Archive for February, 2020

Ninigret Beach – Charlestown

  • Ninigret Beach (East Beach)
  • East Beach Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°20’37.88″N, 71°41’22.71″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 15, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

The beach between Blue Shutters Beach and the Charlestown Breachway is part of East Beach State Park and the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. It is a long three mile strand of beach that is not overwhelmed with humans. In the summer a fee must be paid the access the beach and parking is very limited. In the winter the beach is desolate, especially at sunrise. This day was a windless but brutally cold February morning. Hike time temperature was a sweltering 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I came here armed with cameras to catch the sunrise, multiple layers of clothes, but mostly to find solitude to clear the mind. Success! I arrived at the small parking area before sunrise and made my way to the beach. To the east I could see the beacon of the Point Judith Light. To the south I could see the lights of Block Island twinkling. Along the horizon between them, the glows of pink, magenta, fuchsia, and orange setting the sky up for a spectacular sunrise. I turned to the east and followed the empty beach for a few miles. At 6:42 AM, just as scheduled, the piercing light of the sun broke the horizon. The beach suddenly a glow of of the colors in the sky. In the distance I could make out my destination, a dark shadow strip of the breachway stretching into the ocean. As the sun rose into the sky the beach came to life with sea birds. The waves broke gently and peacefully.  I spent only a few minutes at the breachway before retracing my steps back to the parking area. This walk is exactly what was needed. I did not run into a single soul! Also as a side-note, I was still cold when I ordered my breakfast sandwich at Sophie’s (in Exeter) a little while later.

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Winter Sunrise

Patricia Sprague Forest – Charlestown

  • Patricia Sprague Forest Preserve
  • Railroad Avenue, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’4.63″N, 71°39’21.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

For a relatively short, but stunningly beautiful hike just off of Route 112 in Charlestown, the Patricia Sprague Forest offers quite a bit. Starting from a small parking area along Railroad Avenue, follow the blue blazed, pine needle covered trail into the property first passing a stone wall and glacial boulders before coming to a split. For this hike stay to the right following the blue blazes northeasterly along the properties southern border. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right, is an old fire pit that overlooks the valley below. Continuing along the blue blazed trail you will catch glimpses of the Pawcatuck River down below on the right. The trail then descends rapidly into a valley, then climbs back uphill, over a ridge-line and finally into an open field. At the field stay to the right following the fields perimeter on a beaten path that traverses the northern reaches of the property. You will pass through a very young pine grove along this stretch as well. The trail leaves the field for the last time as it bears right into the tall pines and along the properties western border. Ahead you will pass through an old orchard before coming to the entrance trail. Stay to the right here and retrace your steps by the stone wall and back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Patricia Sprague Forest.

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Stone Walls and Tall Trees

Deadman’s Temperance – Fall River

  • Deadman’s Temperance
  • Indian Town Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’31.81″N, 71° 3’54.38″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 26, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some slight elevation.

This hike in the Watuppa Reservation can be a bit tricky if you are not paying attention to your surroundings at trail intersections, otherwise, it is a fairly easy and rather peaceful stroll along trails less used. Starting from the parking area along Indian Town Road near the intersection of Yellow Hill Road you will want to look for the trail head with the sign for the “Brightman Trail to Watuppa Reservation” (Due note there are two other trail heads here that you will ignore). Once you are on the narrow trail you will find yourself winding under a canopy of tall oaks and pines. This trail ends at the much wider Indian Turn Trail and there is a “KP9” trail marker here. Be sure to be aware of your surroundings here as you will be looking for this turn on the way back. Turn right and follow the much wider trail for about two tenths of a mile to a very wide open four way intersection (KP8). Along the way look for the gnomes! Turn right here and almost immediately veer to the right (KP16) onto the Hidden Trail. You will follow this trail to the next intersection (KP21). The original plan here was to continue straight along the aptly named Hidden Trail but that is almost impossible as the trail narrows substantially and all but vanishes. Unfortunately, that leads to a little bit of road walking, but it is a quiet road nonetheless. So here at KP21 turn right onto the Temperance Trail and follow it easterly until the next intersection (KP22). Veer left here onto Abrams Path passing a gate just before Yellow Hill Road. Turn left here and follow the paved road to the next gate (G109) on the left. This is Deadman’s Trail. It is wide and winds westerly and downhill passing towering pines and beech trees that hold their dead sun glistened leaves well into winter. There are a few boulders scattered among the forest floor. Another trail comes in from the right (KP19), continue ahead and downhill to the next intersection (KP18). Stay to the left here and almost immediately you will want to turn left again (KP17). You are now back on the narrower Temperance Trail. It climbs uphill slightly before coming to the Hidden Trail once again (KP21). From here you will turn right retracing your steps back to the parking area, turning left at KP16, left at KP8, and finally left at KP9.

Map can be found at: Deadman’s Temperance.

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Along Deadman’s Trail

Copicut Reservoir – Fall River

 

This is a very short walk on a peninsula that is just under a half mile in total. This location, used mostly by fishermen, offers a short trail that reaches to the end of the peninsula. The views of the reservoir are spectacular and makes it well worth the stop if in the area. Be on the look out for several types of birds here that visit the reservoir.

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A Thawing Copicut Reservoir