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
April 2014 22.32 11h 58m 3107
Year-to-Date 84.55 46h 34m 10160
April 2013 56.18 24h 7m 8347
April 2012 44.11 17h 42m 4058

Saturdays by the Book #1: Browning Mill Pond & Tefft Hill Trails

Posted By on April 12, 2014

Saturdays by the Book #1: Browning Mill Pond & Tefft Hill Trails

4.85 miles, 2.4 mph

new blog feature! i have decided to walk some hikes in some of my favorite books on random saturdays. i’m calling it “saturdays by the book.” my first featured hike is from walks in the watershed, a nifty little pocket-sized pamphlet by charles f. hickox and elly heyder, and published by the wood-pawcatuck watershed association. you can buy it directly from them, and i’ve also seen it at ure outfitters in hope valley. it’s a small selection of hikes in southwestern rhode island and adjacent connecticut. there are 20 hikes described and mapped, and a few pages on some other, connecting trails. i chose hike #7 on page 13, “browning mill pond & tefft hill trails.”

now i’m not saying it’s a bad omen for future hikes in this series, but i somehow missed a turn, and didn’t do the exact hike in the book, even though that was my intention. i did get through almost all of the hike in the book…

the first part of the hike as described goes from the browning mill pond parking lot on arcadia road, around the pond, and then picks up part of the handicapped-accessible roaring brook trail. it passes by an abandoned fish hatchery, a dam, the remains of an old ccc lean-to, and a picnic pavilion. and that’s just on browning mill pond!

fish hatchery

fish hatchery

here is the fish hatchery. those little dots you see on the concrete spillway are basking painted turtles. the day was absolutely gorgeous; sunny and almost summertime warm, and with NO BUGS. it also turned out to be opening day of the fishing season in rhode island, but i left the anglers behind when i veered off from the roaring brook trail.

dam on browning mill pond

dam on browning mill pond

there was even a tent set up just past the dam, above. not sure whether they spent the night or got to the pond really, really early.

once you get past the roaring brook boardwalk, you take the yellow-blazed arcadia trail, which, through here, follows along roaring brook, crossing it twice. by the time you can hear the cars on route 95, you’re close to the intersection with tefft hill trail, the white-blazed crossover trail, and dawley park, which is a camping area that was cut in half by route 95. it’s still in use, though. there was what looked like a boy scout troop setting up tents when i went by.

the white-blazed crossover trail eventually intersects the yellow-blazed arcadia trail again, and picks up the blue blazes of the north-south trail as well, but only for a very short time. it was here, i think, that i got messed up. i continued to follow the white blazes of the crossover trail, when i think i should have continued down an unmarked path to pick up tefft hill trail again. instead, the crossover trail took me farther south than i would have come out, even intersecting the yell0w-blazed arcadia trail once again before coming out on k-g ranch road, which shortly merged into arcadia road. from there it was a short walk back to the car at browning mill pond.

i have to say, i think i like my little “detour” better than the hike as originally set out in walks in the watershed. you spend more time in the woods, whereas the original hike spends a lot of time on tefft hill trail, which is really a gravel road. but either way, this is an enjoyable hike. all the trails in arcadia are really well marked and maintained, thanks to the narragansett chapter of the amc. the trail around browning mill pond is a gem, and the part of the hike that follows the arcadia and the crossover trails feels less traveled than other parts of arcadia, which it perhaps is.

i can highly recommend hike #7 in walks in the watershed, no matter which way you do it.

Connors Farm Conservation Area

Posted By on April 10, 2014

Connors Farm Conservation Area

2.26 miles, 2 mph

connors farm was hike #2 of my day. this was very much a suburban park; for long stretches, it felt like you were walking in people’s back yards. but it was a lot of ups and downs and the geology was fascinating. nice spot.

excellent signage

excellent signage

the signage was excellent. and you know i had to visit the cave trail…

"cave"

“cave”

this whole area was filled with giant slabs of sedimentary rock that looked as though it had been all just tumbled together. it made for a lot of cool little “caves.”

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. the trail map that i’ve linked to is from the blog trails and walks in rhode island. the proprietor of that site took a photo of the trail map that is posted at the entrance. in fact, the same excellent little trail map is usefully posted at all the major trail intersections. there are also several entrances to this preserve. i used the connors farm drive entrance.

Stillwater Scenic Trail

Posted By on April 10, 2014

Stillwater Scenic Trail

2.3 miles, 2.8 mph

thought i’d knock a couple of walks off of my “hikes to do” list while i was in the smithfield area. stillwater scenic trail was my first stop. this is a simple out-and-back along an old railroad bed and it’s, well, scenic enough, if you’re not expecting broad vistas and idyllic landscapes. saw some swans, and the bridge under washington highway is cool. i parked at the capron road end, but there is also decent parking at the farnum pike end.

swan on stillwater pond

swan on stillwater pond

there was another swan, too, but i didn’t get a good shot of the 2 of them together.

washington highway bridge

washington highway bridge

it was cool walking under this bridge. it’s really quite artistic, with the 3 giant arches. i was a bit unnerved by the “danger: falling material” sign just before you go under the bridge, however.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder.

Biscuit City Preserve & Potter Wood

Posted By on April 6, 2014

Biscuit City Preserve & Potter Wood

1.73 miles, 1.5 mph

a leisurely stroll through some interesting old cellarholes and a well-kept suburban woodland. not much warmer today than yesterday, but at least the sun was shining! oh, and the deerticks were very active.

cellarhole

cellarhole

biscuit city, owned by the south kingstown land trust, is a fascinating site. according to the sklt website, well, i’ll just quote them:

The area dates back to when Native Americans and colonists used it for a water source due to the natural spring that is located on the site. Also there are many historic ruins which include the mill foundation, the water wheel pit, the cellar hole to the miller’s house, and a root cellar. The old spring house has been newly rennovated for safety reasons.

the root cellar has been walled in, presumably for safety reasons also. and there’s an old well.

large cellarhole

large cellarhole

the big cellar hole is really massive and the rock walls are beautiful.

springhouse

springhouse

the springhouse is almost magical-looking. it was also locked, and the windows were boarded up, so there was no way to see the spring inside.

since this is such a small property (barely 1/2 mile total trail mileage), my friend and i also visited the kingston improvement association’s property across biscuit city road, potter wood. the paths are very well maintained and marked, and it made for a very pleasant morning stroll.

i have added these properties to the hikefinder.

North South Trail Trek, Leg 3

Posted By on April 5, 2014

North South Trail Trek, Leg 3

9.32 miles, 2.5 mph

even though i cheated and caught a ride for a big section of this walk, i managed the most mileage since the accident last july. it was a cold day, but for the parts where i kept moving, it wasn’t bad. this is a very pretty section of the n-s trail, especially the section that is on the sand hill trail in arcadia and the last bit in nicholas farm management area.

roaring brook trail

roaring brook trail

this leg starts in arcadia management area, in the vicinity of browning mill pond. the first part goes along the roaring brook handicapped access trail, but quickly veers off onto the arcadia trail. it follows the arcadia trail to bald hill trail, an old woods road, to 165 and then from the west exeter baptist church, it picks up hargraves trail and then barber trail, both old woods roads. there is a swamp right at the intersection of barber trail and deion trail, and the wood frogs were just going crazy there. one lady called them “the ducky-sounding frogs.”

i think she’s right. they do sound kind of “ducky.”

after maybe a mile along barber road, it veers off into the prettiest pine woods on the sand hill trail, and from there it picks up the escoheag trail to the ben utter trail.

falls river from the ben utter trail

falls river from the ben utter trail

this is a very scenic section that follows the falls river up to stepstone falls, where i caught a ride to nicholas farm management area, after a stop along the way at the intersection of bailey pond road and hazard road. the organizers of the hike built 3 checkpoints in along the way, and since i was riding with them, we had to stop and make sure everyone who started out with us was still on the trail.

spencer's rocks on the moosup river

spencer’s rocks on the moosup river

the last bit through nicholas farm management area was also very lovely. after crossing the moosup river on an old trestle, and following the trestle trail for a while, it meanders back to follow the moosup river north to our meeting point on the plainfield pike in west greenwich. by the way? there was still ice in large patches on the trestle trail. ice! in april!

i have added this leg of the n-s trail trek to the hikefinder.

Narragansett Trail/Blue Pond Loop

Posted By on April 1, 2014

Narragansett Trail/Blue Pond Loop

4.12 miles, 2.2 mph

there’s a lotta road walking in this walk, but it’s worth it for the rest of the hike. this loop is part of david brierley’s “seven pond path,” but includes just three of the seven, starting at the long pond fishing area on canonchet road in hopkinton, ri.

ashville pond

ashville pond

the narragansett trail through here is beautiful. it goes through massive thickets of mountain laurel, by a series of impressive glacial erratics, and over a huge swath of granite ledge before ending up at an old, once-public swimming area on ashville pond (second of the seven ponds).

polypodia fern on a glacial erratic

polypodia fern on a glacial erratic

the massive glacial boulders along the trail are crowned with big masses of polypodia ferns.

catastrophic dam failure at blue pond

catastrophic dam failure at blue pond

the last of the ponds on this loop is pretty much not a pond anymore, since the dam gave way in 2010. but surprisingly, i guess because of the weekend’s rains, blue pond almost looks like a pond again.

blue pond looking almost pond-like

blue pond looking almost pond-like

it was a glorious day for a hike. i heard frogs for the first time right here, and saw my first mourning cloaks fluttering about. listen to the frogs:

kind of makes you feel spring is finally here. sorry i wasn’t quick enough to catch a shot of the mourning cloaks, but you can read about them here.

you can find this hike on my hikefinder page under “narragansett trail, ashville pond/blue pond loop.”