Posts Tagged ‘ Chasm ’

Cliff Walk – Newport

  • Cliff Walk
  • Memorial Boulevard, Newport, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’6.60″N,  71°17’51.21″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 11, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • First section is easy and mostly paved, last part moderate to difficult.

 

The Cliff Walk is easily one of the most visited “trails” in Rhode Island. It is one of Newport’s premier tourist attractions with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and some of the nations most famous mansions on the other. The first part of the walk is the most heavily traveled as it is paved and suitable for most people. The later parts of it, you will find yourself scrambling over rocks along the shore. I started this walk from Memorial Boulevard just west of Eastons Beach. The paved path first meanders along the cliff above Easton Cove. In the distance you can see the Sakonnet Point Lighthouse as well as Sachuest Point. I soon came to Forty Steps. The steps lead down toward the water for a view from below the cliff. On days with high waves and sometimes at high tide you may get a little wet. Continuing on, I made my way through the Salve Regina University properties. Here I came across several sections of fence with padlocks on them. A closer look, I realized the meaning of them. A clever modern day way of expressing your feelings for loved ones. I also came across some very old and creative brickwork at one of the stairways. The craftsmanship of yesteryear is quite impressive. After passing the two large and magnificent university buildings, including Ochre Court, I made my way to The Breakers. Quite possibly the most famous of the mansions, The Breakers, with its limestone walls and red tile roof, was built in the 1890’s by the Vanderbilt family as a summer home. I then came to Ochre Point on the back of the Breakers property before making my way through the large wrought iron gates at Ruggles Avenue. The next section of the walk is along a concrete walk with a fence right along the water. Along this section, the walk juts out to a point featuring a round, predominantly glass structure. The view here is wonderful in all directions. At the one and a half mile mark I came across the first section that was not a walkway. For a few hundred feet I had to traverse over fairly flat stones. Beyond that the walk is a combination of flat rocks, dirt paths, and paved paths for the next three quarters of a mile or so. On this section you can get a glimpse of the Rosecliff mansion. Just after Rosecliff the walk goes to the right, up some stairs, and then around an ivy covered building on the left. This building, the only directly on this side of the walk, was built as an artist studio. The next landmark is the Chinese Tea House on the Marble House property. It is a replica of a Song Dynasty temple. The walk continues through a tunnel under the Tea House. At this point you are at the two-mile mark. The remainder of the walk becomes progressively more difficult. After passing through the tunnel the walk continues for a bit to a second a shorter tunnel at Sheep Point. The last “easy” section passes in front of the Miramar mansion. A plaque at the end of this section reads “Rough Terrain Ahead”. From this point to Ledge Road is moderate to difficult. It is advised not to do this section if the rocks are wet as they become very slippery. I decided to proceed slowly for two reasons. The first as to watch my step, and the other to stop and take in the views. The ocean views are breathtaking along this stretch. The walk continues pass Rough Point, the former summer home of Doris Duke, to a bridge over a chasm that waves crash into. Along this section, to Lands End, and pass Ledge Road the trail is marked with an occasional bronze disk imbedded into the rocky shoreline. At Lands End, an aptly named peninsula, you may be able to see Point Judith, Black Point, and Narragansett Pier if the weather is good. After making my way past Ledge Road the walk continues to its end at Baileys Beach. After reaching the end I turned around and retraced my steps.

Trail maps and information can be found at: Cliff Walk.

Along The Cliff Walk

Along The Cliff Walk

At Lands End

At Lands End

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Purgatory Chasm – Sutton

  • Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
  • Purgatory Road, Sutton, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 7’44.97″N, 71°42’53.44″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 26, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Various difficulties, the chasm is difficult to strenuous, the remainder of the hike is moderate.

 

Indeed one of the most unique natural spots in Southern New England, the centerpiece of this hike is the granite chasm which in spots is up to 70 feet deep. It features countless boulders and some caves. Climbing the walls of the chasm is prohibited except by permit. Many injuries have occurred here and there are several warning signs throughout the chasm. In fact, I would suggest checking the forecast before heading here. A damp or rainy day could make the scaling over the rocks and boulders outright dangerous. Also the chasm itself is generally closed in the winter months. Starting early and one of the first to arrive I started today’s hike by first tackling the chasm. The chasm entrance is well marked and the Chasm Loop Trail is blazed blue. It took a little time to conquer this first part of the hike for a couple of reasons. First, scaling and maneuvering over and around the quarter mile of boulders. Second, this is a great place for a guy with a camera (that would be me) to capture the sun coming over the chasm walls. And lastly, I found myself spending some time watching the endless amounts of chipmunks in the chasm. Near the end of the chasm I turned left and continued to follow the blue blazed Chasm Loop Trail as it winded uphill. From this trail there are some impressive views of the chasm. Be sure to not get to close to the edges. I came across Fat Man’s Misery (which I choose to just view) and the Devils Corncrib before following the trail back to the chasm entrance. From here I went around the pavilion to the beginning of the trail named Charley’s Loop. It is a yellow blazed trail that winds through the southeast section of the reservation. I came across some early morning dog-walkers along this stretch. When I reached the intersection with the signage I followed the Little Purgatory Trail which was blazed green. When I reached the small chasm with the trickling waterfall I followed a trail to the right looking for the loop. After a bit I realized that there were no longer any blazes and the trail didn’t seem to loop back in the proper direction. So I retraced my steps back down the trail until I got to the “road”. Here I turned left then left again onto the orange blazed Forest Road Trail. This old stone and dirt road seemed endlessly uphill before it broke off right into the woods. At the end of the Forest Road Trail I turned left onto the Old Purgatory Trail, still blazed orange, as it wound up and down through the forest. The trail eventually end at Purgatory Road where I turned right and made my way back to the car. I did not expect to get 3.5 miles of hiking here (and I suspect it had to do with getting a little off track on the Little Purgatory), but I must say, this was a rather challenging hike on a warm summer morning. Well worth the challenge though.

Trail Map can be found at: Purgatory Chasm.

In The Chasm

In The Chasm

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

Old Furnace – Killingly

  • Old Furnace State Park
  • South Frontage Road, Killingly, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°47’17.65″N, 71°51’56.44″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 18, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Difficult with strenuous elevation, climbing and rocky footing.
 
EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION NEARS THE CLIFFS.

 

After three shorter morning hikes in Rhode Island I stopped on the way to Killingly to pick up a family member for the fourth hike of the day. He had suggested this hike to me a few weeks before I broke my ankle last summer. Without any doubt whatsoever this hike has been the most challenging since the injury. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming and the views were breathtaking. We started the hike from the parking area at the north end of the park following the blue blazed trail crossing a stream before veering onto the yellow trail. We followed the yellow trail over a foot bridge and through some muddy areas before approaching a small dam at the pond. While at the pond we noticed a massive rock overlook up on the hill to our right. Like kids again, we looked at each other at said “let’s do it”. We followed the stone wall dam of the pond until we got to the bottom of the hill. This trail was not blazed. Up to this point the hike was relatively easy, but that was about to change. We began our ascent up the hill. In some sections the grade was 75 to 100 percent (see chart below). After stopping for a bit for some water and a breather we made the final push up (in my opinion the wrongly named) hill. Half Hill is 540 feet above sea level and 200 feet above the pond below. The views from above are truly impressive, overlooking Killingly and Foster, Rhode Island. We also ran into some rock climbers at one of the overlooks. I will stick to hiking, thank you very much. There are also some quite impressive chasms here. We then continued to follow the trail downhill where it forks. We took the trail to the left following downhill (the trail to the right was blazed blue). It would eventually turn to the left and come out to a parking lot. We then crossed the parking lot picking up a trail that would follow the pond to the right and the cliffs above to the left. This narrow trail at times became more of scurrying over rocks and boulder. The trail ended at the trail we came in on just at the base of the hill. We turned right following first the stone wall dam and continued retracing our steps back to the car. We came across several hikers here and I did not see any wildlife here other than birds.

 

Trail map and additional information can be found at: Old Furnace.

One Of The Overlooks

One Of The Overlooks

The View From The Overlook

The View From The Overlook

Chart Showing Grades (from Wikipedia)

Chart Showing Grades (from Wikipedia)

Purgatory Chasm – Middletown

  • Purgatory Chasm
  • Tuckerman Avenue, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’14.47″N, 71°16’9.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 24, 2014
  • Previous Visits: March 23, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.3 miles
  • Easy.
 
EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION NEAR EDGES.

There are two Purgatory Chasm’s in Southern New England, one being here in Middletown, Rhode Island and the other in Massachusetts (hike for another day). There is really no difficulty in reaching this site as the entire “trail system” is very short. However, this is a wonderful geological feature that most people are not even aware of. It is well worth a visit if you are just in the area or adding it as a supplement to a nearby hike. The chasm is a glacial cleft about 10 feet wide and about 50 feet deep that is continuously being filled with seawater. From the parking area follow the main path a few hundred feet to a wooden bridge. At the bridge you can view the chasm. There are other paths on the site. If you choose to venture on these paths use extreme caution near the edges. This is not a site that you would want to do any falling at. From the edges of the cliffs you also have sweeping views of Second Beach and Sachuest Point.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

The Chasm

The Chasm

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: May 10, 2017
  • 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 7/8 of a mile the trail bears to the right and away from the shore and uphill.  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. (Note: In months other than summer there is a grassy area that looks like it might be a trail to the left, this is not the trail you will be looking for.) 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

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