The Walking Posts

The posts labeled with the little “Truckin’ ” man are from my Walking Journal, which I've been keeping since January 1, 2012. What began as a simple New Year's Resolution to exercise more quickly morphed into a hiking addiction. Below are some running totals.

  MILES TIME CALORIES
November 2017 31.96 17h 50m 4401
Year-to-Date 531.95 262h 49m 60537
November Avg. 52.88 26h 33m 5148
FINAL BCT Mileage 222.73

Tri-Town Hike 2017

Posted By on November 4, 2017

Tri-Town Hike 2017

12.94 miles; Medfield, Dover, and Westwood, MA

This was the big annual hike sponsored by the Trustees of the Reservations in Massachusetts, which goes through Medfield, Dover, and Westwood. Beautiful day and beautiful hike, and I met some very nice folks. And this time I took almost NO shortcuts!

The Start at Sen Ki

The Start at Sen Ki

The hike began at the Sen Ki Reservation (pdf file) in Westwood. From the Westwood Land Trust page on this property,

The property’s name is from the Abenaki term meaning essentially “Land of Stone”, suggesting the natural beauty of the property and reflective of the site’s Native American history.

Um, they were so not kidding. Rocks, rocks, rocks. However, this place rocks. It is beautiful, too.

Beautiful

Beautiful

From Sen Ki, we entered the massive (1,137 acres) Hale Reservation which wraps around Noanet Pond. Hale is run by a private non-profit, and besides having a mess of hiking trails, they run day camps, summer camps, after school programs, and many other programs. They also have a considerable infrastructure in terms of cabins, docks, and tent sites.

Docks

Docks

There’s another part of Hale called Camp Grossman on Powissett Pond, which is a Jewish day camp.

Beach at Camp Grossman

Beach at Camp Grossman

I really liked the signage here…

Sassafras

Sassafras

There was still some color in the woods here, but not as much as I remembered from last year, when the blueberry bushes were still a brilliant red color.

Boston Skyline (trust me)

Boston Skyline (trust me)

The hike then took us through Noanet Woodlands, where we got a glimpse of the Boston skyline from Noanet Peak (387 feet). You can kind of see it just to the right of the foreground shrubbery. Right? You can, can’t you? Well trust me, it’s there.

Oak Trees

Oak Trees on Powisset Farm

From Noanet Woodlands, we crossed onto Powisset Farm, a Trustees-owned working farm which operates a CSA, where they fed us hot soup and cider and lovely fresh bread. And there was a nice bathroom. The final 4 miles were through a neighborhood with a bit of road-walking, one of those developers’ open space easements, and to Rocky Woods Reservation where the cars were parked. Awesome hike.

See the links to the individual properties, above, for more information about them. For more information about the Trustees of the Reservations, see their homepage. To find out about events like the Tri-town Hike, see their Events page. And as always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Big River Exploration

Posted By on October 29, 2017

Big River Exploration

4.27 miles; West Greenwich, RI

This hike was a Providence County Hiking Club (PCHC) visit to this state management area on an exploration hike. Even with the best map, the Great Swamp Press map, the trails in here are ever-shifting and unpredictable. We followed a Hiking in RI GPS track for most of it. This is such a lovely spot, even with the occasional trash pile.

Boundary Stone

Boundary Stone

There is something carved into this old boundary stone… your guess is as good as mine. But the land that makes up Big River was once owned privately by many Rhode Islanders, and the property was taken by eminent domain by the state to build a reservoir. Which, obviously, never got built. This story from the Providence Journal tells the story.

When he was 9, the state condemned his family’s farm, just one parcel among 8,600 acres bought from 351 owners for the Big River Reservoir — planned since 1928 as a drinking water backup for the Scituate Reservoir. He was 13 when they had to move, believing that construction was months away.

It has been 50 years since West Greenwich land was taken by eminent domain. The reservoir was never built.

Remnants

Remnants

There is still a lot of old trash here. We found one little whimsical vignette with an old chair and a lamp and a broken coffee mug…  And this fuel can in a tree. Huh.

Some Amazing Color

Some Amazing Color

There was some pretty wonderful color here, too. I really love the dark black tree trunks with the yellow leaves. It’s always been one of my favorite autumn color palettes.

Kind of a Metaphor?

Kind of a Metaphor?

Yeah, I like it. Big River kinds of feels like this. The wild west. No regulations…

You can read more about Big River on the ExploreRI website. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 2

Posted By on October 27, 2017

Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 2

6.72 miles; East Lyme, CT

Finally, after nearly a year, I completed the Richard H. Goodwin Trail. This second section literally never left the woods, except to cross 1 paved road. It went mostly through the Nehantic State Forest, then across some private property (Yale Outdoor Education Center), and finally finished at the Darrow Pond Preserve in East Lyme. Super fun walk. Missed the dogs from Part 1, though. Oh, and the human they came with.

Confidence Blazes

Confidence Blazes

As was the case when Stacy and I walked it last December, the trail is blazed with these yellow-and-green logo signs. But they have added white rectangular blazes as well, so it works pretty much like the Bay Circuit Trail, with mostly white blazes and occasional “confidence” blazes with the logo on them.

The Day After Rain

The Day After Rain

I was on the trail the day after heavy rains in our area. I half expected to see no color, but it was still plenty colorful. And the smells were amazing. Wet woods, herb-y smells, musky deer smells, mushrooms, and I swear I smelled cinnamon, too. It was intoxicating.

Nehantic State Forest Signage

Nehantic State Forest Signage

Yes, there is hunting allowed in here, but I didn’t see a single person till almost the very end of the trail. It was quiet and peaceful. I couldn’t even hear any road noise for most of the hike.

Lion's Mane!

Lion’s Mane!

Found another Lion’s Mane mushroom, too, but this one was waaaaay over my head. And to be honest, it looked a little old to me.

Private Property

Private Property

Once the trail finally left the Nehantic State Forest it entered a stretch of private property. There was nothing more than this signage, nothing to indicate ownership, but I was curious enough that when I got home I checked, and it appears to be part of the Yale Outdoor Education Center. I didn’t see any of the fancy infrastructure mentioned on their web page, nor did I even see the lake. But there were plenty of blazed trails all through here, so I was happy about the white and “confidence” blazes of the Goodwin Trail.

Fungus Close-up

Fungus Close-up

There was actually a lot of fungi throughout this hike, but the only one I recognized that was edible was the out-of-reach Lion’s Mane. Although I understand you can make tea from Turkey Tails like the ones pictured. From the Mushroom Appreciation webpage on Turkey Tails:

The ubiquitous turkey tail is not a gourmet mushroom. You won’t see them on a five star menu sauteed with wild leeks. This species has one main claim to fame: as a medicinal mushroom. And a powerful one at that.

Huh. Who knew?

Beautiful Invasive

Beautiful [Invasive] Winged Euonymus, a.k.a. Burning Bush

I finished up this hike on the Darrow Pond Preserve in East Lyme, within hearing if not sight of Route 95. It was another glorious day for hiking in New England, with the warmth and blue skies we’ve been so spoiled with this fall.

See this Peter Marteka story in the Hartford Courant about Richard H. Goodwin Trail. The story includes a link to the complete trail map. Go to the CT DEEP website for info and maps of the Nehantic State Forest, and get a trail map of the Darrow Pond Preserve here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

Posted By on October 21, 2017

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

3.8 miles; Charlestown, RI

Today’s visit to Ninigret was organized by the “Take-A-Hike” group from Facebook. It was nice to see this gang again, and I had fun, but between yesterday’s and this morning’s hikes, my legs were beat. I plan on taking a little break from hiking in the next few days. It’s time to put the garden to bed.

On the Shore of Ninigret Pond

On the Shore of Ninigret Pond

The day was sparkling and clear, and it was perfect weather for meandering along the shore of Ninigret Pond.

Lovely Old Snag

Lovely Old Snag

We ambled down Charlietown Runway Trail to the little network of trails on the shore, and then headed off down the Cross Refuge Trail, the longest of the trails on refuge. This trail has become pretty woodsy in the five, no almost six years since I first hiked here.

Bittersweet Berries

Bittersweet Berries

The various bushes and shrubs and vines and trees here were all chock full of berries. You can see why the place is such a bird magnet.

Dead Horseshoe Crab

Dead Horseshoe Crab

Well, we weren’t exactly sure it was dead. But nobody wanted to, uh, touch it.

Perfect Autumn Trail

Perfect Autumn Trail

We ended up on the Foster Cove Loop and just look at how gorgeous this trail was. It was an entirely lovely hike.

You can find out more about the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, and get a trail map, here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Vin Gormley Trail & North Camp

Posted By on October 20, 2017

Vin Gormley Trail & North Camp

9.5 miles; Charlestown, RI

As has become a recurring theme on this blog, I really felt as though I needed a good bit of mileage today, so besides doing the 8-mile Vin Gormley trail, I added an extra mile and a half by visiting North Camp and the beach there. Foliage was looking pretty good, and the weather was perfect. It was a very nice day to hike.

Map

Map

This is the map at the “beginning” of the trail, which is at the end of the campground proper. I started at the beach area, so this came at about the 1 1/2 mile point for me. Still, it’s a great map.

Look up!

Look up!

I love to occasionally look up on these gorgeous fall days. Such a kaleidoscope of color.

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Um. Yeah. Okay, go ahead. Put Googly Eyes on logs. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Classic Covered Bridge

Classic Covered Bridge

Perfect day to get a good photo of the covered bridge.

Abandoned Campsite

Abandoned Campsite

North Camp was originally another section of the Burlingame Campground, but has been abandoned. There are still some crumbling buildings and many stones painted with site numbers.

Beach at North Camp

Beach at North Camp

Not sure why this spot was abandoned. There is a lovely, if small, beach here.

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

I have a hiking friend who takes the most beautiful photos, and as I was standing here at the beach, I asked myself, “WWJS?” That is, What Would Jen Shoot? This was the resulting photo. Thanks, Jen!

Bucky Beaver Trail Head

Bucky Beaver Trail Head

As I passed by the old “Bucky Beaver Trail Head,” I was happy to see that the tradition of a stuffed animal of some sort still kind of holds true. Someday I’m going to find another critter to put up there myself.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

 

Hurd State Park

Posted By on October 18, 2017

Hurd State Park

4.35 miles; East Hampton, CT

So I finished the Bay Circuit Trail. This left me in kind of a funk, and I was just looking through my “Hikes I’d Like to Do” list, and noticed this park. Looked interesting, and it was. But a word of warning: the official map is pretty much useless. Mountain bikers have taken the park over and blazed their own trails. You will find many more blaze colors than the ones on the map. Still, it was a pretty interesting hike, and the weather was ideal.

The River Walk Trail

The River Walk Trail

After parking out on Route 151 in East Hampton, where there is a large dirt parking area, I headed down the white-blazed trail to visit the red-blazed River Walk, the river in question being the Connecticut River. The trail plunges rather steeply down to the shore. Now, when I hike in Connecticut, the first thing I do after I’ve decided on a destination is to google the trail in conjunction with the name “Markteka.” Because Hartford Courant Nature columnist Peter Marteka has undoubtedly been there first and can tell you the features not to miss. He talked about both the River Walk and an intriguing-sounding stone jetty. Here’s Peter’s description:

The jetty is a lot of fun to walk along as you dodge huge piles of flotsam and giant trunks of trees that have floated downstream and gotten stranded. On one side of the jetty is the river; on the other, a small tidal cove. The views up and down the river are tremendous and any block makes a great place to picnic or just sit and watch the river flow past.

The Jetty

The Jetty

This feature was a little more “interesting” to negotiate than Peter’s description made it seem. The quarried blocks are fairly narrow and tilted every which way. And the flotsam became more and more difficult to negotiate as I went along, until at one point I just gave up and turned around. Still, it was a pretty cool spot. I kind of got the impression that this “jetty” was actually a built up river embankment, and the land behind the embankment eroded away to make the cove.

Channel Buoy #69

Channel Buoy #69

At one point on my jetty walk I came across a large chain coming from the river side of the blocks, and following the chain, saw this green channel buoy on the other side. Geez, that must have been some kind of flood that washed a chained channel buoy over the jetty…

Maiden Hair Fern

Maiden Hair Fern

This is such a lovely plant, and I’m always kind of surprised to find it growing wild. I won’t tell you what I’ve paid for it over the years to add to various gardens of mine.

Split Rock Vista

Split Rock Vista

At the end of the River Walk is the inevitable climb back up to the heights of this beautiful state park, and the views were worth the climb. Now I got to see the Connecticut River from a distance.

River View

River View

There were several boats cruising upriver while I watched, and the wakes sparkling in the sun were gorgeous. This is a great park and I highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance. I wouldn’t mind coming back for another visit myself, as there were several trails I didn’t really have time to explore.

You can read more about Hurd State Park, and view a (partially useless) trail map, at the CT DEEP website. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

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