Posts Tagged ‘ National Wildlife Refuge ’

Block Island North – New Shoreham

  • Block Island North
  • Corn Neck Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°12’48.58″N, 71°34’1.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with areas of difficulty.

 

Block Island is 14 miles off the Rhode Island mainland coast. It is a bustling resort town in the summer months and host to only about 1000 folks during the brutal New England winters. New Shoreham (the one and only town on the island) is in fact the smallest town in Rhode Island by both area and “year round” population. Conservation on the island has been outstanding. Over 43% of the island is under some sort of conservation protection by several different organizations. For this hike, I covered a large portion of the northern end of the island. Parking at the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve entrance, I first made my way toward Middle Pond following the main trail in the Hodge Preserve. The trail is grass mowed that traverses up and over several rolling hills of meadows before ending at the shore of Middle Pond. Along the trail there are sweeping views over the pond and Block Island Sound including the North Light at the tip of the island. From here I retraced my steps back to the parking area opting to follow the spur loop trails. Once back out to Corn Neck Road I turned right and followed the road south until I came to Clay Head Trail (just after the red house, number 728). The road, marked with a post, is a dirt road that leads to the parking area for the Clay Head Nature Trail. There are several private roads off of this road. Be sure to continue straight until you reach the trail head. From here the trail winds narrowly over meadow covered hills and wooded areas before reaching boardwalks near the Clay Head Swamp on the right. Shortly after the swamp the trail turns abruptly to the left and starts to climb upward, but first check out the beach and the massive clay bluffs. Continuing the trail climbs uphill and parallels the bluffs occasionally popping out to the edge. Exercise extreme caution along the edges. The views of Block Island Sound are quite impressive from the top of the bluffs. The trail passes through areas of shrubs and trees, with an abundance of birds, passing two small ponds to the left. There are also several spur trails to the left that lead into “The Maze”. If you opt to explore be sure to have a GPS device with you. For this hike, I followed the Clay Head Trail to its end. At the four way intersection, continue straight. Shortly thereafter the trail comes to a dirt road. Following the road to north you soon come to an intersection, turn left here and follow the road out to the paved Corn Neck Road. Turning right I followed the road to its end at Settlers Rock passing Sachem Pond on the left. The rock is a memorial to the original settlers and purchasers of the island back in 1661. From here the walking gets tough. If the hills of Clay Head have not already done a number on your muscles, the sands of the beach will. From Settlers Rock to the iconic North Light and back is all beach walking in soft sand through the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is well worth the walk though. The light, built in 1867, is now owned by the town and is home to a museum (open seasonably). At the time of this hike I came upon several nesting seagulls. After spending a little time here I made my way back to Settlers Rock and then southerly along Corn Neck Road. On the left at a stone wall you will see a set of wooden stairs. If you opt to, this is the Atwood Overlook. From the top of the hill you can look back towards the North Light. A little further up the road on the right is the Labyrinth, again the entrance is a set of wood stairs over a stone wall. This unique spot is a somewhat spiral path, similar to a maze, but with no dead ends, that leads to the center. It is said to be sacred. After spending a few moments here, I made my way back to the road continuing south back to the Hodge Preserve parking area. I came across an abundance of birds along this 6 mile trek and ran into a few fellow hikers.

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Meadow at Hodge Preserve

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Clay Head Bluffs

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Block Island North Light

Kettle Pond – Charlestown

  • Kettle Pond – Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bend Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’2.85″N, 71°41’10.68″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 7, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

Kettle Pond is the northern parcel of the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. It is also the parcel that is home to the Rhode Island headquarters of the National Wildlife Refuges. Inside the building there is information on the types of lands and animals found throughout the refuge. This property also has a handful of trails. This would be my second of three planned walks on this refuge. I started from the parking area near the headquarters building and followed the Watchaug Pond Trail to its end passing both the Burlingame Trail and Toupoysett Pond Trail. I continued further down a dirt road and then turned left. I followed this road for a few paces to the entrance of the bordering Audubon property. From here I retraced my steps back up the dirt road and along the Watchaug Pond Trail. I then turned right onto the Toupoysett Pond Trail passing through part of the Kimball Wildlife Refuge as the trail looped back to the Watchaug Pond Trail. I then turned right, and then right again onto the Burlingame Trail and followed it to the edge of the Burlingame State Park. From here I retraced my steps back to the Watchaug Pond Trail, turning right again, and going back to the parking area. On the opposite side of the building is the Ocean View Trail which leads out to an observation tower. From the tower you can see Ninigret Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day you can also see Block Island. After sightseeing for a bit I returned to the parking area. This property borders both Kimball and Burlingame and several miles could easily be added to this hike.

Trail map can be found at: Kettle Pond.

A Trail At Kettle Pond

A Trail At Kettle Pond

Ninigret Refuge – Charlestown

  • Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
  • Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°21’54.46″N, 71°39’24.41″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 22, 2014 
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Easy.
 
 

Once an old Naval airfield that was used during World War II, Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is now a place for hikers, photographers, and bird watchers. The property abuts the states largest coastal salt pond. I started the hike from the east parking lot first making a short loop along the coast near the end of runway 30. (The end of the runway is still here with its number clearly visible). The paths were still rather snow covered but very passable. I then made my way to Grassy Point. At the point there are sweeping views of the salt pond. There are some observation scopes here as well. From the point I retraced my steps until I got to the Cross Refuge Trail. Here I turned left and followed this trail to its end. Along the way I came across several deer track. Above were hawks, gulls, as well as several other birds including robins (first sign of spring). I then followed the shore of Foster Cove on its loop trail until I reached the west parking lot. From here I followed the Charlietown Runway Trail back to the east parking lot to finish the hike.

Trail map can be found at: Ninigret.

Ninigret Pond

Ninigret Pond

Sachuest Point – Middletown

  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sachuest Point Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°28’47.09″N, 71°14’37.46″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 28, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Easy with some optional elevation

This place is for the birds… Literally. Recently reopened, some of the paths in the wildlife refuge and its access road had sustained damage from last year’s Hurricane Sandy and a series of coastal winter storms. I had stopped here late in February and it was still closed. After making the phone call to see if it were open, I made my way here. Starting from the parking lot I decided to head south first along the Ocean View Loop to Sachuest Point. I immediately came across several red winged blackbirds and several yellow birds that almost looked like parakeets. I then spent a little time down on the rocks at the point. I continued along the path coming across some wildflowers and many more birds such as robins and catbirds. I decided to take a short trek on to the Price Neck Overlook that has good views of the Sakonnet River and the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance the Sakonnet Lighthouse is clearly visible. I then continued along the loop path and onto the Flint Point Loop passing through areas of beach roses. Along the way there are a couple of overlooks. The first overlooks the Island Rocks where you will see several birds relaxing. I saw an egret here. The second overlooks Flint Point as well as the coast of Tiverton and Little Compton across the river and Middletown and Third Beach to the left. I then continued the path which leads back to the parking area. Along the way I came across mourning doves. There is a visitor center here that has quite a display of the birds and other species that are found here. Beware, however, of the over abundance of poison ivy here.

Trail map can be found at: Sachuest Point

I’ve also decided to add this link to identify poison ivy. You can click on the options on the left to see what it looks like at different times and places: Poison Ivy

The Shore At Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge

The Shore At Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge

Trustom Pond – South Kingstown

  • Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
  • Matunuck School House Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°22’59.77″N, 71°35’7.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 19, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Easy.
 

I decided to wake up very early to get to Trustom Pond for sunrise. A decision that was well worth it for picture taking. The hike was not too cold until the wind picked up but it was bearable.  From the parking lot I went right along the Farm Field Loop Trail to get to the Osprey Point Trail.  I followed that to the end where there is an observation area that overlooks the pond. I then retraced my steps until I got to the Red Maple Swamp Trail.  I followed this trail to the end passing on the right an old windmill.  I then proceeded to turn right following the Otter Point trail to its end.  Again retracing my steps until I got to Farm Pond. Then I followed a path that wound through an open field that had one very wind blown tree in it and then back to the parking lot. I saw some wildlife as well along this hike. A few white tailed deer, red tailed hawk, several Canadian geese, and an osprey were all seen on this hike.

Trail map can be found at: Trustom Pond Trail Map

Trustom Sunrise

Trustom Sunrise

Lone Tree In A Field

Lone Tree In A Field