Posted By auntie on April 12, 2014
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!
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
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.