An excellent article on my favorite part of the world, the Blackstone River Valley, and its National Historical Park is in the May/June issue of Harvard Magazine.
Tracing America’s industrial roots in the Blackstone River Valley
by NELL PORTER BROWN
Blackstone River Valley sights and activities | Harvard Magazine
For all visitors to RI forests where hunting is allowed (most of them) the wearing of hunter safety orange is required by law starting September 8th 2018 and running until February 28, 2019. The second second season runs from April 20, 2019 through May 31, 2019.
During the entire season 200 square inches are required and during shotgun deer hunting season 500 square inches are required. The official brochure of the regulations states:
Fluorescent hunter orange must be worn above the waist and be visible in all directions. Examples are: a hat that covers 200 square inches or a combination of hat and vest covering 500 square inches. Fluorescent camouflage does not meet this requirement.
I’m not sure the math actually works out but I’ll take their word for it (a hemisphere 11.4 inches in diameter is 200 in2, and that’s a huge noggin). I’ve created a Google Calendar showing the dates and amounts to make it easy to know how much and when.
My hike today took me along the west central edge of the Douglas State Forest. Most of the hike was on private property and quite a few areas have been logged over the years. Most of the logged areas are clear cuts but today I hit an area where obviously the property owner is selective cutting because on the trail I saw this:
A line and the text 11 carved into a tree and filled in with white paint. Behind it two trees where marked 12 & 13 and looking around I saw these other trees.
The highest number was 60 so it appears the property owner is going to selectively harvest 60 hardwood trees of various species. Pretty cool I’ve never seen this kind of preparation before, it will be interesting to see what the end result is the next time I hike that trail. It could leave some more open habitat that I’m sure will be enjoyed by the deer and other forest edge species (there’s very few open areas so any additions should be an environmental plus).
Fourteen months ago I broke my right ankle while on a pleasure walk with my family at Purgatory Chasm. The force of the break was so bad that it sent a pressure wave up my fibula leaving a small fracture under my kneecap. Unfortunately for me the ER doctor did a bad job on the splint which left my skin so badly damaged that the surgeon had to wait three weeks for my skin to heal before he could operate on me. I had three screws put in the ankle but also got the bad news that two of the screws where going to have to come out later if I ever wanted to walk without a bad limp. I got started on physical therapy but I couldn’t progress very far because the ankle just couldn’t flex enough with the two temporary screws in place. I did get to the point of being able to climb the stairs to get to my bedroom and home office and then to only using one crutch by Christmas.
The last week of December I had the two screws removed and by the middle of January I was back on one crutch and able to re-start physical therapy the last week of the month. By the middle of March I’d used up all the physical therapy insurance would cover and was walking well and driving again. Knowing it was going to take a long time and a lot of work to get my ankle as flexible as it could be, my therapist and I discussed options for continuing self therapy. Since the best therapy is something you will actually stick with (almost everyone gets bored and stops too soon) we decided I would do a bunch of rough terrain hiking to really work the ankle flexibility. The plan was that as soon as the snow was gone (couldn’t risk a slip on snow and ice) I’d start slowly with short easy mostly flat trails then as I felt more confident and comfortable I’d increase the distances and terrain roughness. A few very important conditions were placed on me by the therapist, first I needed to get good tall hiking boots to provide excellent ankle support for both legs. Next I had to wear my soft orthopedic ankle brace inside the boot as added protection for my injured ankle in case I fell. I was also told to use a walking stick to help prevent me from falling when traversing rocky and hilly terrain. The final condition was that I had to be careful and not push too hard, it ‘s OK to be sore and tired but if I caused pain in the ankle I’d probably slow my getting it back into shape.
As everyone living in the valley remembers we had massive amounts of snow last winter so the trails and woods weren’t clear of snow until very late this year. Waiting for the snow to melt and a weekend day with no rain kept me from getting started until April 12th. My first hike was the easy heart healthy Bird Blind and Cedar Swamp trails in the Wallum Lake Park area of the Douglas State Forest. This hike was only 2 miles but it was challenging enough to give the ankle a good work out and fun enough to make we want to do more. Needing a goal to keep me motivated all year I decided I would task myself with locating, hiking and mapping every foot of trails in the Douglas State Forest. As of last weekend I’ve finished the trails in the DSF as well as most of the trails in the adjoining Mine Brook Wildlife Management Area and bordering private properties. My injured ankle is nearly as flexible as the other one, I’ve rebuilt most of the atrophied muscles in the leg, and now after hikes it’s other body muscles and joints that are more likely to be sore than my ankle or leg. I can now hike 9 miles in a day over very rough terrain and average 17 miles per weekend. My total hiking distance for the year so far is 210 miles. Another great thing is I’ve lost more than 20 of the extra pounds I gained while I was on crutches.
I’ve not posted much about the BRVNHC here, or on my static site, in the past couple years due to other things taking up my free time. Much of my non-work time had to go towards items related to the death of my older brother in 2013, recovering from breaking my right ankle very badly last August (two surgeries last one at years end, just started driving again last month) and fixing long neglected IT infrastructure. Now that I’m on my own for therapy I’m getting a little free time back so I hope to post updates more frequently this year.
I’ve updated two of the BRVNHC Google Earth files this week. The first is a very minor edit, I added the proposed canal restoration in Worcester to the Waterways file. The other is more substantial and comes about due to my self therapy for ankle/knee recovery. I hiked 3 miles on the Burrillville Bike Path and trails with my brother, my youngest niece and her boyfriend this past weekend. In preparation for the hike I drew the path/trails in Google Earth and then used GPS Essentials to track and document the hike. I’ve added the Burrillville Bike Path to the Bike Trails file and also updated the introductory info for the SNETT.
I felt my first earthquake a few minutes ago, It was this one from the USGS site, centered in southern Maine. The house shook for a few seconds and nothing fell over but I must admit I was concerned enough that I headed down from the open plan second floor to shelter in a doorway. By the time I got down the stairs the shaking had stopped.
The American Antiquarian Society located in Worcester Massachusetts has been awarded a $77,557 grant. From the announcement:
The American Antiquarian Society’s collection of early American imprints (pre-1876) is recognized as the most comprehensive for this period and includes the first books printed in the colonies. Funds would support conservation treatment with an emphasis on retaining the original character and physical appearance of the materials. Fragile volumes would also be housed in lignin-free clamshell boxes.
I spotted a couple of interesting mentions of Hopedale in newspaper stories via my saved Google news searches. The first is an article in the Cape Cod Times by Rev. Robinson:
The theory of nonviolence has its roots in the ethic of Jesus, but as a technique for social transformation, it began with a Universalist minister, Adin Ballou, in the mid-19th century here in Massachusetts. Ballou was the spiritual head of a utopian community in Hopedale, located in the Blackstone River Valley. He was a Christian socialist, and when many of his fellow socialists were advocating violent means in the struggle against capitalism, Ballou championed nonviolence.
Ballou was Leo Tolstoy’s favorite American author, and Tolstoy took up Ballou’s ideas of nonviolence. Mohandas Gandhi, in turn, read Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King Jr. read Gandhi.
I was not aware of the Rev. Ballou’s influence on Tolstoy’s thinking.
The other story is sad, it’s by Joe O’Connell of the Milford Daily News, “Developmentally disabled from Hopedale clubhouse to protest cuts to clubhouses”. It makes me sad that we are reducing our level of help to our most vulnerable citizens.
I noticed an RSS feed for the Woonsocket Call today, so I’ve added it to my Blackstone River Valley Yahoo pipe.