I went out for a 41 mile ride this morning. It was a little warmer than yesterday, but still cool at 35 degrees.
My goal was to find an old boulder that was languishing in obscurity. I had recently read that a large rock was used by the Narragansett sachem, Miantinomi to set the western boundary of the Providence colony with Roger Williams (founder of RI). My searches yielded a general location for the object, which unfortunately is located on private land. It is, however, only about 100 yards off a street in Johnston RI and clearly visible in the winter from the road.
My quest was not fruitless: veni, vidi, trespassi
I could see this giant boulder from the road, but I had to get a closer look, so I crossed someone's well maintained suburban yard and strolled into the wooded tract behind it where Hipses Rock is located. I had to pass through one of the most insidious patches of pricker bushes to get there, but I would not be deterred. It is massive; approx. 25' high and between 10-15' at its base. It is a glacial erratic that was deposited here between 10,000-20,000 years ago. Its name is probably derived from Hesperius, the Greek goddess of evening, often allegorically meaning western. This rock was the western boundary of Roger Williams' land grant by Miatinomi in 1642.
In 2011 the new owner of the property had a tour to the rock, which was open to the public (that day) headed by a park ranger, who is very knowledgeable. His tour was recorded on youtube. One of the interesting things he said was that the native americans used to do a quick burn once a year in the woodlands which destroyed all the underbrush and all the pines, maples and other soft wood trees. Only the oaks, chestnuts and hickories would be left. This burn would also kill a lot of fleas and ticks. The woodlands would be more open than they are today; easier to hunt in and see farther. The rock was a regional landmark, a giant boulder visible from very far away, a meeting place.
After this excursion I headed west and rode out to check out an observatory in Scituate.
seagrave observatory (1914)
Found the ruins of another mill on the same road as the observatory. These things are everywhere here!
Harrisdale cotton Mill (1845), burned in 1875, never rebuilt
There were flurries this morning, but I missed them.
maple syrup lines
A short ride, but I saw a lot of different things!