The Bentley / McClaren Expeditions, Volume 1
Bentley and McClaren were the first human explorers in the region. They traveled as far north as what is now Stonebridge and the Sisters Lakes and as far west as the Red River in a series of four expeditions over 100 years ago. Bentley was a military man, a lieutenant in the King’s Army. McClaren was a halfling and retired adventurer. Their base of operations in the area at the time is now the city of Anvil, and many points of interest, particularly in the area around Anvil and Shirebrook, were either named by them or after them.
One of the few human-built fortifications in the region. Bentley himself oversaw the initial construction after the final expedition but died before it was completed. Like all the other attempts at military pacification of the region, it failed. The fort was abandoned but still remains in fair condition.
Old McClaren Cave
McClaren was an avid spelunker. As a halfling he could squeeze into cave openings no other explorer could. Old McClaren Cave was discovered during the first Bentley / McClaren expedition but it wasn’t until McClaren’s later years, long after the final expedition, that he was able to return and explore the cave properly. He considered it “delightful” particularly the chamber he dubbed the White Room. He was disappointed in the ease with which he conquered it, however, noting that save for a pair of particularly steep slopes of crumbling shale it was one of the easier spelunking trips he’d taken.
A high, sheer cliff at the head of what would later be named Breakneck Pass by travellers, Widow’s Reach offers a spectacular view of the Big Brother River valley. On a clear day you can see across the Greenwood to the White Hills and the mountains beyond.
This was one of the explorer’s favorite spots in the region. Bentley’s notebook is full of sketches and small watercolor paintings. The view from Widow’s Reach is notable for the number of such drawings Bentely recorded there.
The Legend of the Widow
According to folk tales and local legends, a woman in one of the local native tribes discovered that her husband was unfaithful to her. She lured him to the top of the Reach with the promise of a picnic but instead pushed him to his death on the rocks below. Only after returning home did she learn that she had been mistaken. She returned to the Reach to kill herself but was murdered by the vengeful ghost of her husband instead. Now it’s said that the ghosts of both husband and wife still haunt the Reach.