As the skies began to threaten to release their pent up precipitation, I wandered into another area for the first time in my life. I had heard about, read about and generally wondered about this particular state forest, but again, it had never called me in.
I headed for Profile Rock. I wanted to know why it was that I had never heard of it, especially given the famousness of the Old Man of the Mountain up in Franconia Notch. I left the parking lot for the trail marked "Overlook" and nearly walked directly into a wood thrush. What a beautiful sight.
I found the rocks, complete with their early twentieth century-style steps to them. I tried to find a way to the top, circling the entire base, reading as little profane graffiti as possible along the way. I could hear voices at the top and began to wonder if my youthful climbing days were at an end. Then it hit me: follow the Dunkin Donuts trash. Sad, but true.
Within a few moments, I was on top of this particluar piece of the world, looking for miles across the treetops. It was even better than Abrams Rock. One cell tower here, one steepleless church tower there, and the rest a sea of green, like the Beatles sang in Yellow Submarine. Three young men joined me on the stone, but my guess was that when they think of the word "stone" another meaning comes to mind first. I smelled them long before they arrived. But then again, had I said "stone" to an ancient Babylonion, he, too, might conjure up a different image. For a reference, watch the Monty Python movie Life of Brian. ("Nobody is to stone anyone, until I blow this whistle!")
To catch the Fall River side, I moved across the street to the general wildlife management section of the park, and there I finally came face to face with Pine Cone Johnny himself. The state owes a lot to the Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps workers who spent so much time in our forests, and here the state had done the right thing, erecting a statue in their memory. As Johnny and I stood together in the rain, I realized that for all my frustrations with the State of Massachusetts during the day, consisting of parking problems, fees, neglect, abuse and more, this one act did a lot to balance the ledger.
And with that, I said goodbye to Bristol County for 2011.