Posts Tagged ‘ Bird Watching ’

Booth Pond – North Smithfield/Woonsocket

  • Booth Pond Conservation Area
  • Dowling Village Boulevard, North Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°58’44.15″N, 71°30’21.44″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 10, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, some significant elevation.

A hidden gem behind a bustling shopping area preserved from further development. Starting by a kiosk at the Dowling Village Apartments follow the access trail through a power line easement and into the woods. For this hike we turned left at the first intersection onto the Booth Pond Trail and followed it to the southern shore of the pond. Here you will find evidence of beaver activity and their handy work of tree trimming. Continuing along the trail we then turned left at the next major intersection onto the Border Trail. This trail straddles the town line with Woonsocket. The trail bears to the right when it reaches the pond again. From here we continued pass the “Seasonal Passage”. This area is quite unique as the trail dips substantially below the water level of the pond. A wall of logs and branches of a beaver dam holds the pond back. There is a rocky outcrop just after the dip that looks over the northern end of the pond. This is a good spot to take in the views. From here we continued ahead to a multiple trail intersection. Here we turned to the right onto the Pitch Pine Trail. This trail looks as if was an old cart path as it climbs steadily uphill most of its length. We ignored the trails to the left and then on the right on the way up the hill until we found the trail that turns to the right and goes through the Pitch Pine Grove. At the end of that trail we then turned right onto the Border Trail for a bit and then left onto the Vista Trail back into North Smithfield. We soon passed a trail to the right that we would later exit on. soon we turned left onto a trail to the left that continued to climb uphill a bit until it reached the power lines. We turned right here and followed the trail to the overlook. From the overlook we followed the Vista Trail north and then turned left (trail we passed earlier) and scaled downhill passing some impressive ledges. We then turned left onto the Booth Pond Trail and retraced our steps back to the entrance. There are no blazed trails here (yet) however maps are available at the kiosk. There are many more trails here to explore if you are looking to look around a little further.

Map can be found at: Booth Pond

TWRI-BP07

Visitor to Booth Pond

Sunnyacres Preserve – Westerly

Sunnyacres Preserve is one of Westerly’s lesser known properties. The walk follows the perimeter of the property along the tree line. The large open field is a haven for bees, butterflies, and other insects. The birds can be heard rustling in the shrubs and trees along the grass mowed path. Near the parking area at the top of the hill is an impressive cellar hole.

TWRI-SCT2105

Stone Walls and Trees

Depot Square Park – Hopkinton

What a nice surprise of a walk this was. Though short in length, this trail starting by the fire station winds into the woods passing towering old trees and stone retaining walls left behind from the days of the railroad. Near the end of the trail to the left is a sweeping, beautiful vista of the Wood River from a newly built boardwalk. There is a secondary trail that leads to Mechanic Street. In all you can get a stroll of about three quarters of a mile here.

TWRI-SCT2103

The Wood River

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

TWRI-APW2103

Stone Walls and Boardwalks

Dike Creek Reserve – Dartmouth

  • Dike Creek Reserve
  • Bakerville Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°34’30.85″N, 70°58’38.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 10, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Fairly easy, some roots here and there.

Looking for a beautiful easy hike, fairly flat, no hills, fields, woods, streams, and water views? Dike Creek Reserve is the place to check out. Starting from the parking area, make your way into the property by following a red blaze access trail that runs along a working farm. The trail then moves into a section of woodlands for a bit. A newly built boardwalk carries you over the wet areas. The trail then comes back to another field, continue ahead going slightly downhill for the length of the field. The trail now enters the woods once again. In a bit you will come to a trail intersection. For this hike, turn left onto the blue blazed trail and follow it to its end. Along the way there is another set of boardwalks and a bridge that crosses a small stream. Turn right onto the white blazed trail and will soon be at a long boardwalk. Near the end of the boardwalk the red trail intersects. Here will eventually want to go left. But first, continue ahead a bit, passing a trail on the right, to a dead end that has a sweeping view of Dike Creek. Retracing your steps take a peek down the red trail now on your left. There is another bridge here that crosses a well worn stream. Retracing your steps once again back to the end of the white blazed trail, turn right onto the red blazed trail. It soon passes through a stone wall winding ever so slightly uphill to another stone wall and a vineyard. From here turn right and follow the yellow blazes back into the woods. The trail makes a loop through the northern part of the property with another spot to view Dikes Creek. After doing the loop retrace your steps back to the red blazed trail. Here continue straight ahead following the perimeter of the vineyard and the end of the red trail. Turn left onto the white blazed trail as it zig zags back to the intersection with the blue trail. Turn right onto the blue trail, then right onto the red and follow it back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Dike Creek

TWRI-DCD-10

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).

 

TWRI-GP10

Polly Coon Bridge Crossing The Pawcatuck River

TWRI-GP20

The View From Big Hill

Alewife Brook Preserve – South Kingstown

  • Alewife Brook Preserve
  • Tuckertown Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°25’42.77″N, 71°33’47.93″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 6, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

One of the newest trail systems in Rhode Island offers quite a bit for those interested in dendrology. Starting from the parking area follow the blue blazed trail from the kiosk, for this hike clockwise. The trail starts winding through a forest of pines, oaks, and maples with scattered mountain laurels and holly shrubs. As you approach the yellow blazed trail the terrain noticeably changes as you enter an area with thick low shrubs with towering trees. Turn left onto the yellow blazed trail and follow it as it winds close to Alewife Brook. You can catch a brief glimpse of it here and there to the left. There is also a tall holly and a grove of rhododendron along the yellow trail. At the end of the trail turn left onto the blue loop once again. The trail gently climbs back up hill to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Alewife Brook.

TWRI-Ale07

Trail through Alewife Brook Preserve

Latham Brook Preserve – Smithfield

  • Latham Brook Preserve
  • Burlingame Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°55’29.44″N, 71°33’33.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 30, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Bold prediction! When the Smithfield Land Trust is done developing this property it will stand out as one of their best properties. With that said, the natural beauty of this property is spectacular. The trail system is still primitive however, but easy enough to follow. Starting from the cul-de-sac at the end of Burlingame Road (the section off of Latham Farm Road) you will follow a narrow unmarked trail into the property, first through a tunnel of knotweed and grapevines, then you will pass trees with berries before coming to a trail split. Stay to the right here and follow the more inviting trail as it starts its long steady climb uphill. (The trail to the left dead ends at a small pond). Soon you will have a stone wall to your right. Just ahead is another trail intersection. The trail to your left is where you will complete your loop. Continue straight ahead still slightly climbing uphill. The trail splits once again. Stay to your left here following the wider and more defined trail. The climb uphill becomes more significant as the trail climbs to the crest of the hill. You will be under a canopy of beech, maple, and a sporadic pine tree at the top of the hill. Continuing ahead a trail comes in from the right before the trail splits yet again. Continue straight ahead here ignoring the trail to the right. Start looking for a narrow trail to the left marked with a three stone cairn. This will be just before the main trail dead ends at a residential neighborhood. Turning left onto the much narrower and primitive trail, you will decline slightly before coming to a stone wall. Crossing this wall is a little tricky. The trail continues to descend then turns left in a southerly direction before crossing another stonewall. From here the trail winds gently up and down along the slope of a hill. To the right the hill turns to steep ledges where you have a sweeping view of the valley below. At the next trail intersection is a cluster of boulders and a fire pit. Continue straight ahead as the trail starts to descend once again. Ahead is a ledge to the left as the trail turns sharply to the right and downhill. It then veers left and wanders through a floor of ferns before arcing to the left. The trail soon ends at an intersection. Turn right here onto the trail you came in on and retrace your steps back to the cul-de-sac.

TWRI-Latham10

Ledge Along The Trail

Wildcat Rock – Tiverton

  • Wildcat Rock
  • Lafayette Road, Tiverton, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’43.25″N, 71°11’19.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 21, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

In the northern reaches of Weetamoo Woods are trails that are less traveled. The trails here are not blazed but for this hike are easy enough to follow. Starting from Weetamoo Woods Lafayette Road parking area continue to follow Lafayette Road pass the gate. The road is paved to the top of the hill. Nature and time has reclaimed some of the pavement though. At the top of the hill is an open field to the left and to the right is the Yellow Trail to Weetamoo Woods. From here continue straight ahead. The road narrows a bit and becomes gravel and grass from this point forward. To your right you will pass the Indian Trail and soon a split to the left. Ignore both and continue straight ahead. At the six tenths of a mile mark the trail splits again. Stay to the right to start heading south. There will be a trail coming in from the left. Ignore that trail and continue ahead. The trail then bends significantly to the right. Ahead is another split. Stay to the left here and the trail soon comes to an outcrop. There is another trail split here. It is your choice as both form a small loop to the top of Wildcat Rock. At the top of the rock you will find yourself high above the forest floor though there is not much of a view as the trees still tower above the rock. The height of the rock is still quite impressive nonetheless. The view would be better when the leaves are off the trees, but the challenge to find the rock (trails not shown on map) is worth the short hike in itself. From the rock, retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Wildcat Rock.

TWRI-WC05

Highest Point at Wildcat Rock.

 

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