Archive for September, 2014

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 an 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. The hike starts from the main parking area by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. I 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. Then I turned left following the blue blazed trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. I 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. I 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. I 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. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This loop is also blazed blue. I turned left and followed the trail passing more stone walls before coming to an old farm site with a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. I followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. I then retraced my steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch passes a ledge that has evidence that quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that I came in on. Here I turned left and retraced my steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When I reached the boulder I 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. I then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. I turned left onto the orange trail and retraced my steps back to the parking area.

More info & trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – June 2015

Spencer Property – Foster

  • Spencer Property
  • Old Danielson Pike, Foster, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’11.38″N, 71°42’49.01″W
  • First Time Hiked: September 20, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: December 10, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

The Foster Land Trust hosted a Rhode Island Land Trust Days event this morning on their Spencer Property. This property was once owned by a well known local doctor and was donated to the Land Trust in 1999. We started the hike from a small parking area across from utility pole 64 on Old Danielson Pike. We started by following the main trail named the Ponaganset River Trail into the property. The trail is marked at each intersection and is easy to follow. The stone dust trail winds downhill toward Spencer Pond. Large sections of the shore are accessible and the pond is known to have trout and bass in it. The trail then makes it way into the woods and becomes a traditional natural hiking trail. Soon a trail to the right appears, it is unofficially named the Gravel Pit Trail. We passed it on the way in but explored it on the way out. One of the spur trails here leads to the Ponaganset River. Continuing along the main trail we passed a few more trails to the left that lead to private property. One of them, however, leads to a newly acquired D.E.M. property once owned by the Carpenter family. An eagle scout has received permission from both D.E.M. and the Foster Land Trust to connect and blaze this trail from the Ponaganset River Trail to East Killingly Road. A majority of the work should be done this fall and should be completed by spring. We explored this trail for a bit as well on the way out. The aptly named main trail eventually ends at the Ponaganset River. There is a faint trail to the right that follows the river. There are plans to establish this trail to connect back to the Gravel Pit Trail to form a loop. There are areas where it can be a little wet and there are streams and brooks here. However, at the time of this hike it was very dry. There are also several stone walls and a cellar hole on the property as well. This property is dog friendly, in fact our guides dog led us most of the hike. I did not see much of wildlife other than birds, but there was plenty of evidence of it. The locals informed us that bear is not an uncommon sight in the area. So much so that the University of Rhode Island is using this property, as well as several others, as part of their bear population studies.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Spencer Pond

Spencer Pond

Goddard State Park – Warwick

  • Goddard Memorial State Park
  • Ives Road, Warwick, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°39’12.72″N, 71°26’36.43″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 19, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Almost directly across Narragansett Bay from the East Bay crown jewel, that being Colt State Park, is the West Bay equivalent. Goddard State Park offers a little bit of everything. It has a plethora of picnic areas, fields, a former carousel now used for events, a public beach, and of course trails. The trails that traverse the park are in fact bridle trails used by C and L Stables and you are likely to encounter a passing horse on occasion. They offer horseback riding to the public.  I obtained a copy of the park map and somewhat mimicked in reverse the route in Ken Weber’s “More Walks & Rambles” book. I started today’s hike from the parking area at the boat launch. A trail leads uphill from the parking area in a northeasterly direction. The trails here are wide and relatively soft, covered in most spots with either mulch, sand, and pine needles. You should keep an eye on where you are stepping. After all these are active bridle trails (if you know what I mean). After following this trail for a little while it splits. I stayed to the right and the trail then turns slightly left and rejoins itself. Here I turned right. A trail then veers off to the left, I continued straight and followed the trail through tall pines and various other trees. The trail then starts to turn to the right and joins another trail. Almost immediately a trail appears on the left, I choose to continue straight passing an area that appeared to be used for composting. A trail then appeared on the left. I turned here. This trail meandered in and out of the woods and along the edges of the fields before finally turning back into the woods. At the next intersection I turned right, crossed the road, and came to the park headquarters building. I stopped here to inquire about some of the parks features. The staff was very friendly and extremely helpful. I then continued along the trail in an easterly direction ignoring the three trails that were to the left. I also noticed a stone wall to the right along this stretch which seemed to be a haven for chipmunks. There was also an abundance of birds along this stretch. I then soon found myself along the edge of a residential neighborhood. This is private property. Please stay on the trail and respect the posted signage. After passing yet another trail on the left I came to an intersection. I turned right onto a loop trail. About midway through the loop a trail appears on the right. It is not shown on the map. It leads down to Sally Rock Point. From here you can see the Buttonwoods neighborhood across Greenwich Way as well as Oakland Beach, a tall stone tower on Warwick Neck, Patience Island, and Prudence Island. A few iconic Rhode Island sailboats were passing through the waters. There were also many sea gulls and a cormorant here. After taking a short and scenic break I retraced my steps back to the loop trail. I then turned right and then right again following the trail that hugged the bank above the shore. I stayed to the right at all of the intersections along this stretch. Soon I found myself passing a small pond on the left. Here there were several swans and geese wading around. Continuing along the trail along the bank above the Bay I eventually came to a parking area for the public beach. I passed through the parking lot making my way to the carousel. Originally built in New York in 1890 by Charles Loof, the carousel had several homes before finally coming to Goddard. From 1931 until 1973 the carousel was in operation here. All that remains today is the building. The structure is now used for private parties and events. From the carousel I passed a time capsule commemorating the 100th anniversary of the park before crossing the bridge over the road. Then I turned right slightly passing through a picnic area before coming to the trail once again. This trail again follows the bank over the bay before bending back toward the left. I then came to an intersection. I followed the trail to the right down to the beach by Long Point. From here (it was low tide) I followed the beach along Greenwich Cove back to the parking area by the boat launch. I came across a gentleman here who asked if I got a picture of an eagle that was in the area. Busy taking pictures of the boats in the cove, I did not see the eagle. He did however show me a video he took of it with his phone. I really wish I had seen it. With all that it has to offer, it is no wonder why this park won Rhode Island Monthly’s Best Free Attraction for multiple years. The walk I took was about 4 and a half miles. According to the parks website, there are 18 miles of bridle trails here. You could easily make this walk longer if you choose.

Trail map can be found at: Goddard State Park.

Along A Bridle Trail

Along A Bridle Trail

Greenwich Cove At Goddard Park

Greenwich Cove At Goddard Park

Coffee House Loop – Douglas

  • Coffee House Loop – Douglas State Forest
  • Wallum Lake Park Road, Douglas, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 1’21.28″N, 71°46’13.14″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 18, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Moderate with slight elevation and some rocky footing.

 

The calendar indicates that there are 5 days of summer left, but the air is cool and dry, the leaves are showing shades of yellow and red, and the days are getting shorter. Autumn is right around the corner and it was very evident here in the Douglas State Forest. After parking and looking for the trail head (or apparent trail head), we made our way onto the loop trail. The route I took started at a trail that was at a closed parking area. On the right side of the trail is a yellow chain and to the left is a “Do Not Enter” sign for unauthorized vehicles. The dirt road we followed comes to an intersection. We continued in a straight direction following the first sign we found indicating that we were on the Coffee House Loop. From here the trail, sporadically blazed, is relatively is to follow in most places. This section of the loop is fairly straight traversing over a small hill. The trail is quite rocky here and there are several large stones in the woods along the trail. This trail soon meets with the Mid-State Trail. The Coffee House Loop turns right onto the Mid-State. There is a sign at this intersection that indicates this. The next section meanders slightly downhill passing some areas of swamp, crosses over some boardwalks, and then crosses a stream. Then there is a right marked by another sign. This is where it gets a little tricky and I found myself relying heavily on my GPS. In this area the map does not seem to reflect the actual trails here. I came to an intersection that had no indication of which trail was which. There simply wasn’t any blazes. At this point you want to go right and follow this trail to it’s end. There should be a sign on a tree at the end of this trail indicating that the Coffee House Loop turns right. (If you go left you will come out the Southern New England Trunkline Trail). Turning right onto a wide trail we passed a large area of swamp to the left before finding the next sign to turn right. The last stretch winds through the woods before coming to a dirt parking area. The trail follows the edge of the parking area then up a small hill and into the closed parking area where we started. On this hike we saw two deer, several birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. We could also here what I believe to be an owl.

 

Trail map can be found at: Coffee House Loop.

Where The Coffee House Loop Meets The Mid-State Trail

Where The Coffee House Loop Meets The Mid-State Trail

Canonchet Trail – Hopkinton

 

This hike was a Rhode Island Land Trust Days event hosted by the Friends of The Hopkinton Land Trust. They had a good turnout for the hike as we gathered at the parking area along Route 3 entrance. This would be a one-way hike, so after some carpooling we started the hike from the Stubtown Road trailhead. From here we would follow the yellow blazed Canonchet Trail through two Nature Conservancy properties and a Hopkinton Land Trust property back to the parking area on Main Street. We were led by Harvey Buford who has a wealth of knowledge about the history of the properties. From Stubtown Road we meandered through the Canonchet Brook Preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy. This section offered several several stone walls and cairns most likely of Native American origin. The trail had several rocks and stones as well and was root bound in areas. There are also some sections of boardwalks here. We then crossed the Canonchet Brook as well as two side trails before crossing into the Hopkinton Land Trust-Brown Homestead property. As we continued along the yellow blazed Canonchet Trail we came across more cairns, one in particular on the right side looked like a turtle. The turtle plays an important role in Native American folklore. We then came to a road crossing at the end of the Land Trust property. To the left the a trail follows Lawton Foster Road to the Hoxsie Trail. We, however, continued along the yellow blazed trail into the Hoxsie Preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy. Next we came to a series of colonial era cellar holes and a foundation of a barn. On the backside of the barns foundation is a rather impressive root cellar. After exploring a bit we continued on the trail, passing several stone walls and a rather large boulder before we reached the stone slab bridge. At this location there was once a sawmill. The foundation is still here. The remainder of the trail then traversed through the woods down to the parking area where we first gathered. If carpooling is not an option, from this parking area, one could easily do a 2 mile hike on the Hoxsie property by following the Hoxsie Trail to Lawton Foster Road and returning on the Canonchet Trail.

Trail maps can be found at: Canonchet Brook Preserve/Brown Homestead & Hoxsie Preserve.

Along The Canonchet Trail

Along The Canonchet Trail

Beaver River Park – Richmond

 

Beaver River Park is a Richmond Conservation Commission property. The front end of the park has a playground and the remainder has a combination of mowed grass paths through fields of wildflowers and dirt trails through woods. I choose to follow the outer most perimeter trails in a counter clockwise direction. There is also a spot where you can view the Beaver River. This location is dog friendly and I was greeted by a group of them along this walk. I saw several birds here as well as many birdhouses in the fields. The yellows of the fields and the light also seemed good for photography.

 

Trail map can be found at: Beaver River Park.

Late Summer Field At Beaver River Park

Late Summer Field At Beaver River Park

Potter Wood – South Kingstown

 

Potter Memorial Wood is a Kingstown Improvement Association property. I started this hike from a small parking area on Biscuit City Road and started following the trail. I then came upon a billboard will the trail map. After studying it for a bit and decided my route I continued along the Potter Trail until I came to the Red Pine Trail. Here I turned right following the trail, ignoring most of the trails that went to the left until I reached the Heritage trail. This trail eventually brought me back to the Potter Trail. Here I turned right and into the recreation area. I then headed toward the playground equipment looking for the narrow Pond Way Trail. If you have found and passed an old fireplace you are on the right trail. I then turned right onto a path that led to the skating pond. The skating pond was all but dried up at the time of this hike. I turned right following the loop around the pond passing a shelter. From here I followed the Oak Trail back to the Potter Trail once again. I then turned right and followed the trail back to the parking area. This property had plenty of stone walls as well as several species of trees. I saw several birds here as well as squirrels and chipmunks.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line.

The Skating Pond After A Summer Of No Rain.

The Skating Pond After A Summer Of No Rain.