Archive for the ‘ **Featured in RI Local Magazine** ’ Category

Walkabout Trail – Glocester/Burrillville

  • Walkabout Trail – George Washington State Management Area
  • Putnam Pike, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°55’25.00″N, 71°45’29.70″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 20, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 8.2 miles
  • Moderate due to distance, areas of rocky footing.

The Australian Aborigines have a tradition, a rite of passage, where they live in the wilderness. This tradition is known as a Walkabout. In the early summer of 1965, a group of Australian sailors were in Rhode Island while they waited for their ship, the H.M.A.S. Perth, to be commissioned. During this time, about a month, they spent in the woods of the George Washington Management Area cutting the trails of what we know now as the Walkabout Trail. They gave this network of trails its name in honor of the Aborigine tradition. There are three loop trails here, all very well blazed. The hikes of choice here are the 2 mile blue blazed loop, the 6 mile red blazed loop, and the 8 mile orange blazed loop. All three of the loops begin at the Bowdish Reservoir beach in the George Washington Campground. Maps are available at the trailhead. There are also trail markers for the North South Trail that uses sections of the Walkabout. (An entry fee, currently $2.00, is being charged to get onto the property. The beach is at the third left after the entry gate). For this hike I opted to do the orange blazed loop. A good portion of this hike is through areas where there is rocky footing and in some spots it could be a little muddy. Be sure to wear proper footwear for this hike. Trekking poles or a hiking stick wouldn’t hurt either. The first section of the hike is blazed in all three colors and follows the Bowdish Reservoir as it winds through areas with mountain laurel and boulders. After crossing into Burrillville, soon you will approach the second body of water along this hike. This is Wilbur Pond, and it is in this area that the blue blazed loop turns to the right. Continuing to follow the orange blazes the trail then turns into the thickness of the forest. On most days if you stop for a moment to listen, you will here almost absolutely nothing. Along the way the 6 mile red blazed trail will veer off to the right and the orange trail will become slightly narrower and cross several dirt roads. You will pass through an impressive hemlock grove in this part as well. Soon the trail will join up with a red triangle blazed trail. This trail (and others ahead) are part of the Pulaski Park trail system. Be sure to follow the orange blazes and double check at each trail intersection or you may end up heading the wrong direction. As the trail starts to head east you will soon find yourself at Richardson Marsh. The western end of the marsh is a pond and the sweeping views from the earthen dam are quite impressive. This is the 5 mile mark and a good spot for a break and to look around for wildlife. Evidence of beaver activity is noticeable here. The trail then crosses a series of plank bridges (aptly named Richardson Bridge), slightly uphill to a trail intersection and then to the left. The remainder of the hike traverses through the property winding up and down small hills and areas of rocky footing. The red and blue trails eventually rejoin the orange trail. Toward the end there is a couple sections of trail built like old Roman roads where the logs are laid down over muddy areas. Approaching the campground, most times you will then start to smell campfires as the hike concludes.

Trail map can be found at: Walkabout Trail.

The Three Blazes Of The Walkabout And Mountain Laurel.

The Three Blazes Of The Walkabout And Mountain Laurel.

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – August 2015

Hidden Lake – Hopkinton/Voluntown

  • Hidden Lake
  • Camp Yawgoog Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°31’32.87″N, 71°47’21.05″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 4, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some moderate terrain, rocky in areas with some climbing.

 

The beautiful property, just north of Camp Yawgoog, is nearly pristine. The property is privately owned by the Rhode Island Boy Scouts, but the trails are open to the public. There is signage at the parking area that depicts this. For this hike, a loop, I parked at a small parking area with a sign for Hidden Lake.  I decided to eliminate the small road section of the hike first which resulted in me doing this loop in a clockwise direction. This would also save the lake views for the end of the hike. From the parking area I followed Camp Yawgoog Road west about 1/5 of a mile following the yellow blazes along the road. Soon, I found the yellow and blue blazes indicating the turn to the right. This trail is in fact the southern end of the Tippecansett Trail, as well as a portion of the Narragansett Trail. The trail is narrow but very well maintained. It meanders through boardwalks, outcrops, and through root bound areas as it straddles the Connecticut/Rhode Island border, continuously crossing back and forth into each state. I soon approached an area of large outcrops, boulders, and ledges. The trail seems to go downhill and around the towering ledge. The blazes, however, have you going over the outcrop. Following the blazes, I made my way to the top of the outcrop. This area is known as Dinosaur Caves. I then continued along the trail, eventually coming to a split. The trail to the left is the blue blazed Narragansett Trail, heading west into Connecticut towards Green Fall Pond. The trail to the right is yellow and blue blazed. There is a sign here indicating that it is the Tippecansett Trail. I turned right here and climbed down the very rocky trail. The trail soon comes to another large outcrop and the trail blazes split here. The yellow blazes of the Tippecansett Trail head to the left and the blue blazes continue straight. Along with the trail I had been following, the remainder of the blue blazed trail ahead of me is part of the Yawgoog Trail. After continuing on the blue blazed trail for a bit, I came to an intersection. The blue blazed trail turns right here. The trail to the left is the unmarked “Hill 431 Trail”. I turned right. This section of the hike is quite level and easy as it gently traverses downhill over a long stretch. This trail ends at the next intersection, where I turned right onto the white blazed trail that would lead me to Hidden Lake. This area becomes hilly again and the trail eventually splits at another outcrop. The option is yours on which way to go. The two trails join again on the other side of the lake. I choose to turn left going down another steep hill. The trail winds up and downs small hills before coming to a picnic area. Here there is a small rock peninsula that juts out into the lake. After spending a moment taking a few photographs and observing the ducks I continued along the white trail. The trail crosses over a spillway before joining the “other white trail”. Turning left here, I soon found myself back at the car.

Trail map can be found at: Hidden Lake.

Hidden Lake in Hopkinton

Hidden Lake in Hopkinton

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – May 2015

Parker Woodland – Coventry/Foster

  • George B. Parker Woodland
  • Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°43’00.3″N 71°41’52.5″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • Moderate due to distance with difficult terrain in areas.

 

Parker Woodland is an Audubon Society property that straddles the Coventry/Foster line. The property features two loop trails, one in each town, with a connector trail. There is quite a bit of history on this property as well. Some is well known and some is still unsolved. The hike starts from the main parking area by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. I then preceded to follow the orange blazed trail into the property. This trail meanders downhill passing the first of several stone walls, turns right, and then crosses a series of boardwalks. Then I turned left following the blue blazed trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. I soon reached Biscuit Hill Road. You will probably miss it if you are not looking for it. The road is flanked by stone walls on each side. Apparently, during the American Revolution, a supply wagon overturned here. The wagon was carrying biscuits for the troops, hence giving the name to the road. Immediately after Biscuit Hill Road on the left is a large cellar hole of a farm house. It is part of the Vaughn Farm Site. There is a sign here with a brief description of the site. I then continued along the blue blazed trail traversing through a rather rocky area weaving around ledges. This stretch is about a mile long before coming to a massive boulder where the yellow blazed connector trail is. I then followed the yellow trail mostly uphill as it starting rising above a ravine. Below in the ravine is the Pine Swamp Brook. Be careful along this stretch as the trail is very close to the edge at times. The trail then crosses the brook at a wood bridge. You are now in the Foster parcel of Parker Woodland. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This loop is also blazed blue. I turned left and followed the trail passing more stone walls before coming to an old farm site with a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. I followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. I then retraced my steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch passes a ledge that has evidence that quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that I came in on. Here I turned left and retraced my steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When I reached the boulder I turned left back onto the blue blazed trail. The trail first follows the Pine Swamp Brook before bearing to the right. Then it crosses Biscuit Hill Road, follows the Turkey Meadow Brook, passing the yellow trail intersection, and starts to climb and descend a series of small hills before coming to the cairns. No one knows for sure who built these piles of stones or better yet, what the purpose for them are. There are several suggestions. Some believe they are Native American, others suggest pre-Columbus age explorers using them as markers. Regardless, there are about a dozen or more of them along this stretch. There is also a sign here explaining (or more so suggesting) the history of the cairns. I then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. I turned left onto the orange trail and retraced my steps back to the parking area.

More info & trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – June 2015

Westconnaug Meadows – Scituate

  • Westconnaug Meadows
  • George Washington Highway, Scituate, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°46’0.18″N, 71°40’18.46″W
  • First Time Hiked: May 18, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: August 23, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.
 

Just outside of the village of Clayville is Westconnaug Meadows. This property, owned by the Scituate Land Trust, offers a short trail that is just over a mile long. It is a good hike for beginners and children. The trail head is at the parking area for the ball fields on George Washington Highway. The trail enters the woods by the stone wall. There is a sign here at the trailhead. The trail first crosses two small boardwalks before turning right into the thick of the woods and slightly uphill. This first section can tend to be a little muddy in wet conditions. Along the way there are several signs describing the types of trees such as the black oaks, red oaks, white pines and sassafras, to name a few. The trail then comes to a fork. Stay to the left here and follow the trail downhill a bit. The trail soon starts bearing right and slightly uphill. This part of the trail is a loop. You will soon see yellow blazes on trees to your left. This marks the property of the Scituate Reservoir – you are not allowed to cross onto that property. There is small overlook along this stretch that gives you a view of the property to the west. If you look closely you will see a small stream below. The trail slowly takes a series of small right turns passing some boulders left behind from the days of glaciers. Soon the trail returns to the fork. Here, you turn left retracing your steps back to the parking area. The entire trail is marked with brown plastic trail markers and is very easy to navigate. The property is well-preserved and well-maintained by both the Land Trust and the Conservation Commission. I was tremendously surprised by this hike – I may chalk this one up as one of the most peaceful, serene and quiet hikes I’ve enjoyed yet. About midway into the hike, I found myself in complete silence – other than the sounds of the chirping birds and the breeze blowing through the various types of trees. Without any doubt, I would consider this one of Rhode Island’s best kept secrets.

I did not find a trail map on-line for this site.

At Westconnaug Meadows

At Westconnaug Meadows

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – April 2015

Beavertail – Jamestown

  • Beavertail State Park
  • Beavertail Road, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’6.91″N, 71°23’58.26″W
  • First Time Hiked: June 27, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: September 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Easy with some rock scaling.

Beavertail is easily one of the most beautiful locations in Rhode Island if not all of New England. Also, there are centuries of history here at its rocky shores. Beavertail has always been a place I am drawn to, whether it’s to take in the beauty of the ocean or to come and contemplate life, I have always found it peaceful and cleansing. Starting this hike at parking lot 2, I headed north through the grass field to the beginning of the trail. The trail along this part of the hike is a wide grass walking path surrounded by tall shrubs. Just after getting on the trail it immediately splits, I stayed to right, to the left is a viewing area. Along the way there will be several areas that overlook the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. From the viewing areas you will be able to see the Point Judith Lighthouse, the remains of the Whale Rock Lighthouse, and the Narragansett shoreline. I continued in a northerly direction following the main trail, ignoring the trails to the right that lead to parking lot 1. After about ¾ of a mile the trail bears to the right and away from the shore. There are two benches at a viewing area to use as a reference at this turn. The trail that follows the shore becomes very narrow and will lead off of the parks property.  After bearing to the right I followed the trail until it came to an intersection with pavement. Here I turned right onto a narrow path and took the next left. Soon this trail merges with another from the left. I continued straight until I found the next trail on the left. Here I turned left and followed the trail into a field. At the end of this trail I turned left once again and followed the trail straight to parking lot 1. Here I turned left and followed the entrance road of the parking lot, then crossed the main entrance road and followed the exit road in the opposite direction for a few hundred feet.  Soon I beared left off of the asphalt road onto a grass covered access road that runs along a set of power lines. The road led me first to an abandoned World War II era Quonset hut before coming to an open grass field overlooking Rhode Island Sound. Here there are two options, the first is to continue ahead and follow the trail to the rocky shore, the second is to turn right and follow the narrow trail that will lead back toward the lighthouse. If you choose the first, exercise extreme caution while on the rocks as they can be slippery and dangerous. For this hike I first chose option one, scaling the rocks nearly a thousand feet as I made my way northeasterly toward a great natural feature.  One of Beavertails lesser known gems is the Lions Head Gorge, a natural chasm that waves crash into. Be extremely careful here. From this vantage point you will be able to see the top of the Newport Bridge, the Naval War College (tan colored building), the Castle Hill Lighthouse, and Brenton Point.  From here, I retraced my steps very carefully back to the grass field, looked for the small wooden bridge at the beginning of the trail, and then followed it making my way toward the lighthouse. The trail soon ends and the remainder of the walk is across grass fields near the edge of the rocky shore. After passing parking lot 4, I came to more remains of World War II, a bunker and two circular structures that once held a pair of 16 inch guns. Beavertail, along with several other sites along the shore, was once a coastal defense fort in the days of war. Most people don’t realize that one of the last battles in World War II happened 16 miles off the coast of Beavertail. A German U-boat was sunk during the Battle of Point Judith after sinking the S.S. Black Point in May of 1945. Continuing along the shore I finally came to the highlight of the property. The lighthouse that stands at the tip of Beavertail was built in 1856 and is 64 feet tall. It was the third lighthouse built on this site, the first being built in 1749 was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1753. During the American Revolution the British burned the lighthouse while they were retreating from Newport. It was refurnished in 1783. Finally, the lighthouse that stands today was built. Furthermore, the original Beavertail lighthouse was the third built in the American Colonies after the Boston Harbor Light and the Great Point Light on Nantucket were built. Its foundation, with a compass on its floor, is just south of the current lighthouse. There is a very informative plaque near the foundation of an older lighthouse that explains the history of the Beavertail lights. Also at the point, enclosed in a fenced area, is a foghorn. Beware not to stand to close on a foggy day. From here I made my way back to parking lot 2 and concluded the hike. Beavertail is also home to many deer and eastern cottontails. Spotting either at any time of the day is not uncommon.

Trail map can be found at: Beavertail.

Foggy Day At Beavertail

Foggy Day At Beavertail

The Atlantic From Beavertail

The Atlantic From Beavertail

Sunset At Beavertail

Sunset At Beavertail

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – July 2015