Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crystal Springs - wherein Peter explores an old site, takes pictures, goes back the next weekend and falls off a cliff

Crystal Springs in Groton is a conservation land just east of the Wharton Tree Plantation, whose broad valleys contain many rectangular mounds with hollows, in many different sizes and styles and many different degrees of decrepitude (a place where chronological ordering might be possible based on pile damage).
A few weekends ago, I went in there hoping to explore from the east and headed as far to the right (north) as I could go, expecting to loop back around on the way back. Things got interesting after I got to a dirt road called "Blood Rd" on some maps. A few steps along it, hopped over the wall, and I saw a short spur leading to this rock with a collection of old bricks:
Continuing along that outcrop, a pile:
and an unusual fern, the ebony-spleenwort:
Then I started seeing more piles:
These are new to me, since I have not been in that part of the woods. But they are like what you find more to the west. The woods here are full of faint traces:
 and nice piles.
After a while, heading north, I hit houses, and turned west and hit open fields. I saw a grid there (poor photos):
And it is never hard, in this area, to find old-style graves built against boulders:
Obviously there has been some modern interactions there:
So, pretty cool all in all. 
I went back with my wife the next weekend and ended by seeing quite a lot less. I did connect through to places I recognized west of Crystal Springs, but the main excitement was showing off for my wife about how easy it is to jump down a cliff if you hold a tree like a rope. But I made a critical mistake, grabbing a branch rather than the main trunk: I felt the roots start to go and thought it was alright to execute a spin along with the jump. Then the foolishness of grabbing a branch caught up with me as I torqued the poor sucker into snapping. Down the cliff I went - maybe 15 to 20 feet on a smooth, perhaps 80 degree slope of granite. Rolled, bounced twice, ended up at the foot of the rock slightly dazed with a cut hand. I seemed to have hurt nothing. Looking around, I knew the spot - a place along the Crystal Springs trail.

No comments :