Posts Tagged ‘ Waterfalls ’

Freetown South – Freetown/Fall River

  • Freetown South – Freetown State Forest
  • Bell Rock Road, Freetown, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°45’33.32″N, 71° 4’17.59″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 14, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION NEAR THE EDGES OF THE CLIFFS.

 

I ventured into the Freetown State Forest for the first of three planned hikes. This morning I choose to do the southern end of the forest. I was joined by a small group of hikers from The Providence County Hiking Club. We started from a parking area along Bell Rock Road. There are two trail heads here. We took the one by the large sign at the south end of the lot. The trail here is short, narrow, and well rutted from ATV use. It leads to a dirt road named Haskell Path. At the end of the trail we came to a gate. We turned right onto Haskell Path and followed it slightly downhill to a four way intersection with gates, passing several side trails we ignored. At the four way intersection we turned left onto a trail named Ledge Road. The road continues downhill and is flanked by the forest. We soon approached a fork in the road. We stayed to the left and continued to the a small stone bridge that crosses Rattlesnake Brook. (The road to the right would be our return route). After crossing the brook, and crossing briefly into Fall River, the road begins climbing, passing several side paths, as well as the Pond Trail and the Mothers Brook Trail. The road, well worn from the weather in areas, passes through areas of beech and pine trees. At the top of the hill a large area of ledge appears on the right. Use caution in this area. We explored the area enjoying the overlook. The view to the east looks over the pond below and the forest as far as the eye can see. We then returned to the road continuing north and started gradually going downhill. We then took a right onto the next road followed by another almost immediate right. This road leads to the shore of the pond. From here you get a good perspective of how high the ledge is. Here there is an intersection where we would turn left. However, we explored the short road along the edge of the pond before continuing. There are a few spots to enjoy the view here and there is a waterfall as well. We then turned left at the intersection and continued the hike crossing Rattlesnake Brook once again. Shortly after the brook we encountered another fork. The trail to the left is the Wampanoag Path. We stayed to the right passing a rather large gravel pit on the left before reaching the first fork we encountered. Here we went left and retraced our steps back to the parking area.

Trail map can be found at: Freetown South.

The Ledge and Pond

The Ledge and Pond

Weetamoo Woods/Pardon Gray Preserve – Tiverton

  • Weetamoo Woods/Pardon Gray Preserve
  • East Road, Tiverton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’19.94″N,  71°10’37.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 28, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.6 miles
  • Moderate with optional areas of climbing that can be difficult.

  

The first true signs of winter made for a very cold but picturesque hike at Weetamoo Woods. The woods are named for the sachem of the Pocasset Wampanoags. I was joined by a group for this hike, some being locals, who knew the property fairly well. We started from the parking area at the southern end of the property along East Road. We headed north into the property on an old section of Eight Rod Road. Soon we came to an informational board where trail maps can be found. From this point we continued straight following the yellow trail. The old road passed open fields to the right and an old stone wall (the first of several on the property) on the left before crossing Borden Brook. The brook at the time of this hike was fast flowing as it fell over a small waterfall by the slab bridge. We followed the yellow trail, passing a cellar hole on the left, until we came upon the red trail. Take your time looking for some of the blazes. Although most of the property is well marked we did have some difficulty at some of the intersections location the markers. We then followed the red blazed trail until we came to an old sawmill site. The stream here runs through an old channel and then under a beautifully constructed stone arch bridge. To appreciate the craftsmanship of the structure take a quick detour off the trail to the shore of the stream. After looking around at the mill remains we then followed the blue blazed trail (just before the mill on the left) uphill. The trail meanders up the hill a bit before coming to an area on the right that has been clearly traversed by many. This area is the foothill of High Rock. We followed the un-blazed trail, led by our locals, up to the peak of High Rock. Some of the trail requires some climbing and can be difficult. We had a light snowfall in the morning and the leaves were quite wet adding to the difficulty. We took our time and the climb was well worth it. The view from above overlooks the property well above the tree line. After enjoying the view for a little while we retraced our steps back to the mill site. From there we continued along the red trail (to the left) before turning left onto the green trail. This trail meanders through the heart of the woods passing through an area of mountain laurel. The light dusting of snow contrasted quite nicely with the crisp green leaves. The trail soon crossed the brook once again via a boardwalk. We then reached the intersection of the yellow trail. We went straight onto the yellow trail (left we be our exit) until we reached the second white blazed trail. Both of the white blazed trails are marked with signage. The first, being the South Trail, would lead you to the town farm. We opted to continue to the Cemetery Trail. After turning left onto the Cemetery Trail the trail split again. The Cemetery Trail continues to the left and is blazed white with a red square. The Ridge Trail on the right would be our return route. Following the Cemetery Trail we came across some boulders in the woods, more stone walls, and a vernal pool before coming to an open field. The field is part of the Pardon Gray Preserve and is actively farmed. The preserve is named after a Revolutionary War Colonel. The Cemetery Trail continues straight uphill towards a cluster of tall trees. On each side of the trail is areas of grass being grazed by cows. The areas are fenced off with electric fences. Needless to say, it is advisable not to come in contact with the fences. At the top of the hill under the cluster of trees is the Gray family cemetery bordered by a stone wall. Most of the graves here are from the early 1800’s including Pardon Gray himself. We then retraced our steps through the field back to the tree line. Here we turned left and followed the tree line. The cows in the field on the left seemed very interested in our presence even offering some photo opportunities. The trail soon turned left and we then turned right onto a narrow trail that led us through the woods to Lafayette Road. We turned right onto the paved road and followed uphill to the gate. Here we turned right, through a small parking area, and onto the Ridge Trail. The trail, also blazed white with a red square, passes through areas of holly trees and shrubs before intersecting with the Cemetery Trail once again. Here we turned left and then right onto the yellow trail once again. We then followed the yellow trail to its end back at the parking area. On the way out at the end of the hike we were greeted by a very friendly pony on the farm property on the right.

 

Trail map can be found at: Weetamoo Woods/Pardon Gray.

The Trail To High Rock

The Trail To High Rock

Boardwalk On The Green Trail

Boardwalk On The Green Trail

Cow At Pardon Gray Preserve

Cow At Pardon Gray Preserve

Handy Pond – Lincoln

  • Handy Pond Preserve
  • Old River Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°57’32.74″N, 71°28’17.71″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 15, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

This town owned property between Albion and Manville is another of Rhode Islands better kept secrets. I did not find much online about the property at all and used social networking to do most of the research on it. Recently an Eagle Scout of Troop 711 Albion cleared trails here and mapped them as part of his project (see below). I was joined by members of the Providence County Hiking Club and a member of the Lincoln Tree and Trail Commission for this exploration hike. We started north of the main entrance by the pond opposite Mussey Brook Road. There is a pull off large enough for two to three cars here. We started following a short segment of the blue blazed trail to the dam. At the dam we turned left then right along the shore of Rochambeau Pond on the blue blazed trail. The trail wanders up and down small hills between the pond and Old River Road. When we reached the end of the trail we turned right onto an old cart path with green blazes. (The main entrance is uphill and left at this point). We followed the cart path over an old dam and stream, staying left at the next intersection. We then found an old, presumably, family cemetery on the right. The headstones were small with no indication of names or dates. To the left were a pair of stone walls. It appears that there may have been an old road there at one time. After passing the power lines we continued following the green blazed trail as it wound through the leaf covered woods with an occasional large outcrop. At the next intersection we continued to follow the green blazes. Soon we were crossing under the power lines again following green blazes for a bit until we reached a multi trail intersection. Here the was a sign with an arrow and the word pond. We followed this trail to its end. Along this stretch on the right there is another outcrop. Some of us climbed it. Being mid November and the leaves being all but gone there was a decent view through the bare trees. Below was the pond and in the distance we observed the towers near Diamond Hill. At the end of the trail it approaches neighboring residential properties. Please respect the private property and continue to the road by passing the locked gate. When we reached the road we turned right and followed it to the cars. There are several more trails on this property and I will likely be back in the future to further explore it.

 

Rochambeau Pond

Rochambeau Pond

Handy Pond Map (provided by Brian Hasewaga of Troop 711-Albion)

Handy Pond Map (provided by Brian Hasewaga of Troop 711-Albion)

Destruction Brook Woods – Dartmouth

  • Destruction Brook Woods
  • Slades Corner Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°34’14.88″N, 71° 1’1.70″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 8, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Destruction Brook Woods is a large tract of land in Dartmouth with several miles of trails. The trails here are, for the most part, well blazed and (with the trail map for the property) very easily navigable. I was accompanied by a few members of the Providence County Hiking Club for this hike for the mid-autumn morning stroll. We started from a parking area on Slades Corner Road and followed the trail through an open field then pass a stone wall to the first intersection. Along the way we came across several signs about dogs. They are more than welcome here as long as you follow the rules. At the first intersection we choose to go to the right following the red trail through an area of pines. Then we took a left onto a short section of the yellow trail turning right onto Alice’s Spillway. Here is a small dam and waterfall along Destruction Brook that creates a small pond. There were several mallards here. After crossing the spillway we turned right back onto the red trail and then left onto the yellow trail. We soon came to a four way intersection labeled with a “C”. Here we took the immediate right onto the yellow trail. This section of the trail did lack some blazing but the map in hand helped. We soon approached another intersection labeled with a “B”. Here we turned right and followed the blue blazed trail. This trail meanders up and down small hills before dropping into Happy Valley. Along this stretch tall ledges appear on each side of the trail and being mid Autumn the beech trees were vibrant against the reds of the maples. We also observed a hawk above in the valley. Soon the yellow trail joins the blue trail. Here we continued straight following the two colored blazed trail until it split. From here we continued straight onto the yellow trail until we reached Ella’s Bridge that crosses Destruction Brook. From this point we continued westward along the red trail until we reached intersection “D”. We then decided to hike the green loop from here. Along the green trail, we crossed Destruction Brook two more times. Once at a wooden plank bridge and another at a stone slab bridge. Some of the trees in this area are hundreds of years old. We stumbled upon a tree stump in the woods with at least a 5 to 6 foot diameter. We also came across an abandoned vehicle. There is a spur trail that leads to a cemetery. The green trail wanders through another impressive area of pines and an area of fern covered forest. On the western end of the property we checked out the Russell Homestead. Here a fellow hiker pointed out the tremendous amount of wisteria. This alone may require a visit in the spring to see just how it may look. After stopping at the homestead we started making our way back to the “D” intersection. Along the way we were greeted by a horseback rider who introduced her horse as “Charlie”.  At the intersection we turned right following the red trail back to the parking area passing some pockets of holly trees. Hunting is not allowed on this property but it is suggested to wear orange. We did observe tree stands on the neighboring property in Happy Valley.

 

Trail map can be found at: Destruction Brook Woods.

Destruction Brook From Alice's Spillway

Destruction Brook From Alice’s Spillway

Larson Woodland – Attleboro

 

This is one of the smallest of the Attleboro Land Trust properties. It is just outside of downtown Attleboro along the banks of the Ten Mile River. The property has a small network of trails and features the Mechanics Pond Dam.

 

Trail map can be found at: Larson Woodland.

Mechanics Pond Dam

Mechanics Pond Dam

Parker Woodland – Coventry/Foster

  • George B. Parker Woodland
  • Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°43’00.3″N 71°41’52.5″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • Moderate due to distance with difficult terrain in areas.

 

Parker Woodland is a large Rhode Island Audubon Society property that straddles the Coventry/Foster line. The property features two loop trails, one in each town, with a connector trail. There is quite a bit of history on this property as well. Some is well known and some is still unsolved. I did this hike with a group from the Providence County Hiking Club. We started from the main parking area (Lot 1) by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. There is a kiosk here with information about the property as well as trail maps. We then preceded to follow the orange blazed trail into the property. This trail meanders downhill passing the first of several stone walls, turns right, and then crosses a series of boardwalks. The trail also crosses Turkey Meadow Brook before coming to the blue trail. Here we turned left following the blue blazed trail, named the Paul Cook Memorial Trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. When soon reached Biscuit Hill Road. You will probably miss it if you are not looking for it. The road is flanked by stone walls on each side. Apparently, during the American Revolution, a supply wagon overturned here. The wagon was carrying biscuits for the troops, hence giving the name to the road. Immediately after Biscuit Hill Road on the left is a large cellar hole of a farm house. It is part of the Vaughn Farm Site. There is a sign here with a brief description of the site. We then continued along the blue blazed trail traversing through a rather rocky area weaving around ledges. This stretch is about a mile long before coming to a massive boulder where the yellow blazed connector trail is. We then followed the yellow trail mostly uphill as it starting rising above a ravine. Below in the ravine is the Pine Swamp Brook. Be careful along this stretch as the trail is very close to the edge at times. The trail then crosses the brook at a wood bridge. You are now in the Foster parcel of Parker Woodland. At the time of this hike the brook was rather dry (but not empty). There is an area here that appears to have a small waterfall. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This trail is also blazed blue and named for Milton A. Gowdey. Here we turned left and followed the trail passing even more stone walls before coming to an old farm site. Here there is a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. We followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. We then retraced our steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch of the trail wanders through areas of boulders and quarries. One of the ledges has the apparent evidence the quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that we came in on. Here we turned left and retraced our steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When we reached the boulder we turned left back onto the blue blazed trail. The trail first follows the Pine Swamp Brook before bearing to the right. Then it crosses Biscuit Hill Road, follows the Turkey Meadow Brook, passing the yellow trail intersection, and starts to climb and descend a series of small hills before coming to the cairns. No one knows for sure who built these piles of stones or better yet, what the purpose for them are. There are several suggestions. Some believe they are Native American, others suggest pre-Columbus age explorers using them as markers. Regardless, there are about a dozen or more of them along this stretch. There is also a sign here explaining (or more so suggesting) the history of the cairns. We then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. We turned left onto the orange trail and retraced our steps back to the parking area. Being an Audubon property, no hunting is allowed. It can not hurt to wear orange regardless in case hunting is allowed on nearby properties. Also no dogs or horses are allowed on this site. We did not come across much of wildlife other than the occasional squirrel and chipmunk. There were plenty of birds here however.

 

Trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

Melville Park – Portsmouth

  • Melville Park
  • Bradford Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°35’2.48″N, 71°16’17.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 10, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Went to Aquidnick Island for a mid-week after work hike at Melville Park. The park is former Navy property now open to the public and it features several ponds, streams, dams, as well as waterfalls. I started this hike from a small parking lot by Upper Melville Pond. Directly across the street is the trail head for the green trail. This trail, very narrow at first, passes a residential property to the right before turning left and into the wooded area. The trail is challenging for footing at first traversing over roots, stones, and logs before coming to raised boardwalks. The green trail passes several small ponds with dams and follows a babbling brook before coming to an open grass cart path. I then turned left on the cart path (blazed orange) and followed it until I came to the bulletin board. Here I turned right onto the yellow trail, then left by Crockett Pond. Here over the pond is an old standpipe from yesteryear. Further along the yellow trail is a small picnic area that overlooks a gorge and waterfall. From here I followed the yellow trail a few more feet then turned onto the blue trail following the shore of the Lower Melville Pond. After passing the dam at the lower end of the pond the blue trail turns left at the Croll Crossing. The crossing is an interesting series of stepping stones across the spillway of the dam. From here I picked up the red trail along Mott Farm Road and followed it to an area that has been cleared. Here there is a bat house perched high above the ground. I turned left here following the red trail a little further after checking out the view of the bay by the railroad tracks. The red trail turns back into the woods following the shore of the pond and eventually to the blue trail once again. I continued following the blue trail along the south side of the pond, past the gorge again, then back to the cart path and finally to the bulletin board. Be sure to follow the trail blazes along this stretch. From this point I retraced my steps along the orange and green trails back to the car. I saw several rabbits, ducks, and a pair of swans on this hike as well as several birds.

 

Trail map can be found at: Melville Park.

Lower Melville Pond

Lower Melville Pond

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