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

Town Pond – Portsmouth

 

This out and back trail is well maintained and follows the west shore of Town Pond on one side and Founders Brook beyond the shrubs and thickets on the other side. The trail is accessible from an unmarked parking area on Anthony Road and the trail starts from the left side of the lot. The shrubbery along the trail serves as a haven for birds of all sorts. There are also utility poles here with nests for ospreys here. Hawks, owls, a great blue heron, ducks, and swans were all observed here at the time of this walk. The trail ends at the railroad tracks and across the way is the Bertha Russel Preserve which is essentially a tidal marsh protected for wildlife. This area is also significantly historical as this is approximately where Anne Hutchinson founded the colony which became Rhode Island in 1638. Founders Brook Park is nearby and has monuments commemorating the event.

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From the end of the trail looking over the Russel Preserve

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Caroline E. Judson – Smithfield

  • Caroline E. Judson Trust Property
  • Williams Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’34.26″N, 71°33’24.73″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 15, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

At the end of Williams Road is a small parking area for a couple of cars. The trail head is just to the right of the Land Trust sign. The trail winds downhill flanked by stone walls and old barbed wire fencing. Along this strip of wooded land on each side are large fields. At the end of the trail you can catch a glimpse of Stillwater Reservoir through the woods. The trail to the right leads into one of the large fields before dead ending near the property line with Hebert Health Center. The field is a good spot to watch birds circling above. The trail to the left leads further into the woods slowly winding down to a wooden bridge that crosses a beautiful cascading stream. The stream at the time of this hike was particularly high in velocity due to a recent snow melt. The trail then continues, following above the stream, into the Connors Farm Conservation Area at the blue blazed trail. A loop through Connors Farm, itself a beautiful hike, would add distance to the hike. From here retrace your steps back to the parking area at the end of Williams Road. A deer was spotted here at the property as well as chipmunks and a pair of red tailed hawks.

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Cascading Stream From the Footbridge.

Quequechan River – Fall River

  • Quequechan River Rail Trail
  • Wordell Street, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°41’47.97″N, 71° 8’45.86″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 21, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Easy.

 

The Quequechan River runs from South Watuppa Pond to the Taunton River and once had a series of eight waterfalls. Quequechan is a Wampanoag word meaning “falling water” in which the city received its name. Most of the river over the years has been built over or channeled for the massive mills that sprouted up along the river. Today a the river is the centerpiece of a former railroad bed that has been converted to a walking path/bike path. Starting from a parking area at the end of Wordell Street follow the paved path along the soccer field at Britland Park. Here you will find a informational kiosk showing the trails. Staying to the right I followed the main stretch of the trail down to Quequechan Street before turning around and retracing my steps. The trail passes over a series of wooden bridges and the river serves as a foreground of the historic mills. Once back to the kiosk, I opted to follow the paved path along between the soccer field and the river to its (currently) dead end and back. The map indicates that this may become a loop in the future. Once back to the kiosk again, I retraced my steps back to the parking area.

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The Fall River Mills serve as the backdrop of this walking path.

Third Beach – Middletown

  • Third Beach
  • Third Beach Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’11.84″N, 71°14’48.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

Third Beach in Middletown is a haven for beach goers in the summer months. With that said, the “off-season” is the best time to walk this stretch of beach. The beach faces the Sakonnet River just north of Sachuest Point. The beach is often visited by several species of birds as the beach is adjacent to a National Wildlife Preserve and the nearby Norman Bird Sanctuary. A fee to park will be charged during the beach season.

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Third Beach on a Winter Day.

Franklin Farm – Cumberland

  • Historic Metcalf Franklin Farm
  • Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°57’59.58″N, 71°23’38.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 3, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Easy with some small hills.

 

In the rolling hills of Northeast Rhode Island is Franklin Farm. The 65 acre town owned property was once a dairy farm now used for community gardening and historic preservation. The farm consists of an old 19th century farm house (currently under restoration) and a turn of the century dairy barn. On each side of Abbott Run Valley Road are large fields with farm trails that are open to the public. The fields are separated from the winding road by century old New England stone walls. Parking is available at the dairy barn. For this walk, first cross the street to get to the East Field. The entrance to the east field is marked with a sign at an opening in the stone wall. Use caution while crossing as there is a significant blind spot for approaching traffic. Once entering the East Field turn to the left and you will see a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail follows the perimeter of the field and there are 10 numbered posts all the way. From the front of the field looking to the east offers a great wide open view of the sky. Sunrises can be spectacular here. When you are on the backside of the field you can catch glimpses of Rawson Pond down the bottom of the hill. After completing the loop cross back over to the West Field. Going up the driveway and right around the dairy barn back towards the old chain link fence you will find a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail is again marked by numbered posts that leads you partly along the perimeter and partly across the farm fields. There is a small pond along the way that is a small haven for birds offering cover of shrubs and a small tree. I came across an owl here who seemed quite interested in my presence before flying off. The marked farm trail ends at the small gardens and chicken coup at the backside of the farm house. From here turn left to the parking area. The farm is active in the spring and summer months with gardeners and children at programs. The farm trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Do keep in mind though to wear proper shoes as the trail is all grass. The frosty farm trail quickly turned in morning dew on this walk.

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Perimeter Path in the East Field

Gungywamp – Groton

  • Gungywamp
  • Groton, CT
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: November 26, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy guided hike, some hills.

 

This 250 acre, State of Connecticut owned and protected property, is the home of some of the most mysterious structures in New England. Speculations have for years been made about the origins of the structures. Some are believed to be colonial, some Native American, or very early European such as the Irish. The property is lined with ridges that were forged by the glaciers and there are countless large stones and boulders as well as occasional seasonal waterfalls. The ridges, with nearby swamps and ponds, make for a natural limited access to Gungywamp. This land is believed to be sacred land of the Native Americans and was clear like a prairie. Buffalo, caribou, and cougars were known to be in these parts long before European settlement. There are several sites of interest including a few small chambers with all that is remaining are the side walls and large triangular stones. These chambers have direct sight lines to one another. In one such chamber a Dutch colonial pipe was found. There are also the remains of a colonial house with a fireplace. Old property records indicate that Hannah Adams once owned the property. Coins from the 1740’s have been found on this site. There are the remains of an animal pen nearby built on a steep slope possibly used to pen sheep or goats. The really interesting structures are grouped together. A chamber, complete intact with roof, has construction that is similar to early Irish construction. This sparks the question of whether St. Brendan (484-577 A.D.) had made it to North America. Inscriptions of a Chi-rho, an ancient Christianity symbol, have been found on the property also leading to speculation of very early European exploration of the area. There is a calendar chamber nearby. The largest of the chambers, it has a small opening on the back side that allows the western sun into the chamber. On the equinoxes the beam of light illuminates a 6 x 6 foot side chamber. The use or meaning of the side chamber is unknown. Upon a nearby hill is a double row of circular stones. It is similar in ways to the way Stonehenge is set up. There are several speculations of its use. Maybe a fire pit where the Native Americans held council. Possibly a calendar of some sort. Grinding stones have been speculated. If you look at it closely, you can make out the shape of a turtle. A turtle was used quite predominantly as a symbol by local tribes such as the Pequots, Mohegans, and Nehantics. In 1647, John Winthrop, an English settler, reported a fortification near Pequot, therefore predating the colonists. A little further into the woods there is a row of standing stones. They are mostly triangular in shape with the points to the sky. The alignment is due North South. One of the stones has a pictograph of what looks like a raven. Just beyond that site are the cursing stones. It is two large boulders with several smaller stones placed upon them. It is possible that the stones were set as a curse against ones neighbor. The Native Americans were known to place stones in a pile before battle then removing the stone after battle. The stones of the soldiers who did not returned remained. It is also possible that the pile serves as a cairn for directional purposes as it lines up perfectly with a nearby ridge. Further into the woods is another fairly large foundation remnant. There are also smaller foundations in the area indicating that there was possibly a village here. The property is very intriguing and holds a very historical place among the woods of New England, mostly because of its mysterious beginnings and of its age. Therefore the property is not open to the general public unless led on a guided hike. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center gives tours occasionally or by appointment.

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Circle of Stones

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Calendar Chamber (Note the light on the floor of the chamber)

Richardson Preserve – Attleboro

  • Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve
  • Wilmarth Street, Attleboro, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°55’21.41″N, 71°14’7.69″W
  • First Time Hiked: October 27, 2017
  • Last Time Hiked: June 22, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

At the small parking area off of Wilmarth Road,  there is an old eighteenth century home upon a small hill with a large outcrop of ledge to the front left of the house. A new and welcoming sign for the preserve is just behind the house. Trails here are newly marked offering the blue blazed and main loop trail named the Charlie Wyman Trail. There is also a red blazed Vernal Pool spur trail. The trails pass through fields, forests, and swamps here The fields, being utilized as meadows to attract various insects and butterflies are fairly large and surrounded by a canvass of tall trees. There is a large assortment of trees on the property including maples, pines, oaks, holly, and sassafras to name a few. Two new boardwalks have been built here crossing part of Chartley Brook and a red maple swamp. This trail circles back toward the house back to area that has gardens that offer peony, milkweed, day lilies, and Siberian iris. The entire trail system is just about a mile.

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Fall Field at Richardson Preserve

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