Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tantiusques Hiking

The weather has cooled off back to the 40s, which is perfect for hiking.  We went to Tantiusques (pronounced tan-te-us-quays) for a short trip.  It’s a 57 acre tract owned by the Trustees of Reservation.  Tantiusques is a Nipmuc word meaning “to a black deposit between two hills” and was one of New England’s first mining operations.  Originally it was mined for graphite to make ceremonial face paints.  In 1644 John Winthrop Jr bought the land to mine lead and iron and in 1827 Joseph Dixon mined the area learning about the merits of graphite.  He later went on to build a Mill in New Jersey and introduced the first graphite pencil. 

The tract is located on Leadmine Rd in Sturbridge.  You can easily get to it by taking the Mass Pike to exit 9.  Then merge onto I-84W and continue to exit 1.  Turn right on Mashpaug Rd and continue on for 1.5 miles.  Turn right on Leadmine Rd and follow it for .9 miles.  The entrance should be on the left.  There is 1 trail located on the property.  It’s a loop trail that can loop back to the starting point or dump you off farther up the road.  It’s a simple hike with the only elevation gain is when you cross over the ridge on the loop connecting trail.  When you first start off you are met with an open mine shaft that dates back to 1902.  I didn’t have a flashlight so I didn’t bother to poke my head in and look around, it’s probably for the best anyway.  Overall it’s a great piece of history and a calm hike, in total it was .82 miles.

For more info on Tantiusques click here.

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