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 exercise more quickly morphed into a hiking addiction. Below are some running totals.

  MILES TIME CALORIES
December 2017 0.00 0h 0m 0
Year-to-Date 551.53 275h 17m 63485
December Avg. 40.59 19h 31m 3939
FINAL BCT Mileage 222.73

Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 2

Posted By on October 27, 2017

Richard H. Goodwin Trail, Part 2

6.72 miles; East Lyme, CT

Finally, after nearly a year, I completed the Richard H. Goodwin Trail. This second section literally never left the woods, except to cross 1 paved road. It went mostly through the Nehantic State Forest, then across some private property (Yale Outdoor Education Center), and finally finished at the Darrow Pond Preserve in East Lyme. Super fun walk. Missed the dogs from Part 1, though. Oh, and the human they came with.

Confidence Blazes

Confidence Blazes

As was the case when Stacy and I walked it last December, the trail is blazed with these yellow-and-green logo signs. But they have added white rectangular blazes as well, so it works pretty much like the Bay Circuit Trail, with mostly white blazes and occasional “confidence” blazes with the logo on them.

The Day After Rain

The Day After Rain

I was on the trail the day after heavy rains in our area. I half expected to see no color, but it was still plenty colorful. And the smells were amazing. Wet woods, herb-y smells, musky deer smells, mushrooms, and I swear I smelled cinnamon, too. It was intoxicating.

Nehantic State Forest Signage

Nehantic State Forest Signage

Yes, there is hunting allowed in here, but I didn’t see a single person till almost the very end of the trail. It was quiet and peaceful. I couldn’t even hear any road noise for most of the hike.

Lion's Mane!

Lion’s Mane!

Found another Lion’s Mane mushroom, too, but this one was waaaaay over my head. And to be honest, it looked a little old to me.

Private Property

Private Property

Once the trail finally left the Nehantic State Forest it entered a stretch of private property. There was nothing more than this signage, nothing to indicate ownership, but I was curious enough that when I got home I checked, and it appears to be part of the Yale Outdoor Education Center. I didn’t see any of the fancy infrastructure mentioned on their web page, nor did I even see the lake. But there were plenty of blazed trails all through here, so I was happy about the white and “confidence” blazes of the Goodwin Trail.

Fungus Close-up

Fungus Close-up

There was actually a lot of fungi throughout this hike, but the only one I recognized that was edible was the out-of-reach Lion’s Mane. Although I understand you can make tea from Turkey Tails like the ones pictured. From the Mushroom Appreciation webpage on Turkey Tails:

The ubiquitous turkey tail is not a gourmet mushroom. You won’t see them on a five star menu sauteed with wild leeks. This species has one main claim to fame: as a medicinal mushroom. And a powerful one at that.

Huh. Who knew?

Beautiful Invasive

Beautiful [Invasive] Winged Euonymus, a.k.a. Burning Bush

I finished up this hike on the Darrow Pond Preserve in East Lyme, within hearing if not sight of Route 95. It was another glorious day for hiking in New England, with the warmth and blue skies we’ve been so spoiled with this fall.

See this Peter Marteka story in the Hartford Courant about Richard H. Goodwin Trail. The story includes a link to the complete trail map. Go to the CT DEEP website for info and maps of the Nehantic State Forest, and get a trail map of the Darrow Pond Preserve here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

Posted By on October 21, 2017

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

3.8 miles; Charlestown, RI

Today’s visit to Ninigret was organized by the “Take-A-Hike” group from Facebook. It was nice to see this gang again, and I had fun, but between yesterday’s and this morning’s hikes, my legs were beat. I plan on taking a little break from hiking in the next few days. It’s time to put the garden to bed.

On the Shore of Ninigret Pond

On the Shore of Ninigret Pond

The day was sparkling and clear, and it was perfect weather for meandering along the shore of Ninigret Pond.

Lovely Old Snag

Lovely Old Snag

We ambled down Charlietown Runway Trail to the little network of trails on the shore, and then headed off down the Cross Refuge Trail, the longest of the trails on refuge. This trail has become pretty woodsy in the five, no almost six years since I first hiked here.

Bittersweet Berries

Bittersweet Berries

The various bushes and shrubs and vines and trees here were all chock full of berries. You can see why the place is such a bird magnet.

Dead Horseshoe Crab

Dead Horseshoe Crab

Well, we weren’t exactly sure it was dead. But nobody wanted to, uh, touch it.

Perfect Autumn Trail

Perfect Autumn Trail

We ended up on the Foster Cove Loop and just look at how gorgeous this trail was. It was an entirely lovely hike.

You can find out more about the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, and get a trail map, here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Vin Gormley Trail & North Camp

Posted By on October 20, 2017

Vin Gormley Trail & North Camp

9.5 miles; Charlestown, RI

As has become a recurring theme on this blog, I really felt as though I needed a good bit of mileage today, so besides doing the 8-mile Vin Gormley trail, I added an extra mile and a half by visiting North Camp and the beach there. Foliage was looking pretty good, and the weather was perfect. It was a very nice day to hike.

Map

Map

This is the map at the “beginning” of the trail, which is at the end of the campground proper. I started at the beach area, so this came at about the 1 1/2 mile point for me. Still, it’s a great map.

Look up!

Look up!

I love to occasionally look up on these gorgeous fall days. Such a kaleidoscope of color.

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes

Um. Yeah. Okay, go ahead. Put Googly Eyes on logs. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Classic Covered Bridge

Classic Covered Bridge

Perfect day to get a good photo of the covered bridge.

Abandoned Campsite

Abandoned Campsite

North Camp was originally another section of the Burlingame Campground, but has been abandoned. There are still some crumbling buildings and many stones painted with site numbers.

Beach at North Camp

Beach at North Camp

Not sure why this spot was abandoned. There is a lovely, if small, beach here.

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

I have a hiking friend who takes the most beautiful photos, and as I was standing here at the beach, I asked myself, “WWJS?” That is, What Would Jen Shoot? This was the resulting photo. Thanks, Jen!

Bucky Beaver Trail Head

Bucky Beaver Trail Head

As I passed by the old “Bucky Beaver Trail Head,” I was happy to see that the tradition of a stuffed animal of some sort still kind of holds true. Someday I’m going to find another critter to put up there myself.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

 

Hurd State Park

Posted By on October 18, 2017

Hurd State Park

4.35 miles; East Hampton, CT

So I finished the Bay Circuit Trail. This left me in kind of a funk, and I was just looking through my “Hikes I’d Like to Do” list, and noticed this park. Looked interesting, and it was. But a word of warning: the official map is pretty much useless. Mountain bikers have taken the park over and blazed their own trails. You will find many more blaze colors than the ones on the map. Still, it was a pretty interesting hike, and the weather was ideal.

The River Walk Trail

The River Walk Trail

After parking out on Route 151 in East Hampton, where there is a large dirt parking area, I headed down the white-blazed trail to visit the red-blazed River Walk, the river in question being the Connecticut River. The trail plunges rather steeply down to the shore. Now, when I hike in Connecticut, the first thing I do after I’ve decided on a destination is to google the trail in conjunction with the name “Markteka.” Because Hartford Courant Nature columnist Peter Marteka has undoubtedly been there first and can tell you the features not to miss. He talked about both the River Walk and an intriguing-sounding stone jetty. Here’s Peter’s description:

The jetty is a lot of fun to walk along as you dodge huge piles of flotsam and giant trunks of trees that have floated downstream and gotten stranded. On one side of the jetty is the river; on the other, a small tidal cove. The views up and down the river are tremendous and any block makes a great place to picnic or just sit and watch the river flow past.

The Jetty

The Jetty

This feature was a little more “interesting” to negotiate than Peter’s description made it seem. The quarried blocks are fairly narrow and tilted every which way. And the flotsam became more and more difficult to negotiate as I went along, until at one point I just gave up and turned around. Still, it was a pretty cool spot. I kind of got the impression that this “jetty” was actually a built up river embankment, and the land behind the embankment eroded away to make the cove.

Channel Buoy #69

Channel Buoy #69

At one point on my jetty walk I came across a large chain coming from the river side of the blocks, and following the chain, saw this green channel buoy on the other side. Geez, that must have been some kind of flood that washed a chained channel buoy over the jetty…

Maiden Hair Fern

Maiden Hair Fern

This is such a lovely plant, and I’m always kind of surprised to find it growing wild. I won’t tell you what I’ve paid for it over the years to add to various gardens of mine.

Split Rock Vista

Split Rock Vista

At the end of the River Walk is the inevitable climb back up to the heights of this beautiful state park, and the views were worth the climb. Now I got to see the Connecticut River from a distance.

River View

River View

There were several boats cruising upriver while I watched, and the wakes sparkling in the sun were gorgeous. This is a great park and I highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance. I wouldn’t mind coming back for another visit myself, as there were several trails I didn’t really have time to explore.

You can read more about Hurd State Park, and view a (partially useless) trail map, at the CT DEEP website. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this hike and to download the GPS track.

Bay Circuit Trail Section 25

Posted By on October 13, 2017

Bay Circuit Trail Section 25

8.95 miles; Pembroke & Duxbury, MA

Alas, today was my last ever section of the BCT. It was almost entirely in Duxbury, and it was pretty fantastic. Duxbury managed to thread almost their entire part of the trail through conservation properties, so there was minimal road-walking. This section was a lot of fun, and very sad for me, since I’ve had such a wonderful time all spring and summer hiking this trail. I will very much miss it. Even the road-walking parts.

Signage

Signage

Duxbury had their own special branding for the BCT with this fancy sign. Also, the blazes weren’t the usual plastic rectangles nailed to the trees—they were painted on instead. It took me a little while to get used to this, but it was pretty consistent, so not too hard.

One of Several Ponds

One of Several Ponds

The trail passed along the shore of several lovely little ponds. This is a great time of year for photographing water, what with the leaf color and the blue, blue skies.

Her Sailing Days are Over

Her Sailing Days are Over

Saw this sorry little old boat in someone’s yard along one of the relatively infrequent stretches of road-walking. She looked so sad, and yet gaily festooned with weeds, as well.

Uh...

Uh…

I came across this nice pair of running shoes just past the point where I crossed Route 3. Abandoned or just waiting? How does this happen???

Another Pond

Another Pond

This was one of several ponds I saw walking through the Duxbury Town Forest. There’s quite an extensive trail network through here, and I saw quite a few people.

Not Impressed by Me

Not Impressed by Me

Also saw a deer. And as usual, you’ll have to kind of sort of squint to see her. She was not in the least impressed by me. I probably could have gotten closer.

The Last Cranberry Bog

The Last Cranberry Bog

As has been the case for a while now, there were lots of cranberry bogs along this section of the trail, and most of them seemed to still be in production, if the random cranberries I saw on the road are any indication (I’m imagining giant dump trucks so filled with cranberries that some come flying out). This was the final one I passed today. Sigh.

Nice Vignette

Nice Vignette

Just thought this was a pretty little vignette, with the old fence and the back-lit leaves. It wasn’t until I got the shot that I looked down and realized I was standing in poison ivy. D’OH!

Mile Marker

Mile Marker

Forty-two miles to Boston.

Kingston Bay Panorama (click to enlarginate)

Kingston Bay Panorama (click to enlarginate)

Done

Done

And finally, here it is. The terminus of the Bay Circuit Trail on the shore of Kingston Bay. With today’s hike, it came to 222.73 miles. And guess what? I get a pin!!!!

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

Bay Circuit Trail Section 24

Posted By on October 4, 2017

Bay Circuit Trail Section 24

10.17 miles; Hanson & Pembroke, MA

This was the penultimate section of my BCT hiking, which makes me very sad. This has been a fantastic adventure, and I don’t know what I’m going to do next, although there’s always the “Connecticut 400,” which is actually 825 miles of blue-blazed hiking trail. Hm. Something to think about.

Today’s section had a decent amount of road-walking in the middle, but a lot of non-road hiking, too. Lots of old cranberry bogs in this area. Tubb’s Meadow was especially interesting.

Cheerful Garage Doors

Cheerful Garage Doors

This started where I left off last week, naturally, at the Hanson Town Hall, and continued along the road for about 1/2 mile before turning into the Hanson Town Forest. Gotta say this was a wreck of a trail. There was a small meadow with a mown trail that was crisscrossed with lots of tiny little vines, maybe wild strawberry or wild raspberry, that kept tripping me up. I actually went flying one time. Then the trail turned into a section full of cut logs. Um, no. Since this part of the trail was just kind of a random detour anyway, I found a side trail and cut it short. Sorry BCT people, but this was not fun.

Old Cranberry Bogs (click to embiggify)

Old Cranberry Bog (click to embiggify)

This part of the BCT is lousy with old and still working cranberry bogs. I think the photo above is Andruk Bogs. Most of the old bogs are filled with red maple seedlings now, but the one working bog I skirted still had a few berries.

Great Sandy Bottom Pond

Great Sandy Bottom Pond

The BCT then spent a bit more time road walking, this time along the shore of Great Sandy Bottom Pond. It’s a lovely little lakeside neighborhood with lots of pretty cottages.

Gigantic Bolete

Gigantic Bolete

I came across a couple of absolutely gigantic bolete mushrooms along here. I mean, dinner-plate sized. HUUUUGGGGE. The BCT followed a powerline cut through here, then crossed a paved road. The Guide instructions were to

Walk to the far left side of the opening onto the street by the mail box. Cross Center St and enter the paved driveway briefly. In about 20 feet, step off onto the dirt path on the right. Please stay within the narrow corridor of marked path until you climb the hill as the public way closely skirts private property between two houses in this area.

Yeah. There were three mailboxes and three driveways and no blazes. I ended up passing through someone’s backyard and subsequently bushwhacking till I got back to the trail. This actually happened more than once on this section—the bushwhacking part, that is.

Brief View of Tubb's Meadow

Brief View of Tubb’s Meadow

Tubb’s Meadow is 125 acres of old bogs and a reservoir, and is really lovely. There isn’t much of a view, however, as the brush and small trees have really filled in. This was the only glimpse of water I got, actually.

Whoa! Unexpected Water Tower

Whoa! Unexpected Water Tower

You know how when you’re hiking, you pretty much focus on your feet, especially on bumpy mown trails with lumps and wet spots? I was doing that and when I finally looked up… Whoa. Tower. Where’d that come from???

Not much past the water tower, the Bay Circuit Trail splits into two trails, one that reaches the terminus via a northern route, and one that reaches that same terminus via a southern route. I kind of randomly chose the northern route.

You can read more about the Bay Circuit Trail here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.

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