Archive for the ‘ ~1 to 2 Miles~ ’ Category

Barney Pond – Lincoln

  • Barney Pond
  • Table Rock Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’8.96″N, 71°25’34.68″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 1, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Moderate to difficult due to navigation, otherwise fairly easy.

 

Lincoln Woods State Park is a sprawling property with miles and miles of unmarked trails. Most people that come here to walk do the loop trail around Olney Pond. But for the more adventurous there are places to see that most wouldn’t. Barney Pond, to most, is accessible along Smithfield Avenue in Lincoln. There is a small bridge and parking area here by the dam that creates the pond. On the opposite side is a series of trails that most people are not aware of. For this hike we explored that lesser known shore and other highlights of Lincoln Woods. Starting from a parking area at the baseball fields, we made our way down the road back towards the entrance and slightly downhill turning right into picnic site 5. Here at the sites entrance is a large outcrop known as Pulpit Rock. It is said that Metacom, a Wampanoag leader, would address his warriors here. Just beyond the picnic site are two trails. For this hike take the one to the left. It passes a small quarry on the left and a small pond on the right before it starts climbing uphill with a stone wall on the left. The trails soon come together, stay to the left here on the more defined trail. This trail continues to climb uphill and soon bends to the right. Ignore the trail to the left and continue another 30 feet or so to the next trail intersection. It is here you will turn left and follow the trail passing a boulder on your right. Continue straight, staying to the left trail downhill as it traverses over an outcrop and then soon a wooden bridge over a stream. After the bridge, turn left at the row of wood bollards into picnic sites 10 and 11. To the left is a massive outcrop known as Goat Rock, apparently named so because a goat once got stuck in one of its crevices. From here follow the road and stay to the left passing site 9 on the left and a large cluster of boulders on the right. Soon you will pass a gate and a wood guard rail to the right. Cross over Table Rock Road towards a large outcrop. Stay to the right of it and follow the road to picnic site 66 -80. After the road bends to the right start looking for picnic site 79 which is setback off the road. Cross through the picnic site to a trail at the back end of it. From this point forward navigation becomes difficult in areas. If you are not overly adventurous and/or do not have a good sense of direction you may reconsider this portion of the hike. GPS is also highly recommendable from this point forward. From the back of the picnic site follow the less define leaf covered trail slightly downhill away from the site. After a short distance turn left onto a trail that has been partially washed out. This trail looks like an old cartpath from yesteryear. It is obvious that people still use the trail but it is also obvious that it is not many people. The trail at times become very narrow, almost to the point of non-existence. Along this stretch we encountered deer. After going downhill for a bit the trail finally widens as you catch a glimpse of Threadmill Brook down in a valley to the right. Continuing straight and downhill, you will soon pass a trail on the left. Keep going straight passing a formation of stones in the trail that are obviously manmade. Ahead you will catch your first glimpse of Barney Pond. The main trail bends to the right here following the shore to a small bridge that crosses Threadmill Brook. Beyond the bridge is private property. For this hike, as the trail approaches the pond you want to turn to the left following the shore. You will soon find a narrow trail that parallels the west shore of the pond. The trail heads in a generally northerly direction and can be quite overgrown in areas, but it offers a few areas that overlook the pond. We were greeted by ducks and swans at one of these spots. Barney Pond is a manmade pond created when the Moshassuck River was dammed at Smithfield Avenue. The pond is about 25 acres and used primarily for fishing and kayaking. After passing a makeshift log “road” and a stone wall the trail widens as it enters a canopy of the woods. There is a homemade dock at a peninsula. From here the trail continues north into an area of Japanese Knotweed. In the height of summer the trail can vanish, quite literally. If the trail has been used recently you should be able to make your way through the broken knotweed. If not, your other choices are to retrace your steps or follow a faint trail from the homemade dock in a westerly/southwesterly direction up the hill where you should find a cartpath. That cartpath will lead you back to the trail that runs along Threadmill Brook. Either way, be sure to use GPS. For this hike, continue following the trail through the knotweed. It soon comes to the northern reaches of the pond, now slightly off into the distance to the right. This trail soon comes to Table Rock Road. If you have come this far, congratulations, well done! Turn right and follow the road to the shack. Here you will see the iconic Lincoln Woods covered bridge. Turn left onto the road to the baseball fields. Soon you will come to where your vehicle is parked. Again, this hike is only suggested for those who are comfortable being in the woods, adventurous and/or have a good sense of direction.

 

Trail Map can be found at: Barney Pond

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Swans on Barney Pond

Portsmouth Loop Trail – Portsmouth

  • Portsmouth Loop Trail – Sakonnet Greenway
  • Linden Lane, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°33’17.74″N, 71°15’3.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 22, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Easy.

 

The Portsmouth Loop Trail is part of the Sakonnet Greenway trail network. The loop itself follows the perimeter of a large field and a brushy area just off of Sandy Point Avenue. There is no parking allowed on this road however so you must park at the northern most end of the Greenway on Linden Lane and then follow the Greenway to the loop. There are a couple of posts that indicate where the trail is but is helpful to bring a copy of the map. Along the loop trail were several types of birds and several rabbits. The field is wide open and the area can tend to be a bit windy, which is nice on a hot summer day.

 

Trail map can be found at: Portsmouth Loop Trail.

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Field Along The Portsmouth Loop Trail.

Shining Rock – Northbridge

  • Shining Rock – Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area
  • School Street, Northbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 9’0.54″N, 71°38’27.29″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Moderate uphill hike.

 

A fellow hiker, and birder, led this hike for a small group up to Shining Rock in the Richard T. Larkin Conservation Area. The trail-head is just north of the house across the street from the parking area. Parking is available directly across the street from 373 School Street. The trail immediately starts to climb upward along a rocky dirt path under a canopy of beech, pines, oaks, and maples. Along this path on the left is an area that has been quarried. The drill holes are quite evident along the obvious man-made cuts. The trail splits ahead and we stayed to the right. The trail is slightly washed out in areas and could be challenging during rain events. At the next intersection we turned right passing a small cave on the left before coming to another split. Here we stayed to the right descending quickly down a few rocks before climbing back up to the trails end at the Shining Rock overlook. From here you have a sweeping view of the Blackstone River Valley below. The local teens have used the rock as an artistic canvass with some rather respectable graffiti, mostly being that of environmental concerns like “Save the Bees”. Be sure not to get too close to the edge as the rock towers over the pine forest below. From here we followed a trail westerly along the ridge of the rock downhill until we reached the trail we came in on. From here we retraced our steps back to the car. Along this hike we heard the songs of an indigo bunting, as well as oven birds, an osprey, a red belly woodpecker. The birds we saw up close were robins, a tanager. An eagle and its eaglets were observed in the distance from the overlook.

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The View From Atop Shining Rock

Seekonk River – Providence

  • Seekonk River – Blackstone Valley Bike Path
  • Pitman Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’36.39″N, 71°23’0.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 13, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The newest section of the Blackstone River Bike Path is just about ready to be opened. With that being said, I ventured out to take a sneak peak at it. The short section of bike path, six tenths of a mile one way, runs from Pitman Street opposite Witherby Park southerly to Gano Street by the end of the exit ramp from Interstate 195. This section of the bike path takes bicyclists off of the very busy Gano and Pitman Streets and puts them along the shore of the Seekonk River. Starting adjacent to the Salvation Army property the bike path winds very gently up and over a couple small hills passing behind the Wingate Residences and the Eastside Marketplace at Cold Spring Point. Soon you will get your first glimpse of the 1908 Crook Point Bascule Bridge. This structure was in operation and used by trains until the mid 1970’s. The bridge was then put into its famous upright position and abandoned. Some consider it an eyesore, others think of it as historic. Nonetheless, it is one of Providences most recognizable sights. The bike path then passes along Gano Park and its ball fields. There is an informational board along this stretch that explains the history of the park and nearby area. After being forced from his original settlement across the river, this is (actually nearby at Slate Rock) is where Roger Williams, the founder of Providence and Rhode Island, first step foot onto the shore in 1636. You can actually see the monument from this point by looking over the soccer field towards Gano Street. Looking out towards the river you can see the Washington Bridge that carries Interstate 195 over the Seekonk River. Across the river is the East Providence waterfront. You will also see two small islands, aptly named Twin Islands. Locals call them Cupcake Island and Pancake Island which they resemble respectively. The river is usually busy with canoes, kayaks, boats, and the Brown University crew teams. The bike path then passes the Gano Street boat ramp before turning to the right and ending at Gano Street. From here you can return back to Pitman Street for the 1.2 mile walk or you can follow the sharrows to India Point Park. With the grand opening soon, this bike path serves as a vital link to connect the waterfront of Providence from Blackstone Park to India Point and ultimately into downtown at Waterplace Park.

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Crook Point Bascule Bridge from the Bike Path.

Ryan Park West – North Kingstown

 

The west side of Ryan Park in North Kingstown offers fields of tall grass a buzz with chirping crickets, leaping grasshoppers, and fluttering butterflies. The trees, shrubs, and surrounding woods also attract several species of birds. From the parking area on Lafayette Road, there is a dirt road of just under a mile that winds gently up and down over small hills to Oak Hill Road. Into the surrounding woods are spur trails that can be explored. If you care to make your way to the other side of Ryan Park follow the trail (orange blaze on tree) from the parking area onto the former railroad bed and head east.

 

Trail map can be found at: Ryan Park West

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Late Spring Afternoon in Ryan Park

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

Lantern Hill – North Stonington

  • 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.

 

Lantern Hill is a must visit if you are in the southeastern corner of Connecticut. The hike described here climbs over Lantern Hill just southeast of the Foxwoods Casino complex and follows the Narragansett Trail. 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 about a half mile back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Lantern Hill

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The View At The Top Of Lantern Hill.