Sunday, May 30, 2010

When the Giant blows his top, or maybe his knee

...he was but an extinct volcano; he had been active in his time, but his fire was out, this good while, he was only a stately ash-pile now; gentle enough, and kindly enough for my purpose, without doubt, but not usable.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

When I think of an extinct volcano, I picture something like this - a mountain peak, maybe a flat top, but there's no question it looks like a volcano.

Is there an extinct volcano on Sleeping Giant?  The area's mountains were formed by massive lava flows (the traprock), tipped up after a little fault here and there shuffled the landscape.  But can you find the mouth of a volcano?  There's a spot just off the White trail on the Giant's right knee.  It is a depression surrounded by boulders, filled with water during the spring, but drying out now.  Is it a volcanic crater? 

Maybe!  There's a larger area just east of where I took this photo, same kind of depression, though the perimeter wasn't as clearly defined.  The center was still damp mud, several sets of deer tracks running across.  These just might be little seasonal ponds, but I think the volcano is a better story.

Mid-morning, and the cars are parked all the way down Mt Carmel from the main entrance.  But the parking lot is only half full.  Park fees must be in force now.  These folks might not walk a mile for a Camel, but to save nine bucks?  You betcha!!

I hiked up the Dickerman Carriage Path from the little parking area on Mt Carmel Ave, up the Red Circle trail to the White.  Up the cliff, wandering in the woods a little, then back on the White.  The Mountain Laurel was in full bloom, white and pink flowers. 

Over to the Green Trail.  This is probably the last trail to dry up in the summer.  There were still stretches of muck near the ponds and stream.  But the ferns and moss are a bright green in the sunlight.

Over the Y/G, on to the Yellow trail and back down the Red Circle to the car.  But I'm not keeping track - at least for a few more weeks until I start the summer Master hikes...

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