Archive for April, 2017

King Phillips Chair – Bristol

  • King Phillips Chair/Miery Swamp
  • Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: April 29, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: Less than 1 mile on two separate walks.
  • Fairly easy.

 

A notable site more so for its history than its hiking, King Phillips Chair is well worth the visit if you are in the area. There are some restrictions though as the “chair” and nearby spring in Miery Swamp are not publicly open unless you receive permission. Both the “chair” and the spring are on property owned by Brown University on Mount Hope. This area in the 1600’s was part of the Wampanoag/Pokanoket tribes lands known as Sowams. The “chair”, at the base of the largest outcrop of white granite in Rhode Island served as the seat of Metacom (known by the English colonists as King Phillip). It is said that Metacom held meetings here and the top of the rock served as a lookout. From 1675 to 1678 a war between the Native Americans and English colonists was fought in this area. The King Phillips War was by far the bloodiest war in American History (per population) as nearly 10 percent of the population were killed on both sides. Some of the fiercest fighting occurred in the nearby towns. King Phillip met his end in Miery Swamp a mere half mile southwest of King Phillips Chair on August 12, 1676. A monument, placed by the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1877, now stands by the spring on the site of his death. Nearby Mount Hope Farm abuts the woods and to gain access to King Phillips Chair and Miery Swamp you must contact the office at 401-254-1745 for permits and parking passes. Groups of more than 10 will require insurance (per Brown University) to visit the site.

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The Base of the Large Outcrop Served as King Phillips Chair

Whiting Pond – North Attleborough

 

Known more for its trout fishing, Whiting Pond offers a very short quarter mile trail that runs along the east shore of the pond. The trail is very primitive and narrow but does offer a couple views of the pond you wouldn’t see otherwise. If you have a fishing pole, stay a while. Across the pond is another public access.

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Whiting Pond

Martin – North Attleborough

  • Martin Conservation Area
  • Wild Acres Road, North Attleborough, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°57’35.39″N, 71°19’32.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 27, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

At the end of a long gravel road along the west side of Lower Falls Pond is a quiet parcel owned by the North Attleborough Conservation Commission. Parking is restricted to a small area just before two boulders that block the remainder of the road. To the right is a few radio towers and to the left is the pond. Passing the boulders will lead you to the old parking area. There are two spots to enter the woods and the trail system here. The first option is to turn to the right through the old parking area and to a trail head at the southwest corner of the lot. The other is to continue ahead through a set of gates to the end of the road and slightly to the left. Both trails will lead you into some impressive pine groves and a brook that cuts through the property. The trails on the property are not blazed and can be narrow in places. It is advised to use a GPS device here if you start to explore deeper into the woods. There are several short spur trails that lead to the pond as well. Also, after heavy rains the swamp areas of the property turn into small ponds making some of the trails impassable.

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Stream Crossing At Martin

Moonstone Beach – South Kingstown

  • Moonstone Beach
  • Moonstone Beach Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’18.72″N, 71°34’20.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Distance: Less than a mile April to September, up to 4 miles rest of year.
  • Easy Beach Walk.

 

Moonstone Beach for years was known for its reputation as being a nude beach. Today, no longer a nude beach, it is one of Rhode Islands most stunning beaches with its scattered stones along the sand. The beach surrounded and part of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge offers nearly 2 miles of strand between Roy Carpenters Beach and Green Hill Beach. The quiet beach is not easy to visit due to many seasonal restrictions. From May 1 to September 15 a parking pass is required to park along Moonstone Beach Road. Also in most of the spring and summer large sections of the beach are cordoned off to protect the piping plovers. The beach is stunningly beautiful in the winter months if you can handle the sometimes brutal winter winds. The best time to visit is very early spring, the autumn and winter. The beach is also noted for its birds as three salt ponds abut the beach including Trustom Pond and Cards Pond. Killdeers, Sandpipers, Herons, and Egrets are also known to frequent Moonstone. Be sure to bring a camera!!

 

More information about the birds of Moonstone Beach can be found here.

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Waves Crashing On Moonstone Beach

Narragansett Trail West/Lantern Hill – North Stonington

  • Narragansett Trail West – Lantern Hill
  • Wintechog Hill Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°28’0.82″N, 71°56’44.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Difficult to Strenuous With Some Climbing.

 

The Narragansett Trail runs from Lantern Hill in North Stonington, Connecticut to Ashville Pond in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Unfortunately, the trail is closed in some sections and has become non-continuous. At the moment there are three separate sections that can be hiked. The western most portion climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex. Starting from a makeshift parking area (with no signage) along Wintechog Hill Road the light blue blazed trail immediately begins to climb the hill following an old cartpath. After a couple hundred feet the trail levels off for a bit before coming to a red blazed Lantern Hill Loop Trail. Be sure to be aware of the blue blazes of the Narragansett Trail when you approach trail intersections. You will want to follow them and not the red blazes for this hike. The Narragansett Trail then starts to steadily climb the hill once again. The inclines are quite impressive at times. The trail first overlooks the Pequot Reservation to the north and west offering views of the casino and Lantern Hill Pond below. The trail then climbs over the summit to a stunning overlook with miles and miles of sights to the east and south. Clear days will offer a view of the Atlantic Ocean to the south. It is also interesting to see the hawks and vultures soaring through the sky sometimes below you. Use extreme caution along the edges here as a fall would surely be fatal. Also here on the first day of Spring the Westerly Morris Men climb the hill for their annual sunrise dance at the summit. The hill got its name from the War of 1812 as the hill was used as a lookout. When the British were spotted approaching, barrels of tar were ignited to warn nearby residents. After spending some time at the summit continue following the blue blazed trail as it winds, at times steeply, down the hill. There is one section, that we dubbed the Lemon Squeeze, that will challenge your footing, balance, and upper body strength. The trail then traverses the south side of the hill passing through groves of mountain laurel before coming out to the North Stonington Transfer Station. Again, be sure to pay attention to blazes and turns at intersections. After the Dog Pound the trail turns to the left through the transfer station and out to the road. At this point you have hiked 1.4 miles of the Narragansett Trail. The trail continues ahead, however it is closed (from Wintechog Hill Road to Route 2) at the moment because of logging. For this hike turn left and follow Wintechog Hill Road back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Narragansett Trail West

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The View At The Top Of Lantern Hill.

Easton Pond – Newport

 

Known mostly by locals, is a short stone dust path atop a portion of the levees of Easton Pond. The path follows most of the western edge and part of the northern edge of the pond. There are two entrances to the walking path. One is on Old Beach Road, but parking is not really an option here. The second entrance is at a parking lot for the Newport Little League field on Ellery Road. From the walking path looking south you can see over Memorial Boulevard and First Beach to the Atlantic Ocean. Keep in mind that only the stone dust path is open to the public. The remainder of the levees are off limits. You could add additional mileage to this walk by following Old Beach Road south to Memorial Boulevard and then continuing along the Cliff Walk.

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Walking Path Along Easton Pond

~~This walk is dedicated to a friend who recently experienced a tragic loss. You are in all of our thoughts my friend. Hang in there.~~

Middletown Northern Loop – Middletown

  • Middletown Northern Loop – Sakonnet Greenway
  • Mitchells Lane, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°32’5.34″N, 71°15’55.26″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 3, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Part of the Sakonnet Greenway Trails, the Middletown Northern Loop abuts Albro Woods, which is also the best access to the loop. The green blazed trail winds around the edges of several open fields. The loop trail is mostly grass paths, much like the Southern Loop, and is flanked in several areas by thick brush. Several birds can be spotted here including the red winged blackbird. Most of the trail is well blazed, however small section that runs right along East main Road is not. The well mowed paths are easy enough to follow though.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Middletown Northern Loop

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Along the Middletown Northern Loop