Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Wetland site at foot of Jewell Hill, Fitchburg MA

I was going prowling north of Fitchburg and picked an evocative sounding place "Jewell Hill" to explore. Did you ever drive to Mt. Monadnock via Fitchburg and Ashburnam along Rt 12? As you get out of Fitchburg and into the higher elevations and are passing brooks, old farms, and woods, you may occasionally wonder what kind of land you are driving through. Chances are, if you are like me, not. So it was fun to realize my route followed this path and actually led off into that countryside, about which I was never curious. It is lots of up and down with lovely little hill farms and lots of stone walls. Take your in-laws there if you want to give them a taste of rural New England. Anyway, it was a day of driving and not seeing too much. But on the way to Jewell Hill, hanging a right from Rt 12 onto Jewell Hill Rd, just before the paved section becomes dirt road, there was a rock pile in the woods to my left. This was one of the places I figured I could use to access the hill and I ended up parking and walking in from there. From the road: A few steps further in:Looking back to my car, you can see how the piles sit along the beginning of a water course:This is somewhat typical of what you find in a wet "break-out zone", although usually there are also split-wedged rocks. For better or worse, I tend to think of this as a particular type of site - small potatoes compared to the major cairn sites, but still probably of interest. Pushing in further, a couple more substantial piles on slightly higher ground:(something about pairs?) And:Maybe that is the missing split-wedged rock? A few more on even higher:After that it was one foot in front of the other, up the hill. I did not see anything noteworth, except a pleasant view from the top: There actually was a bit or rock pile, to the lower right in the picture. It had modern additions to older lichen covered rocks. The panoramic view was impressive and I could just make out the Prudential and John Hancock buildings, 50 or so miles away in Boston. Back at my car: a last look, I could see that, along with the wetland to the left, the slope to the right also had rock piles:


Ted said...

This interests me because of the water course beginning, similar to what I have been seeing lately. When you say "break out zone", could you define that a little for me?

I have to say, awesome view at the top.

pwax said...

I got the term "break out zone" from my friend from Carlisle "FFC". It means a place where water is coming out of the ground, not at a single point but oozing up in several places with lots of exposed rocks. I always thought it was a semi-official term, I guess maybe it isn't.

Ted said...

That makes sense. I like the term, just never heard it before seeing it in your posts. Its kind of like the little "spring" I talk about in the valley at Cheney, but coming from two or three spots in the exposed rocks.