Archive for November, 2014

Barn Island – Stonington

  • Barn Island Wildlife Management Area
  • Palmer Neck Road, Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°20’22.38″N, 71°52’38.91″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 30, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

I met up with a fellow blogger this morning for a hike in her neck of the woods. She is quite familiar with the property and has been here several times. This would be my first venture onto this property. Hunting is allowed here but we were able to explore the property without the worry of hunters as hunting is not allowed on Sundays in Connecticut. We started the hike from the parking area by the informational sign and followed the stone dust path as it went downhill through a small section of woods before coming to the tidal flats. In this area there are great views of Little Narragansett Bay beyond the golden grass of the flats. In the distance you can see the Watch Hill Light and Napatree Point. Continuing along the path we headed back into another sections of woods. Here we came to another sign with a map of the property. We went right here leaving the woods and into another area of tidal flats. Here we saw an egret as well as some ducks. We soon turned right at the next intersection onto a grass road. This is actually a spur trail that leads to the eastern edge of the property. Along this stretch we saw a great blue heron and more ducks. The Latimer Reef Light (actually in New York) is visible from here on clear days. We soon found ourselves back in the woods and climbing slightly uphill. Along this stretch are several stone walls and a cemetery with graves dating back to the 1800’s. Soon the trail ends and comes to a paved road. The road, named Brucker Pentway, passes a few homes and the entrance of the Boy Scouts Camp Kitchtau. We turned left onto an unnamed road shortly after the stucco barn. This road led back to the wildlife management area. Passing the gate at the entrance of the property we found ourselves on another grass road. We were surrounded by fields that would be home to wildflowers in the summer months. In the fields were several poles with bluebird houses on them. This road would eventually lead back into the woods. Shortly after entering the woods we came to another intersection. We turned right here. The trail then winds through an area of woods for a while passing several stone walls. There are several narrow side trails along this stretch. It is best to stay on the main trail and go left at all “major” intersections until you return to the sign with the map where we made the first turn. When we reached the sign we turned right and retraced our steps back to the parking area. On the other side of the parking area there is a short spur trail that leads to a small sandy point into the bay. The short walk is worth it for the views.

 

Trail map can be found at: Barn Island.

Tidal Flats At Barn Island

Tidal Flats At Barn Island

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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)

Cliff Walk – Newport

  • Cliff Walk
  • Memorial Boulevard, Newport, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’6.60″N,  71°17’51.21″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 11, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • First section is easy and mostly paved, last part moderate to difficult.

 

The Cliff Walk is easily one of the most visited “trails” in Rhode Island. It is one of Newport’s premier tourist attractions with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and some of the nations most famous mansions on the other. The first part of the walk is the most heavily traveled as it is paved and suitable for most people. The later parts of it, you will find yourself scrambling over rocks along the shore. I started this walk from Memorial Boulevard just west of Eastons Beach. The paved path first meanders along the cliff above Easton Cove. In the distance you can see the Sakonnet Point Lighthouse as well as Sachuest Point. I soon came to Forty Steps. The steps lead down toward the water for a view from below the cliff. On days with high waves and sometimes at high tide you may get a little wet. Continuing on, I made my way through the Salve Regina University properties. Here I came across several sections of fence with padlocks on them. A closer look, I realized the meaning of them. A clever modern day way of expressing your feelings for loved ones. I also came across some very old and creative brickwork at one of the stairways. The craftsmanship of yesteryear is quite impressive. After passing the two large and magnificent university buildings, including Ochre Court, I made my way to The Breakers. Quite possibly the most famous of the mansions, The Breakers, with its limestone walls and red tile roof, was built in the 1890’s by the Vanderbilt family as a summer home. I then came to Ochre Point on the back of the Breakers property before making my way through the large wrought iron gates at Ruggles Avenue. The next section of the walk is along a concrete walk with a fence right along the water. Along this section, the walk juts out to a point featuring a round, predominantly glass structure. The view here is wonderful in all directions. At the one and a half mile mark I came across the first section that was not a walkway. For a few hundred feet I had to traverse over fairly flat stones. Beyond that the walk is a combination of flat rocks, dirt paths, and paved paths for the next three quarters of a mile or so. On this section you can get a glimpse of the Rosecliff mansion. Just after Rosecliff the walk goes to the right, up some stairs, and then around an ivy covered building on the left. This building, the only directly on this side of the walk, was built as an artist studio. The next landmark is the Chinese Tea House on the Marble House property. It is a replica of a Song Dynasty temple. The walk continues through a tunnel under the Tea House. At this point you are at the two-mile mark. The remainder of the walk becomes progressively more difficult. After passing through the tunnel the walk continues for a bit to a second a shorter tunnel at Sheep Point. The last “easy” section passes in front of the Miramar mansion. A plaque at the end of this section reads “Rough Terrain Ahead”. From this point to Ledge Road is moderate to difficult. It is advised not to do this section if the rocks are wet as they become very slippery. I decided to proceed slowly for two reasons. The first as to watch my step, and the other to stop and take in the views. The ocean views are breathtaking along this stretch. The walk continues pass Rough Point, the former summer home of Doris Duke, to a bridge over a chasm that waves crash into. Along this section, to Lands End, and pass Ledge Road the trail is marked with an occasional bronze disk imbedded into the rocky shoreline. At Lands End, an aptly named peninsula, you may be able to see Point Judith, Black Point, and Narragansett Pier if the weather is good. After making my way past Ledge Road the walk continues to its end at Baileys Beach. After reaching the end I turned around and retraced my steps.

Trail maps and information can be found at: Cliff Walk.

Along The Cliff Walk

Along The Cliff Walk

At Lands End

At Lands End

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

Lawrence Preserve – Attleboro

  • Anthony Lawrence Wildlife Preserve
  • Hope Avenue, Attleboro, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°55’23.11″N, 71°20’56.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 1, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Easy.

 

Just east of the bustling commercial area where Route 1 intersects Route 123 lies this wildlife preserve. The preserve itself is decent in size, however only a small portion is accessible by trails as most of the property is wetlands. At the end of Hope Avenue there are two trailheads. The first to the right is a short dead end trail that leads to Tannery Brook. The trail to the left leads to a red blazed loop trail with an access point to the Seven Mile River. Walking both of the trails is just under a mile.

 

Trail map can be found at: Lawrence Preserve.

A Trail At Lawrence Preserve

A Trail At Lawrence Preserve

Leach Sanctuary – Attleboro

  • Phil And Ginny Leach Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ridgewood Road, Attleboro, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°55’11.56″N, 71°17’24.31″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 1, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.1 miles
  • Easy.

 

Just off of Route 152, the Leach Sanctuary is a wooded parcel with a series of trails. The property has a small pond on it, a large puddingstone outcrop simply known as Big Rock, and a few stone walls. Unfortunately, the trails on the adjacent property to the south of the sanctuary no longer exist due to residential development. Therefore, a loop cannot be completed as shown on the provided map. Exploring all the trails though, one could easily manage to walk a mile or more here.

 

Trail map can be found at: Leach Sanctuary.

Red Foliage At Leach Sanctuary

Red Foliage At Leach Sanctuary