Posts Tagged ‘ Wildlife ’

Klutz Woodland – Glocester

  • Klutz Woodland – Sprague Farm Town Forest
  • Joe Sweet Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’1.79″N,  71°42’15.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation. Can be muddy at times.

The Klutz Woodland is a spectacular addition the sprawling Sprague Farm Town Forest. The trails here have just recently been blazed offering more miles to the already popular hiking destination. Starting from the parking area at the end of Joe Sweet Road follow the red blazed trail into the woods. You will climb up and over a small hill while flanked by mountain laurels, boulders, and a forest floor covered with thickets. Three tenths of a mile into the hike you will come to a green blazed trail. Turn right here to follow the trail through an area of lush ferns. The green trail intersects with the red trail once again. Bear right and stay on the green blazed trail. It winds downhill with a stone wall to the left. The green trail soon ends at the white blazed Sprague Trail. Turn left here and follow the stone wall. The trail then passes through it. Just after that turn left onto the pink blazed trail. This trail offers more mountain laurel and amazing stone walls before ending at the red trail once again. Turn right here and follow the red blazes as the trail zigzags a bit before coming to an outcrop. Here the (future, and still under construction) red blaze trail turns to the right. For this hike, continue straight onto the blue/yellow blazed trail. It will eventually lead out to the unblazed and undeveloped portion on Joe Sweet Road. Turn left here and follow the road back to the parking area. Keep in mind that this section can be a bit wet after heavy rains.

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Stone Wall Along The Pink Trail

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Camara – Westport

Camara Conservation Area is a small property at the western end of town just off of Tickle Road. The short trail system comprises of a loop trail and an out and back trail that leads to a glacial erratic. The entrance passes through an area where you will likely be greeted by chickens. At the time of this hike we came across several chipmunks and squirrels.

Map can be found at: Camara

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Along The Trail At Camara

Headwaters – Westport

  • Headwaters Conservation Area
  • Blossom Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°41’20.19″N, 71° 5’37.57″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 1, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

This property at the extreme northern end of Westport is made up of two very distinctive parts. The first western half is open to the public and is accessible by trail. The eastern half including the Bread and Cheese Brook is left for nature. For this hike, nearly 2 miles in length, follow the red blazes from the small parking area along Blossom Road. The trail climbs steadily uphill for a bit. Follow the red trail, ignoring the blue blazes to the left and the yellow blazes to the right. You will pas through an impressive pine grove before coming to the properties “major intersection”. Here continue ahead following the red blazes. The trail becomes more of a cart path for a bit surrounded by a forest floor covered in ferns. The trail soon comes to a road. After crossing the road the trail crosses over some boardwalks before coming to a loop. For this hike stay to the left and follow the red blazed trail. At the next split stay to the left and continue following the red blazes. When you reach the orange blazes turn left and follow them. This short trail will get you as close as possible to the brook. Turn left onto the red trail next. It will come into an area of shrubs. Here the trail narrows significantly, especially during the summer months. The trail then heads back into the woods and completes the loop. Stay left here, back over the boardwalks, cross the road, and look for the yellow blazes to the left. Turn onto the yellow blazed trail. It will swoop to the south before turning back to the north. Stay to the right and the trail comes to the “major intersection”. Continue ahead here onto the blue trail and follow it to the red. Staying to the right will bring you back to the parking area.

Map can be found at: Headwaters

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Yellow Trail at Headwaters

Childrens Grove – Bristol

A small wooded parcel along the side of the road offers a short quarter mile crescent shaped trail with a short spur onto an island at the back side of the small pond. The front of the property offers benches to sit by the pond. Though very small, the property is quite plentiful of small critters like chipmunks and squirrels.

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Small Pond at Childrens Grove

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

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Stone Walls and Boardwalks

Annawumscutt Brook Trail – East Providence

  • Annawumscutt Brook Trail
  • Rounds Avenue, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°46’6.08″N, 71°20’27.82″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 3, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Moderate due to no blazing, seasonal mud, and water crossings, otherwise easy.

 

This trail in the Riverside section of East Providence runs mostly along the Annawumscutt Brook from Rounds Avenue to the Riverside Middle School. Starting from a stone covered parking area opposite the Evangelical Covenant Church on Rounds Avenue, you will follow the trail into the woods. When you approach the first intersection turn left. Soon there will be a small hill to your left. Follow the trail ahead here keeping right of the hill. After the hill follow the trail to the left. You will get you first glimpse of the brook here and will likely see ducks and other water fowl. The trail will seen reach the first crossing of the brook. This crossing is almost always fairly easy. After the crossing bear to your right. The trail comes out to a grassy area. Continue ahead to the row of rocks and the trail heads back into the woods. In about a hundred feet the trail splits. Turn right here, the trail almost immediately turns left and is now following the brook once again. Ahead there will be an intersection of brooks. You will want to cross the brook here. After any substantial rain or in the spring, this crossing will be impossible without stepping into the water. You will get wet! The trail continues, now with the brook on the left. Soon the trail veers to the right and heads deeper into the woods. It soon comes to a former fire lane. Turn left here and you will soon be back to the brook and you will likely get wet again crossing it.  Continuing ahead the trail will pass a trail on the left that comes in from the Oldham School, continue straight. The trail soon takes a sharp right and continues north with the Forbes Street Solar Farm on the right. There will be a trail that comes in from the left that leads through private property, continue ahead here. (Smile you’re on camera!) The trail then comes to an intersection. Ahead is the DPW stockpile area. You are not allowed in there, so turn to the left and follow the trail to the next brook crossing. This crossing is usually much easier than the last two. After the brook crossing turn right. Almost immediately there is a trail intersection that veers to the left. Continue straight here and follow the trail along the brook. The trail then bends to the left, zig zags slightly before ending at the big red rock at the parking lot of the Riverside Middle School. You are at the mile mark! From here retrace your steps back to Rounds Avenue. There are other trails in the area, none marked, be sure to use GPS if you wander around and keep in mind the solar farm and DPW facility are off limits.

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Along the Annawumscutt Brook Trail.

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Annawumscutt Brook Trail in Red, Other Trails in White.

Allens Pond Central – Dartmouth

                                                                            

This sprawling Massachusetts Audubon property offers all sorts of scenes. Farm fields, woodlands, marshes, and ocean views. To maximize visiting all of the trails here I broke the hike into three sections (East, West, and Central). This hike explores the central part of the property. Starting from the “Stone Barn” trailhead off of Horseneck Road, follow the trail to the west through an open field. The trail turns to the south and intersects shortly with another trail to the left. That trail will lead you to the eastern part of the property. For this hike continue ahead into the next field. Soon you will pass a shelter and a wooden fence. The trail turns to the left and then right into a stretch of woodlands. Just into the woods there is an inviting rock to sit. Take the moment. You will here will hear the chipmunks and squirrels rustling, maybe the sound of a woodpecker. I had got a glimpse of a deer here and some wild turkey. The trail continues ahead for a bit offering glimpses of Allens Pond to the left. When you get to the long stone wall stay to the left. This is the Ruebens Point Trail. Scramble up the outcrop to the left of the wall and ahead is a scenic view of the pond complete with a sitting bench. From here follow the trail down the stone steps and turn left at the next intersection. This trail leads to the point. Returning, take a left at the intersection onto the Zylfee Brook Trail and follow it to the next overlook. From here retrace your steps a few feet, turn left then right back onto the Quansett Trail. You will turn left and then follow the long stone wall (now on your right) back to the next trail intersection. From here continue straight and follow the trail back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Allens Pond Central

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Allens Cove From the Rueben Point Viewpoint

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).

 

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Polly Coon Bridge Crossing The Pawcatuck River

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The View From Big Hill

Sammy C North – Charlestown

  • Sammy C North
  • Shumankanuc Hill Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’33.33″N, 71°41’23.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 20, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.7 miles
  • Moderate, can be difficult in areas.

                                                                            

 

Six days prior I had done the Sammy C South loop. I had realized then that there was more to the Sammy C to be done. Today, with a map in hand that shows all of the trails, I headed out to explore the rest as well as the Secret Trail. Starting from the small parking area (big enough for two cars) along Shumankanuc Hill Road, follow the unmarked trail into the Management Area. Hunting is allowed here, be sure to wear orange! This trail is quite level and is flanked by small ledges giving you a preview of what lies ahead. You will reach a trail intersection. Make note of the area, you will need to leave the property here as well. Turn right here and follow the white blazes. You are now on the Sammy C Trail. It winds up and down and up and down several times over small hills and along ledges. There are some great stone walls along the way, one with an old gate opening marked by granite posts. Possibly an old farm? After climbing over several more small hills and weaving through their valleys the trail levels out a bit passing closely to Buckeye Brook Road before veering off to the left and slightly downhill. The Sammy C soon ends at the double white blazes. Here turn left onto the yellow blazed Vin Gormley Trail and follow it a bit crossing a stream first before coming to a trail intersection. At this intersection the yellow blazes turn to the right. Continue straight ahead onto an unmarked trail. This trail is fairly level. Start looking for a white/red double blaze on the left. This is the Secret Trail and it will give you a workout. Also be sure to follow the blazes as this trail turns often and suddenly in many locations as it traverses up and over several rock formations. Following the Secret Trail you will first encounter an upward climb followed by an area of trail that straddles a 20 foot plus ledge. There is no “guardrail” here so do use caution. Another highlight along this stretch is a towering sycamore tree in the valley below. The trail then comes out to a wider cart path. Turn right here, still following the blazes, and start looking for your next turn on the left. The next highlight is a large outcrop, the trail is to the right here slightly downhill. The trail now weaves through groves of mountain laurel and rock formations as it zigzags to the east. There is an area that can be a bit confusing ahead so be sure to follow the blazes. The trail descends in to a valley and quickly climbs up a rock outcrop. At the top the trail turns to the left and does an almost complete circle to the right before climbing up another rock. The blaze is beyond that rock. From here the trail descends into another valley, crosses a stream, and then climbs back up yet another significant hill before ending at the School House Pond Trail. Turning left here, follow the blue blazed trail as it descends down hill to the next trail intersection. Turn left, back onto the Sammy C Trail, blazed white, and follow it back to the trail you entered the Management Area on. Along the way you will come across a boardwalk, more mountain laurel, and another large outcrop. Note the indentation in the outcrop. It looks as if a hiker left their footprint here along their journey. When you reach the next intersection. Turn right. This will lead you back to the parking area.

 

 

Map can be found at: Sammy C North.

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The Sammy C Following an Outcrop Along A Stone Wall

Carr River – West Greenwich

  • Carr River – Big River Management Area
  • Hopkins Hill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’51.90″N, 71°34’16.59″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 8, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

As with most hikes at Big River, be sure to have a map and/or GPS. This hike partly on each side of Hopkins Hill Road follows trails less used. Starting from the large parking area for Tarbox Pond and Carr Pond hikes follow the trail to the left into the property. The trail starts a long descent downhill. There is a spur trail to the left. Ignore it and continue straight ahead to the (next) four way intersection. Here you will turn left and continue straight to Hopkins Hill Road. There will be a couple spur trails and intersections along the way. Ignore them all. When you reach the road, follow it downhill to the pond. Tarbox Pond is flanked by pine trees as it stretches to the east. In the summer months the small coves along the pond will be filled with lily pads. Across the street is a wooden guard rail. Directly to the left of it is a narrow trail-head. This is where you will go to continue this hike. Be careful crossing the street here as there is bit of a blind spot. Once on the trail you will notice a narrow river to the right and down the bank. The trail splits, stay to the right as the trail descends downhill once again. The trail widens a bit then bends to the left. The trail traverses through a forest floor of ferns as it continues ahead. To the right you will catch glimpses of tall dead trees in a swamp. This is the Carr River. Soon you will pass two trails to the left. Make note of the second one, this will be used on your exit. The trail then turns slightly to the left. Just ahead you will see a pile of debris that was used to block a former trail. At this point and on the right is a very narrow (almost non-existent) trail that climbs up a small knoll. It dead ends at the end of the peninsula surrounded by the swamps of the Carr River. This is a great and secluded spot to sit on a fallen tree and take in nature for a few moments. From here retrace your steps the “second left” now on your right. Follow this trail as it climbs uphill and bears to the right joining the main trail that climbs uphill. You will pass two four way intersections (not very far apart). Continue ahead and at the next major intersection turn left. This trail (sometimes referred to as the Big River Expressway) will lead you back to Hopkins Hill Road directly across from the parking area. Make note that hunting is allowed here.

Trail Map: Carr River

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Carr River From The Knoll