While the Autumn mist was lifting this past Saturday, 15 people of all ages convened at the Warwick Library, to await departure to the Warwick Indian Caves. Introductions were shared and we realized that Elaine Reardon brought almost half of the adventurers, as either family or friends. Trip Leader, Clare Green, shared a laugh, as she is also a friend of Elaine’s.
As we embarked upon the trail, off White Road, the brilliance of Fall embraced our senses: luminous red sugar maples and yellow leafing birches against the royal blue sky, red oak acorns dropping like firecrackers, moist smells rising from a ripened summery earth. Not only was the luxury of Autumn embraced, but those who were elderly or young and needing a helping hand were particularly aided by the strength of Peter Gerry and Tom Doane. ( Also, thanks to those 2 men, the 3 abandoned, derelict metal radiators/gas tanks along the trail were picked up and hoisted into the truck!) Now be sure to notice the “pile of stones” on the left which introduce the trail to the Caves because the junk metal is history! Stormi Doane was the first to notice the trailhead during this trek. Assorted mushrooms and coral fungi were noticed. A wood frog and peeper also crossed our paths. Chickadees flitted, Blue Jays trumpeted, chipmunks scampered.!
Upon arriving at the Caves, it was noticed that the huge granite was covered in edible black lichen, “Indian Tobacco.” The Caves more closely resemble a large granite overhang, which lends protection from the elements and supposedly big enough to contain 50 men, now home to porcupines. Smaller bodied people are able to crawl through the far opening of the cave. The fact that they are named “Indian Caves” has its origins in legend and imagination. It might be more accurate now just to name them the “Warwick Caves.” Within the woods glacial erratics remain as silent sentinels to the former ice age. Hikers enjoyed the taste of Autumn molasses cookies while we lingered to enjoy the grand presence of the Caves. Linda Mahoney offered to lead a new way out, following the blue dot trail which also connected to White Road nearer to Steven’s Swamp. The two routes were embarked upon and thankfully all trekkers were accounted for back at the cars!
This morning’s adventure was not only a hike to discover Indian Caves, but also a moment to recognize the best traits that a community of people can offer…environmental consciousness, compassion, friendliness, flexibility, and the appreciation of nature’s infinite beauty. The elements of discovery and wonder are always intertwined with the divine and the nature.