A Morning on the Breakheart & Shelter Trails

Posted By on June 17, 2015

A Morning on the Breakheart & Shelter Trails

7.2 miles; exeter, ri

i am not by nature a “morning person.” of course, this is like saying that mount everest is not, by nature, a valley. i really, really, don’t like getting up in the morning. but weirdly, i just kind of woke up this morning, and since i was up so early anyway, i thought why not go for a morning hike? so i did.

i parked at the frosty hollow youth fishing access pond in arcadia, and as i was getting my pack on and tying my shoes, a bald eagle shows up and starts fishing! he made 2 passes and caught something on his second pass. it all happened so fast that by the time i fumbled my phone out to take the photo, he was gone. off to have breakfast, i guess.

so i’m already thinking, “geez, i should get up early more often…”

morning sun on the trail

morning sun on the trail

it was a magical-seeming morning.

fallen laurel blossoms

fallen laurel blossoms

the trail was littered with fallen mountain laurel blossoms, like little white umbrellas.

falls north of breakheart pond

falls north of breakheart pond

even though new england, or at least our part of new england, is still technically in a drought (we’re about 6-inches shy of normal precipitation for this time of year), we did have a little rain recently, and the cascade on the breakheart brook north of the pond was in fine shape.

heart rock

heart rock

more magic—i’ve hiked this a bunch of times and never noticed this heart-shaped rock right in the middle of the trail.

shadow of a damsel fly

shadow of a damsel fly

just before i got to the first intersection with the shelter trail i happened upon a swarm of beautiful blue-and-black damselflies. they were too shy for me to catch a photo of one (or i was too impatient more likely), but i got this guy’s shadow through an oak leaf (lower right quarter of the photo).

partidgeberry flowers

partidgeberry flowers

partridges are pretty much gone from this part of new england, but the partridgeberries haven’t gotten the memo, i guess, because i came on several big patches in bloom with their dual flowerheads.

signs for the penny cutoff

signs for the penny cutoff

now when i say i’ve hiked this loop quite a few times before, i wasn’t quite accurate, because today i decided that instead of taking that first shelter trail intersection off of the breakheart trail, i’d rather continue on the breakheart and take the penny cutoff back to the shelter trail. it’s quite a novelty for me nowadays to find myself on a blazed trail in arcadia that i’ve never been on before. i’ve passed the penny cutoff often enough, but i’ve never hiked it. after this i can see why—it comes down from the top of a big damned hill. big hill. lotta ups.

you can find the breakheart-shelter loop in the hikefindertrailhead, Auntie’s trail map.

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