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
June 2015 60.91 30h 40m 5461
Year-to-Date 269.02 131h 34m 24780
June Avg. 26.13 13h 42m 3598

Paffard Woods

Posted By on June 24, 2015

Paffard Woods

1.5 miles; stonington, ct

this was a short but fun walk with a friend on this avalonia property. lots to look at including a gorgeous little brook, interesting rock formations, and wildflowers. i had hoped to visit this property last february on snowshoes, but the parking lot looked pretty dicey to me, and i didn’t want to get myself stuck, so i passed. i’m kind of glad i waited, though.

cool twisted tree

cool twisted tree

there were a couple of very interesting glacial erratics, but this one was fascinating. not only did it have this oddly twisted birch growing out of one side, but there was a big old oak tree on the other side that looked like it was trying to swallow the boulder.

Round-leaved Pyrola Pyrola americana

Round-leaved Pyrola
Pyrola americana

it took me a while to find out the name of this wildflower. it looks a lot like the flowers of striped pippsisewa, but the leaves are not the same. it’s related, though.

indian cucumber root

indian cucumber root

i am told that this plant got its name because the root tastes something like cucumber [ed. duh]. i would rather not test it out, however, as that’s a good way to kill the plant [ed. double-duh].

i have added this hike to the hikefindertrailheadtrail map, courtesy avalonia land conservancy.

Walkabout Trail

Posted By on June 20, 2015

Walkabout Trail

8.5 miles; burrillville and glocester, ri

if you don’t know the story of the walkabout trail, it’s a good one. from the new england mountain bike association:

In 1965, Australian soldiers from the Royal Autralian Navy were stuck in Rhode Island, waiting for their brand new missile destroyer. So how does one amuse 300 soldiers for six weeks? The Division of Forests of Rhode Island had a great idea: build an 8-mile walking trail through the park. So for 2 weeks at a time, soldiers went out into the New England “Outback” and cut trail from 8:30AM to 4:00 PM every day, followed by some swimming, rugby, horseshoes, softball, and steak-sampling on the barbie by the reservoir. Some enjoyed it so much, they requested to stay for several months. And in the end, the trail was named the “Walkabout Trail,” in honor of the Australian aborigine tradition of “going walkabout” from time to time, wandering through the bush with his family and meager belongings.

i walked it for the first time in april of 2013, and only did the 6-mile middle loop. today we walked the full 8-mile loop in all its glory. and we were rather thankful for the drought—there were spots along the trail that would have been underwater in regular years.

hemlock shelf fungus

hemlock shelf fungus

there were tons of hemlock shelf fungus. the trail weaves through several dense hemlock stands.

life is a path, indeed

sloganeer

life is, indeed, a path. it’s also a minestrone. now i have that earworm… dang.

the trail

the trail

this trail system is marked with 3 colors for the 3 loops: the 3-mile blue loop, the 6-mile red loop, and the orange 8-mile loop. the north-south trail also winds through these trails. we converged with it and parted with it several times.

dragonfly

dragonfly

we saw a few dragonflies, but tons of tiny toads and even tinier frogs. there was a swarm of them at one point. wait, is the collective noun for frogs “swarm?” let’s ask mr. google, shall we?

we ask mr. google

we ask mr. google

ah. so we saw an army of tiny little black frogs. seriously, these were the smallest frogs i’ve ever seen. they were no bigger than a pillbug. wish i had taken a photo…

a few laurels

a few laurels

parts of this trail were lush and jungle-like. and there were even a few last stands of laurels in bloom.

you can find the walkabout trail in the hikefindertrailheadtrail map, courtesy rhode island d.e.m.

Mountain Laurels on the Duval

Posted By on June 19, 2015

Mountain Laurels on the Duval

6.2 miles; s. kingstown, ri

so i decided to go back and do the entire hike we had originally planned to do on june 10. besides hoping the laurel blossoms hadn’t passed, i just needed to shake the dust off, and duval is good for working up a sweat. also, the laurels were ALLLLLMOST there today. so close.

right off polly's loop

right off polly’s loop

the best places to find laurels on this trail system are, well, the whole trail system. there are some spectacular stands right off the red-blazed polly’s rock loop trail, but really, they’re everywhere.

mountain laurels

mountain laurels

and more laurels

and more laurels

and again with the laurels

and again with the laurels

laurels panorama

laurels panorama (click to embiggen)

so really, if you’re reading this close to the posting date, you still have a chance to experience a dazzling display of mountain laurels at maximum bloom. i’d say they’re only a day or two from peak. get out there!

you can find the duval trail in the hikefindertrailheadAuntie’s trail map.

A Morning on the Breakheart & Shelter Trails

Posted By on June 17, 2015

A Morning on the Breakheart & Shelter Trails

7.2 miles; exeter, ri

i am not by nature a “morning person.” of course, this is like saying that mount everest is not, by nature, a valley. i really, really, don’t like getting up in the morning. but weirdly, i just kind of woke up this morning, and since i was up so early anyway, i thought why not go for a morning hike? so i did.

i parked at the frosty hollow youth fishing access pond in arcadia, and as i was getting my pack on and tying my shoes, a bald eagle shows up and starts fishing! he made 2 passes and caught something on his second pass. it all happened so fast that by the time i fumbled my phone out to take the photo, he was gone. off to have breakfast, i guess.

so i’m already thinking, “geez, i should get up early more often…”

morning sun on the trail

morning sun on the trail

it was a magical-seeming morning.

fallen laurel blossoms

fallen laurel blossoms

the trail was littered with fallen mountain laurel blossoms, like little white umbrellas.

falls north of breakheart pond

falls north of breakheart pond

even though new england, or at least our part of new england, is still technically in a drought (we’re about 6-inches shy of normal precipitation for this time of year), we did have a little rain recently, and the cascade on the breakheart brook north of the pond was in fine shape.

heart rock

heart rock

more magic—i’ve hiked this a bunch of times and never noticed this heart-shaped rock right in the middle of the trail.

shadow of a damsel fly

shadow of a damsel fly

just before i got to the first intersection with the shelter trail i happened upon a swarm of beautiful blue-and-black damselflies. they were too shy for me to catch a photo of one (or i was too impatient more likely), but i got this guy’s shadow through an oak leaf (lower right quarter of the photo).

partidgeberry flowers

partidgeberry flowers

partridges are pretty much gone from this part of new england, but the partridgeberries haven’t gotten the memo, i guess, because i came on several big patches in bloom with their dual flowerheads.

signs for the penny cutoff

signs for the penny cutoff

now when i say i’ve hiked this loop quite a few times before, i wasn’t quite accurate, because today i decided that instead of taking that first shelter trail intersection off of the breakheart trail, i’d rather continue on the breakheart and take the penny cutoff back to the shelter trail. it’s quite a novelty for me nowadays to find myself on a blazed trail in arcadia that i’ve never been on before. i’ve passed the penny cutoff often enough, but i’ve never hiked it. after this i can see why—it comes down from the top of a big damned hill. big hill. lotta ups.

you can find the breakheart-shelter loop in the hikefindertrailhead, Auntie’s trail map.

PCHC North-South Trail, Leg 4

Posted By on June 13, 2015

PCHC North-South Trail, Leg 4

8.4 miles; killingly, ct and foster, ri

another leg down! there was only about a mile and a half of this that was in the woods; the rest was all road walking. but they were very pretty, very scenic country roads for the most part, so it wasn’t too bad.

roadside shrine

border crossing

we started from pond road in killingly, connecticut, and traveled down a gravel road till we got to the border, here. the road became paved, and that was pretty much the rest of the trip, aside from one small section just before we got to route 6.

mysterious note

mysterious note

at one point we came across this puzzling note… what are we not to remove? the note? the string? the tree it’s attached to? a mystery…

guess this isn't running right now

guess this isn’t running right now

you just never know what you’re going to see when you walk down a rural road. this car had a bird’s nest on the hood, and it didn’t look as though it had just fallen there; it looked like it was constructed there.

unnamed pond

unnamed pond

this pretty little pond was next to the trail where it went through the woods for a short stretch. we heard bullfrogs.

laurels

laurels

also on that section of trail, we saw a few mountain laurels, but they were past their peak bloom.

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

Duval Trail

Posted By on June 10, 2015

Duval Trail

3.25 miles; s. kingstown, ri

this was a slightly curtailed “usual suspects” hike due to injury (not mine this time). we had hoped to see the mountain laurels in full bloom, but it’s still too early this close to the coast. we saw some fox scat and some sheep laurel, though.

fox scat

fox scat

sheep laurel

sheep laurel