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
October 2017 26.49 14h 7m 3896
Year-to-Date 466.67 228h 45m 50210
October Avg. 56.14 29h 3m 5387
FINAL BCT Mileage 222.73

Bay Circuit Trail Section 25

Posted By on October 13, 2017

Bay Circuit Trail Section 25

8.95 miles; Pembroke & Duxbury, MA

Alas, today was my last ever section of the BCT. It was almost entirely in Duxbury, and it was pretty fantastic. Duxbury managed to thread almost their entire part of the trail through conservation properties, so there was minimal road-walking. This section was a lot of fun, and very sad for me, since I’ve had such a wonderful time all spring and summer hiking this trail. I will very much miss it. Even the road-walking parts.

Signage

Signage

Duxbury had their own special branding for the BCT with this fancy sign. Also, the blazes weren’t the usual plastic rectangles nailed to the trees—they were painted on instead. It took me a little while to get used to this, but it was pretty consistent, so not too hard.

One of Several Ponds

One of Several Ponds

The trail passed along the shore of several lovely little ponds. This is a great time of year for photographing water, what with the leaf color and the blue, blue skies.

Her Sailing Days are Over

Her Sailing Days are Over

Saw this sorry little old boat in someone’s yard along one of the relatively infrequent stretches of road-walking. She looked so sad, and yet gaily festooned with weeds, as well.

Uh...

Uh…

I came across this nice pair of running shoes just past the point where I crossed Route 3. Abandoned or just waiting? How does this happen???

Another Pond

Another Pond

This was one of several ponds I saw walking through the Duxbury Town Forest. There’s quite an extensive trail network through here, and I saw quite a few people.

Not Impressed by Me

Not Impressed by Me

Also saw a deer. And as usual, you’ll have to kind of sort of squint to see her. She was not in the least impressed by me. I probably could have gotten closer.

The Last Cranberry Bog

The Last Cranberry Bog

As has been the case for a while now, there were lots of cranberry bogs along this section of the trail, and most of them seemed to still be in production, if the random cranberries I saw on the road are any indication (I’m imagining giant dump trucks so filled with cranberries that some come flying out). This was the final one I passed today. Sigh.

Nice Vignette

Nice Vignette

Just thought this was a pretty little vignette, with the old fence and the back-lit leaves. It wasn’t until I got the shot that I looked down and realized I was standing in poison ivy. D’OH!

Mile Marker

Mile Marker

Forty-two miles to Boston.

Kingston Bay Panorama (click to enlarginate)

Kingston Bay Panorama (click to enlarginate)

Done

Done

And finally, here it is. The terminus of the Bay Circuit Trail on the shore of Kingston Bay. With today’s hike, it came to 222.73 miles. And guess what? I get a pin!!!!

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

Bay Circuit Trail Section 24

Posted By on October 4, 2017

Bay Circuit Trail Section 24

10.17 miles; Hanson & Pembroke, MA

This was the penultimate section of my BCT hiking, which makes me very sad. This has been a fantastic adventure, and I don’t know what I’m going to do next, although there’s always the “Connecticut 400,” which is actually 825 miles of blue-blazed hiking trail. Hm. Something to think about.

Today’s section had a decent amount of road-walking in the middle, but a lot of non-road hiking, too. Lots of old cranberry bogs in this area. Tubb’s Meadow was especially interesting.

Cheerful Garage Doors

Cheerful Garage Doors

This started where I left off last week, naturally, at the Hanson Town Hall, and continued along the road for about 1/2 mile before turning into the Hanson Town Forest. Gotta say this was a wreck of a trail. There was a small meadow with a mown trail that was crisscrossed with lots of tiny little vines, maybe wild strawberry or wild raspberry, that kept tripping me up. I actually went flying one time. Then the trail turned into a section full of cut logs. Um, no. Since this part of the trail was just kind of a random detour anyway, I found a side trail and cut it short. Sorry BCT people, but this was not fun.

Old Cranberry Bogs (click to embiggify)

Old Cranberry Bog (click to embiggify)

This part of the BCT is lousy with old and still working cranberry bogs. I think the photo above is Andruk Bogs. Most of the old bogs are filled with red maple seedlings now, but the one working bog I skirted still had a few berries.

Great Sandy Bottom Pond

Great Sandy Bottom Pond

The BCT then spent a bit more time road walking, this time along the shore of Great Sandy Bottom Pond. It’s a lovely little lakeside neighborhood with lots of pretty cottages.

Gigantic Bolete

Gigantic Bolete

I came across a couple of absolutely gigantic bolete mushrooms along here. I mean, dinner-plate sized. HUUUUGGGGE. The BCT followed a powerline cut through here, then crossed a paved road. The Guide instructions were to

Walk to the far left side of the opening onto the street by the mail box. Cross Center St and enter the paved driveway briefly. In about 20 feet, step off onto the dirt path on the right. Please stay within the narrow corridor of marked path until you climb the hill as the public way closely skirts private property between two houses in this area.

Yeah. There were three mailboxes and three driveways and no blazes. I ended up passing through someone’s backyard and subsequently bushwhacking till I got back to the trail. This actually happened more than once on this section—the bushwhacking part, that is.

Brief View of Tubb's Meadow

Brief View of Tubb’s Meadow

Tubb’s Meadow is 125 acres of old bogs and a reservoir, and is really lovely. There isn’t much of a view, however, as the brush and small trees have really filled in. This was the only glimpse of water I got, actually.

Whoa! Unexpected Water Tower

Whoa! Unexpected Water Tower

You know how when you’re hiking, you pretty much focus on your feet, especially on bumpy mown trails with lumps and wet spots? I was doing that and when I finally looked up… Whoa. Tower. Where’d that come from???

Not much past the water tower, the Bay Circuit Trail splits into two trails, one that reaches the terminus via a northern route, and one that reaches that same terminus via a southern route. I kind of randomly chose the northern route.

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

Mushroom Hunt, Hell Hollow

Posted By on October 1, 2017

Mushroom Hunt, Hell Hollow

3.9 miles; Voluntown, CT

I was pretty desperate to find some mushrooms, particularly Hen-of-the-Woods, before they’re done, so I headed out to an area of the Pachaug where I remembered there has been some logging done recently, thinking that might be a good place to look. It wasn’t the best haul I’ve ever gotten, but not bad. I found a decent-sized Hen plus my first ever Lion’s Mane.

Evidence of Logging

Evidence of Logging

This hike starts at Hell Hollow Pond in Voluntown and follows the blue-blazed Pachaug Trail north to where the yellow-blazed Pachaug-Quinebaug Connector intersects it. It’s along this connector trail that most of the logging had been done.

Petroglyphs?

Petroglyphs?

The Quinebaug connector uh, connects up with the Quinebaug Trail at an old woods road called Flat Rock Road. It was on Flat Rock Road that I noticed this boulder that looked to have carved circles in it. Thought it was interesting.

Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane

It was just before I intersected Flat Rock Road that I found this Lion’s Mane fungus, up a bit over my head on a beech tree. Lion’s Manes are part of a large family called toothed fungi, and they are all very similar looking and they are all edible. I’ve never even seen one before irl, and I was very excited by this find.

Alas! Someone Else was Here First!

D’OH!

Then, finally, AHA! Oh, damn. I found a large oak with evidence of Hens, but someone else had gotten there first. You can see where the mushrooms were cut off at the base. Just out of a sense of desperation, I looked around the back of the tree and, lo and behold, there was one the Mystery Fungus Forager either missed or decided to leave till it got a little bigger. Oh, well, you snooze you lose.

Almost 1 3/4 lbs.

Almost 1 3/4 lbs.

Not a bad find. I can relax now and go back to just enjoying the woods now that I’ve found a Hen.

You can read more about the vast (825 miles at last count) network of blue-blazed trails throughout Connecticut at the website of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Be sure to check out the interactive map. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Bay Circuit Trail Section 23

Posted By on September 27, 2017

7.86 miles; East Bridgewater and Hanson, MA

Today I cracked 200 miles on the BCT and yet…sigh. Once again, this section included only a brief, albeit fascinating, hike in the woods and a ton of roads. Also sad because there are only 2 sections left. And what the heck is with this weather? Once again it was mid-80s and very humid. I think it was cooler in August.

Beautiful Color & Berries... But Don't Touch!

Beautiful Color & Berries… But Don’t Touch!

It was almost 3 miles into this section before I got off surface roads. This festive combination of poison ivy leaves and berries festooned a small wooden fence near a water supply station, where shortly afterward, the trail finally turned into a powerline cut, and from there into some woods, and emerged onto this boardwalk.

Lovely Long Boardwalk

Poor Meadow Brook Boardwalk

I will say this about the Bay Circuit Trail, there are hella long, beautiful boardwalks and bridges to traverse. This one was simply lovely to walk on.

Burrage Pond from the Indian Crossway

Burrage Pond from the Indian Crossway

Indian Crossway

Indian Crossway

The trail goes from the boardwalk to a powerline cut to Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area, where it skirts a working cranberry bog and then onto the Indian Crossway. According to the Guide for this section

A map of Hanson dated 1870 indicated the “Indian Crossway,” which was higher ground through the swamplands. It was reportedly a place of passage for Native Americans. Today it exists as a remnant of the dike system to control water levels in the growing of cranberries.

It was very interesting to walk on, but the dense vegetation on either side blocked any view of the swamps. I did hear a lot of startled wildlife to my left and right as I walked.

Right past the Indian Crossway the Guide indicates there is a trail gap, but I just kept walking, following the route that was on the Open Hiking map on my iPhone, and it brought me right out to Crooker Place, and alas, back to roads to finish today’s hike.

Just past Burrage Pond and as I began the final road walk, I had a bit of a wait while this T train whizzed by.

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

Hodge Pond, “Twin Oaks Farm”

Posted By on September 25, 2017

Hodge Pond, “Twin Oaks Farm”

5.06 miles; Voluntown, CT

This was supposed to be a mushroom-hunting hike, but there was nary a fungus to be seen except for some old gilled things of questionable edibility. So I also did a little exploring of the old cellar hole complex I call “Twin Oaks Farm” and took a side-trip down to Coal Pit Hill Road. Both very interesting. But the weather! One hardly expects to be hiking in mid-80 degree temps this late in September.

Twin Oaks

Twin Oaks

Why “Twin Oaks Farm”? I have no historical information whatsoever to give it that name, and I have no idea who farmed here once or what they called the place. I call it Twin Oaks because of these two big oaks that look like they flank a bar-way in the stone wall near the farmhouse cellar hole.

Well

Well

I found the wellhead this trip, too, not far from the farmhouse cellar hole. You can see the waypoint for it that I marked on the track, below.

Old Rusty Bits

Old Rusty Bits

And someone, or several someones, placed a lot of old rusty bits of metal on the stone wall near the well.

Possible Barn?

Possible Barn?

Across the gravel road from the farmhouse there is a large rectangular enclosure which, judging from the height of the walls, may have been the barn. Again, I have no particular expertise here, just guessing.

As I mentioned above, I also took a stroll south to Coal Pit Hill Road, just out of curiosity to see what it was like. The “trail,” actually an old woods or farm road, is heavily eroded by motorized vehicles, so it’s rocky in places and very wet in other places, but still passable. If I’d have had more time I would have headed east on Coal Pit Hill Road to where it is crossed by the Narragansett Trail. There is another large complex of cellar holes and stone work there, too. But I ran out of time.

There’s not a lot online about this part of the Pachaug State Forest. The best trail map you’ll find for this area is the one published by Great Swamp Press, which can be ordered through their website or, if you live locally, can be purchased at URE Outfitters in Hope Valley, RI. But call first to make sure they have the Pachaug one in stock. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

Narragansett Trail, Final Section

Posted By on September 23, 2017

Narragansett Trail, Final Section

4.87 miles, Hopkinton, RI

This last section hike of the Providence County Hiking Club of the Narragansett Trail consisted of the entire extant Rhode Island part, and went through the Yawgoog Scout Camp. It’s probably also the hardest hike in RI, including as it does the trails around Long and El Ponds in Hopkinton. Kicked our asses, that’s for sure.

Great Map

Great Map

At the trail head on Stubtown Road at Ashville Pond, we immediately noticed this fantastic Nature Conservancy map which showed some trails that none of us were previously aware of, including one that appeared to circumnavigate [the place where] Blue Pond [used to be], and another that paralleled Stubtown Road labeled “Table Rock Trail.”  Hm. Some more exploration is clearly called for.

Cranberries

Cranberries

We saw lots of wild cranberries. I also may have to come back and do a little foraging!

Tunnel of Laurels

Tunnel of Laurels

The initial part of this hike went through Camp Yawgoog, and all the trails through here are gorgeous. As I always say, lucky Boy Scouts.

View from Long Pond Overlook

View from Long Pond Overlook

I was kind of hoping we could skip the arduous climb up to the Long Pond overlook, but one of our hikers had never seen it, and if you’re gonna do all the work this stretch of trail entails, you have to see the overlook, so off we trooped. It’s really impressive and worth the climb.

The weather, as you can see from the above photo, was overcast and cool, until maybe 15 minutes after this photo was taken. Then, as if by magic, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out, and the temperature climbed up into the mid-80s. Not what you’d expect for the end of September.

And so concluded this year’s “long trail” hike with the Providence County Hiking Club. Next year, we’re hoping to do either the Warner Trail or maybe the proposed route of the East-West trail, which will theoretically run from the Tri-State marker to Diamond Hill in Cumberland RI. Stay tuned!

You can read more about the Narragansett Trail on its Wikipedia page. Here is my complete “Auntie” map of the trail. And as always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

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