Archive for June, 2013

Seekonk Meadows – Seekonk

  • Seekonk Meadows
  • Newman Avenue, Seekonk, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°51’10.36″N, 71°19’48.51″W
  • First Time Hiked: June 29, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked:October 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy.

Seekonk Meadows lies next to the Seekonk Library along Newman Avenue. The small park, built on a capped landfill, has a handful of walking paths that total just about a half mile. The park features fields of wildflowers, a gazebo, and a war memorial. It also abuts the Gaminno Pond property which has more trails to explore.

Here is a link with some information: Seekonk Meadows

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Gazebo at Seekonk Meadows

Great Swamp – South Kingstown

  • Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area
  • Great Neck Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°28’8.16″N, 71°34’46.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 28, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.7 miles
  • Easy.

I have a small group of friends who will be joining me for a summer (and into the autumn) full of Friday afternoon hikes and this week we kicked it off by having a friend who traveled approximately 11,400 miles from Kuala Lumpur to be here. The area that we hiked through has significant history. In December of 1675, a battle between the Native Americans and English Colonists was fought nearby. Today Great Swamp is a wildlife management area owned by the State. We started the hike from a parking area at the end of Great Neck Road and followed a crushed stone road into the management area. At the first fork we followed the road, mostly grass now, to the left. (The road to the right we would exit on) We crossed under a set of power lines and walked by a few fields. Along the way we came across what might have been coyote tracks. Along the road were remnants of old stone walls covered heavily with brush and ferns. It was a very humid day and mosquitos were in excess. Bug spray is a must here. At the next intersection we turned right following another grass covered road through a tunnel of trees. This area is known as Great Neck and is the highest point in the swamp. There were stone walls along this road as well. At the next fork we went left following the road to the beginning of the impoundment. Here there is a oddly shaped rock you could use for a rest if you so choose.  This is about the halfway point of this hike. The next part of the hike follows the edge of the water for quite a while crossing under power lines once again. Perched at the top of several of the poles were osprey nests. One was very active with two ospreys taking turns being in the nest. They were obviously well aware of our presence. There we also sounds of frogs along this road and there were many several species of smaller birds as well as Canadian geese. Daisies and black eyed susans were in bloom as well. The road eventually left the waters edge and made it’s way back into the wooded area. We came across a frog at this point. At the next intersection we went left onto the road that eventually came back to the first fork we came across (Note: it appears that a path continues straight along the power lines. Take the road that veers to the left.) From here we retraced our steps back to the car.

Trail map can be found at: Great Swamp

A Road At Great Swamp

A Road At Great Swamp

The Impoundment

The Impoundment

Beavertail – Jamestown

  • Beavertail State Park
  • Beavertail Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’6.91″N, 71°23’58.26″W
  • First Time Hiked: June 27, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: September 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Easy with some rock scaling.

Beavertail is easily one of the most beautiful locations in Rhode Island if not all of New England. Also, there are centuries of history here at its rocky shores. Beavertail has always been a place I am drawn to, whether it’s to take in the beauty of the ocean or to come and contemplate life, I have always found it peaceful and cleansing. Starting this hike at parking lot 2, I headed north through the grass field to the beginning of the trail. The trail along this part of the hike is a wide grass walking path surrounded by tall shrubs. Just after getting on the trail it immediately splits, I stayed to right, to the left is a viewing area. Along the way there will be several areas that overlook the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. From the viewing areas you will be able to see the Point Judith Lighthouse, the remains of the Whale Rock Lighthouse, and the Narragansett shoreline. I continued in a northerly direction following the main trail, ignoring the trails to the right that lead to parking lot 1. After about ¾ of a mile the trail bears to the right and away from the shore. There are two benches at a viewing area to use as a reference at this turn. The trail that follows the shore becomes very narrow and will lead off of the parks property.  After bearing to the right I followed the trail until it came to an intersection with pavement. Here I turned right onto a narrow path and took the next left. Soon this trail merges with another from the left. I continued straight until I found the next trail on the left. Here I turned left and followed the trail into a field. At the end of this trail I turned left once again and followed the trail straight to parking lot 1. Here I turned left and followed the entrance road of the parking lot, then crossed the main entrance road and followed the exit road in the opposite direction for a few hundred feet.  Soon I beared left off of the asphalt road onto a grass covered access road that runs along a set of power lines. The road led me first to an abandoned World War II era Quonset hut before coming to an open grass field overlooking Rhode Island Sound. Here there are two options, the first is to continue ahead and follow the trail to the rocky shore, the second is to turn right and follow the narrow trail that will lead back toward the lighthouse. If you choose the first, exercise extreme caution while on the rocks as they can be slippery and dangerous. For this hike I first chose option one, scaling the rocks nearly a thousand feet as I made my way northeasterly toward a great natural feature.  One of Beavertails lesser known gems is the Lions Head Gorge, a natural chasm that waves crash into. Be extremely careful here. From this vantage point you will be able to see the top of the Newport Bridge, the Naval War College (tan colored building), the Castle Hill Lighthouse, and Brenton Point.  From here, I retraced my steps very carefully back to the grass field, looked for the small wooden bridge at the beginning of the trail, and then followed it making my way toward the lighthouse. The trail soon ends and the remainder of the walk is across grass fields near the edge of the rocky shore. After passing parking lot 4, I came to more remains of World War II, a bunker and two circular structures that once held a pair of 16 inch guns. Beavertail, along with several other sites along the shore, was once a coastal defense fort in the days of war. Most people don’t realize that one of the last battles in World War II happened 16 miles off the coast of Beavertail. A German U-boat was sunk during the Battle of Point Judith after sinking the S.S. Black Point in May of 1945. Continuing along the shore I finally came to the highlight of the property. The lighthouse that stands at the tip of Beavertail was built in 1856 and is 64 feet tall. It was the third lighthouse built on this site, the first being built in 1749 was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1753. During the American Revolution the British burned the lighthouse while they were retreating from Newport. It was refurnished in 1783. Finally, the lighthouse that stands today was built. Furthermore, the original Beavertail lighthouse was the third built in the American Colonies after the Boston Harbor Light and the Great Point Light on Nantucket were built. Its foundation, with a compass on its floor, is just south of the current lighthouse. There is a very informative plaque near the foundation of an older lighthouse that explains the history of the Beavertail lights. Also at the point, enclosed in a fenced area, is a foghorn. Beware not to stand to close on a foggy day. From here I made my way back to parking lot 2 and concluded the hike. Beavertail is also home to many deer and eastern cottontails. Spotting either at any time of the day is not uncommon.

Trail map can be found at: Beavertail.

Foggy Day At Beavertail

Foggy Day At Beavertail

The Atlantic From Beavertail

The Atlantic From Beavertail

Sunset At Beavertail

Sunset At Beavertail

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – July 2015

Jerimoth Hill – Foster

 

This hike might take the distinction of being the shortest one thus far, but it is one of the most significant. People travel all over the country to climb to the highest points in each state. Rhode Island may have the easiest. It is a short trail having a round trip of around a 1/3 of a mile. It starts on the south side of Rhode Island Route 101 just east of utility pole #212 and is well marked. Keep in mind though that the access trail is on private property and is available to use between 8 A.M. and 6 P.M. only. There is a small parking area across the street. At the end of the trail is a clearing and just off to the right is an outcrop. This is the highest point in Rhode Island topping out at 812 feet above sea level. There is a strongbox here to sign in and write a little something if you choose. For those interested, there is a set of geodetic survey disks along the trail and they are very well marked.

The Highest Point In Rhode Island

The Highest Point In Rhode Island

Waterplace Park – Providence

  • Waterplace Park and Providence Riverwalk
  • South Water Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’15.70″N, 71°24’17.55″W
  • First Time Hiked: June 22, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked:December 12, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Easy.

Downtown Providence has a wealth of history and this walk will take you through some of that history. For this walk I started at the south end of the Riverwalk along South Water Street just by the former heliport pad. I then followed the Riverwalk northerly passing a plaque marking the site of the seaport that was once used for slave trade. Further ahead there is a spot to launch canoes and kayaks and just beyond that is the first of many sculptures along the river and surrounding area. I then crossed the pedestrian bridge at Crawford Street to the west side of the river. Looking south down the river you will see the Point Street Bridge, the triple towers of the Manchester Street Power Plant, as well as the bow string arch bridge locally known as the I-way Bridge, and the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier. I then turned left following the Riverwalk through the Irish Famine Memorial and the Remembrance Garden before following the walkway to its end. I then retraced my steps back to the pedestrian bridge and continued straight, crossing Crawford Street, then following the sidewalk along Memorial Boulevard that overlooks the river. At one time this area had the distinction of having the worlds widest bridge as most of the rivers were built over by roadways. A massive revitalization of downtown made the rivers the focal point and a center of art, culture, and memorials. After crossing Steeple Street I found my way down a set of stairs to walk along the river again into Waterplace Park. The walkway follows the river to the Basin. Along the way there are “black baskets” in the river. These are used for Waterfire. It is an event the takes place various weekends throughout the year when the river is “set on fire”. Along this stretch of river it is common to see gondola boats and sightseeing boats cruising through Waterplace Park. At the basin there is a walkway that goes under Memorial Boulevard to the old Union Station building. In this tunnel is the Wall Of Hope. It is a September 11th memorial that has taken permanent residence there and was to be relocated at a time in the past. I then made my around the basin. From here you can see some of the iconic buildings of downtown, both old and new. The sprawling Providence Place Mall, the white domed Rhode Island State House, the Biltmore Hotel with its famous red rooftop sign and glass elevator, the old Union Station, and the Industrial National Bank building (sometimes referred to by locals as the Superman building) to name a few. After circling the basin I made my way along the walkway passing the fairly new Waterplace Luxury Residences and the Citizens Bank Building. I then crossed Steeple Street once again and went down into a small section of walkway where the three downtown rivers meet. The river to your right (that you’ve been following) is the Woonasquatucket, the river to your left is the Moshassuck, and the river ahead of you is the beginning of the Providence River. To your right on the wall across the river you will notice a series of dates with a line at each. These mark how high the water rose during the hurricanes that flooded Providence in 1815, 1938, and 1954. The 1938 hurricane was the worst to hit the area with the 1954 hurricane being as close in power. In the early 1960’s the hurricane barrier was constructed and completed in 1966. The city has not flooded since even with significant hurricanes in 1985 (Gloria), 1991 (Bob), 2011 (Irene), and 2012 (Sandy). I then made my way over the Moshassuck and turned right onto the walkway (formally a section of Canal Street) pass some of the oldest buildings in the city. At the Old Market House there is another plaque showing the depth of hurricane flooding. This one you can stand next to. It puts it in perspective. The walkway then continues along the river passing the World War One, World War Two, and Korean War memorials. I then crossed South Water Street at Crawford back to the first section of the riverwalk and retraced my steps to the car.

There is no “trail map” of Waterplace Park, but here is a link with some info: Waterplace Park

Providence From The Basin At Waterplace Park

Providence From The Basin At Waterplace Park

Peter Randall Reservation – North Providence

  • Peter Randall Reservation
  • Smithfield Road, North Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°52’5.29″N, 71°28’19.15″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 21, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1 mile
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

The Peter Randall Reservation is a former state park that is now owned by the Town of North Providence. At one time it was used for a picnic area. Now it is a series of abandoned asphalt and gravel roads with some side trails used mainly by locals and geocachers. It is nicely wedged into a suburban neighborhood and is slightly reminiscent of Neutaconkanut Hill in Providence, but on a much smaller scale. I did not follow any particular route as this was more of an exploration hike. I do believe I covered just about the mile of trails in the reservation. There is a small parking area on Smithfield Road.

I did not find a trail map online for this location.

Peter Randell Reservation

Peter Randall Reservation

Escoheag Trail – Exeter

  • Escoheag Trail – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Escoheag Hill Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°35’21.71″N, 71°45’29.29″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 20, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3 miles
  • Difficult in areas with moderate elevation.

A beautiful last day of spring made for a great late afternoon hike in the Arcadia Management Area. Starting at a parking area just off Escoheag Hill Road where the red park building is I made my way down to the end of a gravel road that is blazed white. At the end of the road the actual trail begins. I it marked with a sign. The very beginning is quite overgrown but once you are into the woods the trail is much more defined. With the exception of a short excursion to the overlook at the right you will follow the white blazed trail for about a mile to it comes to another gravel road. The first mile is mostly ups and downs with some slight climbing in areas. It can be somewhat difficult and a little muddy with a couple of stream crossings but it is truly peaceful. At one point I actually stopped to listen to… nothing but nature. At the gravel road (Barber Trail) you will notice two trails. To your right is the Mount Tom Trail, blazed white, and directly across the road is the continuation of the Escoheag Trail, also blazed white. Continuing straight ahead, the trail starts a steady and mild descent through the woods and eventually into an area of pines. The trail ends at the blue blazed North South Trail. (If you should decide to return this way and retrace your steps, take note of where the trails meet. The white Escoheag Trail is not very well marked at this time in the return direction.) At this point, I decided to go left onto the North South Trail until I reached the next road (Plain Road). At this point I had walked two miles. There are options at the junction. You could turn around and retrace your steps. You could go to the right for a few hundred feet to the trailheads of the Ben Utter Trail and Breakheart Trail if you choose to add a few more miles. Or you could turn left as I did (following the Weber book map) up the gravel road back to the red park building and parking area. The road does however go uphill for about a half mile before leveling out a bit.

I did not find a trail map on line, however a D.E.M. map shows most of the trail: Escoheag Trail

Along The Escoheag Trail

Along The Escoheag Trail

Some Uphill Climbing

Some Uphill Climbing