Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Wolf Hill/Mercer Lookout – Smithfield

Wolf Hill Forest Preserve/Mercer Outlook
Waterview Drive, Smithfield, RI
Trailhead: 41°53’56.01″N, 71°32’22.30″W
Last Time Hiked: July 27, 2014
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.2 miles
Moderate to difficult due to elevation.
 

The Wolf Hill Forest Preserve is another Smithfield Land Trust property. It offers several miles of trails, a couple of overlooks, and a World War II memorial. We, The Providence County Hiking Club, had a small group out for this very humid hike. We had rain approaching from the west as well. We started at the green blazed trailhead on Waterview Drive. The trail immediately ascends and winds up the hill. The green blazed trail passes through areas with several types of trees and is quite rocky in some areas. When we reached the yellow blazed trail we turned left to follow it. The yellow trails winds through an area of moss covered boulders before coming to the power lines. After crossing under the power lines the trail turns right up an area of outcrop before turning left back into the woods. After entering the woods again we came across some fellow hikers from The Rhode Island Hiking Club doing one of their infamous “Wolf Hill Exercise Hikes”. After chatting briefly with them we moved on along the yellow trail to the site of the World War II plane crash. Three U.S. servicemen died here on August 5, 1943 after their plane experienced an engine failure and crashed on Wolf Hill. The Airmen’s Memorial features a large boulder, believed to be where the plane came to its rest, and a plaque with the names of the servicemen. We then continued on the yellow trail until we reached the white trail. We veered left onto the white trail following it until we turned left onto the blue blazed trail. The blue blazed trail brought us to the Mercer Lookout. On a clear day it is said that you can see Providence, Brayton Point in Somerset, the upper Narragansett Bay, and the Mount Hope Bridge in Bristol. Today, being hazy, cloudy, and humid, we could see only parts of Providence. There is also a chimney here, being the remains of what was once believed to be a cabin. After we lingered for a bit here we retraced our steps back to the intersection of the white and yellow trails. We then followed the white trail instead of making our way back down the yellow. The white trail eventually led back across the power lines and to the Ken Weber Memorial Trail. The trail appeared to be blazed red at one time but has been blazed white. We then came to an intersection with a red blazed trail going to the right and left. We went straight for a bit wandering through some faintly marked trails until we reached the Quarry Overlook. From here we wandered again through some narrower faintly marked red and blue trails until we reached the green trail. The green trail we would follow all the way back to the cars. The green trail however led us almost all the way down Wolf Hill before sending us back up. The trail was very reminisce of trails I have hiked in the White Mountains in years past. Although challenging, the beauty of this section of the green trail was well worth it. There is one area that has a massive rock wall as the trails passes it. Although it was a gray and humid day the weather held out until just about the end of the hike.

Trail Map can be found at: Wolf Hill/Mercer Lookout.

Airmen's Memorial At Wolf Hill

Airmen’s Memorial At Wolf Hill

Providence From Wolf Hill On A Cloudy Day

Providence From Wolf Hill On A Cloudy Day

Along The Green Trail

Along The Green Trail

Purgatory Chasm – Sutton

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Purgatory Road, Sutton, MA
Trailhead: 42° 7’44.97″N, 71°42’53.44″W
Last Time Hiked: July 26, 2014
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
Various difficulties, the chasm is difficult to strenuous, the remainder of the hike is moderate.
 

Indeed one of the most unique natural spots in Southern New England, the centerpiece of this hike is the granite chasm which in spots is up to 70 feet deep. It features countless boulders and some caves. Climbing the walls of the chasm is prohibited except by permit. Many injuries have occurred here and there are several warning signs throughout the chasm. In fact, I would suggest checking the forecast before heading here. A damp or rainy day could make the scaling over the rocks and boulders outright dangerous. Also the chasm itself is generally closed in the winter months. Starting early and one of the first to arrive I started today’s hike by first tackling the chasm. The chasm entrance is well marked and the Chasm Loop Trail is blazed blue. It took a little time to conquer this first part of the hike for a couple of reasons. First, scaling and maneuvering over and around the quarter mile of boulders. Second, this is a great place for a guy with a camera (that would be me) to capture the sun coming over the chasm walls. And lastly, I found myself spending some time watching the endless amounts of chipmunks in the chasm. Near the end of the chasm I turned left and continued to follow the blue blazed Chasm Loop Trail as it winded uphill. From this trail there are some impressive views of the chasm. Be sure to not get to close to the edges. I came across Fat Man’s Misery (which I choose to just view) and the Devils Corncrib before following the trail back to the chasm entrance. From here I went around the pavilion to the beginning of the trail named Charley’s Loop. It is a yellow blazed trail that winds through the southeast section of the reservation. I came across some early morning dog-walkers along this stretch. When I reached the intersection with the signage I followed the Little Purgatory Trail which was blazed green. When I reached the small chasm with the trickling waterfall I followed a trail to the right looking for the loop. After a bit I realized that there were no longer any blazes and the trail didn’t seem to loop back in the proper direction. So I retraced my steps back down the trail until I got to the “road”. Here I turned left then left again onto the orange blazed Forest Road Trail. This old stone and dirt road seemed endlessly uphill before it broke off right into the woods. At the end of the Forest Road Trail I turned left onto the Old Purgatory Trail, still blazed orange, as it wound up and down through the forest. The trail eventually end at Purgatory Road where I turned right and made my way back to the car. I did not expect to get 3.5 miles of hiking here (and I suspect it had to do with getting a little off track on the Little Purgatory), but I must say, this was a rather challenging hike on a warm summer morning. Well worth the challenge though.

Trail Map can be found at: Purgatory Chasm.

In The Chasm

In The Chasm

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

Sprague Farm – Glocester

Sprague Farm Town Forest
Pine Orchard Road, Glocester, RI
Trailhead: 41°54’31.41″N,  71°42’8.87″W
Last Time Hiked: June 29, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.6 miles
Easy with slight elevation.

 

The Providence County Hiking Club is now doing monthly hikes the last weekend of each month. This months hike was Sprague Farm. The property is owned by the Glocester Land Trust and includes several miles of mostly pine needle covered paths. This property also features several cellar holes of the former homesteads of the Sprague family. Upon my as usual early arrival I made small chat with some others who pulled into the parking area while I was waiting for the other members of the hiking club. A few were here with their dogs and some were here to do some geocaching. For this hike we followed most of Ken Webers suggested route in his “Weekend Walks” book and then we added some additional exploration. Before we started I briefly explored a small field just south of the parking area. After our group assembled we started the hike by following the Sprague Trail blazed with white rectangles. We followed it for approximately a half mile passing a few side trails before we came to a sign for the Colonel Anthony Trail. We would later return on this trail. We continued straight on the white blazed trail. Just after this intersection and on the right is the first of the cellar holes. This one is the George Sprague Farmstead. The stonework and stairs are astonishingly well preserved. After spending a few moments here we continued westward on the Sprague Trail to its end passing areas of ferns, stone walls, and boulders. At the end of the trail on the right is another cellar hole. This one is the site of the Smith Sprague Homestead. We then turned left on the Haystack Trail, blazed with yellow rectangles, to its end passing the last remnants of mountain laurel. We then turned left onto Elbow Rock Road, blazed with white dots, passing a small vernal pool on the left before going slightly uphill to the Joseph Sweet Homestead on the right. Here there is a cellar hole and some sort of stone formation that does not appear to be a cemetery. In fact, Ken Weber, in his book, suggests that it may be the remnants of a granary. One of my fellow hikers dubbed it “Sprague-henge”. After spending some time here when then retraced our steps back to the intersection of the Sprague Trail and Haystack Trail. From here we continued following the Haystack Trail a bit more before turning right onto the blue dot blazed trail named appropriately the John Ridge Trail. This trail first goes downhill a bit but quickly and rather gently climbs uphill to a ridge that overlooks the forest. We then followed the orange dot blazed trail to the right. This trail is the Colonel Anthony Trail and would eventually lead us to the Sprague Trail once again. There is a stream crossing in this section where we had to scramble over some rocks. At the end of this trail we turned left again following the Sprague Trail back toward the parking area. We decided to do a little further exploration of the property at this point. We turned right onto the Jedediah Trail, blazed with blue triangles, to its end, then right onto the orange triangle blazed trail, aptly named the Cemetery Trail. Near the end of this trail is the Sprague family cemetery, Most of the headstones date to the 1800’s and it has signage depicting it as a historical cemetery. We then followed the Lydia Trail, blazed with yellow dots, back in a northward direction, then turned left onto the Jedediah Trail. From here we retraced our steps back to the Sprague Trail where we turned right and hiked back to the parking area. This is also a haven for birds as we heard several bird calls along the entire hike. The trails here are very well marked and there is signage at most of the trail intersections. Thank you Glocester Land Trust. Be mindful that hunting is allowed on this property in the fall and winter.

 

Trail map can be found at: Sprague Farm.

A Field At Sprague Farm

A Field At Sprague Farm

One Of Several Cellar Holes

One Of Several Cellar Holes

Trail Through Stone Walls And Ferns

Trail Through Stone Walls And Ferns

Ridge Hill – Dartmouth

Ridge Hill Reserve
Collins Corner Road, Dartmouth, MA
Trailhead: 41°41’39.40″N, 71° 1’18.57″W
Last Time Hiked: June 18, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
Moderate due to narrow and rocky trails in areas. Some elevation as well.

 

This was my first hike in Dartmouth in a couple months. Ridge Hill Reserve is in northern Dartmouth near the Fall River line. I was joined by a friend who works in Dartmouth for this hike. We started this hike a little later than what I would normally start a hike, so I had to keep daylight in mind. It really wasn’t an issue as we are now in the longest days of the year. We started this hike by exploring the red trail. This trail, with the exception of where it comes out to the dirt roads and the old power line clearings, is very narrow as well as rocky in areas. For the most part it is well marked, however you should keep an eye out for the blazes at intersections. There is also an old mill site along the trail. After completing the red trail we decided to explore parts of the blue and green trails. Keeping the time in mind we opted not to do the entire green trail loop and we cut it in half using the blue trails. These trails were substantially wider. There is a section of the green trail that borders the New Bedford Rod and Gun Club. There are several no trespassing signs along this stretch for obvious reasons. After making a loop we returned to the car. We did come across a snake here and several birds as well as a great blue heron.

 

Trail map can be found at: Ridge Hill.

A Trail At Ridge Hill

A Trail At Ridge Hill

Jason Phillips Mill Site

Jason Phillips Mill Site

Monastery – Cumberland

Cumberland Monastery
Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI
Trailhead: 41°56’5.96″N, 71°24’20.67″W
Last Time Hiked: June 14, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
Easy with slight elevation.

 

For a half of a century this property was a religious site. It was the home of a Cistercian Monastery. Although most of the buildings are still here the property is now owned by the Town of Cumberland. The site is also includes the towns library and the oldest known veterans memorial in the United States. The memorial known as Nine Men’s Misery is the site where nine colonists were tortured to death by the Narragansett Indian tribe during the King Phillips War in 1676. They were later buried here by English soldiers and the memorial was built. The site is also sprawling with trails. I was joined by a few hiking club friends for this early foggy morning walk. We started the walk near a back parking lot towards Nine Men’s Misery. After stopping at the memorial we continued on the trail named after the memorial. After going through some fields we turned right onto the Monk’s Quarry Trail. We stopped briefly for a bit to examine the quarry site. One of the more interesting pieces here is a large stone cross laying in the woods. We then continued on the trail to its end. We then turned right onto the Whipple Loop Trail. We followed that for a bit and then started exploring some of the side trails that overlook an active quarry. We then did some wandering around follow trails on the extreme southern edge of the property before coming out to the Beauregard Loop. Here we turned right following the trail out to the library. We then followed the road back to the car.

 

 The Town Of Cumberland is proposing to build a public safety complex on a portion of this property although a 2004 agreement “protects” the land from any further development. Here is a link to voice your opinion on the matter.

 

Trail map can be found at: Monastery.

Through A Field

Through A Field

Ruins

Ruins

Nine Men's Misery (**not my best picture, a little blurry**)

Nine Men’s Misery (**not my best picture, a little blurry**)

Pulaski Park/Peck Pond – Burrillville/Putnam/Thompson

Casimir Pulaski Memorial State Park
Center Trail, Burrillville, RI
Trailhead: 41°55’57.19″N,  71°47’49.01″W
Last Time Hiked: May 25, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
Easy with some slight elevation.

 

I think I have always been a bit of a naturalist. I would rather spend time in the woods rather than in front of a computer. I have always been tremendously intrigued by Thoreau and not so much Jobs or Gates. I would choose Walden Pond over the city any day. But this is the age of technology. Social media has come to rule my life for better or worse. With that being said, a year and a day ago I was contacted by a blogger simply known as Auntie Beak. She came across my hiking blog and suggested that we should talk. She was working on a similar project and we over time eventually became Facebook friends and became members of the same hiking groups. A series of misfortunes occurred last summer. Auntie Beak broke her ankle hiking Escoheag Trail in Arcadia in July and I followed in a less honorable Downtown Providence drinking incident of breaking my ankle in August. Obviously, we both needed to heal and then a long, cold, almost unbearable winter set in. In late April a rain delay of sorts would play into the cards. But at last… Auntie Beak and I have hiked together. Auntie Beaks blog is a wealth of information of the Southeastern Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island trails. I often refer to her site for hikes. She is also very knowledgeable in fungus and flowers. I have never been much into botany, but as of late, my interests have been peaked. I am grateful to have met Auntie Beak and the many others I have met through social media that have the same love and passion for the outdoors that I have. With that being said, today’s hike… Pulaski Park is a beautiful state park with Peck Pond as its centerpiece. The entrance road to Pulaski Park is off of Route 44 in Glocester, however, the parking area and all of the trails we hiked on the Rhode Island side are in Burrillville. We started from the main parking area near the restrooms. We followed the path to the beach area then turning right following a trail that was blazed white with a blue dot. This trail meandered through dense woods with some rocky footing. We had initially started off trying to follow the yellow blazed trail but took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Whoops! We ended up doing a loop that brought us back to the beach area. We decided then to head over to the bridge that crosses the dam. The bridge aptly named the RI-CONN bridge crosses over into the extreme northeastern corner of Putnam, Connecticut before entering Thompson. We then followed a gravel road for a bit back into Burrillville. At the split we followed the road to the right. This road would eventually come to a covered bridge passing first some streams and old man-made stone works of interest. Most of this road had an occasional yellow blaze. Shortly after the covered bridge we came to a short trail on the right that would lead uphill to another gravel road. We then turned right following the road to a trail on the right that would cut through an open field. At the next intersection we went straight completing a loop that came out to our left. We should have turned right. From here we turned left at the next intersection and back to the parking area. We came across many flowers, again seeing Lady Slippers, as well as mushrooms and fungus on this hike and many insects. I did not see any wildlife other than birds and the occasional squirrel.

 

Trail map can be found at: Pulaski Park-Peck Pond.

Peck Pond

Peck Pond

Stream In The Woods

Stream In The Woods

Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail

Great Woods – Mansfield

Great Woods Conservation Area
Oak Street, Mansfield, MA
Trailhead: 41°59’16.23″N, 71°14’6.54″W
Last Time Hiked: May 23, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
Easy.

 

Many locals know Great Woods (or the many names it has had since opening) as a concert venue. What many don’t know is that there is in fact an area of dense great woods to the west and north of the venue. Today, finally after two failed previous attempts, I made my way into Great Woods. I was also joined by a rookie hiker for this walk. We started the hike from a parking area at the sharp bend in Oak Street. We first made our way down the narrow orange trail through a field and then along the edge of the woods. The trail then turned into the woods as it widened a bit. The woods were covered in areas with dense green ferns. The trails here are clear and well maintained. The are a little root bound and muddy in places but easy to navigate nonetheless. We followed the orange trail to its end then turned left onto the red trail. When then turned right onto the green trail passing a sign calling off the Codding Farm site. We followed the green trail to its end passing several lady slippers that are in bloom. I had seen some earlier in the week in Rehoboth as well. The green trail ends at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s railroad tracks. Do not cross the tracks. We happened to come out to the railroad tracks just as the Acela train was coming by. I’m not sure how fast it was actually going on this stretch of tracks between Providence and Boston, but it is known to travel at speeds of 150 miles per hour. It certainly seemed that it was going at least 100 miles per hour or faster when it went by. After being blown away (almost literally) by the train, we turned around and made our way back into nature retracing our steps back down the green trail. At the red trail we turned right and followed that back to the parking lot. We did not come across any wildlife other than birds here and the sounds of frogs. We also saw some stone walls and old abandoned farming equipment.

 

Trail map can be found at: Great Woods.

The Field At Great Woods

The Field At Great Woods

Along The Red Trail

Along The Red Trail

Carolina North – Richmond

Carolina North – Carolina State Management Area
Pine Hill Road, Richmond, RI
Trailhead: 41°27’58.82″N,  71°41’20.07″W
Last Time Hiked: May 10, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.7 miles
Easy with some elevation.

 

If you are looking for a walk in the woods then the northern part of the Carolina State Management Area is where to go. With the exception of a quick view of a brook this hike was all woods with just a few stone walls and boulders. I started this hike from the parking area where the hunters check station is on Pine Hill Road and then followed the road westerly a few hundred feet. Opposite utility pole 68 a dirt road appears. This road is a section of the North-South Trail. I followed this road to its end passing a gated trail to the left. At the end of the road it turns sharply right. But straight ahead, blazed in blue, is the Meadowbrook Trail. After exploring the brook at the end of the road for a bit, I took the Meadowbrook Trail. Almost immediately after the rocks a trail goes to the left. I went straight to the next intersection passing some outcrops in the woods. This section is still part of the North-South Trail. At the next intersection I turned left onto the Gardner Trail. This would begin the slow ascent up the south side of Kenyon Hill. At the of the Gardner Trail I turned right onto the Jerue Trail to the next intersection completing my climb up the hill. Here I turned left, now going downhill, I followed the Habrek Trail to its end. I then turned left onto the Shippee Trail again climbing up another hill until I reached the Essex Trail at the next intersection. Here I turned right and followed it for a short distance to a Y intersection. I turned left here onto the Laurel Trail. The trail continues back to Pine Hill Road and gets narrower and traverses through denser woods as approaches the road. At the road I turned left and followed it back to the parking area. I used the Great Swamp Press map of the management area for this hike. The trails are not marked or blazed except for the section of the North-South Trail.

 

Trail map can be found at: Carolina North.

A Boulder By The Trail

A Boulder By The Trail

Spring Is Blooming In Southern New England

Spring Is Blooming In Southern New England

Yelle Conservation Area- Norton

Leo G. Yelle Conservation Area
Freeman Street, Norton, MA
Trailhead: 41°58’14.65″N, 71°12’10.10″W
Last Time Hiked: May 9, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.4 miles
Easy with some slight elevation, some unmarked trails.

 

I had come across the Norton Conservation Commissions webpage this week while doing some research of the area. On the website there is a half dozen properties with hiking trails. Today I decided to explore the  Yelle Conservation Area. I expected it to be a rather short hike and had planned on doing another hike in the area as well. I was quite surprised at just how much area there is to cover here and the adjoining Norton Historic Society property. I started the hike from a small parking area on Freeman Street and started following the trail into the conservation area. The trail is blazed red. Within a few moments I came to the first intersection. The green trail, a loop, goes to the right. (On the map the blue is labeled green and vice versa). I opted to follow the red trail toward the left. At the next intersection the green trail rejoins the red. I stayed to the left again following the red. At the next intersection I turned right following the red trail blazes. Soon the blue loop trail would veer off on the left. I stayed to the right again following the red trail passing an outcrop before the blue trail rejoined the red on the left. I continued further along the red trail through an area of mud before crossing two boardwalks, one which crossed a stream. I suspect in this area is where the conservation area ends and the historical society property begins. The trails are mostly unmarked from this point forward with the exception of the red trail being sporadically blazed. After the boardwalk I turned left following the main trail, still occasionally blazed red. The map I had in hand no longer showed the trails I was on. I was now relying on GPS and instinct. I came across some automobile pieces at the next intersection. The red trail continued to the left but first I took a right looking for a pond that was showing on the GPS. After some exploring and not finding a clear path to the pond I returned to the “car parts” intersection and continued following the red trail. At the next intersection I went straight and the trail started climbing up a hill. At the top of the hill I went right following the main trail. The trail followed a ridge and I could see a stream below on the right. The trail then went downhill. At the end of the trail I turned right and came across a wooden bridge that crossed another stream. At this point, being a little wet from the rain, a little hungry, and having no idea where exactly I was I decided to call it a day and retrace my steps back to the car. (I will do the other hike I planned for today sometime in the next week or two). I found this location to be very serene and peaceful. I will probably be back sometime in the future to explore it more. I would suspect I could get a couple more miles hiked here. I did not come across any wildlife other than the many, many birds here.

 

Trail map can be found at: Yelle Conservation Area. (scroll down after clicking link)

Along the Red Trail

Along the Red Trail

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Carolina South – Richmond

Carolina South – Carolina State Management Area
Pine Hill Road, Richmond, RI
Trailhead: 41°27’58.82″N,  71°41’20.07″W
Last Time Hiked: May 4, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
Easy.

 

This was my first venture of at least three planned hikes into the Carolina Management Area. I opted to call this hike Carolina South based on the fact that I partially used the Ken Weber route of that name, although I relied more so on the Great Swamp Press map of the area. I actually plan on doing a hike in the future that will be further south in this management area by Meadow Brook Pond. I was also joined by some friends for this Sunday morning stroll. We started from the parking area by the hunter check station on Pine Hill Road following the wide and flat lane named Andrews Trail. It meanders mostly straight through areas of tall pines and open fields. At the end of this trail we came to a T intersection and turned left. We followed this open lane until it started to turn right then took a narrower path to the left. We followed this narrow path as it followed the edge of large, sweeping, open field. This path eventually came to a section of the North-South Trail (a good description for now, but nature will have its way… starting looking for the blue blazes of the North-South Trail at the large dead tree at the edge of the field). At the North-South Trail we turned left and followed it back into the woods. We did some exploring on a short trail to the right for a moment to take a look at the Pawcatuck River. Continuing on the North-South Trail for a bit we came to an intersection. The blue blazed North-South Trail veered to the left. We followed the trail to the right. We soon passed a trail to the left (we would use this in our return) and continued to a stone bridge. Here the sounds of frogs were very loud. We lingered for a bit before pushing further down the unmarked trail. After a little bit we decided to retrace our steps to the last intersection as the trail we were on was not on the map and out of the management area property. At the intersection we turned right following a trail that eventually rejoined the North-South Trail. We then continued straight onto the North-South Trail passing a cemetery will graves from the mid 1800’s. At the next intersection we turned left onto the Nicoll Trail. (Ken Weber’s route has you continuing straight on the North-South Trail). At the end of the Nicoll Trail we turned right onto the Andrews Trail and retraced our steps back to the car. This area is open to hunting. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

Trail Map could be found at: Carolina South.

Tall Pines at Carolina

Tall Pines at Carolina

Open Fields

Open Fields

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