Off the north side of Route 111, aka Indian Rock Rd. in Windham nestled in the woods is "Indian Rock" pictured here to the left. Keep in mind, it will be on the south side of the new Rt 111 when that's done being built. The plaque reads: "Over these rock strewn hills and through these woods the Indians roamed on their hunt for game. On these waters their canoes were launched in their quest for fish. Nearby fields yielded their harvest of corn and on this rock it was ground into meal. This tablet erected by The Town of Windham A.D. 1933"
This is the second set of pictures I've taken of it. I lost the pictures I took the first time and was not anxious to return for another set. It's a really cool landmark, don't get me wrong, to think of the Native Americans grinding corn right there hundreds of years ago - it's pretty cool - BUT the memory doesn't quite have the same historical impact for any of us as it once did.
It was the end of summer 2004, and I had a bright idea to bring my daughters then 9 & 6 years old to hike in and find this elusive rock. I had researched a near proximity, pulled over to the general area and off we went into the roadside woods. It wasn't very long before we found it. I took a series of pictures and the girls quickly got bored after asking a million questions and wandered off slightly distant from me. I looked up and saw an even bigger rock in the distance.
"Let's go up there and explore" I suggest.
So further in the woods we went climbing up on top of the huge rock in the slight distance to see if anything was different about that one. I came down around one side and they started to come down the other side closer to the path. I called the kids over to me to help them down and they followed me down a less traveled but shorter path. We trudged back to the mini-van, hopped in and headed on our way back home. Sounds normal enough right?
Well, it was, until about a half mile down the road I happen to look down and I am COVERED with ticks! I don't mean 4 or 5, or even 20 or 30 - I mean hundreds! To say I screamed does not begin to explain the wretchedness that exploded from my vocal cords as I slammed on the brakes, hooked a right off the side of the road & came to a dead stop. Naturally my daughters are now petrified as to what was going on as I jumped out of the van screaming "Get out! Get out! There are ticks everywhere!".
I look at them, and they look down - realizing they too are covered. There we are on the side of North Lowell Rd jumping around doing our own high speed Native American Dance simulation while screaming, cringing, and fully immersed in "the willies" as we all tried to brush them off us as quickly as possible. If I only had a video tape of that moment, I'm sure it would be hysterical now, not so much then.
There had to be thousands in a nest that we all plowed through. It is the worst bug memory of our lives. I don't want to jinx us but life would be hard pressed to exceed that experience! Eventually we got up the courage to climb back in the van after killing all those I could see in it, and my older daughter finally stopped hyperventilating & crying...but the feeling of those little things crawling all over us followed us all the way home. Blasting through the door to our apartment, we immediately took off every stitch in the middle of the kitchen, grabbed robes and one after the other took long hot showers. It was nothing short of a miracle that none of us were bitten. It literally took years before I could convince my older daughter to go in the woods again!
So....you can imagine my utter dismay when I realized I'd have to go back in there to get another picture for this blog post! This time at least - I waited for a hard freeze - and I didn't go venturing past the Indian Rock like last time either :-)
Amylynne (Baker) Murphy