Sunday, January 04, 2015

Rocky Pond and Birch Hill - Hollis NH

I took a nice walk on Friday at the headwaters of Rocky Pond Brook - one of the brooks flowing south to the Nissitisset and then the Nashua River. 
When I parked and stepped into the woods I stepped into a small group of rock piles and I continued to see things everywhere, which I will describe. The most notable thing about this area is the many   "short stretches" of stone wall, 20-30 yards long, placed on the slopes and knolls overlooking the pond. These are shown with blue arrows above. The rock piles I found at the beginning of my walk (shown with red arrows) were more or less routine but then I kept coming across unusual stone wall features, some with quartz, some with adjacent rock piles. So by the time I hit a more significant site, up on the side of a higher ridge, my eyes were already flashing on the visual pattern of grey lichen-covered rocks, clustered with shadows between them. I already had concluded the area was a near continuous collection of disturbed stones and then I hit several acres of well formed large marker piles. Two days later my mind is still flashing pictures of clustered rocks.

In the end, I did not find much else, higher up. The action was more on the first level of lower hills around the pond. I did not explore anything north or east of the pond but it is tempting to predict more of the same types of features there. I will go have a look sometime.

Here is where I parked on Rocky Pond Road:
A bit of water, several piles, a decrepit wall leading down from an adjacent ridge.
Ducked into the woods to avoid walking across a cabin's backyard, turned a corner and oops! Here is a little wet place (left hand red arrow), not five minutes from the car; surrounded by smeared out mounds.
More details:

Can you see this is an outline?
These are the sorts of piles I would expect to see, in the topography where I would expect to find them, at the highest headwaters of a brook. Similar to nearby Dunklee Pond.
I was headed for the top of Birch Hill and wanted to go diagonally upwards (to the left and up on the map). On my way up I saw several interesting wall features. This was a inverted corner, snuggling a rock pile in this shape:
Here is the corner:
and the pile:

Continued diagonally over a little knoll, with a house foundation:
and another wall anomaly: a short stretch turns a corner with a bit of quartz, seems to end at a large standing stone - all overlooking the pond to the northeast:
The wall ends at the right side of the picture. To the left it continues in a less well-defined way, beyond the standing boulders. (This is the right hand of three vertical blue arrows.). 

I continued diagonally upwards, to another short stretch of wall in this shape:
It came down the hill and ended with two rock pile leading off at an angle. Perhaps related to a boulder next to the wall. At the upper end, disturbed rocks in no definite shape. Here we are looking from the lower pile towards the end of the wall and the boulder:
At the upper end of the wall, looking back downhill:

Taking things a little out of chronological order. Compare this short stretch to another I found higher on the hill. It had not rock piles at its lower end, but the upper end was similar. Lower end:

There is definitely a collection of rocks at the upper end. Was it still being built?

The main rock pile site was in a saddle between two higher points along the ridge to the west of Rocky Pond. This is shown with a red outline. There were several acres of nice piles, showing up well against the pale ground cover of dead beech leaves. Here are some of the 50 pictures I took:

(Note a pale rock, not made of quartz. I think quartz is uncommon here.)

View back to the pond:
Here is bit of quartz:
I think this is several marker pile sites. The ground is flat and even, though not level. Hard to get a sense of a grid but I believe it is there:

The piles seem to have had vertical sides in the past.

This one might have had something inside it:

These seemed arranged with respect to a prominent boulder:

A lovely slope. Let's say goodbye.


Curt Hoffman said...

Interesting set of sites! Is there anything other than a stone row located at the northernmost of the blue arrows?

pwax said...

Nope...and thanks.