Monday, July 25, 2016

New Hampshire: Day 2.5: The Boulder

On our way back to Wolfeboro from the White Mountains on July 16, our friend Patti suggested that we take a scenic road to avoid heavily trafficked and distinctly un-scenic NH 16.  The route took us through the town of Madison.  As we were cruising down the road, we spotted a sign that said Madison Boulder State Natural Area with an arrow pointing down a gravel road to the west.  Madison Boulder? we all wondered as we sailed past the turnoff and continued driving.  Patti quickly googled Madison Boulder and found that it is a massive glacial erratic in a tiny (17-acre) state park.  So, I turned around at the next opportunity and we headed back to the sign.  What the heck, huh?

The residential gravel Boulder Road ended at small parking lot with two other cars.  No boulder in sight, but there was a large gate and an obvious trail into the woods, so off we went.

The walk to the boulder is up a slight rise.  At the top of the rise, the boulder suddenly came into view off in the distance. 
Kali approaching the Madison Boulder
Holy Cow!  The "boulder" is gigantic!

Kali and Patti at the left of the Madison Boulder
At the information kiosk, we learned that the Madison Boulder is the largest glacial erratic in North America and one of the largest in the world.  It measures 85 feet long, 37 feet wide, and 23 feet tall.  Its weight is estimated at 5,963 tons.

Kali and the boulder photographed from the western end
Most geologists think that the boulder was "plucked" from Whitten Ledge two miles to the northwest during the last continental glaciation.  The original ragged rock was smoothed by glacial action as the glacier slid across the landscape.  A few geologist even contend that the glacier moved the rock  25 miles from the heart of the White Mountains.

We all were mesmerized by the boulder and were so glad that we turned back to investigate.  We agreed that visiting the boulder was one of the highlights of the four days we spent together in New Hampshire.  Are we nerds who need to get a life?  I don't care; it was so cool!

(By the way, the image introducing the post has nothing to do with the Madison Boulder.  I needed an image of a boulder but I didn't want to "give away" the surprise.)


robin andrea said...

What a wonderful impromptu turn down a gravel road. I'm so glad you took the drive. That boulder is fantastic! Oh you are definitely nerds, but that's what makes life so enriching. We would have done the same thing and been just as giddy happy about it too.

Scott said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Robin Andrea!