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Easy and short hike from the parking area (N 41 59.040 W074 04.974) to the cache.
This cache is placed in one of my favorite areas, Onteora Lake and Bluestone Wild Forest (hence its name). It is right off of Route 28. The cache will be accessible all year round, but when the snow flies you will have to park at the marked entrance to the Onteora Lake and Bluestone Wild Forest along Route 28 and walk down to the parking coordiantes given.
The following brief history about bluestone mining was borrowed from the "Adirondack Mountain Club in New York City" website -- please visit (visit link) to see the whole description.
Bluestone, a fine grained sandstone, is common to the eastern portion of the area. This bluestone was used for early gravestones, in some houses and many of the sidewalks in local communities, as well as in the larger cities of Albany, Kingston and New York. Bluestone quarrying began in earnest around 1840 and lasted until the turn of the century when Portland cement became a cheap and aggressive competitor. Quarrying removed localized but large amounts of forest cover to get to the stone. Heavy-duty travel roads were built for wagons to haul the stone.
The quarries slowly revegetated and then only to light demanding pioneer tree species like white birch. From a distance, a discerning eye can determine the extent of the differing vegetation that still marks the old quarry sites.
Most of the following excerpts are from "The Catskills - From Wilderness to Woodstock" by Alf Evers (1972). For more detail, see the Chapters, "Bluestone Quarries" and "Quarrymen and Quarry Lore."
Tons of bluestone were quarried in places like Quarryville (in the Town of Saugerties), Hurley Woods, Jockey Hill, the banks of the lower Sawkill and Moray Hill. The stone was loaded onto iron rimmed wagons pulled by teams of horses, often in convoys, and sent to the trading towns along the river. There, the stone dealers would cut and shape them into what would become steps, curbing and sidewalks for cities all over the country. By 1850, bluestone was being shipped by river sloop to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, San Francisco, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Havana, Cuba. The stone was prized because it was hard and long lasting, dried very quickly after a shower, and did not become slippery with wear.
As the demand grew, stone dealers took advantage of the newly constructed railroads, such as the Ulster and Delaware Railroad, and older quarries that were farther from the railroad were closed and replaced by quarries in places like Margaretville, Roxbury and Phoenicia. The quarries near the railroad and today's Route 28 corridor continued to flourish.
Quarrying took its toll on the landscape, leaving scars on the earth and great piles of leftover rubble which can still be seen throughout the wild forest. In Kingston, courthouse proceedings on Wall Street would often stop as the convoys of bluestone wagons came down the street on the way to the stone yards at Wilbur (southwest Kingston).
The industry collapsed in 1880 with the discovery of Portland cement, bringing the 60-year era most responsible for shaping the Bluestone Wild Forest to a close.
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