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
August 2014 41.27 23h 2m 3832
Year-to-Date 255.69 142h 53m 29475
August 2013 0 0h 0m 0
August 2012 54.73 22h 42m 5126

Mattabesett Trail, Bluff Head & Lone Pine Trail

Posted By on August 19, 2014

Mattabesett Trail, Bluff Head & Lone Pine Trail

4.69 miles, 2 mph; durham, ct

this hike was great fun. it consists of a loop, part of which is the blue-blazed mattabesett trail, and a few side trails, including a red-and-blue-blazed trail named the lone pine trail. it starts from a parking area on route 77 in durham, and goes straight up the bluff. fortunately for me there was also a one-mile-long orange-and-blue blazed side trail that takes a gentler trip up the bluff. any way you get there, it’s worth the trip.

i was apprehensive about trying the mattabesett again after my two previous experiences, but i shouldn’t have been. this was more like my mount higby hike.  there were some awesome views.

scary sign

scary sign

if the connecticut forest and park association meant to frighten me with this sign… they, er, succeeded. although i saw the same sign on mount higby, and i have to say that was a lot scarier to actually hike than this trail was.

bluff head panorama, click to embiggen

bluff head panorama, click to embiggen

the view from the overlook atop the bluff was simply amazing. you can’t really tell from the panorama, but it was a full 180-degrees. gorgeous.

myer huber pond

myer huber pond

this is myer huber pond, and later on, i would be on the far shore, on the george etzel-meyer huber trail. and no, i don’t know why meyer and myer are spelled differently between the pond and the trail. but it is. or they are. whatever.

millipede

millipede

there were several of these guys on the trail. this one was being attended to by a bunch of ants, so i presumed it was dead. but they were huge and very scary looking… at least 4-inches long. mr. google tells me they’re millipedes, and totally harmless, but i didn’t know that at the time. oh, and this is also typical of the trail surface in many places. it wasn’t bad to walk on unless it was steeply downhill. then it acted like ball bearings. not kidding. my feet went out from under me several times, once resulting in a nasty wrench to my knee.

view of the bluff from the far side of the pond

view of the bluff from the far side of the pond

and here is myer-huber pond from ground level, on the blue-and-yellow blazed etzel-meyer trail.

um...?

um…?

the aforementioned etzel-meyer trail is fairly new. it wasn’t even on one of the maps of this trail system that i had downloaded. it travels for a short distance along route 77, which is a very busy road, and then takes a left back into the woods… here. really? i hesitated for quite a bit, but finally, not seeing any alternative, i took the left and went around this forbidding gate. sure enough, the blazes continued past here. weird.

i can highly recommend this hike. it’s well blazed, except for a short distance along the lone pine trail that goes through a suburban neighborhood, but even through there i was able to figure out where to go eventually by process of elimination. i have added it to the hikefinder. the map i have attached to that entry was originally downloaded from the ct forest and park association website, with my route and mileages added.

Copp Property

Posted By on August 17, 2014

Copp Property

3.5 miles, 2.5 mph; groton, ct

i quite randomly woke up at 6 am (you gotta understand, i am SOOO not a morning person), so i went for an early morning hike on this city of groton property. i found the trail map to be very confusing, and the blazing fitful, at best. there is a trail on the southern end of the property that’s labeled “dangerous ridge,” so i kind of skipped that specific section, but i got to try out the “rope assists” on the ledge trail and they were pretty tame compared to some of the climbing i did on the mattabesett trail without ropes. there were also some overlooks that would be better without leaves on the trees, and i missed the entire eastern section of trails, so i do plan to come back in the fall when the views will be better.

the trail

the trail

the terrain was kind of all over the place… partly meadows, partly deciduous woods, partly dense mountain laurel thickets, and partly rock ledges.

sign on buddington pond

sign on buddington pond

i visited the stone spillway that separates buddington pond from the groton reservoir. there were signs like above everywhere, even in the water.

ledge trail

ledge trail

this is approximately the spot where the yellow trail split into two. the left hand trail was the one labeled “dangerous ridge.” i chose to skip that and took the yellow-dotted spur trail instead.

rope assist

rope assist

when i saw the spots on the trail map that were marked “rope assist,” i envisioned steep rock climbs and going hand over hand. i figured if it was too hard i could always backtrack. but this was pretty tame. i’m not saying i didn’t take advantage of the rope, but i could have done the trail without it. this kind of makes me wonder if the “dangerous ledge” was really all that “dangerous.” next trip i think i’ll find out.

overlook

overlook

this overlook would be much more awesome if you could actually see anything. okay, if you look really hard, you can kind of see route 95 between the two foreground trees. still not impressive, though.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. the map on that entry is one i found online. there were way too many trails that i missed to try and make my own map. but i did add my track to the map.

West Hill Dam

Posted By on August 14, 2014

West Hill Dam

4.9 miles, 2.6 mph; uxbridge, ma

it was a beautiful day for a hike, sunny and cool. this was a very easy trail, mostly flat, mostly on old woods roads, and covered in pine needles. there were lots of runners and dog walkers out.

moon over the dam

moon over the dam

you can just barely make it out, but the moon was out over the dam. this is an army corps of engineers facility, like west thompson lake in connecticut. and like that property, this one is well maintained and well marked.

old mill race

old mill race

this dam is on the west river in uxbridge, massachusetts. i imagine there were lots of mills in the area to take advantage of the water power of the river, and i’m guessing this was the site of one of them. it looks like a channel for directing water.

the trail

the trail

this is mostly what the trail looked like, particularly the western part of the loop, southbound. straight, smooth, level and covered in pine needles. i was able to make pretty good time, for me.

the west river

the west river

ironically, you never really get to see the river from the woodland trail. this shot of the river is from the bridge that is part of the short road-walking segment of the trail at its northernmost point.

markers

markers

i didn’t notice anything going northbound, but on the southern leg of the trail you come upon a granite marker post with an “n” on one side, for northbridge, and a “u” on the other side for uxbridge. kinda cool.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder.

Cumberland Monastery

Posted By on August 10, 2014

Cumberland Monastery

3.75 miles, 2.5 mph; cumberland, ri

this is a nice enough place, but it’s a little hard to navigate if you try using the online map. the provided map is hard to read, and trails aren’t marked or blazed, so you never really know where you are. we’d still be there if not for my handy little gps app on my iPhone.

don't go here!

don’t go here!

my friend and i knew enough not to go here, however. what are they blasting? and why?

purple loosestrife

purple loosestrife

there were a lot of invasives on this property, too, including this lovely field of purple loosestrife, which is bad for wildlife because it crowds out native food sources.

old monastery building

old monastery building

i presume this is part of the old cistercian monastery, but who knows? i couldn’t find it on the map, and there is no signage.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder, but i have linked to the dicey online map. your mileage may vary. considerably!

Ankle Day Hike

Posted By on August 9, 2014

Ankle Day Hike

5 miles; 2.2 mph; exeter, ri

if you recall a couple of weeks ago i wanted to go out and complete the hike i started a year ago which was interrupted by a broken ankle, but circumstances got in the way and i was unable to do it. well, better late than never, because i completed it today, a year and 2 weeks later. the plan was to hike out the escoheag trail from the trailhead on escoheag hill road, then pick up the sand hill trail down to old ten rod road, and back up via the mount tom trail. it’s a great hike, but i will admit i was very nervous heading out.

the rock, a.k.a. “auntie's bane”

the rock, a.k.a. “auntie’s bane”

this is the rock i slipped off and broke my ankle in 3 places on july 26th, 2013. this time, just to be on the safe side, i scooched down it on my butt. i wasn’t taking any chances!

that trauma passed, i was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the hike.

weird fungus

weird fungus

shortly after “auntie’s bane,” i saw a log off to the side of the trail that was festooned with these weird humps. up close, it turned out to be many large clumps of this fungus, some sort of clavarioid or club fungus. never saw that many in one place.

"water" crossing

“water” crossing

this spot is typical of a lot of the water crossings i’ve been seeing in the woods lately—completely and totally dry. this is usually a pretty damp spot. not right now, however.

woods around sand hill trail

woods around sand hill trail

this is why i am so enamored of sand hill trail. it goes through a very old white pine forest, and the trail is a thick carpet of pine needles. it’s comfortable and soothing to walk on.

someone's lunch

someone’s lunch

every now and then while hiking you come across the evidence of nature “red in tooth and claw.” this poor bird was somebody’s lunch, its feathers scattered across the trail.

peak bagging, mount tom summit

peak bagging, mount tom summit

did a little peak bagging, too, while i was out. this is the “summit” of mount tom.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. you can find it under “ankle day hike.”

Mattabesett Trail, Seven Falls Section

Posted By on August 6, 2014

Mattabesett Trail, Seven Falls Section

2.5 miles, 2 mph; higganum, ct

not having learned my lesson from the previous day’s foray on the mattabesett, i decided to visit another short section of the same trail on the way home. i could almost out-source this entire post to the blogger at boxingthenet.

trail head

trail head

the trail head is at this small state park, the seven falls state park. it’s really little more than a rest stop with some picnic tables. and the “seven falls?” meh. not in this drought for sure.

again with the rock climbing

again with the rock climbing

and again, this is the climbingest trail! these folks never met a granite outcropping they didn’t immediately decide to go over. there was one that was so bad i couldn’t even find a foothold in reach, and glancing to the left, i noticed a distinct path that seemed to circle around the rock, so i was not the first to say “nope, not gonna do it. no how, no way.” sure enough, it met up with the blue blazes on the far side of the rock.

mica

mica

there was a lot of sparkly mica in the rocks on this trail.

view from the loop trail

view from the loop trail

the blue-blazed mattabesett follows a set of power lines for a stretch, i’m sure just to climb that big old granite outcropping you can see highlighted in the photo, above. the blue/yellow-blazed loop trail takes an easier route back.

i have added this hike to the hikefinder. the map in this entry is from etrailhead.net.