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
May 2015 43.75 20h 42m 3997
Year-to-Date 195.61 95h 23m 18138
May Avg. 36.29 16h 52m 3863

Bell Cedar Swamp

Posted By on May 21, 2015

this is a combined nature conservancy/avalonia land trust property in north stonington, and is the site of a fairly rare atlantic white cedar swamp. luckily, it’s not entirely swamp; there’s an old farm road that eventually peters out before it gets swampy.

sign

sign

i have driven by the entrance to bell cedar swamp for, quite literally, years—it’s been an itch i’ve been meaning to scratch seemingly forever, and i finally did.

the trail

the trail

it’s close enough by that i walked from my house to the entrance on boombridge road and followed the trail/old farm road to its end.

jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)

jetbead (Rhodotypos scandens)

it was certainly interesting, but a cavalcade of invasives, unfortunately. i saw japanese barberry, japanese honeysuckle, multiflora rose, asian bittersweet… really, too many to list here. this plant, the jetbead, is not considered invasive in connecticut, but it is in other states. i had never seen it anywhere before, and it took some considerable time with mr. google to figure out what it was. jetbead is native to china and japan, and was imported to the states, like most exotic invasives.

wild geranium

wild geranium

there were also many native wildflowers, including the first pink lady slipper and these wild geraniums.

civil war casualty

civil war casualty

i was told there was an old cemetery on the property but it was not what i was expecting at all. i imagined a tiny, old, overgrown plot, but this place was obviously well-kept and huge. and i suppose by their very nature cemeteries are sad places, but this one seemed especially sad. it contained quite a few generations of the people who lived on this property, and there were many, many childrens’ graves.

i have added this hike to the hikefindertrailhead, no trail map really necessary; it’s a 1-mile out-and-back (2 miles total) and there’s only the one old road.

Camp Yawgoog

Posted By on May 18, 2015

Camp Yawgoog

4.73 miles; hopkinton, ri

the “usual suspects” and i decided to visit camp yawgoog one last time before the boy scouts arrive. i can’t get over how beautiful this property is. lucky scouts!

hidden lake

hidden lake

this is just one of the many beautiful vistas on hidden lake. one of my hiking friends tells me that hidden lake was truly hidden up until several years ago, and it doesn’t appear on the great swamp press map i have of the area. now it’s a pretty obvious, white-blazed trail, so not so hidden anymore.

mayflowers in a crevice

mayflowers in a crevice

the trail goes right over this lovely little swathe of mayflowers blooming in a crevice in the rock.

mayflowers close up

mayflowers close up

here’s a close-up of the mayflowers in bloom.

i have not added this hike to the hikefinder since yawgoog is technically private property. however, here is the trailhead we used, and you can use this trail map to find your way around. two things—1) the map is not oriented with north to the top (major pet peeve of mine), and 2) i wouldn’t recommend you visit during the summer months, as the camp will be in use by the scouts.

PCHC North-South Trail, Leg 3

Posted By on May 16, 2015

PCHC North-South Trail, Leg 3

9.3 miles; glocester, ri and killingly, ct

this was a great hike and a good, if small, group. the weather was fine for hiking; cool and mostly overcast, but the mosquitoes were horrible. we really moved out, just out of self-preservation.

ponagansett reservoir

ponagansett reservoir

this section of the north-south trail starts at the george washington campground in burriville, ri, and traverses two large management areas, durfee hill and killingly. there’s a substantial stretch of road-walking, too, which isn’t my favorite thing.

grapes in flower

grapes in flower

i don’t know that i’ve ever noticed grapes in flower before. the flowers are pretty small and insignificant-looking. can’t say the same for the yummy fruit.

violets

violets

there were also lots and lots of violets of every kind in bloom. the violet is the rhode island state flower.

mowry meadows

mowry meadows

this is undoubtedly the most scenic spot on this section of the trail. it’s in the killingly management area.

i have not added this hike to my hikefinder. you can find info on the north-south trail here.

Vin Gormley Trail

Posted By on May 14, 2015

Vin Gormley Trail

7.5 miles; charlestown, ri

first time back here since january, and it was just me and one of the “usual suspects.” it was a bright, sunny day but there are enough leaves now to provide dappled shade, and there was a nice breeze, so the hiking conditions were perfect. lots of spring ephemerals out, too.

boardwalk

boardwalk

i’ve blogged about this boardwalk system before, but it’s really quite spectacular. it seems to just go on and on. you can see, on the left-hand side of this photo, the old “corduroy road” system that the amc installed many years before.

marsh marigolds

marsh marigolds

it appears as if we have a compressed season for spring ephermals, and that everything is blooming at once. we spotted these marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) from the boardwalk system.

fiddleheads and skunk cabbage

fiddleheads and skunk cabbage

we also spotted this beautiful arrangement of fiddleheads and skunk cabbage. nature is an amazing designer.

violets

violets

and we didn’t have to go far to see this explosion of violets right under the boardwalk, either.

you can find the vin gormley trail in the hikefindertrailheadtrail map, which is actually a photo of the map posted in the campground. still haven’t gotten around to making an “auntie” map of this property…

Tillinghast Pond Trails

Posted By on May 4, 2015

Tillinghast Pond Trails

6.2 miles; west greenwich, ri

i originally intended to do the longest hike possible on this property by hiking all the perimeter trails, including wickaboxet. unfortunately, i was overdressed, because it was a very hot day in the still-leafless woods. also, i had a full 2-liter platypus which i quickly determined would not be enough water. so i ended up aborting the long version and just did coney brook, flintlock and pond trails. next time!

bluets

bluets

the bluets (Houstonia caerulea) are blooming in west greenwich, anyway. these beauties are also known as “quaker ladies.” i think i like that name better.

magnolia

magnolia

the magnolia tree at the old ellis farm homestead is also in bloom. it’s pretty spectacular.

and here is coney brook in full voice. it was really loud and energetic today.

you can find tillinghast pond in the hikefindertrailhead, auntie’s trail map.

Erisman Woods and Babcock Ridge

Posted By on May 2, 2015

Erisman Woods and Babcock Ridge

6.6 miles; north stonington, ct

since these two preserves are such short walks, i decided to stretch them by walking to them from my house, which added considerable mileage. these are both really nifty properties, with a moderate climb up from erisman woodlands and a very steep climb down from the ridge that runs between reuteman road and babcock road in north stonington.

sad baby turtle

sad baby turtle

gross, right? i know. there were several of these sad little corpses along the road. poor little guys never evolved to negotiate cars.

erisman woods trailhead

erisman woods trailhead

this avalonia land trust property was recently officially opened to the public. there’s parking for maybe 3 or 4 cars, and the trails are blue-blazed. there’s a nice little bridge that crosses an unnamed stream, and just beyond the bridge the blue trail splits, with the trail on the right taking a more looping course up to the top of the ridge.

fiddleheads

fiddleheads

spring is definitely on its way. there were more anemones and some fiddleheads and the single upright leaves of mayflowers everywhere.

you can find erisman woodlands and babcock ridge in the hikefinder. auntie’s trailmap, here.