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 move more quickly morphed into a hiking addiction. Below are some running totals.

  MILES TIME CALORIES
July 2014 51.56 28h 30m 4978
Year-to-Date 214.42 119h 51m 25643
July 2013 16.74 15h 7m 5957
July 2012 28.85 12h 0m 2758

Arcadia WMA, Tefft Hill from the State Garage

Posted By on July 31, 2014

Arcadia WMA, Tefft Hill from the State Garage

4.75 miles, 2 mph; exeter, ri

i think this is my favorite route onto arcadia. you park next to the state garage on route 3, nooseneck hill road, and walk down a trail under route 95. don’t know why this tickles me so, but it does. and this is also my favorite loop: the white-blazed arcadia crossover trail to the yellow- and blue-blazed arcadia/north south trails to the yellow-blazed arcadia trail, and back to the white-blazed crossover trail.

rattlesnake plantain

rattlesnake plantain

this is actually an orchid. the google tells me it’s one of the most common north american orchids. it’s still quite pretty, even if it is common.

elm saw fly larva

elm saw fly larva

when i saw this large, maybe two-inch-long creature, i was sure it was a caterpillar, and i was excited to go home and find out what kind of butterfly or moth it would become. feh. turns out it’s actually the larva of the elm saw fly. i don’t know if you have any experience of saw flies, but the larva of the pine saw fly, which congregates in large numbers on pine trees, are downright creepy. they move in unison. no matter how many there are, it’s like they’re psychically connected. ick. i don’t know if these larger elm saw fly larva are psychic, but i somehow don’t want to find out. ICK.

blue-yellow trail split

blue-yellow trail split

this is where the blue-blazed north-south trail diverges from the yellow-blazed arcadia trail. i met some nice folks just north of here who were visiting from westchester, new york, and hiking/biking the north-south trail. it sounded like a lot of work. me, i like my vacations more… vacation-y. you know, sitting in the sun with umbrella drinks and a good book. but to each his/her own.

today's haul

today’s haul

this time of year the white-blazed crossover trail is mushroom heaven. i bagged a bunch of cinnabar chantarelles (the orange ones), golden chantarelles (the tan ones), and even 2 horns of plenty (the brown ones in the lower left). can you say “wild mushroom risotto?” sure you can. me too. yum.

i have added this specific hike to the hikefinder. map is courtesy of the rhode island dem, to which i have added my route.

Fowler Grindstone Preserve

Posted By on July 30, 2014

Fowler Grindstone Preserve

2.4 miles, 2 mph; north stonington, ct

this was the second of the local preserves i wanted to explore today. it’s another very pretty place, and although it feels in places like you’re walking too close to houses, parts feel more remote. there’s a cool old cellar hole and a giant boulder with a ladder. and mysterious blue trail that leads off the property…

cellar hole and implements

cellar hole and implements

there are three main trails on this north stonington citizen’s land alliance property: yellow, orange, and yellow-in-white (which looks to me like a fried egg). there are trail maps in little weather-proof stands in several places, and all the trails are pretty clearly blazed and well maintained. this cellar hole just off the yellow trail is lovely, with hewn granite blocks. someone picked up a lot of various and sundry bits of things and propped them up against the wall. to me, it looks like parts of a wagon or car. pretty sure i recognized some old rusty leaf springs.

old wreck

old wreck

oh, and speaking of old cars, i bet this could be restored in no time. a little bondo, a little paint… uh, i think it was a car. the way it’s up against the tree makes it look like an ancient wreck, like someone drove headfirst into that tree.

coral mushroom

coral mushroom

i have read that some of these coral mushrooms are tasty and some are poisonous. you really have to be a very experienced mushroom hunter to know which are which, and i am not. but they’re still pretty to look at.

fern shadows

fern shadows

again with the fern shadows. can’t help it. they’re very eye-catching.

boulder ladder

boulder ladder

toward the end of the orange trail there is a little spur trail that leads to this massive glacial erratic perched atop a small hill. and there’s a ladder. uh-huh. i would have climbed it but there was a big old spider web between the 2nd and 3rd rungs. that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

the orange trail ends in the far northeast corner of the property, right at the banks of pendleton hill brook. but just beyond the end of the orange trail, i spied blue blazes… mysterious blue blazes continuing north. you know i’m going to have to come back. there is no way i’m going to let mysterious blue blazes remain mysterious.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. i have put the lower trail head on the hikefinder page, however, there is designated parking and an upper trail head further down fowler road. i drove by but it looks as if you’re driving into someone’s yard, and i just felt a little funny using it.

Tefftweald at Birchenturn

Posted By on July 30, 2014

Tefftweald at Birchenturn

2.3 miles, 2 mph; north stonington, ct

there are two largish preserves in north stonington that i had yet to explore, and they’re quite near each other, so i decided to do them both in one day. this was the first. i know the name sounds vaguely like a third reich fortification or something, but i am told it was originally a girl scout camp. there are even a few buildings left, including a very nice pavilion with picnic tables, and a shed and an outhouse (which i did not explore.)

carrion beetle

carrion beetle

i would not have given this creature a second look if not for the fact that mary holland had just posted about them on her blog, naturally curious. it’s an american carrion beetle, or necrophilia americanus. isn’t that the best latin name you’ve ever seen? i think it’s awesome. i’m pretty sure it’s feeding on an old mushroom cap here.

old root cellar

old root cellar

the entrance to this property shares a driveway with a private property owner, and this old root cellar is on private land. doesn’t mean you can’t take a quick peek inside, though.

old water pump

old water pump

another remnant of the defunct camp, an old water pump. i didn’t try it, but i imagine it still works. they built things to last in the old days.

signage

signage

the signage on this avalonia land conservancy property is excellent! the trails are all blue-blazed, but they all have names, too.

poet's bench

poet’s bench

here is the poet’s bench. i dont know who the poet is/was. it is beside the wyassup brook, which, like all the watercourses in the area right now, is very, very low. barely a trickle in places. but still gamely flowing.

the pavilion

the pavilion

here is the pavilion. it’s in very good condition. a nice spot for lunch.

wyassup brook

wyassup brook

here is the wyassup brook from the aptly-named brook loop trail. it looks as if there is or was considerable beaver activity in the area at one time, and the brook has turned into a pretty impressive beaver pond through here.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder.

Borderlands Trail

Posted By on July 29, 2014

Borderlands Trail

.5 miles, 2.5 mph; north stonington, ct

i almost wasn’t going to even blog this hike, but hey, i did it, so here it is. borderlands trail is a fancy-sounding name for a walk around the ballfields surrounding the elementary school in north stonington. i “hiked” the stretch that runs between the school and the town’s recreation area on rocky hollow road.

trail map

trail map

here is the trail map, such as it is. i guess there are several trails that run out behind the ballfields, but i wasn’t in the mood to cross to them in the hot sun, so i just walked the little stretch that goes out towards the left-hand side of the picture. can you believe the map isn’t even oriented with the north at the top? i really, really hate that…

bridge

bridge

the trailhead for this is on route 2 in north stonington. i have been driving by it for ages, and i just can’t resist a trailhead. there’s a very nice bridge that crosses the shunock river, although beware of the many land mines left by inconsiderate dog walkers.

assekonk swamp

assekonk swamp

the short side trail pictured on the map ends in an observation deck that overlooks assekonk swamp. it’s really a very pretty view. the state owns most of this land and manages it as a wildlife management area. there is another trail head into the property across town, but i have been unable to locate any kind of map for it. guess i’ll just have to bite the bullet and map my own trail in there sometime.

buttonbush

buttonbush

this fascinating flower is the flower of a button bush. it was growing out over the observation deck.

i have not added this “hike” to the hikefinder.

Ayers Gap and Baileys Ravine

Posted By on July 29, 2014

Ayers Gap and Baileys Ravine

1.5 miles, 2 mph; franklin, ct

well, this was an entertaining hike, if coming across a couple doing the nasty right beside the trail is your idea of entertainment. it’s not exactly mine, but hey, to each his/her own, i guess.

this is a nature conservancy property and right off the bat it’s a very steep climb up from the parking area. in fact, it’s all uphill to about the place where the trail loops back (see the map in the hikefinder entry). but it’s not bad except for that first quarter mile.

the trail from the parking area

the trail from the parking area

this is the trail from the parking area. it kind of reminded me of a challenging stretch on the long pond section of the narragansett trail in hopkinton. it was certainly as steep.

views

views

after the steepest part of the climb, the trail follows a ridge line overlooking the town of franklin, connecticut. you can see distant farms and fields. it’s quite lovely. must be great when the leaves are off the trees. by the way, it was also along this part of the hike that i got another kind of view, if you know what i mean.

fern shadows

fern shadows

the nature conservancy website mentions that there is a rare species of fern on this property. i have no idea if these shadows are of that special fern, but they caught my eye nonetheless.

aged oysters

aged oysters

also found these mushrooms on a birch log on the side of the trail. they looked as if they could be oyster mushrooms, but they weren’t especially fresh… they were covered with flies and looked kind of rotten.

bailey brook

bailey brook

this is at the point where the trail crosses bailey brook. it looks as though it could be rather tricky in a season where the water is higher. right now it’s a dry crossing, with only a small, easily stepped-over trickle in the middle.

waterfall at bailey's ravine

waterfall at bailey’s ravine

once the trail reaches its northern-most point, it picks up an old woods road and loops back down towards the parking area. it’s at the end of the white-blazed trail that you come to the waterfall at bailey’s ravine. this part reminded me a lot of the gorge section of the narragansett trail in voluntown. there’s a very nice plaque, and then a tiny bit of road-walking to get back to your car.

you can find this hike in the hikefinder.

Wolf Hill

Posted By on July 27, 2014

Wolf Hill

4.32 miles, 2.2 mph; smithfield, ri

this was my second time here but the first time with the providence county hiking club. oh, and the first time without snow. there are many more trails here than i mapped last time, and some of them have changed color. very confusing, and the blazing is hit or miss. we got to the airmen’s memorial, mercer lookout and another great overlook, though. great hike. missed the rain by minutes.

mercer lookout

mercer lookout

at mercer lookout at the meeting of the white and blue trails (more on trails later), there was a fantastic overlook that i completely missed last time out, and the remains of what was reportedly an old boy scout cabin. pretty neat, although it was very hazy today, with rain threatening, so the view was a little fuzzy.

quarry overlook

quarry overlook

this is the view from another little overlook. it was either a quarry or a sand and gravel pit, not sure where the definition of one begins and the other ends, actually. but i’m told that on a clear day you can see the bay from here. i kind of had to take our guide’s word for it today.

green trail

green trail

this was a sheer rock face on the green trail that we passed on the way out. of course you can’t see the scale from this shot, but trust me, it’s pretty big.

the trails on this property are a bit confused and confusing. there is no decent online map of them, and what there is just makes things more confusing. i honestly intend to come back and complete mapping both the mysteriously disappearing blue trail (bottom of map) and the entire yellow-blazed “memorial loop.” i have mapped as many of the trails as i could, but i can’t honestly say i got all the colors right. to make matters even worse, it appears that some of the trails used to be blazed one color, but then were re-blazed with another color. at any rate, the map that you can find on the hikefinder is as close as i could get. good luck!