one point in time.
Throughout the woods, we found more piles of rocks, some with small stones and others, like this with medium-size stones. Rather than quilting bees, this family must have enjoyed stone bees–an exercise to remove as many stones from the ground as possible.
The stone wall frenzy is evidenced all along the trail. Sometimes double-wide garden walls, and other times single walls, also called farmer or pasture walls that were built as boundaries, and to keep animals from destroying crops.
Dick had mentioned the Wormwood cemetery, but we were still surprised when we happened upon it.
b. Jun. 20, 1828; d. Oct. 27, 1860
b. Oct. 16, 1825; d. Nov. 27, 1851
b. 1826; d. Dec. 27, 1851
Rosanna Warren Wormwood, 2nd wife of Ithamar Wormwood
b. Oct., 1791; d. Feb. 28, 1856
Hannah and Ithamar Wormwood (b. May 29, 1791; d. Jul. 16, 1865). Two-year-old Jason Fly was also buried here.
Apparently the Flys were related to the Wormwoods, which makes sense. I suspect that there are other foundations to be discovered, but I was with my guy–Mr. Destinationitis, and so we continued toward the summit.
As we climbed, we noticed glacial striations on rocks (aka snowmobile etchings),
beech trees that think they are contortionists,
and a mix of white and Northern red oak leaves.
Then the summit came into view.
Thank goodness for the faded stop sign
and the fairy who watches over all who step too close to the edge.
As the rain clouds gathered, we ate our PB&J sandwiches, this time topped off with Halloween candy and views of Clemons and Little Clemons ponds.
Burnt Meadow Mountain and Pleasant Mountain formed the backdrop.
We hiked down among rain drops, but the sun shone once we arrived home.
I was restless and didn’t want to deal with yard work, so I went for a walk and came upon evidence of the hunter and the hunted.
Today, while our work continued, I had the opportunity to escape to Pondicherry Park for a stewardship committee meeting–now that’s my idea of a great meeting place.
On my way, this guy reminded me that the next season is right around the corner (literally).
And in the park–still plenty of color to reflect upon.
We know we have to work, whether to earn a living or maintain a home, but we do love our opportunities to explore new and old places. Thanks for sharing this one with us, Dick. It warrants further exploration to wander and wonder.
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