Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Neutaconkanut Hill

     Sunday afternoon I went to Neutaconkanut Hill.  This large hill on the line between Providence and Johnston, RI, was very important to the Narragansetts.  The original land transfer to Roger Williams named it as one of the boundaries.  Over the centuries it has been farmed, used as a park, a ski slope, and a neighborhood dump. Now the wooded crown is maintained as a green spot in an urban environment.

There are stone rows wandering across the steep slopes.

There is also a swamp near a single propped boulder I have shown before (10/16/2013).

In the 1990s the swamp was cleaned of over 100 old tires, and a jeep that had been stolen in North Carolina in 1978.  The owner didn't want it back.  Downhill from this outcrop stands a squarish boulder filled with leaves and twigs.  Cleaning out the debris reveals a rough cavity.

Maybe this was once a mortar used to crush acorns for soaking the in the water.  The presence of plenty of oak trees certainly is suggested by the name Neutaconkanut, which means "place of squirrels".
     A little further down the trail is this bent tree.

Obviously, this tree was bent only a few decades ago.  There are two others having this size and shape on the hill.  This afternoon I notice that it seems to point down this straight opening in the trees.

Old paths persist because the earth is compacted,  slowing the growth of vegetation. At the end is a short line of  rocks overlooking a small pond.

Whatever purpose or significance these stones had is lost.  The significance of this pile of rubble is not lost.

This is what remains of Canonicus Rock, a huge glacial erratic that was destroyed in the 1950s out of fear it would fall into Hartford Avenue below.  They may have dynamited it, but the pointer 90 feet away is still facing south.

  Finally, a visit to the Pinnacles, some huge manitou-shaped spires on an east-facing slope.

And my favorite view.

It is always surprising to see the dense urban sprawl of Providence after  wandering this apparent wilderness of stone rows and boulders.

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