Stewart Hill Preserve

Posted By on October 13, 2016

Stewart Hill Preserve

1.66 miles; North Stonington, CT

Normally I wouldn’t bother with such a short trail system. Less than 2 miles? Pfft. However, I was prompted to explore this small North Stonington preserve by a newspaper article about a trail being added here to connect with the Narragansett Trail.

The Stewart Hill Preserve Trail, opened last summer, has been approved to connect with the state’s Narragansett Trail, the Conservation Commission announced this month.

Cutting the short two-tenths of a mile spur was much easier than officials originally thought, Conservation Commission Chairman William Ricker said. Having mapped the closed connection between the trails by GPS, Ricker and a Voluntown forest ranger discovered a 150-year-old wagon trail that cut between the trails, and directly followed its path.

“There were deep ruts because the wagons had cut through the soil … it was well pronounced,” Ricker said.

Of course, “trail” is rather too grand a designation for the routes on this property, a trail being, in my mind, “someplace people walk.” This hike was more like bushwhacking from blaze to blaze. I don’t think anybody uses this place! Also, about a zillion little turns (see town map), all blazed blue. Eesh. Hard to figure out.

Trails (Click to embiginate)

Trails (Click to embiginate)

I have assembled a map using my favorite new technique, a JPEG image overlaid on Google Earth, to show my rambles. I never found the connecting trail, although I did find the Narragansett Trail. It couldn’t be as obvious as they describe in the article. Or maybe I’m just shit at finding my way through the woods?

The Narragansett Trail

The Narragansett Trail

Can’t be too bad at forest navigation—I found the Narragansett Trail. See? Blue-blazes. There’s proof!

Rocket-fins on a Tree

Rocket-fins on a Tree

This is the strangest tree structure I’ve ever seen. It looks like rocket fins. There was a second tree on the property like this too. I was bamboozled! These trees were both quite dead, but still. Weird, huh?

Mass of Old Bittersweet Vines

Mass of Old Bittersweet Vines

There were also tons of old bittersweet vines. They make the most beautiful twisted wooden structures. I’d really love to collect a mess of these to make furniture or something.

Somebody Else Got Here First

Somebody Else Got Here First

There was a very, very large old dead log just covered with sulfur shelf mushrooms—a choice edible also known as chicken of the woods (Laetiporus) but obviously somebody got here first. Good on you, mystery mushroom dude/dudette!

Many More Mushrooms

Many More Mushrooms

There were also many, many more mushrooms everywhere. No idea what these are, and of course, there were lots of others I don’t know at all either.

I couldn’t find much on this property on line besides the information (and map) that was printed with the newspaper article, which is here. The preserve can be found in North Stonington, at approximately 300 Wyassup Road. There is a small grassy area across the street from the trail head, with a tiny little sign that says “Trail Parking.”

Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: