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
October 2014 34.00 21h 47m 3698
Year-to-Date 351.73 197h 10m 38740
October 2013 15.73 7h 54m 1631
October 2012 77.67 33h 15m 7401

Erisman Woods and Babcock Ridge

Posted By on October 25, 2014

Erisman Woods and Babcock Ridge

1.3 miles; north stonington, ct

the avalonia land conservancy recently acquired two properties in north stonington, one through purchase and one as an inheritance. the purchase was babcock ridge, a parcel that runs along babcock road in north stonington opposite yet another great avalonia preserve, the henne property. the inheritance was erisman woods, bequeathed to avalonia by adele erisman, who passed away recently at the age of 104. the three parcels make one long swathe of open space which stretches from the shunock brook all the way up to reuteman road.

this past saturday avalonia hosted a guided walk and picnic on the combined erisman woods and babcock properties for members and donors, and because my garden club donated money towards the purchase of babcock ridge, i went along.

top of the ridge

top of the ridge

there is parking for maybe 3 cars at either end of the trail, and it is blazed with a bright blue. the erisman woods end is clear and a perfectly lovely stroll. the babcock ridge side is a little more of a work in progress. the property line between the two at the top of the ridge is marked by, what else in new england, a stone wall.

a great picnic spot

a great picnic spot

we stopped at this spot to have donuts and cider and wine and cheese. mm… cheese.

fungus shot

fungus shot

another fungus shot.

bruce fellman and a two-line salamander

bruce fellman and a two-line salamander

this hike was led, by the way, by bruce fellmen, a very knowledgeable and entertaining guide, a fellow blogger, and a fantastic wildlife photographer. i highly encourage you to visit his blog. and he told me to assure everyone that his hair is normally much more kempt.

i will add this hike to the hikefinder in the near future, and update this post when i do.

UPDATE: i have added a map of all three preserves (erisman woods, babcock ridge, and the henne preserve) to the hikefinder under erisman woods.

Pequot Trail, Southern End

Posted By on October 24, 2014

Pequot Trail, Southern End

9 miles; ledyard, ct

the connecticut forest and park association maintains 825 miles of trails in 96 towns in connecticut. i can now proudly say i’ve knocked off two of those trails for [drumroll please] about 25-3/4 miles! yay me. although, to be fair, i’ve also hiked some blue-blazed trails in other parts of the state, so, sure, make it about 35 miles. whoa. only 790 to go to complete the whole trail system.

i had hiked the northern half of the pequot trail in august of 2012 from route 2 in ledyard to route 165 in preston. i thought i vaguely remembered that hike was around 6 miles end-to-end. the cfpa website says the entire pequot trail is only 7.9 miles long total, so i thought i’d be a completist and go finish the rest of the trail and then maybe check out another small preserve i’d stumbled across earlier in the week. and since it was so short, i figured i could do it as an out-and-back.

well first of all, the earlier hike was 4.6 miles, not 6. so much for my memory. and second of all, the cfpa is wrong, the entire pequot trail is over 9 miles long. you can do the math, i’m sure. i ended up hiking 9 miles total round trip.

hallville pond

hallville pond

whinging aside, this was a really interesting hike. i parked right on the side of route 2 where lincoln park road dead-ends, and the first mile or so followed this road.

milton green park

the trail through milton green park

at the end of this road, the trail enters milton green park, and quickly turns onto a very nicely laid-out and maintained trail that was an eagle scout project. then it crosses rose hill road and enters the rose hill wildlife management area, where it stays for the next couple of miles. by the way, rose hill is not just a romantic name, it’s an actual hill. which i climbed. twice.

fresh blazing

fresh blazing

the majority of this section of the pequot trail is beautifully blazed, although there are a couple of spots where it gets a little dicey. the rose hill management area is gorgeous. until you enter the management area, you can continually hear the roar of traffic on route 2. once you turn into the woods, it’s peaceful and beautiful.

it's smaller in person

it’s smaller in person

the trail comes out of the wildlife management area onto thomas road, and then there’s another longish stretch of road-walking. this plaque and boulder is at the end of coachman pike. hm. smaller than i thought it would be in person. just before you come to the mashentucket pequot burial ground, the trail turns back into the woods. here you are cautioned several times to stay on the blazed trail, as this is private property.

trail heads down a driveway

trail heads down a driveway

upon emerging from the woods again, the trail enters, uh, somebody’s back yard. really. seriously. it continues down their driveway and onto coachman pike, where it takes a left and ends up at shewille road. it wasn’t bad enough that i had to walk through somebody’s yard, but because it was an out-and-back, i had to walk back into their yard to get back. weird.

fungus shot

fungus shot

but i did get to go back through the rose hill wildlife management area, too, so it was overall a win.

you can find pequot trail part 1 in the hikefinder. i will add this section in the near future and update this post when i do.

UPDATE: did the map and added this hike to the hikefinder. turns out, a lot of what i thought was the rose hill management area, wasn’t. not sure whose land it was, whether it is private property or not. if you do this hike, stay on the blazed trails as much as possible.

Two Short Hikes, One Long Brook

Posted By on October 20, 2014

Two Short Hikes, One Long Brook

3.6 miles; hopkinton, ri

today was my first monday in 6 weeks free (not counting holidays like columbus day and labor day), so i decided to celebrate by visiting two of my favorite places nearby, canonchet woods preserve and black farm.

interestingly, canonchet brook runs through both of these properties, even though they’re several miles apart. i think i crossed canonchet brook at least 6 times between these two short hikes.

canonchet brook map

canonchet brook map

they (the hopkinton land trust, in concert with the nature conservancy of rhode island) have added another short trail and done all the blazing on the canonchet woods property, and not incidentally they’ve put up some dynamite signage.

dark skies signage

dark skies signage

who knew that there was a “borderlands dark sky trail system?” i do know what they mean by dark sky, though. i remember seeing a satellite view of this part of new england taken at night (wish i could find it now), and it was the only swathe of darkness along the whole northeast corridor. i feel very lucky to live here.

leaves on the trail

leaves on the trail

you can tell we’re truly into deep autumn here in new england. that’s good news and bad news. the good news? temps are perfect for hiking, and we’re almost completely bug-free. the bad news? every rock, root, stump, and hole in the trail is now buried under a carpet of leaves. a colorful carpet, to be sure, but still a little treacherous.

cellarhole

cellarhole

the canonchet woods preserve is a ruin-lover’s paradise. there was obviously a large mill complex and/or farm here, and countless cellarholes and walls to attest to their presence. that line from the shelley poem, ozymandias, kept running through my mind: “look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair,” about the ravages of time and the impermanence of all human endeavor.

whew. melancholy. autumn does that to me, i guess.

steps down to the road

steps down to the road

speaking of works, i didn’t remember this from last time i was here, but i may have missed it. this is where the trail leaves the woods and continues along lawton foster road north—a very nice set of stairs. and you really need them, as the embankment on the side of the road is pretty steep.

the wood river

the wood river

after i left canonchet woods, i just had to go revisit black farm. this is the wood river. canonchet brook ends it long journey here.

former turtle eggs

former turtle eggs

i came across this beside the trail… an empty turtle’s nest. i hope this means the little guys hatched and made it to the river, and not that some enterprising raccoon or skunk found himself a feast one night…

you can find canonchet woods preserve and black farm in the hikefinder.

Mt. Monadnock, Pumpelly Trail

Posted By on October 18, 2014

Mt. Monadnock, Pumpelly Trail

4 miles; jaffrey, nh

the hubs and i decided to take a little mini-vacation to celebrate a) his birthday, b) our wedding anniversary, and c) the end of my temp job. we went to keene, new hampshire, to do a hike on mount monadnock and visit the famous keene pumpkin festival. if you’ve been following the news at all, you know how part of that turned out. but honestly, aside from getting a little whiff of tear gas, you would never have known that there was rioting going on a few blocks from where we were. we had a lovely time. and hey, now i can cross “get teargassed” off my bucket list.

as for our hike, i had climbed the main white-dot trail up to the summit of monadnock back when i was a teenager, at least twice, if not more times. but it’s been a long time since i was a teenager, and i probably picked the worst trail out of the 35 different ways to get to the summit to climb this time, the pumpelly trail.

it went along smoothly enough at first… climbing gradually and gently through spectacular foliage and glimpses of distant hills. i was congratulating myself on my excellent choice when suddenly [duhn, duhn, DUHN] the trail turned vertical, or almost, with massive rocks and roots and to make it extra-special, a rivulet of water running down, making everything nice and slippery. i sighed, hitched up my pants, and started to climb. and climb. and climb.

i made it almost to the top of this treacherous stretch, when i met the hubs coming down. (this is how we hike “together”—he takes off and is lost to sight almost immediately). i decided then and there that i was done with this trail, and turned around and followed him back down. it was just too tricksy, and i knew that once i got up there i’d have to come back down, and coming down is scarier than going up.

still, i’m glad we got out and it was a gorgeous day for a hike.

auntie on the mountain

auntie on the mountain

you can find trail info on mount monadnock (the third most-climbed mountain in the world) at the new hampshire state parks website. scroll down to the bottom of the page for the trail maps.

Hell Hollow

Posted By on October 13, 2014

Hell Hollow

7.6 miles; voluntown, ct

i had originally posted this hike as an event at the providence county hiking club, but only one other hiker turned up, making this a two-blogger hike. i could take the easy way out and outsource this entire post to my friend at trails and walks in ri, but i won’t. you can check his account at the link.

the trail

the trail

the foliage was beautiful, and the trail was still pretty clear of leaves. this was basically the same hike i did a few weeks ago, minus the side trip up to locke’s meadow pond.

coyote skeleton

coyote skeleton

adding to the spooky nature of hiking in hell hollow this close to halloween, we came across the skeleton of a coyote. at least, that was the consensus of several folks we both consulted afterwards. no indication of how he died.

spectacular color

spectacular color

we’ve had some really spectacular color this fall. i’m not sure if this is because of, or in spite of the drought.

fungus shot

fungus shot

some unidentified fungus.

you can find several hell hollow hikes in the hikefinder, under pachaug state forest.

Lyme Preserves

Posted By on October 12, 2014

Lyme Preserves

4 miles; lyme, ct

the town of lyme, connecticut, has a wealth of open space, with not only 2 state forests, but 20 (yes, two-oh) preserves of varying sizes owned by the lyme land trust. there’s one really nice swath of land that consists of 5 contiguous properties with a a trail system throughout all five preserves, and that’s the hike i had planned to do today.

unfortunately, i was unable to complete the hike i had intended due to, um, reasons. but i did manage get in a few miles. this is a beautiful and diverse landscape and it was at the peak of color. i really really must go back.

colorful foliage

colorful foliage

i don’t know what plant/shrub/tree this is, but the color was spectacular.

funnel spider web

funnel spider web

there were tons of these funnel spider webs all along the trails where they passed through some fields. tons. funnel spiders (i am told by mr. google) are nocturnal, and they lie in wait at the bottom of their holes for unsuspecting prey to stumble into their webs, and then they dash out of the hole and grab the prey and drag them back into the hole. i don’t know about you, but i’m gonna have nightmares for a while. thanks a lot, mr. google.

eight mile river

eight mile river

the jewett preserve runs along the banks of the eight mile river in lyme.

the trail

the trail

despite the leaves, the trail is pretty easy to see. i didn’t encounter any big hills, either, but then i didn’t get to as much of the property as i would have liked.

wildlife

wildlife

it was cool enough that this little guy barely moved when in came by. guess he’s getting the last of the sun before he heads for his den to nap the winter away.

i have added lyme preserves to the hikefinder.