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
March 2017 20.24 9h 24m 1858
Year-to-Date 65.12 31h 0m 5900
March Avg. 47.10 20h 31m 4825

Handy Pond Conservation Area

Posted By on January 29, 2017

Handy Pond Conservation Area

3 miles; Lincoln, RI

Today’s PCHC hike was on a property I have been meaning to visit for a while. It’s a fairly newly expanded conservation area of around 300 acres in the town of Lincoln, RI. It’s a very lovely property, with lots of little hills and brooks, and Rochambeau Pond (there is no “Handy” pond—although I suppose you could argue that Rochambeau Pond is pretty handy).

Old Cemetery

Old Cemetery

There was a sign posted here at this old cemetery that it was being restored. Interesting, because the stones that were here were blank. I wonder if it is an old slave cemetery?

Power Line Cut

Power Line Cut

This was a fun hike because of all the rather short but steep ups-and-downs through here. I’m not sure what kind of glacial feature this is, but it varied the terrain immensely.

Power Lines, Again

Power Lines, Again

There aren’t a lot of trails that go directly under transmission towers… This is one, though.

Nearby Route 99

Nearby Route 99

As I’ve indicated with the arrow, above, there’s a green highway sign just barely visible through the trees that shows how close we are here to Route 99 which runs from Route 146 in Lincoln to Mendon Road in Woonsocket.

GPX track (click for details)

GPX track (click for details)

You can find out more about the Handy Pond Conservation Area from this post by fellow blogger/hiker Trails & Walks in RI. And as always, click the above map for details and to download the gpx file.

Cockaponset Trail Section 1

Posted By on January 27, 2017

Cockaponset Trail Section 1

5.6 miles; Haddam, CT

So one day I was poking around on the CFPA’s interactive hiking map, and I found this one blue-blazed trail that could be completed in two sections of approximately 7.5 miles each, and there were loop trails, so it didn’t have to be an out-and-back. Psyched! Another blue-blazed trail to add to the CFPA’s Challenge Hikes I could knock off quickly and by myself.

I did section 1 today, which was much shorter than I anticipated. Which means I’ll need a lot more time to do section 2. Can’t wait… it’s a beautiful trail. Loved it!

Trailhead

Trailhead

I parked at the trailhead on Beaver Meadow Road. This was a dicey proposition, as it turned out, because people FLY down this windy little country road, and the parking area, big enough for maybe 2 cars, is on a blind curve. I HIGHLY recommend, if you do this trail from this end, parking at the nearby Park and Ride lot right at the Route 9 exit. It’s only a short walk from there to the trailhead. A short, hair-raising walk…

The Trail

The Trail

The Cockaponset State Forest is the 2nd largest state forest in Connecticut, the largest being the Pachaug. And like the Pachaug, it’s in pieces-parts. I’ve hiked other sections of the Cockaponset, but never this part in Haddam.

The trail starts out through dense thickets of mountain laurel (the Connecticut State Flower). There was a somewhat dicey stream crossing, which I managed without getting soaked by some miracle, and there are some nice ups-and-downs.

Old Puffballs

Old Puffballs

A fungus shot! In January, no less.

Steps

Steps

According to this account by a hiking blogger at Connecticut Museum Quest (don’t ask), the CCC developed the northern part of this trail in the 1930s, and put in extensive stone work that is still in use today, nearly a century later. This first section is lousy with stone staircases. I took pictures of the first 5 or 6, but then I figured I had enough shots.

Cairns

Cairns

This section is also filled with many, many cairns. I really don’t understand the impulse. Is it an art project? Just an ego thing, like tagging or carving your initials in trees? What? I am firmly in the anti-cairn camp, and may have “accidentally” knocked a couple over with my hiking stick. By accident. But for some reason this one amused me, so it remained standing.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

You can find out more about the Cockaponset State Forest from the CT DEEP website, and more about the Cockaponset Trail from the CFPA’s website. And as always, click the above map for details and to download the gpx file.

Blackstone River Byway

Posted By on January 26, 2017

Blackstone River Byway

4.4 miles; Lincoln and Cumberland, RI

This hike has been on my radar for a while; a trail on the opposite bank of the Blackstone from the bike path. It was only meh. Partly built on an old landfill, the trails on this side are the provinance of dirt bikers and atvs, not hikers. Still, it was good to get one of my persistent itches scratched.

Dam

Albion Dam

Starting from the Bikeway parking area on School Street in Lincoln, I crossed the Albion Road bridge, taking this photo of the beautiful Albion Dam and the rushing river along the way. Immediately across the bridge, you come to an open forest gate, and that’s where I went in.

Nice View

Nice View

As I mentioned above, this hike doesn’t really have a lot to recommend it. A few pretty views of the river, maybe, although there are a lot of criss-crossing tracks through here, all made by motorized vehicles of some sort, dirt bikes or atvs. Maybe I just didn’t find the best ones.

Bike Path

Bike Path

The dirt tracks ultimately come out on a road, which connects to the Manville Hill Road bridge back over the river. A short stroll down New River Road takes you to the Bike Path.

Close-up of the Dam

Close-up of Albion Dam

And here is a close-up of the dam from the first photo. The river was really roaring along, and it was rather breathtaking to be so close.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

There really isn’t anything “official” to be found online about this trail, although there are plenty of unofficial accounts. Just google “Blackstone River Byway,” and you’ll see what I mean.

It Was Not to Be

Posted By on January 25, 2017

It Was Not to Be

3 miles; North Stonington, CT

A friend and I tried 3 times to get to the Narragansett Trail area that had the Native American stonework on it (see this post from June of 2014), and were frustrated 3 times, twice by the extremely swollen Yawbux Brook, and once by the poor blazing and trail-making of the Stewart Hill Preserve. Maybe next time…

Yawbux Brook

Yawbux Brook

This is a photo of Plan B. For our first try we followed the Narragansett Trail from Wyassup Lake Road, only to find the brook was so wide it looked like another attempt by beavers to make a new pond. This is normally a very easy stepping-stone type stream crossing. We’ve had some rain here in the last few days, but this seemed excessive, even for recent rains. So we backtracked and went further down Wyassup Lake Road to the old woods road that crosses the Narragansett Trail, only to be confronted by a real washout. This was way too deep to ford, and it was moving pretty fast.

Then I remembered we weren’t far at all from the Stewart Hill Preserve, where, supposedly, there is a connector to the Narragansett Trail. This turned out badly as well, since the trails were very muddy and slippery, and I still couldn’t easily find the connector trail. We gave up.

There's a Light...

There’s a Light…

Along the way, though, we saw this pink lantern hanging in a tree, and also in a tree…

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

A magnificent Pileated Woodpecker drilling a characteristically rectangular hole. He let me get pretty close before taking off, too.

Here is a map of our tracks, but I didn’t bother to put in a link. There’s really nothing to see here.

Tracks (no link)

Tracks (no link)

Paucamack Hill

Posted By on January 21, 2017

Paucamack Hill

5.44 miles; Exeter, RI

After the last very short hike, I really needed some mileage. I was also both a little tired of driving a long distance to hike, and of all of my local hikes. What to do?

Long careful study of the Great Swamp Press map of Arcadia revealed, amazingly, a big swath of this wildlife management area I was not familiar with, the Paucamack Hill area, which is the part of Arcadia south of the eastern end of Beach Pond, between routes 138 and 165.

I plotted a long hike with some unblazed trails that I’d never tried before, starting from the Roscoe Dexter parking area only to realize, belatedly, the drawback to hiking on unblazed trails. More often than not, there are no bridges. This proved to be problematic when I slipped off a rock mid-stream and got, well, pretty wet and a little banged up. Otherwise, fun hike.

View from Deep Pond Trail

View from Deep Pond Trail

I haven’t been on the Deep Pond Trail in ages, and I realized I kind of missed it. There are a lot of distant views out over the rolling hills, at least in the wintertime.

White Dot Trail

White Dot Trail

As much as I love the Great Swamp Press maps, I have found that in this particular part of Arcadia, there are a few trails that aren’t exactly accurately depicted. For example… white dot trail? Not on my map. But I did, again, have the Open Hiking Map on my phone, and I was able to find my way using this when the GSP map failed me.

Old Breached Dam

Old Breached Dam

Once I got soaked crossing what I think was Brushy Brook, I decided to cut my hike short and head back on the west branch of the Deep Pond Trail, but along the way to that trail I came across the remains of a dam which had obviously been breached, who knows how long ago. It was impressively large, and I kind of wondered if there was a large mill foundation in the area anywhere… maybe another trip would be warranted?

Blue Trail

Blue Trail

I’ve been hiking through the area immediately south of Beach Pond a few times before on both the Tippecansett Trail and the Deep Pond Trail, and I’ve noticed this blue-blazed trail and always wondered about it. Well, now I know. It heads east towards Deep Pond, and eventually hooks up with the white-blazed Deep Pond Trail. Not that you could tell that from any map I could find…

My Track (click for details and to download)

My Track (click for details and to download)

I also can’t find anything online that would enlighten anyone about Paucamack Hill, except that the word Paucamack, or Paucamuck, means something like “open or clear pond, or shallow pond” in some Native American language, probably Narragansett. The only map I can find of the trails in this area, not counting the Open Hiking Map (note, the one accessible online is nothing like the one I get on my iPhone app) is the old-fashioned paper map of the area published by the Great Swamp Press, and as I said, it’s not completely accurate. To be fair, its publication date is 2003, so, there’s that.

Shenipsit Trail & Dark Hollow Brook

Posted By on January 19, 2017

Shenipsit Trail & Dark Hollow Brook

1.89 miles; South Glastonbury, CT

This was another Peter Marteka-inspired hike (see this article in the Hartford Courant) in Glastonbury. And I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have the ovaries to go through the Dark Hollow Brook culverts under Route 2, so it ended up being a pretty short, albeit interesting, hike.

Pavement on Old Route 2

Pavement on Old Route 2

This hike starts on a dead-end road just to the north of Route 2, which is, in this part of the state, a 4-lane limited access highway. It follows the route of the old Route 2, before some dangerous curves were straightened. There is a long stretch of the old cement pavement with traction grooves. I was also following the blue blazes of the Shenipsit Trail, which passes through here.

Cement-henge

Cement-henge

This weird and sad-looking collection of cement piers is on the left a bit into the woods, just past the Glastonbury Gun Range. No idea what they originally supported.

Green Blazed "Shortcut" Trail

Green Blazed “Shortcut” Trail

After passing the cement pillars and crossing over an old stone highway bridge, you come to a green-blazed side trail on your right, which heads south to two massive culverts that carry Dark Hollow Brook underneath Route 2. They are also a shortcut on the Shenipsit Trail, which does a long road-walking detour to avoid crossing the highway.

Yeah, No.

Yeah, No.

Dark Hollow Brook was running quite briskly through the culverts, and I just didn’t fancy getting wet, or worse, slipping and falling under a highway with no cellphone reception (I am cursed with a vivid imagination). As a result, I didn’t get to see the whole second part of the hike as described in the article.

Shenipsit Sign

Shenipsit Sign

I must say, though, that the sight of the blue blazes marching away into the woods north of Route 2 was quite compelling. I really, really just wanted to keep walking. I was so inspired that I decided to plan a through-hike of the Shenipsit, using maybe Ubers to go from trailhead to trailhead.

My Track (click for details and to download)

My Track (click for details and to download)

As always, you can click the map, above, to see a detailed view and description of this hike. Also, I recommend you visit the Connecticut Forest & Park Association’s interactive map of all their blue-blazed hiking trails in the state. The Shenipsit Trail runs from East Haddam to Stafford Springs, approximately 50 miles.