Thursday, November 08, 2012

Behind Reubens Hill - a tough stream crossing

Went for a walk that took me up the side of Reubens Hill from the southwest, down along the ridge heading ~east parallel to Rt 62, then back down to the northwest (passing a site I knew but could not locate this time) across to about where it says "Clamshell Pond", then across the pond outlet on a man-made causeway, then over to those little hills to the right of "District Courthouse". I was on the land between two brooks when I tried to exit. You can see a drainage ditch meet the natural brook just above Rt 62 in the middle of the bottom of the map fragment. Not being able to get through there, I circled around thinking I could get to higher ground and out but I was blocked by the drainage ditch. I wasn't going to go all the way back and determined I had to find a way across the little ditch. Except it was 6 feet wide - farther than I can jump. 

There was a place where a piece of log fell across and broke in 2 pieces. So I picked up a suitable staff and tested putting a first foot on the near piece with support from the staff. Well, the staff went in to my wrist, and the log was floating. I managed to test the second piece of log and it too was floating. With around four feet of water underneath, it was not going to do the job. Here's the ditch, the bastard:
I ended up dragging the log you see into position, and taking advantage of some slightly more solid floating debris. Also there was a helpfull thin tree growing by the ditch and I hung on to it, bending it over with my right hand; holding the staff in my left hand. I probed  the far side with the staff; got into position; adjusted my first foot; placed the staff in the middle; and told myself that one smooth step across would do. I committed, it did go smoothly and I fell with relief onto the pine needles on the far side. Being overweight, out of shape, and almost 60 is part of the difficulty level.
Actually I did see one rock pile down in the tongue of land between brook and ditch. I only saw it because I had to reverse direction and it came up under foot. Here it is at the edge of the wetland that was  blocking me:
Also I should mention that the causeway across the southern end of Clamshell Pond is made from rock quarried right there and the span includes a small section of original bedrock with (a) a substantial rock pile built from what look like unused blocks of material; and (b) a small "U" that did not have signs of charring and was made from much smaller rocks.
Here you see the "U" in the foreground, the pile with large blocs in the background, and beyond is a wetland at the foot of the hill of the courthouse.

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