Archive for July, 2013

Snake Den South – Johnston

  • Snake Den South – Snake Den State Park
  • Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’48.83″N, 71°32’14.06″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 30, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.9 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation and narrow paths.

Snake Den in Johnston is a large and undeveloped State Park with many miles of trails to wander. I’ve decided that I would split it into more than one hike. I decided to hike the south end of the park first. Although maps are available, I would suggest using some sort of GPS unit if you are not overly comfortable with direction. Starting from a very well marked trailhead behind Johnston fire station #4 on Hartford Avenue I followed an orange blazed trail briefly through an area of woods before entering a meadow with very tall grass. Following the grass path across the meadow onto a wooded dirt road I continued following the orange blazes. As the meadow ended to the right of the wooded dirt road, a path to the right appears.  Orange blazes continue on the dirt road forward to a loop. I Followed the very narrow path to the right across the the northern end of the meadow into the woods once again to another orange blazed path. I followed this path to the next intersection. At this intersection I went right (somewhat straight) following a path that started me in a southeasterly direction into a maze of paths. After wandering around for a bit I retraced my steps back to the intersection. I then found a very narrow but well blazed path to the right almost immediately after the path I came in on. I choose to follow this path for a bit crossing over some small and muddy brooks and stone walls before coming to the Pocassett River. At the river, (at the time of this hike) there is a very large tree down at the trail. It is passable, however I decided that this was about the halfway point of the park and decided to save the rest for a future hike. I then, for the most part, retraced my steps to the car, taking a short detour through another meadow path. Along this path I came across many insects including several dozen praying mantis. I managed to snap a picture of the meadow and some wildflowers (probably some sort of weed) just before a maintenance worker came through on a tractor to cut the tall grass.  The States Division of Parks and Recreation headquarters is also on the property. I had stopped here to ask about trail maps. The staff was very helpful.

Trail map can be found at: Snake Den South

Summer Meadow

Summer Meadow

Shumunkanuc Hill – Charlestown

  • Shumunkanuc Hill – Burlingame Wildlife Management Area
  • Buckeye Brook Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°23’54.86″N, 71°42’5.40″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 26, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

This hike, known in Weekend Walks in Rhode Island as Burlingame North, is mostly on closed off access roads of the Burlingame Management Area which makes for a nice and easy walk. It starts at a parking area along Buckeye Brook Road. After passing the gate, I followed the heavily wooded road into the management area. This section, known as the Clawson Trail, is blazed blue and part of the North South Trail. A little ways into the hike there is an access road that veers off to the left. I had continued straight at this point. (I would return from the other road). After passing an old stone dam on the right there is another access road, known as the Burdick Trail, to the right. I had followed this a couple hundred feet to a clearing to view a small pond that is the source of the Buckeye Brook. I then returned to the Clawson Trail and resumed walking until I reached an intersection that had a sign for the North South going to the right. This is near the top of Shumunkanuc Hill. I went to the left here following a road that had stone walls on both sides until I reached a gated road on the right. I then followed the white blazed road to the right known as the River Loop. Trouncing through small areas of tall grass along the way I came to the canoe camping area along the Pawcatuck River. After lingering for a bit I continued to follow the white blazes as the road turned into a footpath. Keep an eye out for the blazes in the next section as the trail becomes very narrow and dense with growth. (At the time of this hike there is an area with a tree down and the trail is barely passable. After making your way around the tree, make sure you locate the next blaze before wandering too far.) This trail is abundant with ferns as it skirts a swampy area. The trail is also muddy in some spots. At the end of this trail I turned right onto another access road called the Mill Trail. I followed this trail straight (ignore the road to the right up ahead) until it came back out to the blue blazed Clawson Trail. Along the way I accidently came across a geocache location. I then retraced my steps back to the car.

Trail map can be found at: Shumunkanuc Hill

Clawson Trail

Clawson Trail

Ferns And Stone Walls

Ferns And Stone Walls

Pawcatuck River

Pawcatuck River

Queens River – Exeter

A beautiful and cool morning stroll after a week long heat wave. Starting from a small parking area along School Land Woods Road, I followed a gravel road into the preserve through areas of thick woods. Two roads split off to the left. The first heads into a field and the second heads south towards Howards Trail. I would take the second after following the entrance road to the bridge at Queens River first. At the bridge there is a sign noting the preserves boundary. The other side of the bridge is private property. Retracing my steps back to the”second road on the left” I turned right and followed it a way through some more wooded area until I reached a split to the right. Along the way there was a small cemetery on the right with graves dating to the 1800’s. On the left of the road was a stone wall with a large field beyond it. At the split I turned right onto Howards Trail. It meandered a bit up and down small hills until it reached the Queens River once again. After spending a few moments here I then retraced my steps back to the car. I saw and heard many birds here and saw only a chipmunk.

Trail map can be found at: Queens River

Howards Trail

Howards Trail

Turks Cap Lily (Lilium Superbum)... thank you Auntie Beak for the identification.

Turks Cap Lily (Lilium Superbum)… thank you Auntie Beak for the identification.

Gainer Dam – Scituate

I came across this location for a walk in Ken Weber’s second edition of “Walks and Rambles in Rhode Island”. The book was printed in 1993 and described a walk that was nearly 3 miles long. Times have changed since then and it seems that most of the areas described in his book may be off limits now. With that said, the walk I’m going to describe is more of a walk for exercise and a chance to get a great photo of the Scituate Reservoir. Just west of where Routes 116 and 12 meet there is a former intersection on the right. There is a road that is now closed and barricaded but there is just enough room to park a few cars. If you park your car here and walk west to the opposite end of the dam, it is 0.7 miles. To your right before the actual dam is a monument to the person the dam was named for. After the monument and to the right is the reservoir. To the left is the earthen dam and access roads below. The spillway is at the end of the dam on the left. This is where the north branch of the Pawtuxet River begins. Use caution though, as there is no actual sidewalk and only a narrow grass strip. Cars and trucks do pass rather fast along this stretch.

Scituate Reservoir From The Gainer Dam

Scituate Reservoir From The Gainer Dam

Hungry Hill – Coventry/West Greenwich

  • Hungry Hill – Big River Management Area
  • Harkney Hill Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°39’54.21″N, 71°37’7.17″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 12, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.9 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

This was my first venture into the Big River Management Area. I had bought a Great Swamp Press map of the management area a while back and found several potential hikes. Hungry Hill seemed to be a good start. Starting from the parking lot at Zeke’s Bridge Fishing Area I crossed Harkney Hill Road to the beginning of the trail next to utility pole #36. Following the trail into the woods I took a left at the first split and started the climb up the hill. The trail to the right I would return on. Continuing up the hill there are a couple trails to each side. I continued straight until the trail ended at a “T” intersection. At this point you are about a half mile in and most of the significant climb is done. I then followed the trail to the right heading in a southerly direction. This is the higher trail of the two main trails. This is a long and peaceful wooded section of trail with the summit of Hungry Hill to your left. (There is no actual trail to the top of the hill.) As you approach the end of the trail you can start to hear the buzz of traffic. Interstate 95 is ahead. At the end of the trail is another “T” intersection. I turned right going downhill for a rather short distance, then right at the bottom of the hill heading now in a northerly direction along the lower trail. This trail continues downhill and toward Big River. There are some rather low and muddy spots along the way after a rainy day and can be buggy. There are a couple of loop trails to the left off the main trail that bring you to the rivers edge. Unfortunately, I did come across some areas of trash and litter on the lower trail, but that aside, this was a nice walk. Continuing north along the lower trail I came to the first split and then retraced my steps along the entrance trail and back to the car. I did come across several frogs here. I did not see the bear that was spotted in this area last week.

Trail map can be found at: Hungry Hill

A Trail At Hungry Hill

A Trail At Hungry Hill

Big River

Big River

Brenton Point – Newport

I kept an eye on the radar all day before finally deciding to venture to the coast. Southern New England has been experiencing a rather warm and muggy stretch of weather as of late and there was plenty of rain and scattered thunderstorms all afternoon throughout all of the area.  When I arrived at Brenton Point the weather was just downright “weird”. A dense fog hovered over the Atlantic Ocean and Lower Narragansett Bay as the sun was shining above. By the time I left, dark clouds had gathered and it started to sprinkle. I parked my car near the entrance to the lot. I then walked across the street and followed the seawall southerly along the coast. Jamestown and the Beavertail Light to the west and Castle Hill to the north were nothing but a faint silhouettes through the fog. I ventured down the stairs near the jetty to take some pictures. There were several gulls and cormorants here.  I then continued walking along the seawall around the point and then in easterly direction passing an area of rocks where there was people fishing. I continued walking, coming across some young rabbits near two large shrubs, then passing the end of the seawall until I reached the entrance of the King’s Beach Fishing Area. (There is a sign here.)  I then followed the road to the point passing several shrubs that were bearing red berries and were full of birds. After lingering at the point for a bit, I retraced my steps along the shore and seawall until I was opposite the road that leads to the park headquarters building. I crossed the street and made my way to the building. (As a side note, there are restrooms here). I then followed the grass and gravel road past the building until I came to the abandon stables. There are several other grassy paths in the area off of the main road, but I opted to continue straight until I came to the stables. Some people believe that the stables are haunted. Just before the stables there is a path that leads to the right. I followed that path to its end to a stone observation tower. The tower has been tagged quite a bit with graffiti but the view from the top is rather decent. I then found my way out of the area by retracing my steps back along this path, taking a right, passing the stables, and taking a left to an open field where some kids were flying kites. I then crossed the field to the parking lot and to my car.

I did not find a trail map online.

From Brenton Point Looking West

From Brenton Point Looking West

Dighton Rock – Berkley

 

A bit of irony to this mornings hike as I was joined by a family friend from Berkeley, California. Not much thought was taken into our destination until it was pointed out while driving here. We decided to hike early this morning as New England is in the grip of yet another heat wave. We started our hike at 8:30 A.M. and was already 83 degrees which is usually the average high for this area in July. From the parking area we made our way towards the Taunton River through a picnic area. From here we turned south and followed a grass covered path along the river. The trail turns left at an area that has a rather decent view of the river. The trail then travels through an area dominated by maple trees before intersecting with a trail that comes in from the left. Continuing straight the trail then turns to the left at area that has a bench built around a tree. The trail then continues to the park road. Turning left onto the paved park road, we followed it to a gate on the right and followed an overgrown paved path beyond the gate. At the next intersection a path veers off the right, we continued straight as the path turned left and came out of the woods into a grass area. Ahead and to the right is the Dighton Rock Museum building. Inside is the rock that has inscriptions on it that has sparked great debate to their origins. After spending a little time in the museum we made our way back to the car.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Along The Taunton River

Along The Taunton River