Posts Tagged ‘ Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park ’

Lincoln Greenway – Lincoln

  • Lincoln Greenway
  • Great Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’11.48″N, 71°25’14.09″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 14, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some steep hills.

 

The Lincoln Greenway connects three town properties, Chase Farm, Lonsdale Park, and Gateway Park. The blazing system of red squares (to Gateway Park), yellow triangles (to Chase Farm), and green circles (to Lonsdale Park) is simple to follow. For this hike, led for the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, we started at Gateway Park by the historic Arnold House. After a short loop within Gateway Park on the paved paths we made our way to the northwestern corner of the park to the yellow blazed trail that leads up a steep hill. The trail soon comes to a residential neighborhood where we crossed a street. From here we continued along the trail on the opposite side of the road. The Greenway now enters into Lonsdale Park which is a wooded area behind the Lonsdale School. Continuing to follow the yellow blazes we soon came out the open fields of Chase Farm. We turned to the left and follow the perimeter of the farm following a grass mowed path. It soon came to a pond which we made our way around before turning to the left and then right following the perimeter of a large field once again. Soon we were back at the trail that leads back into Lonsdale Park. From here we retraced our steps back to Gateway Park this time following the red blazes.

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Along The Lincoln Greenway

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Dark Swamp – Glocester

  • Dark Swamp
  • Willie Woodhead Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’3.72″N, 71°45’48.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, otherwise fairly easy with some elevation.

 

In November of 1923, two young explorers set out from Providence to find the swamp that for years was reputed to be cursed. The stories date back to when the colonists were settling the area. It is believed that they were warned by the Natives of this area and its curse to keep the colonists from this land. It is also said that several of the colonists who did not heed the warning were never seen again. These two young explorers never did reach their destination that day. They were Clifford Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, (at the time unknown) horror story authors. In September of 2017, a group of hikers led by members of the Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Space set out to Dark Swamp ignoring the heeded warnings. They were successful! Dark Swamp was found and they all made it out to tell the story. It is suggested however, that if you do head out for this hike, be sure to use a GPS device as most of the trails are not marked and there are plenty of side trails and spurs. Starting at a cul-de-sac at the end of Willie Woodhead Road we made our way along the trail in a southerly direction as it climbed slightly uphill. Ahead this trail meets the North South Trail. Bear to the right and follow the blue blazed trail. There are trails to both the right and left that are mostly grass covered. Ignore them and continue straight. At the half mile mark there is a trail on the right with a cellar hole. You will return on this trail. Continue straight passing over a large outcrop of a rock believe to be a threshing rock. Shortly after this rock on the left there is another narrow and grassy trail. Take it, the trail splits, stay to the left and follow the narrow trail. It leads to old ice pond. From here retrace your steps back to the blue blazed North South Trail and continue south. Starting looking for a trail on the right (about 9/10 of a mile into the hike). Take the right, then almost immediately left. Continue straight, passing yet another spur trail on the right, the trail vanishes into a field of ferns. Ahead and below is the first glimpse of the Dark Swamp with its near black water covered with a twisted and interlaced brush over it.  This area offers many other sights of swamps. Turn around passing the spur trail (now on your left) and instead of turning right onto the trail you came in on, turn left. This trail, unmarked, winds to the west and then north passing some stone walls before ending. Take note of your surroundings here. At the intersection you will exit to the right when you return. For now turn left. This trail will lead you into the depths of Dark Swamp. Shortly you will see another swamp on the right. Just beyond this swamp you will start to see piles of rocks. These are cairns, similar to the ones in Parker Woodland. Locals believe they may be from the Native Americans. Continuing ahead you will come to another trail intersection. Stay to left here and soon you will catch a glimpse of the swamp once again on the left. At the time of this hike we saw frogs and a heron here. The trail then climbs up and over a rather impressive hill before winding through a hemlock grove. The trail all but ends as you approach the large body of water created by beavers. Here is one of the largest swamps in the area complete with beaver dam and beaver hut. This is great spot for a break and to take in nature. From here retrace your steps pass the swamps and cairns. Continue straight at the “noted” intersection. It soon passes an old building and cellar hole on the left. At the end of this trail turn left. You are now back on the blue blazed North South Trail. The trail back to the car will be on your left. Hunting is allowed here, blaze orange is required during hunting season. And again, use GPS here.

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The Swamp at the End of The Trail. (Note the Beaver Hut)

Chepachet Village – Glocester

 

Chepachet is a quintessential New England village that has transcended from a crossroads of yesteryear to a bustling living history museum. Settled in the early 1700’s, Chepachet Village became the center of the newly founded town of Glocester. Chepachet would become a mill village in the 1800’s using the river as a source of power. Chepachet also became a major crossroad west of Providence as several highways and pikes intersected here. The village also has some interesting history. This is where the Dorr Rebellion originated from and also where a traveling show was attacked resulting in the death of the elephant known as “Betty”. We started this walk from town hall and headed north along the westerly side of Putnam Pike. When we reached the fire station we turned left and followed an old dirt lane. The lane turns to a path and narrows substantially at its end as it overlooks the Chepachet River at Mill Pond and the remains of a dam. Retracing our steps back out to the bustling village when then turned left (northerly), and crossed the bridge over the river. Near the end of the bridge is a plaque commemorating the incident on May 25, 1826 in which Betty the elephant was killed. Just beyond here is the first of several shops, an antique shop called the Old Post Office. After a brief visit, we continued up the street and crossed at the crosswalk. We then proceeded north and turned right onto Old Mill Lane. This quiet road offers a few homes from yesteryear including the 1790 tenement house. The road turns to the right and becomes Elbow Street. This short road was once home to a large cotton and wool mill. Along the edge of the road you can catch a glimpse of some of the remaining foundations. It is all that is left of the mill that burnt down in 1897. The road then turn to the right once again and becomes Tannery Road. There are several very old and well preserved homes along this stretch. The last building on the right is the home of the Glocester Heritage Society. It was built in 1814 as the Job Armstrong Store. In the rear, the URI Master Gardeners maintain the walking path and flower gardens. Turning left onto Putnam Pike, we first stopped by the Brown and Hopkins Country Store. Built in 1799 by Timothy Wilmarth, it has been the country store since 1809. The store has a great variety of “penny” candies and candles to name just a few. Up next was the Town Trader, said to be built in the 1690’s and is the oldest building in the village. The architecture of this building is amazing, let alone the selection of antique gadgets including doorknobs and lanterns. Crossing the river once again, we next came upon the Old Stone Mill. This impressive stone building, built in 1814, was one of the first mills built in Chepachet. The next stop, the reportedly haunted Stage Coach Tavern. A working restaurant (Tavern on Main), this building, built in 1800, once served as a hotel and tavern for passerby’s. It was also William Dorr’s headquarters during the Dorr Rebellion of 1842. Today you can sit with the ghost and have a steak or seafood dinner. From here return to town hall, but first take a peek behind the building. There are two more buildings of interest. The one room Evans School House and the home of the Glocester Light Infantry.

 

Map can be found at: Chepachet Village.

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An Old Home in Chepachet Village.

Tablerock Hill – Lincoln

  • Tablerock Hill – Lincoln Woods State Park
  • Stump Hill Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’42.13″N, 71°25’36.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate due to terrain, navigation can be difficult.

 

A few quick notes about this hike. Lincoln Woods is notorious for having many unmarked trails that one could easily get lost on. It is highly recommendable that you use a GPS device if you choose to embark on this hike. Although I tried to keep it as easy as possible (as far as navigation) I think improvements can be made. Some of this hike is road walking and I do believe there are other trails that can eliminate that. I fully intend on returning to this area of Lincoln Woods to explore further and finalize a route.

 

This hike starts at the dam at the eastern end of Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods. There is a parking area suitable for about 15 cars. At the north end of the parking lot is the Jodi Lussier Memorial. Pass the rock and veer left to the right of large outcrop onto a trail that leads into a small valley.  Stay to the left and follow the wider trail that approaches the pond. To the right just before the pond is a trail to the right that climbs uphill. At the top of the hill you will encounter your first experience of multiple trails to choose from. For this hike, stay to the left to parallel the pond. The trail soon dips close to the shore and is marked with red squares. The trail winds, with the pond to left and a hill with boulders on right, up and over small hills following the red square blazes. Along the way there are several spots to view pond. Ahead the trail splits. The trail to the right comes out to an old woods road that you will be on later. For now stay close to the pond. The key is to continue ahead taking lefts to continue to parallel the pond. By doing so you will turn onto a peninsula onto a trail that leads out to Sunset Point. The trail turns to the right, still following the shore, around the point and up to a rock outcrop that overlooks the pond. From here continue to follow the trails along the ponds edge and it will come back to the old woods road. Turn left here and follow the road downhill, again continuing to follow the shore. The aptly named Boulderwood Cove is now on your left. To be sure you are where you should be, you should see a single boulder emerging from the water at this point. Ahead is another multiple trail intersection. Turn left and the trail almost immediately splits. Stay to the left again following the path by the shore once again. Another split is ahead, again stay to the left. Continuing straight ahead there are a couple spur trails to the right you will ignore. Soon you will pass a large balancing boulder on the right. Continue straight ahead following the most defined trail until you reach a flat area surrounding you with large rocks. Here the trail splits again. This time stay slightly to the right (straight) and up the small hill. This trail and another merge at the top of the hill. Stay to left towards the massive boulders. Continuing ahead the trail you are on merges with another. Continue ahead to road passing through picnic site 59. Across the road is picnic site 27. To the left of the site is the trail that scrambles uphill. Cross the road and follow this trail uphill to another massive ledge. Stay to the left of the large rock and follow the base of it to the other side. Continuing the trail narrows and continues straight ahead following faded green dots. Soon the trail abruptly turns left down a rock outcrop into a small valley and crosses a stream. The trail narrows even further, then takes sharp right at a large boulder. Follow the face of the boulder, the trail turns slightly left and then continues straight to Quinsicket Road. Turn right follow road passing picnic sites 29 through 32 on the right. On the left you will notice signs indicating that the trails are used by horse back riders. Follow the paved road up and over a significant hill. As the road starts to climb up again it bends to the left. There is a parking area on the right. Turn right here through the parking area toward row of concrete blocks and rocks that block the old woods road. Grass covered at first, and blazed blue, this trail heads east. To the right is the top of Tablerock Hill. The trail then starts to descend and becomes quite rocky. At the next split the blue blazes stay to left. Here you want to stay to the right and go downhill. The next intersection, at the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow dirt road that leads to picnic sites 2 and 3. Continuing pass the picnic sites you will soon turn right onto the road that wraps around a large field on the left. On the right is the entrance of picnic site 4. At the back of the site is a large ledge with an inscription in it about Bobby Donato, a local, who served in the United States Marines. Retracing you steps back to the road. Continue to the entrance of picnic site 5. Here at the sites entrance is a large outcrop known as Pulpit Rock. It is said that Metacom, a Wampanoag leader, would address his warriors here. Just beyond the picnic site are two trails. For this hike take the one to the left. It passes a small quarry on the left and a small pond on the right before it starts climbing uphill with a stone wall on the left. The trails soon come together, stay to the left here on the more defined trail. This trail continues to climb uphill and soon bends to the right. Ignore the trail to the left and continue another 30 feet or so to the next trail intersection. It is here you will turn left and follow the trail passing a boulder on your right. Continue straight, staying to the left trail downhill as it traverses over an outcrop and then soon a wooden bridge over a stream. To your left are picnic sites 10 and 11 and Goat Rock. For this hike continue straight. The trail here is a wide dirt path that also passes picnic sites 13 and 14 again on your left. Continue straight to the next intersection then veer to left. This trail leads you to the backside of some more picnic sites. Stay on the trail as it bends to the right up and over one last hill. At the top of the hill you will see the road ahead. This trail ends at the road intersection, cross the road and continue straight. You are now on Stump Hill Road and your car is ahead on the right.

 

Trail map can be found at: Tablerock Hill.

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Boulderwood Cove

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Inscription In Donato Rock at Lincoln Woods.

Barney Pond – Lincoln

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

 

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

 

Trail Map can be found at: Barney Pond

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Swans on Barney Pond

Jenks Park – Central Falls

 

The largest park in the city of Central Falls offers a little less than a half mile of walking paths and a playground. The park adjacent to City Hall also has significant history and a tower that offers views of the surrounding area. The property is where Native Americans, up upon Dexter’s Ledge, first spotted a company of colonist soldiers during the King Phillips War in 1676. An ensuing battle took place nearby on the banks of the Blackstone River. During the battle a group of soldiers were taken prisoner and killed at Nine Men’s Misery in nearby Cumberland. The land that the park currently sits on was donated in 1890 and in 1904 Cogswell Tower was built upon Dexter’s Ledge. The tower is 70 feet tall and is the highest point in Central Falls. From the tower you see west to the Lincoln Highlands and south to Downtown Providence. Inside the tower is a winding wooden stairway that brings you to a platform just under the clock. Below the tower is one of Rhode Islands best kept secrets. In a vaulted chamber there is a grotto that sits under the tower. The walls are the sides of Dexter’s Ledge and the brick ceiling serves as the base of the tower. Tours are offered occasionally by the City of Central Falls.

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Cogswell Tower at Jenks Park

Shining Rock – Northbridge

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

 

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

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The View From Atop Shining Rock