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

Bald Hill – Exeter

Bald Hill – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
Summit Road, Exeter, RI
Trailhead: 41°33’29.73″N, 71°42’19.13″W
Last Time Hiked: September 7, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike in the south central part of Arcadia is a loop consisting of parts of three main trails in the area. I went into the area with a copy of the Great Swamp Press map (highly suggestible) and found myself giving a map reading lesson to my fellow rookie hiker. She did well. I am home safe, sound, and blogging. From a very small parking area a couple hundred feet after the bend and to the left along Summit Road, we passed the gate and started following the unblazed Sandy Brook Trail. Soon we came to our first intersection. A small trail ascends quickly uphill directly ahead. The Sandy Brook Trail, which we continued to follow, curves slightly to the left here and begins its climb up Bald Hill. Another trail soon appears to the left. We would return on that trail. We continued straight and further uphill. Soon the trail levels out after climbing approximately 150 feet in elevation from where we started. The summit of Bald Hill is to the left and in the woods from this point. After passing a narrow trail on the right, we started looking a trail on the left. When we came to it we turned onto it. The trail, wide like the Sandy Brook Trail, is unnamed and unblazed. It heads in a northerly direction passing two narrow paths, one on each side, before passing the beginning of the Loop Trail. We would later pass the other end of it. After passing the Loop Trail, the trail we were on splits. We followed the short connector trail to the blue blazed Bald Hill Trail which also serves as a segment of the North South Trail. Here we turned left following the trail downhill for a while before passing of cellar hole on the left. We then passed the other end of the Loop Trail and continued further downhill continuing to follow the blue blazes until we reached the “Seven Trail Intersection”. At this intersection the white blazed Mount Tom Trail and an unblazed trail cross here. The Dove Crest Trail also begins here. There is also a bronze survey marker here. We turned left here onto the unblazed Dove Crest Trail. There is a stone wall on the left side of the trail (to be sure you are on the correct trail). The Dove Crest Trail is much narrower than the previous trails and climbs back up Bald Hill. This trail is just over a mile long and concludes back at the Sandy Brook Trail. Here we turned right and retraced our steps back to the car. Other than toads and the sounds of insects there were no signs of wildlife. The forest was eerily quiet of birds as well. As with most of Arcadia, the area is heavily wooded with pines and oaks. This area is open to hunting and orange is required during hunting season.

 

Trail map can be found at: Bald Hill

Along The Bald Hill Trail

Along The Bald Hill Trail

Wilder – Taunton

Erwin S. Wilder Management Area
Toad Island Road, Taunton, MA
Trailhead: 41°58’20.45″N, 71° 7’15.60″W
Last Time Hiked: September 6, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
Easy.

 

The Wilder Management Area straddles the Taunton/Norton boundary. The parking lot and the hike itself is entirely in Taunton. The road to access the property is in Norton. I was joined by a friend today for two hikes in the same general area. We started this hike from the parking area passing the gate. We then followed a dirt road easterly into the property. The road passed areas of woods and fields of corn. We then came to another freshly mowed road to the right. We would turn down this road. If you were to follow the road straight it would lead you into fields and quite literally miles of unmarked trails of the Hockomock Swamp (according to a local I spoke to).  After making the turn, we found ourselves passing several fields of tall grass and wildflowers, as well as freshly plowed fields while darting in and out of areas of woods. It is quite obvious that the land is actively being farmed. The road heads in a southerly direction before looping west and then north back towards the parking area. The last stretch runs through a corn field. We heard the calls of several birds here but saw no wildlife. We also came across a group of people using metal detectors.  This area is open to hunting and orange should be worn during hunting season.

 

Trail map can be found at: Wilder.

Along The Southern Edge Of Wilder

Along The Southern Edge Of Wilder

Burrillville Bike Path/Duck Pond – Burrillville

Burrillville Bike Path/Duck Pond
Eastern Avenue, Burrillville, RI
Trailhead: 41°57’36.37″N,  71°41’48.00″W
Last Time Hiked: September 1, 2014
 
 
Approximate distance hiked: 3.4 miles
Easy with slight elevation.

 

Another rails to trails site and one of the least known bike paths in Rhode Island. The Burrillville Bike Path is short, at only 1.2 miles long, which makes for a nice healthy two and half mile walk out and back. The bike path itself is in excellent condition, and at the time of my visit, heavily used by walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers, and skateboarders. It is mostly flanked by large areas of woods and the calls of several types of birds, as well as frogs, could be heard. I also came across a sunbathing snake on the bike path. In most areas that it passes residential properties, privacy fences have been erected. At about the halfway point of the bike path there is a newly paved path that leads towards Duck Pond. (There is signage on the bike path). The paved path ends at a small cul-de-sac but a dirt path continues up over a small hill toward the pond. This path turns into a trail that, for the most part, loops around the pond. There are no marked trails here and there are a few trails that lead off the main trail. The property directly around the pond and back toward the bike path is owned by the Town of Burrillville. There is private property in the area though. Please respect the posted signs. The pond itself is very shallow at the moment and has an abundance of small fish and frogs. On the large peninsula at the south end of the pond there is the remnants of an old foundation. After exploring a bit around the pond and adding an extra mile to today’s walk, I made my way back to the bike path and retraced my steps to the car.

 

Trail map can be found at: Burrillville Bike Path/Duck Pond.

Duck Pond

Duck Pond

F. Gilbert Hills West – Wrentham/Foxboro

F. Gilbert Hills West – F. Gilbert Hills State Forest
Thurston Street, Wrentham, MA
Trailhead: 42° 2’52.65″N, 71°17’29.16″W
Last Time Hiked: August 1, 2014
 
Approximate distance hiked: 4.3 miles
Fairly easy with some elevation and rocky footing in areas.
 

F. Gilbert Hills State Forest straddles the Wrentham/Foxboro line and has miles and miles of trails. Today I was joined by a fellow hiker and we explored the west side of the property. We started from a parking area on Thurston Street in Wrentham just west of the town line. We passed the gate and started heading up the Megley Trail which is a stone covered access road that slowly winds uphill. We came across a few watering holes. Most were dry due to the lack of rain this year. One, however, still had quite a bit of water in it and several lily pads. We also came across some very large rock outcrops along the way. At the end of the Megley Trail we turned left onto High Rock Road for a bit then turned right onto Messenger Road. We soon could see a shelter in the woods. We turned onto a narrow trail that led to the shelter. At the shelter we turned left onto the white dot blazed Warner Trail. The Warner Trail is a 33 mile trail that runs from Diamond Hill in Cumberland to Canton. We then followed the Warner Trail to High Rock. At the top of High Rock there is the remains of a survey disk. From High Rock we made our way down some stairs to the road. There is a a very tall radio tower here. We turned left onto the road toward the gate. Just to the right of the gate the white dot blazed Warner Trail continues. This section of the hike meanders through areas of rather impressive ledges. We continued following the Warner Trail until we reached the blue blazed Acorn Trail. Here we turned left following the trail that is mostly downhill and rather rocky. At the end of the Acorn Trail we turned right back onto the Megley Trail and retraced our steps back to the parking area. We came across a chipmunk and some dragonflies on this hike.

Trail Map can be found at: F. Gilbert Hills West.

Along The Megley Trail

Along The Megley Trail

High Rock

High Rock

Stairs Along The Warner Trail

Stairs Along The Warner Trail

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.

**PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TRAILS WERE BEING RE-BLAZED AT THE TIME OF OUR VISIT, I WILL HEAD BACK TO WOLF HILL SOON TO “RE-DESCRIBE” THIS ROUTE WITH THE PROPER BLAZE COLORS**

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

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