Archive for July, 2016

Preston Preserve – Preston

 

This small and hilly property just off of Route 164 offers quite a bit. There are fields full of wildflowers that attract butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. There are areas of woods, swamps and an aptly named Mirror Pond that reflects the surrounding trees. There are several trails on the property, none of them blazed. I did not follow any particular route for this hike but I did manage to see all of the highlights.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Preston Preserve

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Mowed Trail Through A Field

 

Star Of The Sea – Dartmouth

 

Star Of The Sea is a well hidden property along the west side of the same named road. There are two trail heads along the road. Only the northern trail head is marked with a small sign on a fence post. There is a larger kiosk just a few feet into the woods with more information. This hike consists of doing both the red blazed and blue blazed loops as well as the red blazed connector trail and a visit out to the old causeway. The tree and grass covered causeway offers views of a marsh and the upper reaches of the Apponagansett River. The loop trails meander around the wooded areas of the property occasionally crossing seasonal streams. Hunting is allowed on portions of this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Star Of The Sea

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View From The Causeway

Paskamansett Woods – Dartmouth

  • Paskamansett Woods – Gidley Woods
  • Chase Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°37’54.64″N, 70°59’29.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 20, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This hike crosses over two properties that abut each other. This first and smaller property is owned by the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust and the second is private property with “respectful public access”. With that being said, it is imperative that you must remain on the blazed trails only that are open to the public and respect the areas that are off limits. The owners of the private property can revoke the public’s right to access this property at anytime. Starting from a small parking area on Chase Road, I followed the red blazed trail pass a small pond, through a fern covered forest of pines, to a historic stone bridge. It crosses the Paskamansett River where the once heavily traveled Old Kings Road crossed. The colonial era road was once the main route between Newport and Plymouth. Just after the bridge the red blazed trail veers off to the right and leads to a pond. At the pond I found an egret feeding as well as several species of wildflowers. Just before the pond the red blazed trail turned left. Retrace your steps briefly and then follow the red blazes (now on your right) to the second green blazed intersection. Here turn left and follow the green blazed trail back to the bridge and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Paskamansett Woods

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Kings Road Bridge

Luther Reservoir – Attleboro

  • Luther Reservoir
  • Todd Drive, Attleboro, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°56’12.21″N, 71°20’0.51″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Fairly easy, some hills.

A nice little gem tucked away just north of Route 123 that features a small reservoir with a dam and waterfall as well as the Seven Mile River. There is a small spot to park at the end of Todd Drive. Be sure not to block the gate or nearby driveways. A trail leads through a good portion of the property south of the reservoir. It can be accessed by staying to the left a short distance down the access road.

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The Reservoir

Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve – Dartmouth

  • Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve
  • Smith Neck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°33’25.50″N, 70°57’18.82″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 12, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.2 miles
  • Fairly easy, some hills, unsteady bridge crossing.

 

These two properties owned by the Trustees Of Reservations and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) together make for a spectacular hike through various landscapes. The properties with town owned property abut each other and are connected by a series of trails. Starting from a parking area along Smith Neck Road you first followed the path that leads through an open field. Be sure to stay on the designated trails particularly in the Cornell Farm area as the farm is actively used. Through the first stretch of the hike you are likely to see farm animals. You will also pass a barn, a greenhouse, and wildflower gardens. The trail turns to the west away from the farm first flanked by stone walls then turns left before turning to the right and entering the woods. The trail, sporadically blazed red, then crosses over a small stream as it traverses through the woods. Soon you will come to a trail intersection in an open field. There is an old wood post here. Stay to the left and follow the trail to a peninsula that offers a nice scenic view of a marsh. After viewing the marsh retrace your steps briefly and look for a narrow path to your left that leads through a pine grove. This path meets with the main red blazed trail once again. Stay to the left here and you soon come to the first boardwalk that crosses the upper reaches of the Little River. The views here are stunning in the summer with the lush green grass of the marsh. After the first boardwalk you enter the DNRT property, pass through another short section of woods, and come to the second boardwalk that has views just as stunning. From this point forward the trails are blazed very well. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will cross another section of boardwalks, this one in the woods, before coming to another of this hikes highlights. The suspended bridge, supported by cables crosses over and through a red maple swamp. There is a platform to sit and rest along the bridge. The bridge itself is rather bouncy and is a little hard to negotiate. Take your time crossing it and follow the posted rules. The red trail, root bound in areas, then continues through the woods before coming to the green trail. Turn left and follow the red trail. It will soon come to the blue trail and then the white trail. Be sure to follow the blazes for the red trail through all of those intersections. Along this stretch, at the time of this hike, there was an abundance of wild roses in bloom. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will pass by and over several stone walls before coming to a clearing with a large cellar hole. This area was once part of a farmstead. There were wildflowers growing in this area as well with a pair of monarch butterflies circling the milkweed. From here the red trail continues west. You will want to follow the blue blazed trail to the east. The trail winds through some of the most portions of the property and is very narrow at points. The blue trail then joins the white trail briefly. Make note where the blue trail turns away from the white trail on the left. You will want to turn there to continue following the blue blazed trail. But first follow the white trail to its end. You will first pass an old red shed before coming to another scenic view of the marsh along Little River. From here retrace your steps back to the blue trail (now on your right). You will follow the blue trail back to the red trail passing more stone walls and a fern covered forest. There were plenty of birds in the area including a woodpecker. Near the end of the trail is an old barn foundation now filled with shrubs and wildflowers. From here turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area crossing the suspended bridge and boardwalks once again before ending the hike back at the farm. Most of this property is open to hunting during the season. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Cornell/Frank Knowles/Little River

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Cornell Farm

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Little River

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Suspended Bridge From The Platform

 

Mount Misery – Voluntown

  • Mount Misery – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’36.73″N, 71°52’3.15″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 9, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Moderate.

This out and back hike, short in mileage, traverses over two hills in the Pachaug State Forest. At the top of the second hill, the 441 foot Mount Misery, is a rather impressive overlook. Starting from a parking area near the entrance of the Rhododendron Sanctuary, first follow the light blue blazes of the Nehantic Trail along Cutoff Road west towards the open gate. After passing the gate you will see a “Smokey the Bear” sign on the left. The blue blazed trail enters the forest here. The trail first meanders through an area of young pines covering the forest floor. Above are the older, towering pines. The trail then begins it climb up the first hill. After cresting the first hill the trail descends into a small valley where a boardwalk crosses a seasonal stream. Shortly after the boardwalks the trail climbs Mount Misery. At the top of the hill to the left is the overlook. This overlook looks east over the forest towards Rhode Island. Along the trail at the top of the hill you will also find a benchmark disk. The Nehantic Trail continues ahead a short distance to another parking area. After enjoying the view retrace your steps back to the parking area. Visiting the Rhododendron Sanctuary also adds an additional half mile to this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Mount Misery

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View From Mount Misery.

Rhododendron Sanctuary – Voluntown

  • Rhododendron Sanctuary – Pachaug State Forest
  • Cutoff Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°35’37.42″N, 71°52’3.42″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy.

If there is one hike in the area that is all about timing it is this one. The short, level, out and back, quarter mile trail leads you through an area of dense rhododendrons. These shrubs bloom in late June to early July and the vast cluster pink flowers are spectacular. The trail is mostly gravel based and boardwalks. Along the trail there are swamps with frogs and turtles. There is also an abundance of ferns covering the forest floor. The trail ceases at Misery Brook. This hike would be a good companion to other nearby hikes including Mount Misery.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Rhododendron Sanctuary

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Blooming Rhododendron