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
April 2016 23.22 11h 48m 2118
Year-to-Date 104.38 53h 44m 9869
April Avg. 52.03 24h 24m 5923

Camp Yawgoog and Hidden Lake

Posted By on May 1, 2016

Camp Yawgoog and Hidden Lake

4 miles; Hopkinton, RI

Today I finally managed to clear my schedule enough to hike with my “Usual Suspect” friends and Fidget the Corgi. We went on a trip through the Boy Scout camp (probably the last one till Fall), but in a direction we weren’t used to, and it made it seem like a completely different trail. And the weather, which has been so cool, was ideal for hiking. It would have been perfect except for the gnats…

Future Blueberries

Future Blueberries

Mmmm…. Blueberries. Of course the birds usually get all the ripe berries from the high bush plants, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

On the Shores of Hidden Lake

On the Shores of Hidden Lake

Here are the Usual Suspects and Fidget the Corgi. Hidden Lake is so beautiful, it’s hard to believe it’s really in Rhode Island. It seems more like a wild place in the woods of Maine.

Cool Bridge

Cool Bridge

Lots of cool bridges all through here.

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake

It really was a near-perfect hike on near-perfect day.

You can find the map of the Boy Scout Camp online, here. Just beware, it’s one of my pet peeves, but the map is laid out with North to the right of the page, not to the top. I honestly can’t even read maps like this, and whenever possible, I’ll open them up in Photoshop and turn everything around so it’s all going the “right” way. This map would take days worth of work to turn around, however, so you’re on your own.

The Sky’s The Limit Challenge, Hike 2—Devil’s Hopyard State Park

Posted By on April 18, 2016

The Sky's The Limit Challenge, Hike 2—Devil’s Hopyard State Park

5.38 miles; East Haddam, CT

After a long hiatus, I finally got back to tackling the Connecticut DEEP’s “The Sky’s the Limit Challenge” with my hiking companions Stacy and Dallas the Dog. Stacy knew this park quite well, as she lived in the area growing up, so we didn’t need our maps. This hike was a lot more challenging than the first one we did, even if it was only a bit more than half the length. Lotta steep ups and downs. On the other hand, that sort of thing makes for some great views.

Selfie #1 at the State Park Shield

Selfie #1 at the State Park Shield

We parked near Chapman Falls, which is a wonderful waterfall, and had to walk down to where the sign was.

We did eventually manage to visit the falls.

Real Start of the Trail

Real Start of the Trail

The actual trail we followed, the Orange Vista Trail, starts at a covered bridge from the picnic area.

Selfie #2

Selfie #2

 Here I am at the second designated selfie site, the “vista” on the Orange Vista Trail.

Pretty River

Pretty River

There are several streams that flow through this park. This is the Muddy Brook on the Red Millington Trail.

First Violets of the Season

First Violets of the Season

And here are the first violets of the season. I’d have guessed these were dog violets, but they don’t have hairy stems, and these evidently do, so I have no idea which violet they are.

You can find out more about the Devil’s Hopyard State Park and the Sky’s the Limit Challenge at the CT DEEP website.

Tippecansett South

Posted By on April 15, 2016

Tippecansett South

5.5 miles; Exeter and Hopkinton, RI and Voluntown, CT

I’ve done this hike in a couple sections, but today I was able to do it in one go thanks to a car spot with a good hiking pal. I really like the Tippecansett Trail. It’s a little over 10 miles total, yellow-blazed, maintained by the Narragansett Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and it meanders back and forth along the state line between Connecticut and Rhode Island. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, the Northern end of the Tippecansett is still closed off by a gun club.

This section takes in a long stretch of the Eastern shore of Beach Pond, which straddles the state line, before heading West to hug the border itself. There is a tiny section of road walking along busy Route 138 in Exeter, but it’s a very small stretch. And it ends at the state line marker by Yawgoog Scout Camp. The last mile or so is on Boy Scout property, and it gets kind of rugged and bouldery.

Sign at Beach Pond

Sign at Beach Pond

We parked one car at the Scout camp and then drove to Beach Pond, where we started our hike. We weren’t ambitious enough to climb up Hemlock Ledges this trip, especially since both of us had been to the top multiple times, but it is, technically, one of the major highlights of this hike.

Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus

One of the highlights of my personal hiking year is finding a patch of Trailing Arbutus, or Epigaea repens, in bloom. This wildflower is the state flower of both Nova Scotia and Massachusetts. Digging up one in Massachusetts is punishable with a $50 fine.

The Trail on Route 138

The Trail on Route 138

Here is the spot where the trail emerges from the woods and follows Route 138 for a short stretch. All-in-all, the blazing was excellent. It was an easy-to-follow trail.

Old Factory Bits

Old Factory Bits

Someone used these impressive old factory thingies as lawn ornaments. Very cool.

You can find info on the Tippecansett Trail in my hikefinder, and here is the complete trail map, showing the closed-off section.

Carr Pond Loop, Big River

Posted By on April 14, 2016

Carr Pond Loop, Big River

4 miles; West Greenwich, RI

Ah, Big River… what can I say? It’s a massive chunk of open space that was originally taken by the state using eminent domain in order to build a reservoir, and then the reservoir never got made. See this article in the Providence Journal to see how poignant a story it still is. Of course, because it’s technically not a wildlife management area, or a preserve, or any kind of official state park, there isn’t a lot of oversight and maintenance, at least officially. But Big River has been more or less adopted by the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA), whose members help keep it clean and even blazed, after a fashion.

Non-Standard Blazing and Signage

Non-Standard Blazing and Signage

I guess “non-standard” is the best way to put it… “Uh, follow the orange smiley-face blazes to Indan Rocks.” Hey, whatever works.  In spite of, or indeed because of, the crazy blazing here, I highly HIGHLY recommend you take a gps, and/or a very good map* before venturing in here. Big River is a crazy quilt of tracks ambling off in a zillion directions. For today’s hike I followed a gps track uploaded by prodigious hiker and social media maven HikinginRI of what he called the “Carr Pond Loop.” It’s basically a lollipop loop around one of the several large ponds/small lakes that Big River boasts. It was a lovely day and a really beautiful hike.

Carr Pond Water Pipe

Carr Pond Water Pipe

Carr Pond, from what I can gather, was originally used as a drinking water reservoir for Kent County, and the pipes and old pumping stations are still very much in evidence.

Carr Pond from the western shore

Carr Pond from the western shore

From other vantage points, Carr Pond could be in the Maine wilderness.

Carpenter Ant Galleries

Carpenter Ant Galleries

These extensive carpenter ant galleries in this old stump were mesmerizing. They almost looked like hieroglyphics.

Yellow Tulips

Yellow Tulips

And here’s something you don’t see in the woods every day… a pot of yellow tulips.

*Best Big River map around can be found here: Great Swamp Press. It may also be found at URE Outfitters in Hope Valley, RI.

Bluff Point SP

Posted By on April 6, 2016

Bluff Point SP

4.5 miles; Groton, CT

Ugh. I haven’t been hiking much lately because, ever since I got back from Arizona, the local trails all seem so… familiar and boring, I guess. But I decided I had to drag my sorry butt out today, and I’m [and I’ll bet you never saw this coming—Ed.] glad I did. I went to Bluff Point, and plodded along listlessly until I took a trail I don’t remember ever having hiked before, and *BOOM* the joy all came flooding back. It was a revelation, and a relief to know that it was still there, waiting for me. I just need new trails. Okay, so problem not solved, exactly, but at least identified.

Beautiful Water Views

Beautiful Water Views

This hike is on the CT DEEP’s “The Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge,” and I think this is the designated spot for the requisite selfie. But I’m content to wait till Stacy and Dallas can join me for that. That little bump on the right-hand horizon is the Avery Point Light.

(Old) Fungus Shot

(Old) Fungus Shot

Naturally there isn’t any fresh fungus to be found in the woods right now, but the remains of last year’s mushrooms are still quite photogenic.

(Old) Fungus Shot 2

(Old) Fungus Shot 2

This old chicken on a stump had me quite intrigued. You could see it from quite a ways away, and I had not the faintest clue as to what it was I was seeing.

You can find Bluff Point the the hikefinder. And on the CT DEEP website.

Spring Sunrise on Lantern Hill

Posted By on March 20, 2016

Spring Sunrise on Lantern Hill

1 mile; North Stonington, CT

I’ve read about this Spring celebration for years, and I’ve always wanted to go. Last year I was thwarted by snow, but today finally got to see the first sunrise of spring atop Lantern Hill while the Westerly Morris Men danced. It was a blast! Here is a small taste for your viewing enjoyment.