Scenic USA - Massachusetts

Purgatory Chasm

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Purgatory Chasm - Purgatory Chasm State Park, Massachusetts

Photos by Terri Prepelka

     Far removed from the halfway point to heaven, this part of Purgatory is located in Sutton, Massachusetts. Said to be a great place for a picnic or barbeque, state park land surrounds Purgatory Chasm, a 70 foot deep crease in solid bedrock. The park offers ballfields, playgrounds and picnic pavilions, but first things first. You'll find park visitors are eager to descend into the quarter mile chasm.
     Thought to have been created 14,000 years ago when a sudden release of dammed-up glacial melt water ripped a gash through solid granite, you'll find Purgatory Chasm lined with a jumble of huge blocks of metamorphic gneiss and schist. Aside from the other theories that simply see the chasm as a fissure or a keystone fault, this is an exciting enry into Purgatory.
     One of five hiking trails His Majesty's Cavein the park, the blue-blazed half mile Chasm Loop Trail allows hikers to pick their way through treacherous precipices and jagged boulders. Pictured here is chasm from the trailhead, where a golden carpeted pathway makes the trail all the more beautiful, but hazardous. Ahead is Lover's Leap, the Devil's Pulpit, Fat Man's Misery and the Devil's Coffin. Drawn in by such an interesting title, Purgatory Chasm State Reservation visitors continue to marvel at all the unique features and scenery in this rugged setting.

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