From Dave Brigham:
I've been wanting to walk through this door for a few years, ever since I stumbled across mention of Dungeon Rock in Lynn, Massachusetts.
After double-checking on the Friends of Lynn Woods web site that the door would indeed be open, I hopped in the car with my kids and made the 40-minute drive from our home. I'm happy that my kids, aged 9 and 14, are at the age where they don't complain too much about doing stuff like this. "It's just a short walk in the woods," I told them, hoping I was right. "And then there's a cool cave."
Turns out, I was right. Following a map kindly provided at the entrance to the park, we walked for maybe 15 minutes through some beautiful forest, before cutting over on a trail heading toward the infamous Dungeon Rock. Up an easy set of stone steps we found our destination.
I don't know the geological history of this spelunkers' paradise, but the Friends of Lynn web site has a fairly detailed account of the area going back to 1658. Here's how that story begins:
"Late in the summer of 1658, a sinister ship appeared in Lynn Harbor. The ship was painted black and flew no flag. Word spread quickly among the citizens of the small town of Lynn, Massachusetts: There were pirates in the harbor! A boat was lowered from the ship, a chest was loaded into the boat, and four oarsmen rowed it toward shore. The boat headed up the Saugus River and landed near the Saugus Iron Works. The next day, workers found a note attached to a door, asking to purchase a supply of shackles, hatchets, shovels, and other tools. The note promised that if the requested tools were manufactured and left at a secret location, then a supply of silver would be left in exchange. The tools were made and paid for as promised."
You can read the rest of the account at the Friends of Lynn Woods web site.
My kids and I ventured cautiously through the door, no clue in our heads about what awaited us. A few feet inside the doorway is a staircase. With my son shining his cell phone flashlight ahead of us, I tentatively started down, my kids right behind me. At the bottom of our short descent, we landed on some somewhat slippery rocks. I took my son's phone and shined the light deeper into the cave. I couldn't see much, but could tell the cave went down more and was much bigger than I'd assumed.
I made the executive decision that although we'd only explored about 20 feet into the cave, we would turn around and head back up. If I'd been on my own, and had a proper flashlight and better footwear, I would've pushed on a bit more.
When I have more time, I'll get back to the Lynn Woods, to check out the stone tower, the rose garden and the wolf pits.