Posts Tagged ‘ Wildlife ’

Cross Town Trail – Groton

  • Groton Cross Town Trail
  • Depot Road, Groton, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°20’8.29″N, 72° 1’58.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 2, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate with some hills and rugged areas. Navigation can be difficult in areas.

 

The town of Groton offers a trail that connects several properties while it traverses quite literally cross town. The trail, six miles in total one way, starts at Bluff Point State Park, winds through Haley Farm State Park, meanders through the Mortimer Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest before coming to a half mile of road walking, climbs through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands, and finally to Town’s End Preserve. Starting at the parking area for Bluff Point, the trail starts to the left by the composting toilets. Follow the main path ahead through areas of ledge, pass a gate and you will soon be parallel to the Amtrak tracks. To the right are some spectacular views of the upper reaches of Mumford Cove. The trail then veers slightly to the right and uphill. At the top of the hill turn left at the wooden steps and left again to cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge you have entered Haley Farm State Park. Just ahead is a gate to the right. Take the turn here, pass the gate and follow this trail. Following this trail will lead you to the main parking area for Haley Farm. Along the way you pass several small boulders and old farm stone walls before the trail turns into a stone dust path. A massive, and quite impressive stone wall will be to your left before coming to the open field just before the parking area. The trail continues to the left (north side of the parking area), however, though not technically part of the Cross Town Trail, it is well worth checking out while here. At the composting toilet is an opening at the wall. Follow the trail here and straight at the next intersection. The trail then turns to the left and back southerly. This small additional stretch is grass mowed through a field with an abundance of birds and thickets of berries and sumac. At the next intersection, continue pass the grass mowed trail to the left, pass the wood post with remains of a gate, and turn right following the trail slightly uphill flanked by a stone wall on the right. At the end of the stone wall there is a narrow trail on the right. Take this trail and follow it first through a cedar grove before passing a few stone walls. There is a trail split ahead just as a catch a glimpse of a pond. Stay to the right here and continue to follow the trail over a few boardwalks and pass Gibson Pond before exiting the State Park at Groton Long Point Road. It does not seem that blazes for the Cross Town Trail were allowed on State Property. At the time of this hike orange dots were observed at several points along the way. They were helpful, however it is very advisable to use GPS (particularly through State lands) in the event you may need to backtrack. Good news! The remainder of the trail is blazed blue through all of the remaining properties and there are trail maps at all the major intersections. Just be sure to keep an eye from blaze to blaze to assure you are on the right trail. Continuing ahead across Groton Long Point Road and slightly to the right you will come to the first blue blaze at Mortimer Wright Preserve. The trail winds up and down hill for the next couple miles passing beech groves, several stone walls, “frog crossings”, an esker and moraine, and streams as it passes the Wright Preserve and Merritt Family Forest. This stretch is absolutely beautiful and is well populated by deer, songbirds, and squirrels. The next half mile is road walking, crossing Fishtown Road, turning onto and following to the end of Rhonda Drive, right onto Farmstead Avenue, then right onto Judson Avenue. After Somersett Drive (on the left) start looking for the trailhead at Beebe Pond Park on the right. Follow the blue blazed trail once again through Beebe Pond Park and Moore Woodlands. This stretch can be a little rugged with rocky and root bound trails, so it is advisable to watch your step while walking and stop to take in the scenery. On the way out of the Beebe Pond Park is a massive stone wall to the right. It looks as it might have been part of a mill or dam. The trail then comes out to 850 Noank Road. This is a good spot for a second vehicle if you are going to car spot this hike. The Cross Town Trail then continues by turning left and following Noank Road for a couple hundred feet and the turning right at the gated Town Ends Preserve. The trail then ends about a tenth of mile into the preserve at Beebe Cove.

 

Map can be found at: Cross Town Trail.

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Mumford Cove at Bluff Point.

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Autumn at Merritt Family Forest

Wernick Farm – Dartmouth

  • Wernick Farm Reserve
  • North Albro Avenue, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°41’23.98″N, 71° 2’51.42″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 21, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly Easy.

 

Set off of North Hixville Road down a long dirt road in northern Dartmouth is a beautiful property for a stroll. This property offers pine needle covered trails, stone walls, cellar holes, and a pond. Starting from the parking area at the kiosk we followed the orange blazed trail through the northern part of the reserve bordering the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve. We could hear the rustling of maybe a deer in the woods and an occasional hoot of a nearby owl. From here we followed the yellow blazed trail along the western edge of the property passing a large boulder of puddingstone before coming to an open area with a rather impressive cellar hole. From here we followed the green blazed loop trail around a small pond occupied by an abundance of frogs. From the pond we followed the green trail back to the cellar hole and then followed the red blazed trail back out to the parking area. Along the way on the right and slightly in the woods are the remains of a barns foundations.

 

Map can be found at: Wernick Farm.

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Along the Orange Blazed Trail

Capwell Mill Pond – West Greenwich

  • Capwell Mill Pond – Big River Management Area
  • Burnt Sawmill Road, West Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’39.57″N, 71°36’27.08″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 17, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some difficult navigation.

 

This is yet another beautiful hike in the Big River Management Area. The trails here are numerous, unmarked, and can be difficult to navigate. With that being said, it is not advisable to do this hike without a reliable map, an understanding how to read it, a sense of direction, and absolutely be sure to use GPS tracking in the case you need to back track. This hike starts from a small parking area along Burnt Swamp Road before the gate by the Capwell Mill Pond Dam. It is about three tenths of a mile from Nooseneck Hill Road. After passing the gate you will see the dam on the left. Shortly after the dam follow the narrow trail to the left. It climbs slightly uphill into a grass field before winding into the tall pines. Soon a trail comes in from the right. Stay to the left here and you will cross a bridge. The view, overlooking a tributary of the pond is quite pleasant. After the bridge the trail splits, continue straight. The trail slowly climbs uphill through a lush forest of pines. Be aware of your trail intersections for this walk. At the next trail intersection continue straight again following the main trail. You will continue to climb slightly uphill. This section of trail can be quite wet after a heavy rain. You will soon pass a stone wall. Just after the wall is a narrow path to the left. Ignore it for this hike and continue ahead. You will soon pass a second stone wall and then the trail winds a bit before coming to a large boulder at a trail intersection. This is about the one mile mark. Ignore the trail to left and continue straight on the main trail as it starts to bend to the right. Slow down and start looking for the next trail intersection about one tenth of a mile after the large boulder. As the trail starts to turn to the right by a mossy rock with a tree growing on it there is a trail on the left. It is narrow, but defined enough to be noticed. Turn left here and follow the trail as it starts downhill. Soon the trail ends at another well defined trail. There will be a white blaze on the tree at the intersection. Turn left here. In a few yards you will come to another intersection with a tree blazed white. You will want to continue straight, but first follow the trail to the right to the bridge crossing the stream called Mud Bottom Brook. The slight detour is well worth it. Take a moment here. The babbling brook drowns out all other nearby sounds and you are out in the middle of nowhere nearly a mile from any civilization. Return up the hill to the tree with the white blazes and turn right. After making the turn and following the trail you will pass a stone wall on the left. The stone wall then flanks the trail to the right for a bit before the trail starts to descend downhill leaving the stone wall behind. The trail then starts its slight bend to the left passing a boulder in the middle of the trail. The boulder is a good reference point and is just the right height to sit for a moment and take in the nature around you. From here the trail continues downhill and bending to the left. You will start getting your first glimpses of the pond through the trees on the right. Passing another stone wall the trail splits. They rejoin in a few yards where the trail splits yet again. At this split stay to the right. There is also some mountain laurel scattered around in the area. Continuing ahead the pond is still to the right through the trees and there is another stone wall on the left. The trail turns to the left crossing the stone wall and then to the right meandering to and from the pond. A trail soon comes in from the left, stay to the right and continue to the end of the trail. Turn right and you will cross the bridge overlooking the tributary of the pond once again. Just after the bridge turn right onto the trail that will lead you back to the dam and parking area. Blaze orange is required during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Capwell Mill Pond (Map 1), (Map 2).

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Pines, Stone Walls, And The Pond.

Francis Carter West – Charlestown

  • Francis Carter Preserve – West
  • Kings Factory Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°25’56.37″N, 71°41’37.11″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 10, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

The newest addition of the Francis Carter Preserve, being the western end, acquired in 2014 offers the red blazed Narragansett Loop and River Trail. This part of the preserve is a great example of how nature can reclaim land that was once industrial. This hike starts from the parking area along Kings Factory Road just south of the Pawcatuck River. The red blaze trail meanders east along the rivers edge first passing a fenced in cemetery. The trail soon comes to an area that is sandy and rutted by dirt bikes and ATV’s. Stay to the left here and you will find the next blaze. The aptly named river trail soon runs along the Pawcatuck River once again. The trail here climbs up and down small hills before ascending gently to a large open field. From here it is important to follow the signs. Turning left, follow the red blazed Narragansett Loop. Bear in mind that this a new trail and not as defined as other established trails in the preserve. In time the trail will be well used and well defined. For now keep an eye out for the next sign. The trail continues northward for a bit before turning to the right and joining with the Grassland Trail. Here you will want to stay to the right following what is now both the Narragansett Loop and Grassland Trail to the south. The path soon turns to the left following the southern perimeter of the large meadow. Just before the woods, on the left, there is an informational board about the grasslands. Take a moment to look at it. From here, continue straight into the woods following the yellow blazed trail. Just before the hill, the red blazed Narragansett Loop turns to the right into one of the nicest stretches of trail in Rhode Island. On the left you will find the ruins of on old chimney. The trail winds below a canopy of pines and hemlocks before passing under power lines. Continuing ahead the trail follows and old stone wall before turning to the left, slightly uphill, to some large boulders left behind from the last glacier. The trail soon comes to an old cart path where you turn right continuing to follow the red blazes. The pine trees here are very dense and thick making for a well shaded pine grove. The trail soon comes to a pair a gates. After passing the gate, you will be on a an old asphalt road. The signage here indicates that this section of the Loop Trail is temporary. The road soon comes to an intersection. The roads ahead and to the left are active. Turn right onto another abandoned asphalt road. This was the entrance road of the former industrial complex from yesteryear. The road soon bears to the left and becomes a dirt road. A few hundred feet ahead is the intersection where the River Trail comes to the Narragansett Loop. Turn left here and retrace your steps back to the parking area. Hunting is allowed on this property at times. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Map can be found at: Francis Carter West.

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Along The Narragansett Loop Trail

Noquochoke – Westport

 

Another short, beautiful hike in Westport. The Noquochoke Conservation Area, part of a former Boy Scout camp, offers about three quarters of a mile worth of trails through some truly impressive and tall pine groves. The property includes several stone walls and an operating well from days past. The trails, though not blazed, are well marked with signs at intersections.

 

Map can be found at: Noquochoke.

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Sunlight Through The Tall White Pines

Caroline E. Judson – Smithfield

  • Caroline E. Judson Trust Property
  • Williams Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’34.26″N, 71°33’24.73″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 15, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

At the end of Williams Road is a small parking area for a couple of cars. The trail head is just to the right of the Land Trust sign. The trail winds downhill flanked by stone walls and old barbed wire fencing. Along this strip of wooded land on each side are large fields. At the end of the trail you can catch a glimpse of Stillwater Reservoir through the woods. The trail to the right leads into one of the large fields before dead ending near the property line with Hebert Health Center. The field is a good spot to watch birds circling above. The trail to the left leads further into the woods slowly winding down to a wooden bridge that crosses a beautiful cascading stream. The stream at the time of this hike was particularly high in velocity due to a recent snow melt. The trail then continues, following above the stream, into the Connors Farm Conservation Area at the blue blazed trail. A loop through Connors Farm, itself a beautiful hike, would add distance to the hike. From here retrace your steps back to the parking area at the end of Williams Road. A deer was spotted here at the property as well as chipmunks and a pair of red tailed hawks.

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Cascading Stream From the Footbridge.

Pocasset Ridge – Tiverton

  • Pocasset Ridge Conservation Area
  • Main Road, Tiverton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°36’3.32″N, 71°11’40.09″W
  • Last Time Hiked: November 5, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate, some hills.

 

Being offered as a “wildland” that is open to the public, the Nature Conservancy and the Tiverton Land Trust has recently opened one of the newest trail systems in the State. The entrance is just beyond a garage off of Main Road. The trail follows a stone wall to a large kiosk. At the kiosk the trail turns to the left through the wall and immediately right continuing to follow the tall stone wall before bearing to the north. The trail then follows the back property lines of the neighbors for several hundred feet, passing some puddingstone boulders, before turning abruptly to the right. From here the trail follows an old cart path into the heart of the property first passing a small swampy area and over some small boardwalks. The trail soon starts its long gradual climb uphill before coming to the first trail split. The trail intersection is well signed. Stay to the left here to do the loop trail. The route retraces old trails and a link connects them to provide a loop trail in the back parts of the preserve. This loop climbs some of the higher elevations of the property. There is also an abundance of boulders along the loop. Being new, the trail is still rather primitive. It is blazed with white diamonds featuring an owl on it. Be sure to follow the blazes to stay on the trail. After completing the loop trail retrace your steps back to the first trail intersection. From here follow the Cliff Trail. It is blazed the same as the Loop Trail (white diamonds with owls). This trail winds southerly passing a small stream, dipping into a valley, and then up to a large rock outcrop that overlooks to the west. Be weary of the edge as the opposite side is a nearly straight drop down of 50 feet or more. From here retrace your steps back to the trail intersection and then down the trail you came in on. Be sure to remember to turn to the left near the neighboring properties and follow the trail to the parking area. Hunting is allowed on this property. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

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Along The Loop Trail