Archive for February, 2014

Ninigret Refuge – Charlestown

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
  • Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°21’54.46″N, 71°39’24.41″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 22, 2014 
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Easy.
 
 

Once an old Naval airfield that was used during World War II, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is now a place for hikers, photographers, and bird watchers. The property abuts the states largest coastal salt pond. I started the hike from the east parking lot first making a short loop along the coast near the end of runway 30. (The end of the runway is still here with its number clearly visible). The paths were still rather snow covered but very passable. I then made my way to Grassy Point. At the point there are sweeping views of the salt pond. There are some observation scopes here as well. From the point I retraced my steps until I got to the Cross Refuge Trail. Here I turned left and followed this trail to its end. Along the way I came across several deer track. Above were hawks, gulls, as well as several other birds including robins (first sign of spring). I then followed the shore of Foster Cove on its loop trail until I reached the west parking lot. From here I followed the Charlietown Runway Trail back to the east parking lot to finish the hike.

Trail map can be found at: Ninigret.

Ninigret Pond

Ninigret Pond

Ballard Park – Newport

  • Ballard Park
  • Hazard Road, Newport, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°27’53.96″N, 71°19’26.23″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 24, 2014
  • Previous Visits: February 20, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy with some significant elevation.
 
 

First Visit:

The days are getting longer. Enough time to drive from Providence to Newport after work and do a short hike before the sun sets. I opted to start this hike from the Hazard Road entrance. After following the entrance road into the property I came to a sign with a trail map on it. Shortly after the sign I followed a path to the left and then almost immediately left again and followed the Southwest Trail as it meandered uphill to the General Hazard Overlook. I spent a few moments here watching the sun set over Newport before I continued the hike following the outer perimeter of the park. I then followed the Swamp Maple Trail walking along the boardwalks until I got near the main entrance. I came across some deer tracks in the snow at this point. I turned right here and stopped at the Quarry Overlook. This is a shear 30 foot cliff overlooking an open meadow and vernal pool. Note that there is no rock climbing allowed here. On this particular day there was plenty of activity below. Volunteers were setting up for the 9th Annual Illuminated Garden event. I then continued my hike going by a large rock outcrop and then turning left to follow the Quarry Rim Trail back to the entrance road and to the end of this hike. If you would like to add more distance to this hike there are a couple other trails to explore. I found Ballard Park to very clean and well maintained. The Friends of Ballard Park protect and preserve this property and apparently several events happen here each year. I did stay around for a while to check out and take some photos of the Illuminated Garden.

Second Visit:

I had returned to Ballard Park with a friend, her child, and her child’s friend for an event. During the event I made good use of the large boulder in the quarry to sit and soak up some of the spring sun. After the event we had went for a hike on the trails here. Again this hike started from the Hazard Road entrance and then we turned left and followed the trail to the Hazard overlook. This time, however, we turned right onto a trail the would lead to the edge of the quarry. We stopped at the quarry overlook before following the eastern edge of the quarry along a path that would eventually lead back down to the meadow near the vernal pool. After a quick stop at the vernal pool, we followed a trail on the backside of it up the hill, then turned left and followed it downhill to the entrance.

Trail map can be found at: Ballard Park.

Quarry Meadow From East Edge - Apr. 2014

Quarry Meadow From East Edge – Apr. 2014

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014

Independence Trail – Providence

  • Independence Trail
  • South Main Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’23.33″N,  71°24’20.52″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Easy with some significant elevation.
 
 

This walk to most locals it is also known as the “green line” as the walk is marked literally by a green line that meanders through the city. The Independence Trail is similar to the Freedom Trail in Boston in its amount of rich history. Most people are unaware of how much history is here in Providence. In fact, some of it predates the history of Boston. Unlike the Freedom Trail, the Independence Trail is a loop. You can start at any location and finish where you began. The trail is also marked with site numbers. At each site number you can use your phone to call the number given for a description of the site. This morning I started along South Main Street at the Cable Car Cinema. (Currently, meter street parking is free on Sundays.) I started my walk heading north along South Main Street going through an area of spires and steeples. I passed the Old Stone Bank building with its gold dome as well as the Supreme Court Building, both on the right, and Memorial Park on the left with its host of war memorials. Continuing north I soon passed the Old Market House. Providence had its own tea party in rebellion of British taxes. A plaque here explains it. Continuing north, (this is where South Main Street becomes North Main) I passed the Rhode Island School of Design Museum before coming to the locally famous bus tunnel. Next I came to the First Baptist Church. The church was founded by Roger Williams (the founder of Rhode Island) in 1638. A little further up the road I turned right and uphill on Meeting Street. I first came across a single room brick schoolhouse the was once used by Brown University. At the intersection of Benefit and Meeting Streets is the Old Armory. At this location my College Hill walk intersects this walk. I then turned left onto Benefit Street before turning left and downhill on North Court Street passing the Old Rhode Island State House. In this building on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared its independence from the British. Rhode Island was the first colony to do so, a full 2 months before the Declaration of Independence. After going to the bottom of the hill I crossed North Main Street and followed the sidewalk north along the Roger Williams National Memorial. This is the site of the spring in which Providence was settled and grew around. I then turned left onto Smith Street crossing Canal Street and the Moshassuck River before making my way to the State House. (Note: the green line is not present on State House property. To continue the trail, walk towards the State House and follow it around the left side balcony to the stairs in front and down the main walkway to Francis Street.) The State House is a massive marble building built at the turn of the last century. It has one of the worlds largest unsupported domes. If it is open, it is well worth going in to take a peek at it from inside. Atop the dome is the Independent Man. This statue overlooks Providence. Making my way down Francis Street heading toward downtown I passed the Providence Place Mall. Some of the cities newer building are to the left surrounding the basin of Waterplace Park and the Woonasquatucket River. Following the green line into downtown, I soon passed the Biltmore Hotel, Providence City Hall, and made my way into Kennedy Plaza. The green line took me by the ice skating rink, BurnsidePark, and the Federal Court House as well. At the Federal Court House there is a plaque commemorating that Abraham Lincoln had once spoke here at the Railroad Hall. From here I followed the trail down Exchange Street into the heart of the Financial District. Here I was surrounded by some of the cities tallest buildings including the famed Turks Head Building. I then made my way up Westminster Street to Dorrance Street passing the Industrial National Trust Building and The Arcade (the worlds oldest indoor shopping mall). Turning left at Dorrance I passed a plaque of the Federal Reserve building that shows the height of the flood waters from the 1938 Hurricane. I then turned left onto Weybosset Street back toward the Financial District passing The Arcade again. I then followed the trail right after The Custom House Tavern to the Crawford Street Bridge. At this location my Waterplace Park walk intersects this walk. I then followed the trail along the Providence River for a bit before heading up Planet Street and back to the car. This walk not only showcases the vast history of Providence and Rhode Island, but it is a walk through some of the most elaborate architecture in the nation, both in style and age. This walk also brings you by some of the interesting art work and sculptures in the city. I would suggest taking your time on this walk as there is so much to see.

Trail map can be found at: Independence Trail.

The Green Line

The Green Line

Tall Cedars – Barrington

  • Tall Cedars Conservation Area
  • Townsend Street, Barrington, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°45’3.28″N,  71°20’8.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 1, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 mile
  • Easy.
 
 

My second walk this morning was right around the corner from St. Andrews Farm. It is a heavily wooded area with a few trails. I started this hike from the end of Townsend Street. The trail begins by utility pole 19-84 and enters the property running along abutting properties. I did not follow the map for this walk. I instead just did some exploring and pretty much covered the entire property. I found that when I stopped occasionally that the woods would come alive with songbirds. I had found myself bird watching quite a bit here. There is also a small stream that runs through the property. I thought this was a nice little property for a short walk. The only things that I found that could be potentially negative were first, the ground was still quite frozen, but there is potential for a lot of mud, and second, I saw a lot of poison ivy here. Stay on the trails to avoid it. I think this may become another of my local walking locations.

Trail map can be found at: Tall Cedars.

Thawing Stream

Thawing Stream

St. Andrews Farm – Barrington

  • St. Andrews Farm
  • Middle Highway, Barrington, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°44’57.89″N,  71°19’55.47″W
  • First Time Hiked: February 1, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: March 23, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.6 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation.
 
 

This morning I decided to check out some locations listed on the Barrington Land Conservation Trust web page. My first stop was St. Andrews Farm. It’s a small field with some walking paths around the perimeter and through it. It is nicely tucked away behind the soccer fields along Middle Highway. I followed the path from the parking lot into the property which runs through an area of bushes and trees. There were several hundred birds rustling in this area. I then went right and followed the perimeter path. It is a wide lane path the follows the terrain up and down small hills. I found myself fascinated with the shapes of some of the old trees here. I came across an interesting little feature while here. One of the abutting property owners has a “M*A*S*H” pole at the back of their property near the perimeter path. It features directions and distances to places such as Camelot, Narnia, Treasure Island, and Whoville to name a few. Besides birds I came across a rabbit here. It startled me more than I startled it. After doing the perimeter I made my way back to the car.

I did not find a map on-line.

St. Andrews Farm

St. Andrews Farm