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
December 2017 0.89 0h 36m 141
Year-to-Date 552.42 275h 53m 63626
December Avg. 40.59 19h 31m 3939
FINAL BCT Mileage 222.73

Ken Weber Conservation Area

Posted By on December 7, 2017

Ken Weber Conservation Area

.89 miles; Smithfield, RI

This property’s full title is “The Ken Weber Conservation Area at Cascade Brook.” And the cascade in question is very nice. A friend claims it’s the highest natural waterfall in RI. So, not very high, really. This is such a pretty place, if small. It’s a very nice tribute to Ken Weber, who did so much to promote hiking in RI.

Cascade

Cascade

You get several nice views of the cascade on this trail. You can see it from above and below, and from one side of the brook and the other.

Old Chimney

Old Chimney

There’s a nifty old chimney here, too. It’s not what you’d call especially historic; there’s a lot of concrete in the area. It’s still pretty cool-looking though.

Apple Orchard

Apple Orchard

The trail brushes up against the edge of an apple orchard. Not a surprise in Smithfield. I was also startled by a deer here, who was I guess startled by me.

Gorgeous Rock Formations

Gorgeous Rock Formations

There are some beautiful rock formations in here. It’s because of them that this short hike can’t be called an “Easy Walk.” There’s a bit of climbing, or at least clambering over some of those rock formations.

Signage

Signage

Here’s the big sign at the start of this short trail, which even includes a photo of Ken Weber. Very cool.

You can find out more about this property from the Town of Smithfield’s excellent website entitled “Seven Scenic Walks in Smithfield.” They include a link to a pdf version as well. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Shenipsit Trail, Section 2

Posted By on November 27, 2017

Shenipsit Trail, Section 2

9.3 miles; Glastonbury, CT

Another ball-buster (or should the expression in my case be ovary-buster?) of a hike, at least for me. Lots of ups and downs and I actually missed a turn and had to extend it more than I wanted to. Some great views, too, but the wind today was brutal at the overlooks.

Old New London Turnpike

Old New London Turnpike

This hike starts, naturally, where the last one left off, at Toll Gate Road in Glastonbury. Beyond the parking area, you find yourself on old concrete, which is all that’s left of an abandoned section of Route 2. I have previously explored this area in some detail here, so I won’t say much, except that there’s a very nice portajohn at the Glastonbury shooting range. Came in handy after my morning Dunkin’.

First Overlook

First Overlook

Once the Shenipsit leaves Old Route 2, it starts to climb. And climb. And climb. I was rewarded with a decent overlook, although I’m not sure of what, since as far as I can tell, I’m looking south here. Hartford is to the west of me.

Waterfall

Waterfall

About 4 miles into this walk there was a short, blue/white blazed spur trail that led to a pretty little waterfall.

Once past the waterfall, the trail then runs along the Flat Brook for about a mile and a quarter, with the brook being at the bottom of a steeply-cut valley, and the trail precariously following it partway up one of the steep slopes. This made for some not very fun walking. I kept thinking that it would be useful if my right leg was about 6 inches longer than my left…

Run-off Easements

Run-off Easements

At this point the Shenipsit enters McMansion-land. The trail emerges between two yards and into a bit of road-walking, then follows several run-off easements with these little catchment ponds and giant houses to either side. It’s a little weird but it’s only a short stretch, maybe 3/4s of a mile. Then a little more road-walking, maybe another half-mile, takes you back into the woods.

Um, What? Garnet Trail?

Um, What? Garnet Trail?

Where I encountered these signs. The Garnet Trail? Hey, Mr. Google, wtf is the Connecticut Garnet Trail?

Mr. Google: “The Connecticut Garnet Trail is designed to increase public understanding of local mineralogical and geological features.”

Um, okay. Can I see a map?

Mr. Google:

No, apparently I cannot, because the only maps available require specialized software to view. Alrighty-then. These signs were all along the blue-blazed trail here for quite a stretch, then they veered off to the right, and the Shenipsit kept going straight.

View of Hartford. Honest. Squint.

View of Hartford. Honest. Squint.

There were several amazing overlooks through this part of the hike, but I didn’t linger too long because the wind was punishing. Sure, I’ll use that as an excuse for not getting a very good shot of Hartford off in the distance.

Oh, and this is the point where I missed my turn back to my car. I was looking for the blue-and-white-blazed Gay City Connector trail. Missed it. Kept going for about another mile until I encountered the northern loop of the same blue-and-white-blazed trail which would eventually get me back to my car, but not for another mile and a half. Yeah, that’s an additional 2-1/2 miles further than I originally planned to hike. Why, you may ask, didn’t I just turn around? BECAUSE I DON’T BACKTRACK, THAT’S WHY. It’s a thing.

Interesting Rocks

Interesting Rocks

Speaking of geology, there were several places through this last part where the rock formations were intriguing. They looked like the very fat pages of a book.

Next section: Case Mountain Park. This place has been on my list of “Hikes I’d Like to Do” for quite some time. Should be interesting.

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.

UPDATE: See the pdf link in the comment below for a MASSIVE amount of information on the Connecticut Garnet Trail! Hat-tip to David Brierley of Story of the Yawgoog Trails!

Green Fall Gorge

Posted By on November 25, 2017

Green Fall Gorge

3.8 miles; Voluntown, CT

This hike was mostly to check out the new bridge installed by the CFPA. I expected it to go across the Green Fall River, but I was wrong; instead, it makes a particularly tough section of the trail along the eastern side of the river much less treacherous. I also ran into a quintet of hunting yahoos dragging the carcass of a 10-point buck down the gorge. Guess they never heard of field dressing?

Prints

Prints

This hike, if you start from the State Line marker on Green Fall/Camp Yawgoog Roads and go counterclockwise, starts with a longish road walk. It could be worse… it’s a dirt-road-walk, and I was not the only one walking on it this morning, judging by the fresh raccoon prints.

The new CFPA bridge

The new CFPA bridge

The new structure is just north of the Green Fall River crossing. Which, by the way, is still a treacherous collection of slippery logs, so the “adventure” has not been taken out of this hike entirely. It was right at the river crossing that I met the “intrepid” (if by intrepid, you mean slightly drunk) hunters. Yeah, I smelled beer as I walked by them. Because of them, I opted not to cross the river here, but continued up the west bank. There isn’t a real trail on this side, but it’s very navigable, and eventually you intersect the road to the dam.

Plenty of Water

Plenty of Water

There had been rain earlier in the week, and there was plenty of water in the old peg mill sluiceway. Plenty of water in Peg Mill Brook itself, for that matter. There’s a spot where the trail crosses the brook, and 99% of the time it’s a very easy crossing. This time the usual spot to cross was under water, so I will admit to having gotten a bit wet trying to find another way… just my right foot, though.

Not counting the road walk, the trail I took is actually the blue-blazed Narragansett Trail, which is maintained by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. 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.

Tryptophan Trot, Wolf Hill

Posted By on November 24, 2017

Tryptophan Trot, Wolf Hill

4 miles; Smithfield, RI

This was the annual PCHC post-Thanksgiving Day food coma hike, this year at Wolf Hill in Smithfield. It was pretty cold, but very clear and bright. We got great views from the old Boy Scout camp site vantage.

An Intrepid Group

An Intrepid Group

We had a small but intrepid group of hikers, and the weather, as I said, was clear and bright, if cold. We may have been moving somewhat sluggishly, as we’d all feasted the day before, but we moved nonetheless.

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial

Any trip to Wolf Hill should include the visit to the World War II Memorial, which is the site of a plane crash. Sad. One local man died, Second Lieutenant Saul Winsten of Pawtucket, RI, as well as two other airmen.

Old Boy Scout Camp

Old Boy Scout Camp

There is also the crumbling chimney of an old Boy Scout lodge atop the hill. This is where the great views can be found.

Yeah, Providence. Trust me.

Yeah, Providence. Trust me.

Funny, it’s much clearer in person. You can also see Narragansett Bay from up here.

This is a great little property, and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. You can find out more about Wolf Hill Forest Preserve and view a great map (EXCEPT THEY PUT NORTH FACING RIGHT!!!! GRRRR!!!!) here on the Explore RI website. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Shenipsit Trail, Section 1

Posted By on November 17, 2017

Shenipsit Trail, Section 1

11.7 miles; East Haddam and Glastonbury, CT

Whew. When I decided to start knocking off the CFPA’s blue-blazed trails as a follow-up to the Bay Circuit Trail, I knew it would probably be a bit harder. Which, in the case of the Shenipsit Trail, turns out to be a serious mis-underestimation. To start with, I had to abort my first attempt at this trail. When I tried to get a Lyft ride to the trailhead, I was declined by FOUR drivers before a fifth one agreed to pick me up. And although I had a general idea as to where the trail started, I naively assumed that there would be one of those iconic, oval-shaped blue signs to mark it, or at the very least, blazes clearly visible from the road. Wrong on both counts. There was no sign of a trail anywhere to be found, and I ultimately gave up and had the Lyft driver take me back to my car. I promptly drove back to where I thought the trail should be, and it still took me several very slow passes back and forth before I saw blue blazes deep in the woods. But by this time it was too late to start over again.

Take two, about a week later. I got a Lyft ride fairly promptly, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be dropped off. The trail itself was WAY harder than I anticipated, and took WAY longer. Still, it will be all the sweeter when I finish, right?

The Connecticut River from Great Hill Overlook

The trail begins at Gadpouch Road in East Haddam. There is a stretch of this road that becomes unpaved, and in that stretch there is a small pull-off. Opposite this pull-off is the actual, exact trailhead. Good luck finding it. And as if to introduce itself, the Shenipsit immediately begins to climb up a pretty steep hill, appropriately if unimaginatively named Great Hill. The views were spectacular.

Great Hill Pond from Great Hill Overlook

Great Hill Pond from Great Hill Overlook

If you look very carefully, you can see downtown Hartford in the distance, as well as the “Sleeping Giant.” This will prove to be a recurring theme on this trail.

Bridge

Bridge

From Great Hill, the trail followed a long ridge with occasional overlooks for about a mile and a half through the Meshomasic State Forest, which I am told is the second largest state forest in Connecticut, the Pachaug being the largest. It was full of unmarked side trails and lots of old woods roads, but the blue blazing was very clear and easy to follow.

Stone Walls

Stone Walls

While this traverse of the southern end of the Shenipsit took in a lot of the Meshomasic State Forest, thanks to my favorite nature columnist, Peter Marteka, I also know there is an abandoned Nike missile site in here, as well as several old reservoirs, and a planned re-route of the Shenipsit to avoid both crossing busy Route 2 and the 3-mile road-walking detour that currently exists to, well, avoid crossing Route 2. (Which is, by the way, pretty darned tedious.) What I’m saying here is that there’s a lot more of the Meshomasic to see, and someday I will be back to explore further.

There isn’t a lot of “official” or government information about the Meshomasic State Forest aside from some property line maps for hunters. But because it’s also a popular mountain-biking destination, the New England Mountain Biking Association, or NEMBA, has some detailed information and a nice hand-drawn map on their page. The Meshomasic even has its own hiking club, and you can view some detailed maps of the points of interest on their website, including a nice little loop trail that includes the missile site. Also, 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.

Turner Reservoir Loop

Posted By on November 15, 2017

Turner Reservoir Loop

3 miles; East Providence, RI and Seekonk, MA

The James V. Turner Reservoir in East Providence, Rhode Island, and Seekonk, Massachusetts, was constructed with the aid of federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds. Turner Reservoir was created in 1935 with the building of the Turner Dam, and the City of East Providence used it for their drinking water supply until the 1960s. Turner Reservoir is now open to the public for recreation. It is also part of the Ten Mile River Watershed, and my friend Marjorie is currently working on a book of “Easy Walks” in that watershed.

I met my friend Marjorie and her friend Dale to explore the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail, which circumnavigates the reservoir. This is a great little trail with lots to see. It’s quite the bird magnet, too. Beautiful day on the trail.

Reservoir Dam

Reservoir Dam

The dam here is quite a sight. It’s very large and very nicely maintained.

The Trail

The Trail

Marjorie, author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts and More Easy Walks in Massachusetts is a hiker and nature lover who is physically challenged but completely unwilling to give up the thing she loves, so she has made a sort of career of scoping out and describing “easy walks” for others in her situation, as well as mothers with kids, the elderly, and… you get the drift.

Ornamental Selfie

Ornamental Selfie

Part of the trail is actually on city roads, some of which are under construction right now, and a bit scary to navigate. This is a temporary situation.

We did come across a nicely-decorated little pine tree on our travels. I am a bit leery of using glass ornaments in the woods, however, and I wish that whoever did the decorating had used plastic instead. These glass ones inevitably get blown off and broken.

Stunning Late Color

Stunning Late Color

We were treated to the last of the late-fall color, too. The beech trees were on fire.

Signage

Signage

Here’s a shot of the informational sign at the trailhead, showing the trail route and describing some of the fish in the reservoir.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

You can find out more about the Turner Reservoir Loop Trail from the ExploreRI website. There’s a link there to a nice little map. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

%d bloggers like this: