Archive for the ‘ **BEST OF TRAILS AND WALKS** ’ Category

Moshassuck River Preserve – Lincoln

  • Moshassuck River Preserve/MacColl YMCA
  • Sherman Avenue, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’52.26″N, 71°26’32.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 24, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate.

The newest of the publicly open Nature Conservancy properties, Moshassuck River Preserve catapults to the top of the list of trails in Rhode Island you must hike. The property offers two blazed loops, a historic cemetery, old stone dam, a ridgeline, boulder field, a vernal pool, several stream crossings, and the Moshassuck River itself. The trails traverse over the property known once Camp Conklin, a former Boy Scout property, and the abutting property of the MacColl YMCA. For this three mile hike start at the parking area at the bend in Sherman Avenue at the Fairlawn Golf Course. There is a sign here indicating the entrance to the hiking trails. First you will pass the open lawn of the golf course on the left before coming to a river crossing. This is your first glance of the Moshassuck. To the right is an old stone dam. The craftsmanship of the stone work is quite impressive. Next your will bear to the left. There will be a large boulder on the hill to the right. Make note of this boulder as you will need it later in the hike to find the access trail to the parking area. After bearing to the left you will notice the first of the blue blazes. Shortly on the left is the Hayden Memorial, placed here when this was a Boy Scout property. From here you will begin to slightly climb uphill. Turn left at the intersection with the yellow blazes and continue to climb uphill. Soon you will reach the top of a ridgeline with a great view of the forest below. Continuing ahead the rail goes downhill quickly first bending to the left and then to the right. You come to the first of several stream crossings here. This crossing is fairly easy as the placement of stones make for a good crossing. Just ahead on the left is a historic cemetery. The grave markers are small and scattered throughout the area. Next you will come to a significant stream crossing. The Nature Conservancy has plans to build stream and river crossings where needed, but for now choose your stones to make the crossing. The trail now winds through a boulder field before entering onto the YMCA property. The narrow trail comes to a dirt road. Continue straight ahead and follow the dirt road. It bends to the right over a culvert, narrows a bit and climbs uphill. Look for the turn to the right onto a narrow (yellow blazed) trail near the top of the hill. After making the turn the trail dips downhill through an area of boulders, crosses a bridge, then climbs uphill once again and comes to a stone wall. Follow the wall keeping it to your right ignoring side trails through the wall. The trail then bends to the right back onto Nature Conservancy property, descends to a muddy stream crossing. It was in this area we came upon a rather fearless deer. It was well aware of our presence but did not seem to fear us. The trail then climbs uphill passing more scattered boulders. Soon we passed the white blazed trail to the right and shortly after that turned left onto the blue blazed trail. The blue loop winds through the northern part of the property. First passing another small area of boulders the trail climbs up and down several small hills, crosses another small stream, and passes what appears to be a manmade well or spring on the left. The trail from here climbs significantly uphill to the highest reaches of the property before making a turn to the right and descending for quite a while. Keep an eye to the left for a vernal pool. Approaching the bottom of the hill you will come to a stone wall and private property to the left. With a slight turn to the right the Moshassuck River is now to your left. The trail then turns first to the right, then to the left, winding around private property, before rejoining the river briefly once again. A small bridge crossing is just ahead and then you will enter another small boulder field with the river on the left once again. This is a great spot to sit and listen to the water trickle by. The trail then climbs slightly uphill as the river winds away from the trail. Look for a large boulder on the left balancing on a significantly smaller stone. This is the boulder you observed when you entered the property. Just after the boulder turn left and follow the access trail pass the old stone dam back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Moshassuck River.

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Trail Along The Moshassuck River

Tri Town Ridgeline West – North Stonington/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve West
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 15, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Moderate, significant hills.

This hike would be the third of three planned routes to cover most of the trails at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike covers the western portion of the property. Starting at the parking area at the bend in Miller Road follow the red trail (known as the Axis Trail) into the property. It first is blazed only red but soon the blue blaze loop comes in from the left and joins the red trail. Continue ahead and the yellow blazed Fenway Trail will join from the left just as the blue blazes veer to the right. Continue ahead here now following the red/yellow blazes. Soon the yellow trail veers to the right. Continue ahead and follow the now only red blazed trail as it cuts through the property. You will soon leave North Stonington and enter into Preston. (For this hike you will not cross into Griswold). Ahead the yellow blazed Fenway Traill will cross the Axis Trail. Still continue ahead and you will start to get a glimpse of some of towering ridges and ledges the property is so known for. The red trail ends at the northern reaches of the blue loop trail. Here turn left and start climbing the incline to Lamberts Peak. This stretch can be a bit challenging due to the steady upward incline. Along the way to the peak you will pass beautiful stone walls and climb stone stairs. At the peak there is a bench to take a short break. The view from here is spectacular. Continuing ahead you now will mostly be declining down the hill passing small boulder fields with some rather impressive larger boulders, ledges, more stone walls, and stream crossings. The trail hugs the western edge of the property for a while before turning east and coming back out to the red blazed Axis Trail. Turn right here and follow it back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Tri Town Ridgeline West.

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Ridges and Ledges

Historic Newport – Newport

  • Historic Newport
  • Americas Cup Avenue, Newport, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°29’21.67″N, 71°19’2.20″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 1, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some hills.

                                                                            

 

This historic walk of Newport is similar to the Newport Wharf walk from the Ken Weber book, however, this walk focuses on sites a little more northerly than the traditional tourist spots in town in a neighborhood known as “The Point”. This walk is also set up to start at the ferry terminal at Americas Cup Avenue (named after the famed yacht racing event that was held in Newport from 1930 to 1983) making this tour of Newport a perfect addition to a ferry ride from Providence. However, as it is a loop, it can be started at any point. From the ferry terminal head north along Americas Cup Avenue towards Long Wharf. This area is busy. For this walk be sure to use crosswalks. After passing the fire station, you are entering “The Point”. First, you will come to Cardines Field. This baseball field dates back to 1893 making it one of the country’s oldest ballparks. Additions were done over the years including the stonework built during the WPA years of the Great Depression. The field was originally referred to as Basins Field. It was later named after Bernado Cardines, the first citizen of Newport to die during World War I. Continuing along Americas Cup Avenue and to the left you will come upon a small railroad depot. During the days of the railroad, this was the end of the line on Aquidnick Island. This is now home to the Newport Dinner Train. Turning right onto Elm Street, you will begin your tour of some of the oldest and lesser known homes of Newport. Many of the houses in this neighborhood have plaques offering info on the house. Most along these streets were built in the 1700’s including the Captain Weaver House and Clark Spooner House, both on Elm Street. At the end of Elm Street turn left onto Cross Street passing the Gideon Wanton House, then right onto Poplar Street, passing the Captain Bramen House. Turn left onto Thames Street and left onto Farewell Street. Almost immediately on your left you will come upon to Almy-Taggart House and the Cozzens House directly across the street. Continuing ahead on Farewell Street you will come to the entrance of the Common Burial Ground. Turn right into the cemetery (onto Clarke Ave). Almost immediately on the right is the grave of Ida Lewis, the light keeper of the Lime Rock Light (later renamed Ida Lewis Light) in Newport Harbor. From here turn left onto Holmes Avenue and then right onto Dyre Avenue. The graves to the left are mostly of enslaved and freed African Americans. This area is known as God’s Little Acre. Ahead as Dyre Avenue bends to the right and to the right is the grave of William Ellery, one of the Rhode Island delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. From here continue ahead exiting the cemetery onto Warner Street, turn right, and then left onto Tilden Street. You will pass the Northam House and Nicholas White House before turning right onto White Street. On the left is Governors Graveyard and to the right is a row of notable houses. At the end of White Street turn right onto Farewell Street, then left through a small park with wrought iron fence. Note the Liberty Tree with its larger sprawling branches. Exiting the park turn left onto Thames Street. This section of Thames (lesser known to the tourists shopping at the other end of the street) offers close to 20 homes of note dating to some of the oldest in Rhode Island. Along this stretch you will come upon the John Stevens Shop and directly across the street his home. Turning left onto Coddington Street you will pass the Hookey House and Sherman House. At the end of Coddington you will see the Great Friends Meeting House ahead of you. The original section of this building was built in 1699 with several additions built over the years. Turning right onto Farewell Street you come upon the White Horse Tavern, built in 1673. It is widely regarded as Americas oldest tavern. Turning right onto Marlborough Street you will pass St Paul’s Church and the Newport Jail House (now an inn). Turn left onto Charles Street to leave “The Point”. At the end of Charles Street, cross Washington Square to enter Eisenhower Park. But first look up the street to catch a glimpse of The Colony House. It was built in the 1730’s and was once the State House. In July of 1776 the Declaration of Independence was read to the public here. Crossing Eisenhower Park you will come to a statue of Commodore Perry who was best known for “opening” Japan to the West. After crossing the park turn left onto Touro Street, first passing the Jane Pickens Theater on the right and the District Court House on the left. Crossing Spring Street and continuing along Touro Street you will pass the Touro Synagogue, the Newport Historical Society and Fire Station 5, before coming to the Hotel Viking where Touro Street turns into the famed Bellevue Avenue. Continuing ahead a couple blocks you will pass the Redwood Library on the left. Turn right onto Mill Street and into Touro Park. Here is one of Newport’s biggest mysteries. It is the Old Stone Mill. It is sometimes referred to as the Newport Tower. It is widely thought to be an old windmill but there is much debate to it’s construction date and furthermore of who built it. Some theories have it being built before Columbus reached America, possibly by the Norse, Templars, or Portuguese to name a few. Leaving the park make your way back to Mill Street and follow it west (downhill) where you will pass a massive London Planetree (at house 103) and the Jane Stuart Cottage (the daughter of Gilbert Stuart). Next turn right onto Division Street passing several older houses and then left onto Church Street. Cross Spring Street once again and the Trinity Church cemetery will be on your left. Continue downhill a bit and left into the park named Queen Ann Square. Then left onto Frank Street back uphill to wrap around the Trinity Church. The massive structure was built in 1726. Locals claim that George Washington had given a speech at this church in 1781. Other notable visitors of the church have been Queen Elizabeth II and Desmond Tutu. If the doors are open take a peek inside. The colonial architecture is astounding. From here continue back up to Spring Street and turn right. Follow Spring Street to Memorial Boulevard. St. Marys Church towers on the opposite of the road. This church built in the mid 1800’s was the location of the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. Cross the boulevard here and turn right heading downhill. You will pass the Red Parrot restaurant on the left before crossing Thames Street. The massive stone building in front of you is the Newport Bay Club. Stay to the right of it and you will pass a sculpture simply called “The Wave”. You are now back on Americas Cup Avenue. Look for Bannisters Wharf on the left. Both Bannisters and Bowens Wharf (connected) offer several restaurants and small shops. From here turn left out of the wharf area back onto Americas Cup Avenue, passing the Newport Harbor Hotel, and back to the ferry terminal to complete the 3 mile historic walk.

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Cozzens House in “The Point”

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Old Stone Mill

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Trinity Church

Fenway Trail – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Fenway Trail – Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 22, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate.

This would be the second of three planned hikes here at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike would follow the yellow interior loop known as the Fenway Trail. Starting from the parking area at the bend of Miller Road, follow the red blazed trail into the preserve. The red trail, known as the Axis Road, cuts the property in two offering an easier connection to the two loops or an easier exit if need be. Soon the blue blazed Wapayu Trail comes in from the left. Continue straight ahead following the now red and blue blazes. At the next intersection the blue trails turns to the right. To the left is the yellow loop where you will exit from. Continue ahead here following now the red and yellow blazes. You will be under a canopy of beech trees along this stretch. You will pass a stone wall before coming to the split where the red stays to the left. Veer right here onto the yellow trail. The trail now follows an old cart path. You will get your first glimpses of ridges here and will notice the forest floor is covered with ferns.  The blue blazes rejoin the yellow trail for the first of three times. For this hike you will follow the yellow blazes. You are now leaving North Stonington and entering Griswold. The trail narrows a bit passing some stonework before dipping down into a small valley, crosses a brook, climbs up the first of the hills, before coming to a series of boardwalks. The trail here is rocky and root bound. Watch your step! The yellow trail splits from the blue again briefly as it weaves through an area of beautiful stone walls. Rejoining the blue trail, you will scramble up and over a hill through an area called Oak Alley. There are some rather large trees along the trail and some information about the Pequots. The yellow trail then turns to the left and zigzags down hill and rejoins the blue trail for the last time at the next right. The trail now follows an earthen dam for a bit before winding uphill passing an area of cairns, possibly of Native American origin, before coming to a sitting area. This is a good spot for a break as you are quite a distance from civilization. It tends to be quiet here. Continuing the trail winds downhill crossing over a brook. There is a spur trail to the left for a view of Lost Pond. The trail splits. Follow the yellow to the left. From here it follows a ridge and weaves through a fern covered forest. In this area you will cross into Preston, the third town of the Tri-Town Preserve. Next you cross a “log bridge” before coming to the intersection of the red trail. From here continue ahead and slightly to the right to continue to follow the yellow blazes. This will be the hardest part of this hike. That hill in front of you… you about to climb! You will spend sometime climbing to the top as the trail bends to the south and follows the ridgeline. I saw quite a few deer along this stretch. Near the top of the hill along the trail there is a boulder with a “spike” in it with the inscription “P & G”. Just after this point you will climb over the crest of the hill and start the long steady descent back into North Stonington. Near the end of the yellow trail it climbs slightly uphill one last time. At the next intersection turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Fenway Trail

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Fenway Trail Following A Ridgeline

Allens Pond West – Dartmouth

  • Allens Pond West
  • Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°30’24.53″N, 71° 1’25.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 1, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Fairly easy trails with rocky beach walk.

                                                                            

Allens Pond is a Masachusetts Audubon property along Buzzards Bay. The property offers 6 to 7 miles of trails. It is a diverse and beautiful property offering several types of features from beaches to fields to woodlands. With that being said, I have decided to break the property into three separate hikes to maximize visiting all of the trails without having an overwhelming hike distance. This hike, the third, covers the western portion of the property. Starting from the Field Station parking area stay to the left and follow the grass mowed trail towards an opening in a stone wall. The trail crosses through another grass field before coming to a dirt road. Turn left here and almost immediately you will be turning right passing an open gate. You are now on the Quansett Trail. You start getting your first glimpses of Allens Pond on the right. Ahead you will cross a stone wall. Here a rather extensive boardwalk begins. The first highlight is a viewing area to the right. The second, just after the bend is a bridge that crosses over a marshy area. The trail, back on land now, traverses through thickets, pass boulders and more stone walls before coming to a stretch of “stepping stones”. At the next intersection there is a distinctive boulder. Stay to the left here and continue following the Quansett Trail. You will cross a small brook before coming to the Tree Top Trail. Again bear to the left and continue on he Quansett Trail. You will come upon more boulders and a “stretch of green” featuring skunk cabbage and fiddleheads in early spring. For this hike, turn right at the next intersection onto the Fresh Pond Trail. (The Quansett Trail continues ahead here into the central part of the property.) Along the trail to the left is a spur to Poison Ivy Rock. There is a nice view of the cove here and a good spot to take a break. I did not see any poison ivy! Continuing along the Fresh Pond Trail you will soon come to the trails namesake on the right. Look for nesting swans and geese here along with several other birds. The trail then turns to the right passing a sitting area before coming to the “stone bridge”. Here you will get another glimpse of Fresh Pond to the right. After crossing the bridge the trail ends in a bit completing a loop. Turn left back onto the Quansett Trail, passing the stepping stones, boardwalks, and to the dirt road. Turn left onto the dirt road and follow it about a tenth of a mile to an area with sweeping views of Allens Pond. Look for osprey atop the pole, herons, and egrets. There will be a information kiosk on the right with a sandy path. Follow this path to the rocky beach. At the beach you will see the Elizabeth Islands in the distance. On a clear day you may be able to make out the Gosnald Tower near the end of Cuttyhunk, the island to the right. Turn right onto the beach and follow it to the large outcrop. The trail then climbs over the outcrop coming back down the other side to another rocky beach. After the zigzagged stone walls to the right the trail turns to the right coming into a grass field. From here follow the grass mowed path to the parking area. Check out the Bayside Restaurant across the street for their blueberry pie!!

 

 

Map can be found at: Allens Pond West

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Stone Walls and Boardwalks

Grills Preserve – Westerly

  • Grills Preserve (Westerly)
  • Bowling Lane, Westerly, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°23’58.98″N, 71°45’32.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 29, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation in areas.

                                                                            

 

There are actually three separate “Grills” properties here on the Hopkinton-Westerly border. There is the Grills Preserve in Westerly, Grills Preserve in Hopkinton (also known as the Route 91 trailhead or Grills/How-Davey), and the Grills Sanctuary also in Hopkinton. This hike, the Grills Preserve in Westerly is the most known of the three. There is a vast network of trails here and for this hike you will see all of the highlights. Starting from the parking area at Bowling Lane, make your way to the informational kiosk. From here follow the orange and blue blazed trail to the right of the kiosk for about two tenths of a mile. this section is quite level. At the trail intersection turn right and you will follow the blue blazes for quite a while. The trail winds down to the shore of the Pawcatuck River after crossing a small bridge. You will then be flanked by water on both sides with the river to the right and an oxbow to the left which was formed from the river relocating over time. You will soon cross over Kedincker Island and another bridge. Ahead on the right you will find a towering cairn. The top of this eight foot tall structure marks the height of the rivers crest during the Spring 2010 flood. The trail to the right just beyond the cairn is the connector to the Grills Sanctuary in Hopkinton via the Polly Coon Bridge. The metal arch was built in 2013. Take a wander across the bridge to view the original bridge abutments and you will also find another flood marker. Make your way back across the bridge and take a right back onto the blue blazed trail. At the next trail intersection turn right continuing to follow the blue blazes. The trail starts to climb steadily uphill. Look for the yellow blazed River Loop Trail on the right. Following the yellow blazes you will slowly descend back down hill passing a stone wall before reaching the intersection with the white blazed trail. Continue ahead following the yellow blazes. You will soon pass another stone wall and a large cairn. The yellow trail continues ahead offering peaks of the river as it winds through areas of scattered mountain laurel. Soon the trail comes to the Pawcatuck River once again before it turns to the left into the western reaches of the Preserve. It then turns to the east and winds to a clearing at the next trail intersection. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. To your left is a hill covered in thickets and dense shrub with an occasional towering tree, to your right is densely wooded. Soon the trail takes an abrupt right into the Larkin Farm Homestead. You will find the remains of a structure here that was built in 1655. From this point continue along the white blazed trail. It starts a long climb uphill, steady at first. When you reach the next trail intersection turn left onto the red blazed trail. There is a sign here for “Big Hill”. The climb becomes steeper now. Near the top of the hill turn right following the red blazed trail and another “Big Hill” sign. As the wood line clears you will soon see outcrops of bedrock. Make note of the narrow trail to the right of the bedrock. But for now take a moment here to relax and take in the sights. From here you getting sweeping views to the south and east. You have two options here. You can retrace your steps down the red blazed trail you came up or you can go down the narrower unmarked trail to the right of the bedrock. If you choose the narrower trail note that it is substantially steeper. Whatever one you choose you will turn left at the bottom of the hill and follow the white blazes once again. Along this stretch you will have Big Hill towering above you to the left and will catch your first glimpses of the railroad tracks to the right. Soon the white blazes turn to the right onto a narrower trail. Continue ahead following an old cart path. You may notice a young pine grove on the right along the way. Look closely and you will also notice that the older trees have been charred. It is obvious there was a fire here once and nature has already begun to reclaim the land. At the end of the cart path turn left onto another cart path. Soon you will come to a trail intersection. Turn right here onto the blue blazed trail and cross over a boardwalk. Just ahead on the left is a cemetery. The most prominent grave here is that of Clarke Hiscox, a soldier of the Revolutionary War. The oldest grave here dates to 1777, that of Stephen Saunders. Returning to blue blazed trail you will find that the trail is covered in pine needles. At the next intersection turn right onto the white blazed trail, then left onto a cart path. You will notice that a stream has cut across the cart path. There is a pedestrian bridge here to make the crossing easier. Soon you will turn right onto the orange blazed trail. The trail winds passing a large vernal pool and then climbs steadily up to Big Rock. Its actually quite impressive as it sits upon the top of the hill dwarfing several other large boulders scattered around. The orange trail approaches the railroad tracks again and sharply turns to the left. Here to the right is the red blazed trail that dead ends at a hunters blind. Continuing along the orange blazed trail start looking for a narrow trail to the left marked only by a single rock. The trail is not marked and is quite narrow. The significance of this short trail is its history. It crosses over what was once Douglas Park. This park, built in 1920, was a field that hosted soccer and baseball games, complete with grandstands for 300 people. The local Bradford baseball team won the league championship in 1940. By the 1960’s the field was no longer in use. Nature took it back over the years as the entire field is now a very distinctive pine grove. At the end of the unmarked trail turn right following first the light blue blazed trail and then veering left onto the orange blazed trail that leads you back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange when hiking here.

 

 

Map can be found at: Grills Preserve (Westerly).

 

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Polly Coon Bridge Crossing The Pawcatuck River

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The View From Big Hill

Sammy C North – Charlestown

  • Sammy C North
  • Shumankanuc Hill Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’33.33″N, 71°41’23.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 20, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.7 miles
  • Moderate, can be difficult in areas.

                                                                            

 

Six days prior I had done the Sammy C South loop. I had realized then that there was more to the Sammy C to be done. Today, with a map in hand that shows all of the trails, I headed out to explore the rest as well as the Secret Trail. Starting from the small parking area (big enough for two cars) along Shumankanuc Hill Road, follow the unmarked trail into the Management Area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange! This trail is quite level and is flanked by small ledges giving you a preview of what lies ahead. You will reach a trail intersection. Make note of the area, you will need to leave the property here as well. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. You are now on the Sammy C Trail. It winds up and down and up and down several times over small hills and along ledges. There are some great stone walls along the way, one with an old gate opening marked by granite posts. Possibly an old farm? After climbing over several more small hills and weaving through their valleys the trail levels out a bit passing closely to Buckeye Brook Road before veering off to the left and slightly downhill. The Sammy C soon ends at the double white blazes. Here turn left onto the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail and follow it a bit crossing a stream first before coming to a trail intersection. At this intersection the yellow blazes turn to the right. Continue straight ahead onto an unmarked trail. This trail is fairly level. Start looking for a white/red double blaze on the left. This is the Secret Trail and it will give you a workout. Also be sure to follow the blazes as this trail turns often and suddenly in many locations as it traverses up and over several rock formations. Following the Secret Trail you will first encounter an upward climb followed by an area of trail that straddles a 20 foot plus ledge. There is no “guardrail” here so do use caution. Another highlight along this stretch is a towering sycamore tree in the valley below. The trail then comes out to a wider cart path. Turn right here, still following the blazes, and start looking for your next turn on the left. The next highlight is a large outcrop, the trail is to the right here slightly downhill. The trail now weaves through groves of mountain laurel and rock formations as it zigzags to the east. There is an area that can be a bit confusing ahead so be sure to follow the blazes. The trail descends in to a valley and quickly climbs up a rock outcrop. At the top the trail turns to the left and does an almost complete circle to the right before climbing up another rock. The blaze is beyond that rock. From here the trail descends into another valley, crosses a stream, and then climbs back up yet another significant hill before ending at the School House Pond Trail. Turning left here, follow the blue blazed trail as it descends down hill to the next trail intersection. Turn left, back onto the Sammy C Trail, blazed white, and follow it back to the trail you entered the Management Area on. Along the way you will come across a boardwalk, more mountain laurel, and another large outcrop. Note the indentation in the outcrop. It looks as if a hiker left their footprint here along their journey. When you reach the next intersection. Turn right. This will lead you back to the parking area.

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C North.

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The Sammy C Following an Outcrop Along A Stone Wall

Sammy C South – Charlestown

                                                                            

 

I went into this hike blindly assuming that the Sammy C Trail only ran from the Vin Gormley to the School House Pond Trail. I would learn later that was not true. I did have a plan and a route in mind (which I kept true to for this hike). This hikes starts along Kings Factory Road where the Vin Gormley skirts back into the woods just north of Quail Lane. There is street parking here for a handful of cars. There is also a “Mile 5.5” sign here. Following the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail, you will descend slightly until you get to Cool Spring Road. Here take a right and then an immediate left following the yellow blazes. Just after the road look for the sign for the Sammy C Trail on the right. The Sammy C Trail is used quite a bit by cyclists as it offers quite a bit of ups and downs. Following the white blazes the trail winds through glacial outcrops, thick ground covering, and a stream crossing before coming to the “NEMBA” bridge, a mountain bike obstacle. You will not miss it!! (NEMBA = New England Mountain Bike Association). The trail then zigzags up and over small ledges for a bit passing stone walls, a couple more boardwalks, and large areas of outcrops, before finally coming to the School House Pond Trail. This is where I thought the trail ended… but! The sign here indicated that the Sammy C continues north. With no information in hand I kept to the plan and decided the rest of the Sammy C would be done later after some research. So here I turned left and followed the blue blazed School House Pond Trail (toward the Vin Gormley) as it steadily, but gently climbed up hill for quite a distance. There is a nice grove of mountain laurel along this stretch. Soon I came to an intersection. To the right was the Secret Trail. Well that wasn’t on my map either. The next hike could prove to be interesting! Looking around I noticed the blue blazes uphill to the left. The trail now followed the edge of a ledge above a valley below to the right. The trail soon turns downhill, through the valley and back up the other side. The trail then continues passing a stone wall and crossing a stream before ending at the Vin Gormley Trail. Taking a left here, follow the yellow blazes. This trail will lead you back to the parking area, first passing through some interesting rock formations, and the by Cool Spring Road once again before ending at Kings Factory Road. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange!

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C South.

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NEMBA Bridge

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Along The Sammy C Trail

Watson Farm – Jamestown

  • Watson Farm
  • North Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°31’11.33″N, 71°22’47.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 5, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

A Historic New England property, Watson Farm is a active working farm on the western slope of Conanicut Island with sweeping views of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Because it is a working farm it is only open to the public on certain days. There is also an entrance fee payable at the barn where the self guided walking tour begins. A trail map in a booklet will be provided to you. Also, it is advisable to check the tides before embarking to the shore. The barn itself offers quite a bit of New England history, different tools, saddles, and other equipment is visible. The animals were not in the barn at the time of this visit (other than a lumbering gray cat). Farm animals are likely to be in different areas of the farm at different times. To begin the walk, from the barn follow the dirt road between the barn and historic 1796 farmhouse uphill and then stay to the right. You will pass another farm structure to the right before cresting the hill at a farm gate. Take a peek behind you at the top of the hill. You will catch a glimpse of the towers of the Newport Bridge. Continuing ahead the road turns slightly to the left and the windmill becomes visible. The windmill here at Watson Farm is used to supply water throughout the farm by pumping it from below. Carrying on, the road turns slightly downhill giving you the first glimpses of the West Passage. There are sporadic single standing trees throughout the fields. These trees serve as shade for the farm animals. Soon the road splits. There is a sign here indicating to turn left for the short loop. For this hike continue ahead and downhill to the next split where there is another sign indicating the “Path to the Bay”. Turn left here, you will see a large outcrop of pudding-stone to your right before coming to a four way intersection by a stone wall. Turn right here, keeping the wall to your left for a bit. The pathway continues downhill. You will now have views of the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Island Lighthouse to your right across the fields. At the end of the path there is a gate. If it is closed, be sure to close it behind you after passing through it. The path now narrows as it turns to the left for a few feet, then right and downhill through some trees before reaching the shore. It is best to check the tides before reaching this point. High tide will leave only a narrow strand of beach. It is best to follow the shoreline at low tide as the beach is wider and offers a variety of stones and shells to view. When you reach the shore turn to the left and follow the shore away from the bridge behind you. The land ahead of you is Dutch Island. You will notice a portion of wall that was once of a long abandoned building. Dutch Island served the military for several years before being abandoned entirely. The island is now a State Management Area only accessible by boat. To the left of Dutch Island is Fort Getty, now a summer campground. Following the shore it soon bends to the left. Start looking for the “Buoy Post” where you want to turn left to get back onto the farm trails. Be sure to close the gate once again and continue ahead. From here you will continue straight gently uphill passing first a trail to the left before winding through an old orchard. Next you will pass through a gate, then a stone wall while traversing through large open fields. After the stone wall, the trail turns to the left and climbs gently uphill again before coming to the a trail intersection. Here continue straight ahead passing another stone wall. You will pass a pollinator garden on the right before coming to an old wagon parked behind the old farmhouse. The road then turns slightly to the right back to the barn. For more information click here.

A Lone Tree In A Field

Quandoc Conservation Area – Killingly

  • Quandoc Conservation Area
  • Brickhouse Road, Killingly, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°48’6.86″N,71°48’8.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 7, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Moderate.

 

Right over the Rhode Island border is a great kept secret. Though the hike here is just about a mile and a half, the property offers near solitude as it winds through woods, fields, by bogs, and over a stream. Starting from the trail head just left of the kiosk you will find yourself climbing slightly uphill following the yellow blazes. The trail, narrow at points, traverses under a canopy of tall pines as it weaves pass stone walls. The trail then crosses a babbling brook at a stepping stone array. Just after the brook turn right at the trail intersection. This will begin the loop portion of the hike. The trail here descends downhill a bit and will come to a cart path. Turn left here at the cart path and follow it downhill. A trail comes in from the right, ignore it and continue ahead following the yellow blazes. Note another small babbling brook on the left. Soon you will pass some large boulders then the trail comes to an open field. Continue straight ahead through the grassy area keeping the stone wall to your right. You are likely to see many insects and butterflies here as there is milkweed in the field. Beyond the wall you will catch glimpse of a bog. The trail continues slightly uphill, turns slightly to the right, then passes through a pine grove. After the pines the trail splits, stay to the left here. In a few feet the trail splits again. Stay to the left here and note the yellow blazes on the rocks in the ground. From here the trail climbs steeply for a bit. Your stamina and lung capacity will be tested on this hill. This is the northern most part of the trail system. From here the trail gently winds up and down small hills passing under a canopy of pine and beech trees while passing more stone walls. You will notice some white quartz stones along the trail just before your turn to the right. After turning right and crossing the brook once again you will retrace your steps back to the parking area following the yellow blazes.

 

Map can be found at: Quandoc.

TWRI-Quan07

Late Spring Ferns at Quandoc