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Sean's Blog

Berries and Ruins

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In mid-July I went on a solo hike through the Mount Tom Reservation, which I had done with a friend in 2007.  Since I was doing a one-way hike by myself, I had to park the car at one end of the trail and ride my bike back to the starting point.  Unfortunately, this involves riding up a steep hill on Mass. route 141, just before getting to the trail head.  It was quite a warm day, and I had to rest a few times on the way up the hill.  I also used up 20 to 25% of my water supply, and had to rest up a bit before starting to hike.

The trail does start out easy, and is almost completely level for the first 10-15 minutes.  Then it ascends and ascends and ascends.  I took the above picture at the summit, but didn’t need to take many, as I have plenty of the same view from last year.

Further along, when I was near the second summit (Whiting Peak), I noticed something that I’d missed the previous time: wild blueberries were growing among the rocky slopes.

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I ate several handfuls of them as I worked my way along the cliffs.

The total hike along through the reservation is about 6 miles, but about 60% of the way through one descends to a park road and picnic area, and there is a drinking fountain where one can refill on water, which I did.  In the remaining part of the hike, I crossed Goat Peak and Mount Nonotuck, each of which had features that we’d not taken the time to see last year.

First, on Goat Peak, just off the path a little ways, there is a lookout tower:

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I went up and took a look.  What’s great about this tower is that you have a 360-degree view.  All the vantage points on the trail just look to one side of the mountain range (Northwest).  Here are pix from the top of the tower, looking in various directions:

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The path passes near, but not directly over, the summit of Nonotuck.  It does cross an old road, though, that you can follow up to the summit.  At the summit are the ruins of an old hotel, The Eyrie House, which burned down about a century ago.  Here I’m looking up at the ruins from below:

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and here I explore a little bit:

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Those are all the pictures from that hike, and nothing too eventful happened on my way down to the car.

Posted by seaking on 11-30-2008 at 09:11 pm
Posted in Hiking with 1 Comment

“Sufferin’,” but not in silence

(Note: After being busy with house buying and moving for a few months, I’m finally getting back to the blog.  This is the first of a few posts I meant to put up much earlier.)

On the way home from my Michigan trip in early July, I made a stop in upstate New York.  Many times before I had passed by the town of Seneca Falls, and this time I finally took the opportunity to stop and visit the Women’s Rights Historical Park located there.

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This small park commemorates the convention held there in 1848 to demand legal equality for women in property, education, work and religious life, and, of course, to call for women to have the right to vote.

There’s a 2-story visitors’ center there, which has a display of statues on the first floor.

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Some of them represent famous organizers and attendees of the convention, and others are meant to be generic attendees (i.e. they’re not supposed to be anyone in particular).

On the left here is Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with Frederick Douglass in the middle.

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Here are Lucretia Mott and her husband James.

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The central figure here is Martha Wright (sister of L. Mott).

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Mary Ann and Thomas M’Clintock:

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and Jane and Richard Hunt (left and center), who hosted the meeting that led to the convention:

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Beyond the statues there was a wall showing various images of the fight for equality.

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The stairs led up to the main museum, with several exhibits showcasing the history and achievements of feminism.  Included here was another statue of an important figure who wasn’t at the 1848 convention: Sojourner Truth.

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There were a few signposts that gave a timeline of events, and from which I learned a few things I hadn’t known before.  For instance, before women gained suffrage nationally, a handful of states and territories granted the right to vote regardless of gender.  The first was the Wyoming territory in 1870.  I also learned that the first woman elected to Congress (Jeannette Rankin) was elected before the 19th amendment, in 1916.

Adjacent to the visitors’ center is the skeleton of the chapel in which the convention was held.

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Just down a slope from that building is a fountain in the form of a wall with water flowing down it.  Carved on the wall is the convention’s Declaration of Sentiments:

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and a list of the attendees:

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It’s definitely an inspirational site to visit, and I’m glad I took the time to stop by.  One of the sad things I reflected on was the fact that practically nobody who participated in that convention actually lived to see national suffrage.  The 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 – 72 years after the convention (which forms an interesting symmetry with the fact that the convention itself occurred 72 years after the founding of the country).  It’s also surreal to think about the fact that suffrage occurred less than a century ago – women have only enjoyed the right to vote in the U.S. for 88 years.  There has been progress since then, in gaining gender parity in several other arenas, but there remains quite a ways to go.

Maybe it will take less than another 160 years to finish the work started in Seneca Falls.

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Posted by seaking on 11-29-2008 at 12:11 am
Posted in Politics, Travel with 0 Comments