Francis Carter Preserve

Posted By on January 27, 2019

Francis Carter Preserve

7 miles; Charlestown, RI

It’s amazing how fresh and new a familiar trail can seem when you start from a different trailhead and go in the opposite direction you usually do. And also, when the preserve’s custodians change the some of the colors of the blazes! I was able to get in a full 7 miles today by starting at the Kings Factory Road trailhead. Also too, the weather was delightful for the end of January.

Old Leaf Cluster

Old Leaf Cluster

So starting from the Kings Factory Road trailhead, the red trail skirts close to the Pawcatuck River and then swings into the grassland portion of the preserve. The gigantic field is bordered by interesting shrubs, including this plant. I thought at first it was old seed heads, but when I zoomed it I realized it looks like old clusters of leaves. No idea what it is.

Ponds Everywhere

Ponds Everywhere

There are ponds everywhere on the preserve because of the rain we had last week and the fact that the ground is frozen, at least a few inches down. Although I think this may be an actual pond. The yellow-blazed Grassland Trail is almost underwater here. Almost!

Tongue

Tongue

This preserve is frequented by pranksters, one of which ended up involving the Charlestown police (see this post where we saw some fake legs sticking out from under a boulder. Some genius actually called the police about it.) And there is the boulder with the stick and humorous note, and the homage to the Maxwell Mayes Preserve smoking frog… Which, I think, is what this is a photo of, except someone went to a LOT of trouble to carve an actual tongue out of wood and lodge it in the crack. Impressive, even for this place.

Lichen

Lichen

I took a similar photo of lichen on one of my earliest visits to this preserve. I won’t make you click over, here is the original photo:

Lichen

Lichen

This was from March 2012. Looking back, I have been on this preserve A TON of times!

Old Pump

Old Pump

And I’m sure I must have noticed this old pump at the Old Mill Road parking area at least once, but such is my aged brain that I don’t remember. It looks like you could actually use it to pump water.

You can find out more about the Francis Carter Preserve from this Nature Conservancy web page (scroll down about 1/2-way to find a link to the trail map.) Note there is a new map with NEW COLORS. Well, at least one new color. What WAS the red trail on the eastern end of the preserve is now an orange trail, and the new red trail is the one that starts at the far western end at the Kings Factory Road trailhead. [Ed. note: Also note that I’ve been spelling the name of this preserve wrong for going on 7 years.] As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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