Archive for April, 2020

DeCoppett North – Richmond

  • DeCoppett North – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Old Mountain Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°32’16.02″N, 71°38’29.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 25, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This hike in the northern end of DeCoppett is an out and back hike along an old cart path. Starting from the gated entry at Old Mountain Road, you are immediately greeted by two large boulders on the left. This is just a glimpse of the hike ahead. The cart path is flanked by boulders and stone walls almost all the way to Hillsdale Road. Not very far into the property and on the left is the George Beverly cemetery. The graves here date back to 1870. At the half mile and on the left there is an opening in the stone wall and a faded trail that leads to another cemetery. At the three quarter mile mark along the cart path and on the left again are the remains of a rather large foundation. At the end of the cart path turn left on the paved Hillsdale Road and follow it a few feet for a glimpse of the Beaver River. From here retrace you steps back to Old Mountain Road.

TWRI-DeCopN03

Large Boulder Along The Trail

Manitou Hassannash Preserve – Hopkinton

  • Manitou Hassannash Preserve
  • Lawton Foster Road North, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’11.00″N, 71°45’19.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 19, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Fairly easy, trails “fade” at backside of property.

 

This small 14 acre property tucked away off of Lawton Foster Road offers a short half mile hike and history lesson. There is not a set trail system on the property although it is very defined at the entrance. The property has what is called a “wander zone” as the trails fade. Here is a large cluster of spirit stone gatherings placed by the Native Americans. For such a small property there are hundreds of them. There is also a historic cemetery with the grave of Thomas Brightman who fought in the American Revolution. For more information visit the Hopkinton Historical Association.

TWRI-MHP06

The Wander Zone

DeCoppett South – Richmond

  • DeCoppett South – DeCoppett State Management Area
  • Hillsdale Road, Richmond, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°30’44.97″N, 71°38’40.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 19, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult river crossing.

 

This hike in a lesser known State Management Area offers quite a bit. Beautiful trails, boulders, a pond, cemetery, and a nearly impossible river crossing. With that last part being said, be prepared to backtrack if the river is in fact impossible to cross as conditions change over time and can drastically be affected by recent weather. For this hike, in the southern section of the property, start from a small parking area on the west side of Hillsdale Road where Punchbowl Trail intersects. Cross the road towards the “Road Closed/Dead End” sign and follow the trail as it quickly descends downhill. Along this stretch you will observe several boundary signs before coming to the swiftly flowing Beaver River. This crossing offers a large planed log with a unique split at the far end. If you find this river crossing questionable, this hike may not be for you. Continuing ahead the trail slowly climbs uphill flanked by a stone wall on the left. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right is a cemetery. There are no visible inscriptions on the stones. This is the Phillips-Barber Cemetery with graves dating back to 1772. One of the graves is of that of Benjamin Barber who served in the American Revolution. Back on the trail, you will soon come to an intersection. Turn left here. In a few hundred feet the trail splits. Stay to the right here, the trail on your left is your “emergency exit”. The trail starts to climb uphill gently but for quite a while. After recent rains this section of trail can be quite muddy as it winds pass boulders small and large. At the top of the hill (1.1 miles from the start of the hike) take a sharp left turn. There is a small cairn here to mark the intersection. This trail starts the long,  and at times steep, descent back towards the Beaver River. Along the way you will pass through an impressive area of boulders and a trail on the left. Make note of this trail. If you can’t cross the river this trail is your “emergency exit” and will be the best way to exit as it avoids climbing the hill you just came down. When you reach the river you will notice there is no bridge. There is a row of stones here that can be used to cross when the river is low and calm. (At the time of this hike the river was swollen and rather deep after heavy rains. Crossing here was not an option. Wandering upstream a bit you will find a downed tree that crosses the river. Someone has tied a rope across the river where this tree is. Do not rely on the rope for balance. This is a difficult and dangerous crossing. You are on your own if you attempt this. After crossing follow the river downstream back to the trail.) On the other side of the river the trail becomes an area of grass. Stay to the left here, the trail turns slightly right and climbs gently uphill again passing sections of old fence and a cellar hole. There will be another trail to the right that follows an old split rail fence for a bit and up a small hill. Here is the Fielding-Vallet cemetery with noticeably modern graves as recent as 2010, that being of Hope Edwards, the last “tenant” of this property. After her death, per the wishes of Theakston de Coppett, this property was endowed to the State of Rhode Island to become a nature preserve. After checking out this cemetery, return to the last intersection and turn right. The trail soon comes out to Hillsdale Road. Turn left here and then right almost immediately and back into the woods. Along this stretch there is a short spur trail that leads to a field that is worth checking out. Continuing back on the trail you will come to a wide stream. After the last river crossing this one is a breeze. Still not easy though, as you have to jump from stone to stone. The trail then winds through pines and deciduous trees that have been ravaged by the recent gypsy moth infestations. At the next trail intersection, turn left. The trail is now covered in pine needles as you traverse your way through a pine grove. Ahead you will come to a four way intersection with a large boulder at the corner of a stone wall. You will eventually follow the trail to the left back to the parking area, but first you will want to follow the trail straight ahead of you. The trail leads to a large open field where you may catch a glimpse of hawks or turkey vultures. At the field turn right and follow the tree line for a bit to get a glimpse of Bailey Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the four way intersection where you will turn right to return to the parking area. The trails here are not blazed and there is no official map available for the property. It is highly recommended to use a GPS device here.

TWRI-DES03

The First River Crossing

Map

Trail Map – DeCoppett South

Worden Pond – South Kingstown

  • Worden Pond – Great Swamp Management Area
  • Great Neck Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°28’8.48″N, 71°34’46.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

The Great Swamp Management Area offers a little of everything. This hike will take you to the shores of Worden Pond and over the “heights” of Great Neck. Starting at the parking area, follow the road pass the kiosk. It will pass areas of swamp and small ponds before coming to the first split. Here there is a stone memorial marker for Dr. John Mulleedy. Stay to the left at this split and continue ahead. This road will soon pass under the power lines and gradually climb up hill for a bit pass stone walls and holly trees mixed among the other pines and deciduous. At the next split there is another stone memorial marker, this one for George McCahey. Again stay to the left at the split and continue ahead. You will notice that this road is a little less traveled. Not too far ahead is yet another split. There is no marker at this one and again stay to the left and continue ahead. When the hill finally crests (approximately 1.6 miles from the start of the hike) look for a side spur trail to the left. This is well worth checking out. In just a few foot steps you will come to a ledge that overlooks the land and swamp below. Take a moment here and then retrace your steps to the main trail and turn left. The road now winds downhill passing boulders, ledge, and mountain laurel before bending to the left and to a cove at the pond wedged between Stony Point and Case Point. Geese an ducks are a common site here and may startle you as you approach. The large concrete slab here is all that remains of a seaplane hanger. After checking out the pond for a bit make your way back a few feet and turn left. This spot is particularly muddy after stormy weather. This is a swamp after all!! The trail soon turns to the north and climbs quickly uphill. After two small fields on the right and one on the left you will come to the next split. Turn left here and follow the left side of the field, pass a stone wall at the treeline, and then follow the right side of the next field. You will then turn right onto a well defined road. This road will take you over some of the highest points of the property, known as Great Neck. You will start to come across several fields, particularly on the left. These fields offer clearings that give you sweeping views of the western portions of the property including the wildlife marsh that is featured on the Great Swamp hike. These fields are known to be a haven for American Woodcocks and Northern Flickers among several other birds (thank you URI student for that info!!). At the next intersection turn left and the road starts to descend. There are still great views over the fields on the left. As the road reaches the bottom of the hill you will pass under the power lines once again. Shortly after that is a small pond on the left. At the next intersection stay to the right and continue to follow the power lines until the road veer to the left away from them. Pass another field on the left and you will soon come to the Mulleedy Marker once again. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Worden Pond.

TWRI-Word10

Worden Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tippecansett Pond – Exeter

  • Tippecansett Pond/Wildcat Spring
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°34’26.30″N, 71°47’9.26″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 11, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Part unfinished business, part curiosity. A few years ago I had set out with Auntie Beak to do Tippecansett North from Stepstone Falls to Beach Pond. We ran into a trail closure at the South County Rod and Gun Club. That day we improvised and ending up hiking Escoheag Hill. After waiting a while, I decided to venture out along the Tippecansett from Beach Pond to the State Line and back making a stop at Wildcat Spring. For this hike I started from the parking area on the south side of Ten Rod Road at Beach Pond. After crossing the road I spotted the yellow and blue blazes I was looking for. The trail quickly climbs uphill into a pine grove. This short section will immediately test your stamina. Fear not, after a few ups and downs through this beautiful grove the trails level out for the most part. From the heights of this hill you can catch glimpses of Beach Pond below. Continuing along the trail you will come upon a dirt road. Turn left here and immediately right back into the woods. You are now at the split where the blue blazed Pachuag Trail veers to the left and yellow blazed Tippecansett Trail turns to the right. Follow the yellow blazes for the remainder of this hike (except for Wildcat Spring). The Tippecansett soon comes to an old dirt forest road. Turning left here, the road passes the blue blazed Pachaug Crossover trail, then climbs uphill, to the right, and then left, before coming to the intersection of the Deep Pond Trail. Staying to the left here the trail climbs to the top of a hill with stone walls and an old cemetery. From here the trail starts its descent. Start looking for a white blazed spur trail on the left. This is the trail to Wildcat Spring. The trail is not as well defined as the Tippecansett. Take your time and be sure to look for the next blaze before continuing ahead. At the end of the trail is a cluster of rocks and boulders with a natural bubbling spring. Take a few moments to linger here. Retrace your steps back to the Tippecansett Trail and turn left. The trail continues downhill to an area that is quite wide. To the right are “Posted: No Trespassing” signs. This is the property of the South County Rod & Gun Club and where the Tippecansett once turned to the right to points north such as the fire tower and Stepstone Falls. Continuing ahead an again slightly uphill a bit, you will be on Old Voluntown Road. The trail is still blazed yellow as this was to be the re-route of the trail before the closure of the Canonicus Trail (also crosses property of the Rod & Gun Club). Nonetheless, you will pass a “car wreck” on the left, then the road will turn slightly to the left as you start getting glimpses of Tippecansett Pond through the trees. The pond is entirely on Rod & Gun property as well. So you cannot access its shoreline. For this hike, I pushed forward to the State Line looking for a state line marker. It is a thousand feet plus or minus south of the road, however there is no trail to it. There are a few large boulders here. I sat for a moment, taking a short break before retracing my steps following the yellow blazes back to the parking area. I would suggest doing this hike in the spring or winter after the trees have shed their leaves or you may not be able to get a view of the ponds. Hunting is also allowed here, be sure to where orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Wildcat Spring & Tippecansett Pond.

TWRI-TPWS07

Tippecansett Pond from Old Voluntown Road

Gold Farm & Forest – North Smithfield

  • Gold Farm & Forest
  • North Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  Private Property, Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: April 4, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

This property in North Smithfield is currently private, however, it is likely going to be donated to the Town of North Smithfield in the future. The current owner, Mr. Gold, has allowed access to the property for a brief time. Taking the opportunity to do so, I went out to explore the stunningly spectacular property. The trails here are not blazed, however they are mostly named and there is a sign at just about every intersection (Some very comical). Using GPS wouldn’t hurt, but following the main trails will pretty much assure that you will not get lost. For this hike I did about two and a half of the six miles here making a point to find my way to the far end of the property to the shores of Tarklin Pond. Along the way I stumbled upon many, many highlights. A stone bridge crossing a brook by some interesting stonework, possibly the remains of an old structure. The stone walls here are fascinating showcasing craftsmanship from yesteryear. There is a large field on the property as well. Researching the property and old aerial photography, it appears there may have been an orchard here at one time. Exploring deeper into the property, the trails wind up and down hills through a canopy of oaks, pines, and a sporadic beech tree. The trail that I had decided to use followed a ridge line quite substantially high above a valley below. I had reached the shores of the pond and found a picnic table to sit at. I spent quite a bit of time here taking in the beauty of nature. For the remainder of the hike I zigzagged my way to an railroad bed that would lead me back to the entrance. This railroad bed was part of the line that the Woonasquatucket Bike Path, Stillwater Trail, and the Burriville Bike Path uses. Keep an eye on this property in the future. When it does open to the public, it will be well worth checking out!

TWRI-GFF02

Stone Bridge

TWRI-GFF05

Rest Area