26th Annual N-S Trail Trek, Leg 3

Posted By on April 7, 2018

26th Annual N-S Trail Trek, Leg 3

16.76 miles; Richmond, Exeter, West Greenwich and Coventry, RI

Welp, I did it, I walked 17 miles (almost). I was one hurting puppy by the end, but I did it. This leg has some great stretches in it—Sand Hill Trail, the Ben Utter Trail, Stepstone Falls, Nicholas Farm—and one long-assed stretch of road-walking; almost 4 miles on Hazard Road in West Greenwich.

Blazes, Explained

Blazes, Explained

Here is one of the organizers helpfully explaining how blazes work. This was kind of a tongue-in-cheek presentation as he tried to do this same little show last leg, only to discover that a “go left” blaze, when turned upside down, is still a “go left” blaze.

Ginny Leslie Addresses the Bus

Ginny Leslie Addresses the Bus

And here is the organizer of the Trek, Ginny Leslie. She is also the virtual “mother” of the North-South Trail. Without her tireless efforts 26 years ago this trail would not exist. Thanks, Ginnie!

First Checkpoint

First Checkpoint

We started at Browning Mill Pond, where we finished up last time. The West Exeter church on Route 165 was our the first check-in point, 3 miles from the start. I felt pretty good!

More Massive Clearing

More Massive Clearing

As I mentioned above, this leg goes through some of my favorite parts of Arcadia. The Sand Hill Trail winds through a big white pine forest, which was hammered by the three or four nor’easters Rhode Island got. I saw MASSIVE old pine trees downed. And a massive job of clearing, which was done by the volunteers of the North-South Trail committee. And apparently they got into trouble with the state for signing their clearing efforts, which I think is kind of petty. I’m of the opinion that people should know who takes care of the trails we all love. I think most people just assume it’s the state that does this work, and guess what, folks, it TOTALLY isn’t—it’s all volunteers. Okay, rant over.

After Sand Hill Trail and the Ben Utter Trail and Stepstone Falls, I “hit” the 8 1/2 mile mid-point at the end of the old Pine Top Ski Area in more ways than one. It was right about here that stumbled and landed on a rock with my right knee. OUCH. I emailed my husband something along the lines of “kill me. kill me now.”

Fortunately after the initial agony, the pain subsided fairly quickly, and thoughts of bailing on this hike evaporated.

Interesting Blaze Placement

Interesting Blaze Placement

By the way, anyone who’s ever hiked this part of the North-South knows Pine Top can be kind of wet. Even in the dryest summer, Pine Top is wet, and this isn’t the middle of summer. I got a kick out of this blaze on a rock in the middle of a small pond which was the trail.

There were a total of 4 check-in points on this hike. The first was at the church, the second was at Stepstone Falls, the third was on Hazard Road, and the final one was just before the entrance to the Trestle Trail, which is an old rail trail that runs from Putnam, CT, to Coventry, RI (where it turns into the Washington Secondary Bike Path). Ginny offered to accompany me on the last stretch, for which I was very thankful, as it took my mind off the SHEER AGONY I was in at that point.

Moosup River in Nicholas Farm Management Area

Moosup River in Nicholas Farm Management Area

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some beautiful scenery in this stretch of the trail. Spencer Rock is the highlight, but the Moosup River is gorgeous almost everywhere you see it.

You can find out more about the North-South trail from this rather old and slightly link-rotty website called HTML Outdoors Planet. Also check out the great map collection available from the AMC Narragansett Chapter. There is also some very good info on “The Trek” website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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