Frye's Leap - ( don't jump! )
In Maine, United States
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Welcome to this water accessible earthcache on Sebago Lake. I have always found Frye’s Leap to be a unique location. Not sure if it is the local history or the natural beauty of this location but it is indeed unique.
Frye’s Leap is a unique location not only for its natural beauty, but also for its unique role in the history of the area. It is difficult to tell in the blend of history, legend, myth, and lore what is true and what had been made-up over the years from bits of truth. Either way the rock formation called Frye’s Leap does hold its place in the natural history of Sebago Lake.
The story begins long ago when the bedrock in the area was formed. The granite that underlies Sebago Lake is part of a large mass of igneous rock known as the Sebago Pluton, emplaced in a molten state into older and harder metamorphic rocks approximately 290 million years ago (Carboniferous Period). Soft dikes, sheet-like intrusions of igneous rock, were emplaced into the Sebago granite during the Mesozoic Era (225 to 65 million years ago.) One of these dikes caused what is known as the Gut or Notch between Frye’s Leap and Frye’s Island.
But the real story of this natural feature begins with the last glacial period as do some many features found in the northeast. While there have been many glaciers covering the area all evidence but the most recent glaciations have been removed. Glacial striations from the last glacial period (approximately 30,000 to 12,000 years before present) can be seen on these outcrops and others along the shore of Sebago Lake. The ice flowed towards the southeast, varying from 133 to 175 degrees leave large scratches in the granite. As the ice moved it removed the softer granites leaving behind the harder materials that were formed further back in time. Frye’s Leap is one of those older formations found along Cape Raymond. Before the last glacier the Island and Leap were one long formation but the glacier removed the softer and younger dike forming the Notch or Gut and leaving behind the rock cliffs. This natural formation that appears to be unique has lead to many stories.
There are a number of interesting legends, myths and lore’s associated with Frye’s leap, while there maybe some truth in the stories over the years I am sure they have grow into what they are today. According to legend the name Frye’s Leap comes from a man named Captain Frye, an Indian hunter and a native of Scarborough. When he was being pursued by a band of Indians, the Captain fled to the edge of the cliff, once known as Standish Cove on Cape Raymond. As the Indians approached he decided to take his own life by jumping, but landed in the snow below and crossed the Notch on the ice to the island. The Indians were so amazed at what he had done that they didn't even follow him. Since that time the cliffs have been known as Frye's Leap and the Island as Frye's Island.
Later, according to E.H. Knight in Raymond Then and Now, "during the steamboat era as an attraction to passengers, supposed Indian paintings on the rock were reinforced in bright colors. The rocks became known as “The Images.” This is because even today faded Indian drawings can be seen here; one shows the leap of Captain Frye, another a picture of a young Indian girl who jumped to her death rather than be captive to a white man, an Indian wigwam and the chief, a wounded bear, an Indian war dance, and a deer. During the steamboat era a young man was hired for the summer to live in a tent on the top of the Leap. He was to appear before the boat passengers in Indian attire and, with blood curdling whoops, fire a gun in the air. The Images guard the island’s narrowest point and according to lore do ancient Indians paint pictographs. Today there are only faint traces of the paintings found on the rock surfaces.
Beneath Frye’s Leap exists a narrow cove, once referred to as “The entrance to a classical tomb”. According to myth the opening was created by a fissure, which became covered by natural growth. This grotto provides about 25 feet of sailing space below the lake’s waterline. A myth states that in the days when deep snow covered all the hills and ice never thawed from the streams, Manitou, the Mighty One, sent his son from his dwelling at the top of distant mountains down to the earth. The son’s breath warmed the land and mists rose until he could no longer see his mountain home. Then all at once, he felt himself falling through the air to a place beside waters of a lake. Before the mists cleared sufficiently for him to see his habitat, he fell in love with “the spirit of the lake”, a beautiful girl.
The last is a story of the small cave next to the Leap. Along the east shore is a cave formed by the mass of the glacier cracking the rock. The cave is a small square crevice in the rock that is approachable by boat in low water levels and having an exit above on the landside. There is a local tradition to the effect that Nathaniel Hawthorne, the eminent author, would row his boat into the cave and meditate. Hawthorne did spent some of his earlier years in the area near Thomas Pond. Perhaps this is where the seeds of some of his writing were born.
The coordinates will bring you to the foot of the Frye’s Leap so it must be approach using a boat or in the winter when the ice covers the lake. In order to fulfill the requirements of this Earthcache you need to: email through my profile the estimated height of Frye’s Leap from the water level to the top of the rock outcrop. When you post your log you must include a photo of you and your GPS with a recognizable section of Frye’s Leap in the background. Also in your log please describe any evidence of the images that you might discover, include a description of the location so that others will be able to find the image when they visit. I hope you enjoy your visit to Frye’s Leap, as it is a favorite of mine on Sebago Lake.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 4/14/2013 8:32:09 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:32 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum