Archive for March, 2016

Lonsdale Park – Lincoln

  • Lonsdale Park
  • River Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’28.68″N, 71°24’57.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 30, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

Lonsdale Park is one of three nearby properties that make up Lincolns Tri-Park Trail System also known as the Lincoln Greenway. There are trails through this property that lead to Chase Farm and Gateway Park using a blazing system of red squares (to Gateway Park), yellow triangles (to Chase Farm), and green circles (back to Lonsdale Park). The park itself sits behind the Lonsdale Elementary School and features little league fields and playgrounds. A pond separates the park and wooded area that features the trails. Start from the parking lot on the side of the school and follow the paved path to the left of the baseball field. Soon you will see the actual trailhead. For this hike, I first followed the yellow blazes to Chase Farm. I then followed the red blazes until I reached Bernon Drive. From here I retraced my steps a bit and then followed the green blazes back to Lonsdale Park. The property has some rather significant hills, stone walls, footbridges, and streams. A hike of longer distance can be achieved by utilizing all three properties.

 

Trail map can be found at: Lonsdale Park.

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Along The Trail At Lonsdale Park

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Fall River Waterfront – Fall River

Between Bicentennial Park and Fall River Heritage State Park is a 1.3 mile walk that follows the shore of the Taunton River. This walk follows paved paths, concrete walks, and wooden boardwalks. The views include the Braga Bridge to the south and beyond in the distance you can see the Mount Hope Bridge. To the west are the massive cooling towers of the Brayton Point Power Plant. Just under the Braga Bridge you can catch a glimpse of the Borden Flats Lighthouse. The highlight of this walk however, is Battleship Cove, a maritime museum featuring the worlds largest collection of World War II era ships. Among the ships here at the U.S.S. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (850) which is a destroyer and the U.S.S. Massachusetts (59) which is a battleship that saw significant action during World War II. Also at Battleship Cove is a memorial to the September 11th attacks. At the northern end of this walk at Bicentennial Park is a monument commemorating the battle of Iwo Jima.

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The boardwalk looking towards Battleship Cove.

Lower Ten Mile River – Pawtucket/East Providence/Seekonk

  • Lower Ten Mile River
  • Daggett Avenue, Pawtucket, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’6.76″N, 71°20’43.05″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 20, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 10 miles
  • Moderate due to distance.

This hike explores the highlights of the lower Ten Mile River from Pawtucket, through East Providence, and into Seekonk. The route of this hike, ironically enough, is about 10 miles and is partly on a bike path, paved neighborhood roads, and trails. It is a one way hike and requires a car-spot. Starting at Doreen Tomlinson Field on Daggett Avenue in Pawtucket, you start this walk by first following the northern most part of the Ten Mile River Greenway Bike Path. The bike path, flanked by post and rail fence, follows the river for a little over three quarters of a mile before coming to Armistice Boulevard. Here, you will see a small dam and waterfall. After crossing the boulevard you are in Slater Park. Soon you will see the one mile marker. Shortly after the marker the bike path makes an abrupt curve to the right and back to the left again. At this point to the right and across the road you can see a pond. A loop around the pond is about a half mile if you choose. In December you will find several Christmas trees decorated here. Just before crossing the road and to the right is the Slater Park Carousel and at the far end of the pond is a bandstand. After you complete the loop of the pond return to the bike path and continue south. To your left the river runs through an area that looks like a canal. These walls were built during the 1930’s by the Works Progress Administration. The bike path then continues south leaving Slater Park, passing under railroad tracks, and soon the first large body of water on the left appears. This is Central Pond and it will remain on your left to the end of the bike path. The southern portion of the bike path crosses into East Providence passing through an old rifle range and former Water Department property before reaching Kimberly Rock Field. Here you want to turn right into the parking lot. A couple hundred feet ahead and on the left is a clearing and a short trail that leads to the adjacent residential neighborhood. The next six tenths of a mile of this hike is on roads. At the end of the trail turn left onto Wildwood Avenue, then right onto Redland Avenue. To the left you can still see Central Pond through the yards. At the end of Redland Avenue, turn left onto Bishop Avenue, and then left once again onto Newman Avenue (Route 152). Be careful here, as traffic is relatively heavy. When you reach Central Pond cross Newman Avenue. The body of water south of Newman Avenue is the Turner Reservoir. You will notice a trailhead just to the right of the reservoir. This is part of the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail. This section of trail follows the shore of the reservoir on one side and the back of a subdivision, with a post and rail fence along the property line, on the other. Soon the trail passes the subdivision and enters a small wooded area. There is a short unmarked trail to the right here that will lead you into the Bridgham Farm Conservation Area. Take it, at the end of the trail turn right and follow that trail to its end. It will come out to a cul-de-sac of the subdivision you just passed. To the left you will notice two things. First, a very large oak tree, said to be over 400 year old known as the Newman Oak. and second, just over the rooftop of the nearby house, you will catch a glimpse of the old windmill that was part of the old farm. After viewing the historic tree and windmill retrace your steps, but instead of turning left back to the reservoir, continue straight. The trail will lead you out to a large open field. This area is what part of the farm was conserved during the 1990’s. Continue straight through the grass field. The trail will slightly turn to the left and lead through the trees back out to the reservoir. Turn right here and follow the earthen embankment towards the Turner Dam. This dam was built in the 1930’s to create the Turner Reservoir as a drinking supply for the City of East Providence. It was used as the primary water supply until the late 1960’s. Continuing you will see a trail to your south that again follows the river. This short stretch of trail will lead you to the parking area along Pleasant Street (Route 114A). From here you want to turn right, then cross the street, and then turn left onto Hunts Mills Road. There is a split in the road, stay left. You will pass the first of two houses on the property. The house is currently boarded up and has seen better days, but there are plans to restore it. The second house, however, is a stunningly beautiful Georgian style home built in the second half of the 1700’s. This is the John Hunt House and it is the current home of the East Providence Historical Society. Just to the right of the house is a gazebo and just to the right of the gazebo is a post with a red trail marker. This is the beginning of the three quarter mile Hunts Mills Trail. The trail first cuts across the north side of the property passing a rather significant sycamore tree before reaching the Ten Mile River once again. Along this stretch there are two rock outcrops to view the river. The first, is somewhat high above the river, is known as Sunset Rock. The second, is by the rivers edge, is known as Otter Rock and received its name by multiple sightings of the river mammal. When the river is running low in the summer months you may catch a glimpse of turn of the century inscriptions on the rock. Continuing to follow the red blazes, you will find yourself in an area that seems abandoned. This is the former Fire Department training grounds. Here there are a couple old tankers and fire tower. There is also a large metal shed. This area is now being leased by the Ten Mile River Watershed Council and they have plans to convert it into a picnic area. Continuing to follow the red blazed trail will lead you to the large grass area behind the Hunt House. There are some informational boards here describing the history of the property. There was once an amusement park here with a carousel. The ring of granite blocks delineates where it once stood. You will next want to pass the gate between the Hunt House and the large stone pump house. Just ahead is the picturesque Hunts Mills Falls. The sounds of the water rushing of the falls makes this a good place to take a break. After taking in the falls for a bit, you will follow Hunts Mills Road back to Pleasant Street, turn right and cross the road once again. You will continue along Pleasant Street crossing the bridge over the Ten Mile River and then through the parking lot. Here is the trail-head to the eastern side of the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail. This section is mostly on boardwalks that cross over the wetlands by the river. Soon you will come back to the earthen dam. The path turns to the left. If you want another view of the waterfall at the dam follow the path, for this hike however, continue straight up the small hill. At the top of the hill you will have a sweeping view of the reservoir. This spot is particularly beautiful during the autumn foliage. To the right the trail continues to follow the edge of the reservoir. This is where you first cross into Seekonk. The trail is now faintly blazed blue and you will follow those blazes to Arcade Avenue with the exception of a few minor detours. Along this trail you will pass the Seekonk High School athletic fields. In the woods to the right you will find a shelter with a stone pillar by it. This is a monument to three Seekonk High School students who lost their lives on the reservoir in 1998. Further along the blue trail, there is a trail that splits to the left and leads out to a peninsula that offers great views of the reservoir in every direction. If you choose to visit either of these sites be sure to return to the blue blazed trail and follow it to Arcade Avenue. After reaching the road, you will have about a mile of road walking. You will want to turn left onto Arcade Avenue, then left onto Newman Avenue. You then need to cross Newman Avenue to get to and follow West Avenue. You will follow West Avenue to the fourth left. This is West River Street and you will turn left here. Turn left again at Reservoir Street and follow it to the end. The asphalt ends and the dirt road turns to the right. On the left is the sign for the Seacuncke Sanctuary and its trail-head. Follow the trail into the sanctuary. It soon splits, stay to the right and you will find yourself on the main trail, known as the Seekonk Trail, that runs along this side of Central Pond. There are other narrower trails that run parallel to this trail. As long as you are going north they all lead to the same spot. The trail then starts to turn slightly to the right and ahead you will see a split. There are two trails here with a gully in between. Both of the trails are blazed blue. The trail to the right will lead you to the majority of the trails of the Gaminno Pond Preserve. For this hike stay to the left. Soon you will be flanked by water. To the left is Coles Brook and to the right is Gaminno Pond. Continuing to follow the blue blazed trail, you will see a mulch covered trail on the left that leads to the Gaminno Pond parking area. Continue ahead a short distance. The blue blazed trail turns to the right. Stay to the left here following an old road that leads up to the Seekonk Meadows and to the parking lot for the Seekonk Library where you left another vehicle. This hike takes about four and half to five hours at a relaxed pace.

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Ten Mile River Greenway Bike Path

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Hunts Mills Falls

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Turner Reservoir

Woodland Path – Bristol

  • Woodland Path – Colt State Park
  • Colt Drive, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°40’20.01″N, 71°17’54.46″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

At the extreme southern end of Colt State Park there is an area of woods. There is a network of trails here, some part of the park wide “Path to Health” system. The trails are faintly blazed and easy to follow. There is a couple small ponds and several vernal pools here. At the time of this hike, the frogs were very active. To add distance to this easy and short hike follow any of the parks paved walking paths or walk to the nearby Coggeshall Farm. There is a trail map sign near the parking area.

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Path in the wooded part of Colt State Park.

Arcadia West – Exeter/Hopkinton

  • Arcadia West – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’34.41″N, 71°46’18.98″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 9, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5 miles
  • Moderate with significant elevation and rocky footing, muddy in areas.

 

I had awoke this morning to hear of the sad news of the passing of Dorian Murray. His fight with cancer truly inspired us all as a community as well as individually. May he rest in peace. With that said, I dedicate today’s hike to him. #Dstrong

 

This hike in the western parts of the Arcadia Wildlife Management Area consists of three major trails, the Deep Pond Trail, the Brushy Brook Trail, and the Dye Hill Trail. It is about a five mile hike and some of the terrain can be a bit challenging. There are also many unmarked spur trails along this route. Be sure to stay on the blazed trails unless you are carrying a map or have GPS. Starting from a small parking area along Route 165 at the Roscoe M. Dexter entrance (there is a sign here) I made my way first along the white blazed Deep Pond Trail. The trail first parallels Ten Rod Road briefly before turning left into the depth of the woods. Immediately on the right is a swamp. At the time of this hike there were the sounds of wood frogs here. For the next half mile, the trail, an old service road, is flanked by mountain laurel and an occasional outcrop of ledge. Soon, on the left, you will see a sign for Deep Pond. Turn onto this trail, it is also blazed white. It is much narrower and again is flanked by mountain laurel. The trail raises gently above a valley below almost following a ridge line. Ahead in an area that seems to open up a bit are a series of cairns. After passing the series of unexplained piles of rocks the trail once again is towering above the land below. To the left is a rather high ledge before the trail starts to descend. Soon you will see a sign at a trail intersection. The sign indicates that this is the beginning of the Dye Hill Trail to the right, but first continue straight along the descending and rocky trail to the shore of Deep Pond. Spend a little time here, it is peaceful and you may catch a glimpse of wildlife. At the time of this hike, there was an otter or beaver swimming in the pond breaking the glass like flatness of the pond. I sure wish I had brought binoculars. After taking a break here, return back up the hill to the Dye Hill Trail (now on the left) and turn onto it. You will immediately have to scramble up a rather steep incline. Be sure to follow the blazes here as several spur trails appear here. This section of the trail is blazed both white and blue for a bit. When you right to point where the blazes split stay to the left and continue to follow the white blazes. (For this hike you will return from the blue blazed trail). The white blazed Brushy Brook Trail seems a lot like the Deep Pond Trail at first. It is rocky, hilly, windy, and towers above the land below for a while. The trail then descends quite substantially and you are soon into lower ground. Some of the area has patchy grass areas that the forest is slowly claiming. The blazes along this stretch become less, be sure to follow the main trail, keeping on eye out for the occasional blazes. The trail then starts to slowly turn to the west and soon you are in an area flanked by thickets and berry bushes. You have actually just crossed into Hopkinton. You will notice water on each side as you cross the swampy area and the trail here at times gets very muddy. Just ahead is a wooden bridge. This is where you first cross the aptly named Brushy Brook. After passing the brook the trail starts to climb. After passing a stone wall the trail now starts to turn slightly to the right. You will notice a stone wall now on your left. This wall is built approximately on the Exeter/Hopkinton border and you are now back in Exeter. For the next section of this hike you pass through an array of stone walls that was once part of an old farm. If you study the placement of them long enough you can make out where the road once was. After the former farm, the white blazed trail comes to an end. Ahead and to the right is the blue blazed Dye Hill Trail. The trail ahead will take you to near the top of Dye Hill. For this hike you will want to turn right, following the blue blazes. The trail will lead you down into a valley, crossing the Brushy Brook once again, before climbing back uphill to rejoin the white and blue blazed trail. When you reach the trail intersection with the Dye Hill sign. Turn left following the white blazes of the Deep Pond Trail and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Arcadia West.

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Foggy Sunrise on Deep Pond.

 

Fry Pond – West Greenwich

  • Fry Pond Conservation Area
  • Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°38’25.96″N, 71°41’14.01″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 6, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Moderate with some significant elevation and rocky footing.

 

Fry Pond is a West Greenwich Land Trust property located behind Town Hall. The property is located along the face of a hill that stretches down to Fry Pond itself. Although there is no actual trail to the shore of the pond, the property offers trails that meander through the woods a strew with boulders. The hike that I took was just a little over 2 miles and climb up and down through the boulder fields. Starting just beyond the pavilion behind West Greenwich Town Hall, the white blazed trail makes it way to a service road. After turning left onto the service road, you will soon pass a soccer field on the right. Shortly thereafter a trail appears on the left. It is still white blazed and starts to descend toward the loop trail. There are several informational plaques along this stretch explaining the features. I decided to remain on the white blazed trail passing the yellow trail to the right. When I reached the loop trail I stayed to the left and started to follow it clockwise. There is a spot where you can view the pond, but access to it is not available. When I reached the intersection of the yellow trail I opted to follow it out. This trail is moderately difficult climbing up and down the face of the hill. At the end of the yellow trail I turned left and retraced my steps back to the trailhead.

 

Trail map can be found at: Fry Pond.

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White Blazed Trail At Fry Pond

The Pines – Exeter

  • The Pines – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Mount Tom Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°33’52.54″N, 71°43’43.33″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 6, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Mostly easy, very difficult in areas.

 

This is one of those hikes I would not suggest for beginners or those uncomfortable with being in very remote sections of the woods. In order to do this hike as described you should have a good sense of direction, instinct, and balance. Bushwhacking is required in one spot. A copy of the Great Swamp Press map for this area is highly suggested as well as GPS for backtracking. There are three distinctively different parts to this hike. The beginning and the loop around Deep Pond are nice gentle trails, a good portion is walking along dirt roads, and a stretch that follows an unmarked narrow trail has many challenges. This hike starts at where the Mount Tom Trail crosses Mount Tom Road. The reason for that is that a large portion of this hike is in areas where the gates are seasonably closed to automobile traffic. From the small parking area, follow the Mount Tom Trail east following the shore of Parris Brook. When you reach the Blitzkrieg Trail, turn right and cross over the bridge. The Blitzkrieg Trail is a dirt road that is surrounded by mostly tall pines. Follow it about three tenths of a mile to the beginning of the Deep Pond Trail on the left. Soon another dirt road on the right appears. This is the road to Deep Pond. Take this and then follow the loop trail around Deep Pond. The trail is rather narrow in areas and some sections tend to flood after excessive rain. After doing the loop return back to Deep Pond Trail and then turn right. You will see a rather large swamp area to the left. At the time of this hike I saw several ducks here. At the end of Deep Pond Trail there is a gate to the right. Pass the gate and make your way to the Wood River. Here is a canoe launch and people fish here quite often. This is the point where you may want to turn back and retrace your steps if you are not comfortable with a rather challenging hike. To the right you will see a rather narrow, leaf covered trail. For the next 3/4 of a mile, take your time. This trail, root bound in spots, is very narrow at times and rises above the river below. One slip could be disastrous. The trail also becomes undistinguishable at points. Be patient and be prepared to backtrack. There is one spot where it seems impossible to complete. The trail comes out to a peninsula with the river to the left and what looks like an old mill race to the right and seems unable to cross. Backtrack a few feet looking for some old stonework below to the right. You can cross pretty easily here pushing the shrubbery aside. When you reach the other side the trail is visible again. Hunters and fisherman have also used flagging to mark parts of the trail. I found the flagging fairly reliable. There are a few spots to take in the beauty of the Wood River. Stop. Enjoy it. If you have come this far, you deserve to take a few moments to enjoy the remoteness. The trail will soon come out to a parking area at the end of the Waterhole Trail. This area is known as The Pines. There is another canoe launch here as well as a picnic table. To finish this hike, follow the Waterhole Trail west back out to Blitzkrieg Trail. After turning right, follow the Blitzkrieg Trail back to the bridge. Turn left and follow the Mount Tom Trail back to the parking area.

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Wood River near The Pines