Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Nature Hike

It was a beautiful, cool fall-like day, so we decided to get out and enjoy a hike up nearby Nimham Mountain, which is named for a Wappinger Indian sachem who aided the patriots in the Revolutionary War and lost his life.  Along the route, there is an ancient "stone chamber," as you can see below.

For some unknown reason, of all the places where these pre-Columbian chambers are found, Putnam County has the highest concentration of them.  Carbon dating of artifacts found in the chambers indicates they are much older than even the Native Americans who lived here.  No one knows for sure what their purpose was, but they are usually oriented so the door faces due East, so the sun enters the chamber at dawn on the winter solstice or spring equinox.  It is also a mystery how the large flat rocks used for the roof pieces were moved without the aide of sophisticated tools or machinery.

 As you can see, this one is about 20 feet deep.  Apparently, many colonists who found them made use of them as storage cellars.  I've heard some local groups are trying to preserve these sites for their archeological interest.  There are also rumors that the ghost of chief Nimham has been seen in the vicinity of this chamber!

We continued up the mountain to the fire tower on top.  It has been restored and is well maintained, so many people climb it to take advantage of the views, which were spectacular.  There are many small lakes and reservoirs in the area, and the skyline of New York is even visible on very clear days.  Today it was visible, but minimally.

I believe this is a view of the nearby town of Carmel and Lake Gleneida.  We'll have to come back in a few weeks, when the fall colors are at their peak.

What did you do this weekend?

1 comment:

Norma Schlager said...

Those stone chambers are so interesting. If only rocks could talk.