Posted By auntie on September 20, 2014
8.08 miles, 2.6 mph; charlestown, ri
since i so handily knocked off over 8 miles last weekend, i figured it was time to give the vin gormley trail another shot. first time since i broke my ankle last summer that i’ve done the whole trail. i did it backwards from the way i usually walk it, with the 1-mile road walk at the end this time. never again! ugh, that repetitive motion and hard surface is so tiring right at the end of a long hike. but i did move pretty quickly, getting through the 8+ miles in 3-1/4 hours. i’m kind of in training for a long prudence island hike in october, so i’m looking for higher mileage hikes. vin gormley sure qualified!
this is the only map you’re going to find for the vin gormley trail online, at least until i get mine done. it’s posted on a big sign where the trail re-enters the woods from the campground.
the first 3/4 miles of this hike, going clockwise and starting at the beach parking lot off prosser trail in charlestown, is along a gravel road through a neighborhood of pond-side houses. after that point, it enters the kimball wildlife refuge and the woods for a very short stretch. but at just slightly under a mile, you cross a dirt road and enter the burlingame campground. the first time i hiked this i didn’t expect to come across playground equipment, and turned back thinking i’d gotten lost somehow. but no, you go from the wildlife refuge to the campground play area.
the next half mile or so you’re on paved campground roads. i’ve never come through here in the summertime when the campground is fully occupied, but even now, there were still some folks camping, and it was a little weird.
not very far past the point where you re-enter the woods from the campground, you come to the intersection of the vin gormley and the north-south trail, were it comes up from blue shutters beach in charlestown. you will follow the combination of yellow and blue blazes for over the next 3 miles.
this is the stretch of the trail where there are extensive boardwalks, some as new as this very month, and of course the covered bridge, which i “covered” in an earlier post. and more boardwalks. somewhere, too, along this stretch is the halfway mark.
after almost 4-1/2 miles, you come to another 1/4-mile stretch of road-walking, this time along buckeye brook road. it was here, along the side of the road and at the edge of the brook, that i saw these fox grapes. it was all very melancholy and autumnal looking, with the reddish blueberry foliage and the ripe grapes… and, yes, i did sample a grape, but only one. mmmm…. fox grapes!
once you re-enter the woods from buckeye brook road, you’re entering major mountain bike territory. there are lots of crossing trails, and you need to keep and eye out for the blue and yellow blazes. and yes, technically, the vin gormley trail is hikers-only; it’s even posted as such on the sign at the campground. but in reality, at least this section is a huge mountain biking destination. you will also need to keep an ear tuned for approaching bikes.
aside from its length, the vin gormley isn’t an especially strenuous hike—it’s basically flat. this is the only place on the trail where you’re required to do a teensy bit of rock climbing. it’s just past the point where the north-south trail diverges from the vin gormley. also, you’re very much in the wildlife management section of burlingame, and there is hunting allowed in here, so WEAR YOUR BLAZE ORANGE! at least during hunting season. it’s not a particularly stylish choice for general hiking, though to each his/her own, i guess.
for the next almost 2 miles, you’re still in the woods. it’s probably the prettiest section of the vin gormley, and again, i’d recommend doing it first, rather than the way i did it. once you’re past the 5-1/2 mile mark or so, it all starts to blend together.
you emerge from the woods for the last time at about the 7-mile mark at a little parking area on kings factory road. you will see this decrepit little beaver? maybe? stuck to a tree. i actually found this little guy by the side of the road while doing the 1-mile road-walking portion of this hike on an earlier trip and stuck him up on the tree on a protruding nail. i’m always amazed that he’s still there every time i come back. say hi for me if you go visit him.
as i said, the last (walking this clockwise) mile of this hike is on roads, and it’s just no fun to do at the end. get it out of the way first, and enjoy the rest of the hike.
i will revise this hike in the hikefinder, once i get some time to make a nice map.