Posted By auntie on January 7, 2014
so it finally dawns on me that a thing that bloggers do at the end of one year and the beginning of the next is look back and make a listicle. so here is my listicle of my 10 favorite places i visited in 2013. it was kind of hard to pick my favorites because i wasn’t sure what criteria i should be using. prettiest locales? best days hiking? most unusual features? then i decided that it’s my blog, and if i want to mix and match criteria for my favorite hikes, i was just going to go ahead and do that. so here you go. for many and varied reasons, here were my faves.
10. crawley preserve, richmond, ri—this is a small but very pretty little gem in the wilds of richmond, ri. if you’re looking for a short, quick workout, this is the place to go. and the signage is amazing. i love me some good signage.
9. glacial park, ledyard, ct—another short one. it seems the least favorite of my most favorite hikes are the shorter ones. this place is a wonder to walk on, and i’m especially talking about the boulder field. it’s amazing. the trail literally hops from boulder to boulder. and when i was there, the swamp azalea was in bloom, and it was really beautiful.
8. amicalola falls stairway, dawsonville, ga—this place is sort of the “holy grail” for serious hikers and backpackers, as it is the start of the appalachian trail. i visited here while still recovering from my ankle break, so hiking the actual 8-mile approach trail to the appalachian trail was pretty much out of the question. but there is an amazing 425-step stairway that climbs up the falls, and i was pretty proud of myself for making it all the way down and all the way back. and i saw it at almost peak leaf season, too, so it was gorgeous to boot.
7. rock springs nature preserve, scotland, ct—rock springs is a preserve that is obviously very lovingly maintained. the stone benches are beyond a doubt the most elaborate and beautiful benches you will ever see.
6. pine log state forest, ebro, fl—the hubs and i visited florida in january of last year, just to go someplace where we could get out and exercise. he bikes and i hike. this was a fascinating 6-mile trip through a state forest that was literally replanted after clear cutting. the trees were all in rows! and i think they must do periodic burns to keep the undergrowth down, too. you could see evidence of burning everywhere. it was great fun, though not much of a workout, as you might imagine, what with being in florida. and i saw all kinds of different flora and fauna, like florida box turtles and saw palmettos.
5. arcadia, browning mill pond, roaring brook, exeter, ri—i’d been on sections of these trails many times, but i never combined them until this hike. it was a 7-1/2 mile odyssey through arcadia on a gorgeous day in march, and tons of fun.
4. tippecansett loop, hopkinton, ri—well, mostly hopkinton. if you want to get technical about it, this trail goes through exeter, ri, and voluntown, ct, too. it was the 2nd half of a trip down the tippecansett trail, the first half of which i had done earlier in the year. i got to see some interesting old cellar holes, and looped around beach pond. there are some wonderful trails south of beach pond, and i plan to explore more there in 2014. and there is still a small section of the tippecansett that i have yet to hike.
3. maxwell mays wildlife refuge, coventry, ri—an unexpectedly beautiful gem. lots to see, and the terrain is just challenging enough without being too much of a workout. i think this was the hike that most surprised me in 2013.
2. yawgoog scout reservation, hopkinton, ri—wow, lucky boy scouts. this property is amazing. lakes and woods and the camp itself… all fascinating and beautiful. and to think they only mostly use it in the summertime. it’s wonderful all year round.
1. green fall river gorge, voluntown, ct—this hike, while beautiful and challenging, was my favorite hike of the year because it was the first time i really felt “back.” i did things with my shaky, recovering ankle that i thought i couldn’t do, and it was so encouraging. it really gave me hope for the future. i’m really looking forward to 2014 and sharing some more amazing places with everyone. thanks for reading! and as always, you can find all of these hikes in my hikefinder.