Dwight Peck's personal website
2007 -- Late
September in the USA
USA, in the October heat wave
out nearby islands and beaches for the hint of a cool breeze
may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
desperate to escape the heat-shimmering brick and asphalt, we dash across several
partially condemned bridges and head for a day of hiking out at the Harbor Islands,
4 October 2007.
has been hovering blissfully at 65°-75°F (16-24°C) throughout August
and September, but Boston in early October is holding at 85°F (30°C).
The Republicans have been toying with the Gulf Stream again.
leaving heat-shimmering Boston's Long Wharf behind on the Harbor Islands Express,
bound we know not nor care whither.
wears enormous hegemonic flags like costume jewellry, but most of the biggest
ones flap outside automobile dealerships in the suburbs. This one must be the
size of a football field.
my semi-formed view as an untraveled country boy, if there is a US city that is
tolerable at all, besides San Francisco, it's Boston.
said . . . you still have to wonder what's holding all those Babel Towers upright!
are here". Spectacle Island (supposedly so named because the twin
drumlins reminded someone of a pair of spectacles), just south of Logan airport
and right under the flight paths. Part of a National Park, in fact, it's said
to be good for hiking but isn't -- it has got, however, a marina and a lifeguarded
beach, as well as the remains of an old horse-melting candle factory from former
centuries, as well as an offshore red-light district in the 1850s, and, in fact,
the city's offshore dump up until recently. The dump was closed down in 1959,
it seems, when underground methane fires threatened to melt the whole edifice.
excellent nature centre on Spectacle Island. The
island, with a 150-foot lump on either end and a picnic table on top of each,
used to be higher in the middle because of the garbage fill, and sheltered 13
families of horse-renderers in its heyday (a "close-knit community",
according to the historical displays in the centre), but became neglected until
it was taken in hand in 1992 and lovingly restored.
Boston skyline, with
an airplane taking off from Logan, seen from the "South Drumlin" (about
50m high). We owe the two "drumlin" hills on Spectacle Island to the
Ted Williams Tunnel -- clay and sediment from Boston's "Big Dig" project
were dumped out here throughout the 1990s.
are good views of Boston here, and interesting tales of horse-corpse disposal
and old families nostalgic about the garbage-dump days, but it's not easy to see
why the island is described as good for hiking. It is intended, however, eventually
to become a "'zero-emission park' that will serve as a learning laboratory
on recycling and renewable energy". That can't be bad.
Island, with the two little Ted Williams "drumlins" and the visitors'
centre in the middle. We're off to Georges Island now.
here we are. Hiking indeed. We understood that historical Fort Warren was on Georges
Island, but in fact it IS Georges Island.
Not Welcome. Boston's
WWII defenses, when diplomacy fails again. There was a French fort on Georges
Island during the USA's Revolutionary War, evidently, and the basic outline still
has a Vauban-style 17th century French structure to it. Most of the military architecture,
however, seems to be mid-19th century, and indeed the place served as a military
(and diplomatic) prison during the US Civil War.
Warren was in use throughout World War Two as well and up to 1950, in fact.
not easy for some of us to imagine what life would have been like for soldiers
stationed here, say, in the 1860s. The semi-circular artifacts along the ramparts
are the swivel circles from the enormous Rodman cannons that lined these bastions
in the Civil War era.
on the parade ground below.
viewing the kitchen area of Bastion C. Fort Warren is well displayed with informative
signs all about.
in the courtyard of Bastion C, with Boston behind and seagulls aloft.
remains of the Über-Kitchen. Pizzas for everyone.
used to wander back and forth here, a century and a half ago, puffing on their
pipes, reading letters from home, waiting for lunch or getting ready for guard
duty up on the ramparts.
history is fun, in its own way, but let's get out of here.
Beach near Ipswich and Essex, north of Boston, is not bad for an afternoon's walk.
It's part of the Massachusetts membership-funded "Reservations" system,
and it's got what looks like a formidable visitors's centre, though it's all closed
down now in the off-season (except for the porta-potties), 5 October 2007.
pay their fees, too, so here they are, with their scoopers running along behind
to keep the park neat and clean.
ripples on the beach, obviously some kind of code
horses outrunning their scoopers
little girl in the back has got on knee-length pink riding boots
are okay, for a while, but after a few miles, enough's enough. Up into the dunes
we go, then.
that this crap is really hard to walk in
Beach dunes, extremely beautiful, as we're looking for a way out of here
running on ahead
donated by another generous robber baron from the old days. Where on earth would
the USA be today without its old-time guilt-ridden capitalists? There's nobody
like that now, aside from George Soros.
Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 17 October 2007, revised 16 October 2012.