'Erratic Wandering':10 boulders worth wandering to
The 284-page guide book, which wanders somewhat off the beaten path, features hundreds of stone giants waiting to be discovered. In order to find these beauties, you'll need to lace up your hiking boots, grab some bug repellent and grab your GPS.
We recently asked Christy Butler, of Cheshire, to share 10 of the best balanced, best split, most historic, perfectly profiled and creatively painted boulders in Vermont, Main and New Hampshire. To hear more about his rock recommendations, you can stop by the Cheshire Senior Citizens Club, at 119 School St, Cheshire, from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, where Christy Butler will be on hand to talk about his latest book.
Balance Rock, American Legion Post-29, Readsboro, Vt.
New England is no stranger to the many huge or uniquely placed erratics left behind by ancient glaciers that once covered the area. The Readsboro and Whitingham area is no exception to the rule. Uniquely, this balance rock is literally in the backyard and almost, if not part, of the patio of the American Legion Post 29 in Readsboro. Note: The American Legion, patio and pavilion are private property.
Split Rock, Route 9, Woodford, Vt.
You'll be able to follow the trail through the crevasse of "Split Rock" when you find this beauty near the crossroads of the Appalachian and Long trails. You'll find the trail leading to the boulder off Route 9 in Woodford. A short 1.5-mile round trip hike also provides a bit of exercise.
Hi-Lo Boulder, Searsburg, Vt.
For the more adventurous of our readers, the Hi-Lo Boulder, found in the relatively unknown boulder field known as the Searsburg Boulders, is nestled in with some other remarkable erratics. Getting to this boulder will require some hiking, some possible bushwacking and the help of the GPS coordinates or map found in "Erratic Wandering."
Roots Boulder, Smugglers Notch, Stowe, Vt.
You'll have to visit Smugglers Notch during the right time of year to find this boulder. Smugglers Notch (Route 108 north from Stowe), open throughout the summer and closed during the long winter, is a popular tourist spot for hiking, rock and ice climbing. In recent years, the "Top of the Notch" has become a mecca for "bouldering," the scaling of boulders without the use of rope and equipment.
Windham Power Line Boulders, Route 30, Manchester, Vt.
Located east from Manchester just off Route-30 this area will require off-trail trekking to reach these destinations. Although, the boulders are not very far from the parking area where the Appalachian and Long trails cross, familiarization of the area through Google Earth with the GPS coordinates will assist you in making this isolated boulder field exploration very easy.
The Green Mountain Giant, Whitingham, Vt.
Originally described in 1861 by geologist Edward Hitchcock "the most gigantic specimen with which we have met," the Green Mountain Giant is one of the largest erratic in Southern Vermont. At one time, this site had open scenic panoramic vistas from its hilltop location. Now, with the growth of new woodlands, this giant boulder, located just a short distance off Route 100 in Whitingham, has become obscure and can be difficult to locate until one literally almost bumps into it.
Impressive Boulder, Stoddard, NH
Glaciers left behind plenty of big boulders in Southern New Hampshire. The Stoddard Boulders are some of the larger ones and definitely have WOW factors of 10! You'll find them on a small hilltop on the eastern side of Highland Lake. The 5-mile round trip hike to view them is certainly worth the effort.
Balance Rocks, Willard Pond, NH
Finding this cluster of rocks is short and sweet, as they are located very near the parking area of the Audubon Sanctuary on Willards Pond. While these are easy to access, there are several other interesting erratics scattered along the yellow blazed Tamposi Trail on the way to Bald Mountain. In addition, the pond is popular to canoe or kayak and has a few smaller erratics in the pond and around the shoreline.
Elephant Head Rock, Crawford State Park, Carroll, NH
An outstanding rock profile that actually looks like its given moniker. Easily seen from the roadside on Route 302 just as you enter into Crawford State Park. The sloping granite forehead is readily identified with a unique spot of round quartz perfectly situated as its eye. It will appear to be emerging from out of the forest.
Pockwockamus Rock, Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
Located north of Millinocket on the Baxter State Park southern entry road, is what the Christys believe to be the most ornate painted rock within New England. Created and first painted in 1979 by Nancy and Abbott Meader, the couple maintained and restored the elaborate paint job through 2017.
For more information, visit www.erraticwandering.com.
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