Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Blog

Sorry to say that this blog is no longer updated. 

There is still a lot of good content here 
but I am now posting at 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Destruction Brook Woods, Dartmouth, MA - February 27, 2017

Whaling City Diner
It's our anniversary! On today's walk we celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary. Yep, 47 years ago, on a much colder February 27 that was
Wedding Day, 1970
tinged with snow, Nana and I walked down the aisle, said our vows and never looked back. It seems like yesterday that those two kids stood there, sometime you just gotta wonder where the time goes. On that day I was 20 years old and in the US Navy, Nana was 19, we were indeed just kids. Amazingly 47 years later, we are still awaiting maturity. So on this fine day we started out in New Bedford, Massachusetts at the Whaling City Diner right on  Purchase Street. Our life together started in this area as we lived just across the bridge in Fairhaven when we were first married. The Whaling City Diner did not disappoint, friendly service and great food at a very fair price. A pleasant surprise too, was the fact that diners apparently are far less busy during
Destruction Brook itself!
a weekday than they are on a Sunday morning. I like this
Maps are provided at the trailhead.
retirement thing. From the diner it was a short drive to Destruction Brook Woods in South Dartmouth. There was plenty of parking at this beautiful spot with fields and stone walls and a very obvious trailhead. There are many trails here. We started with the red trail, then to the  yellow trail to the blue trail, back to the yellow trail which reconnects to the red trail back to the parking area. Our hike was just over three and a half miles and we were on the trail for about an hour and a half. The trails here are well marked and the hiking was easy. This winter has given us some wonderfully warm days and we have not spent too many hiking in the
47 years later
snow. Today it was in the low fifties but very windy which kept us a bit bundled up. We only encountered a few others on the trail today, I am guessing because it was a weekday. The woods here
Well marked trails
are beautiful with a few signs of an early spring, like skunk cabbage poking up through the ground already. we enjoyed the wide trails and the easy walking as we could easily carry on our conversation and mostly walk side by side. Having the maps available at the trailhead was nice as we planned our route before setting out on the trail and were able to set our pace accordingly. I am sure that we will be back down in this area
Some old hippies must have
come before us
again, this is a nice trail to explore and there are still several miles of trails we have not traveled. All in all a nice way to spend an anniversary morning. . .

We never did find out what destruction happened here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Aquidneck Island - February 19, 2017

Mug Shot
This Sunday morning started off at Graziano;s 501 Cafe in Island Park on the northern tip of Aquidneck Island. We love this little cafe that sits right on the water's edge, good food and friendly service. We also discovered they have wings night..we will be back. A short trip down the island from here brought us to the famed Cliff Walk in Newport. This walk runs
Along Cliff Walk
behind all the mansions that were the summer houses of the wealthy at the turn of the century. Newport must have been quite a place back then. We found that the path was crowded and lacked any kind of toilet facility which became an issue as we walked. We abandoned the walk after a mile and a half and found comfort at the Audubon Nature Center on First Beach.  From here we made the three minute drive out to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown. Here the walking was much less crowded and the scenery
Walking the trail
more to our liking. We have hiked this two and a half mile trail in the past and this hike was just as nice as those that came before. The walk around this refuge is always filled with spectacular views and loads of wildlife. I am not great at recognizing and naming different species of birds but I know when there are birds that I have not seen before..or rarely seen. Lots of ducks I did not know. It is the serenity that I like here, even though
Looking toward Little Compton
this warm Sunday brought our the crowds, with full parking lots and such, we never felt that we were in a crowd. The sun was offer up a great sparkle on the water and provided warmth on our walk. I had brought along my drone hoping to get some good footage but the wind was up and I still don't feel as though I have the skills to fly in high wind. I did bring my camera though and took a couple of hundred photos, so not all photos in this entry are iPhone photos. As we walked around the trail we stopped from time to
Along the shore
time just to take in the views..this is such a stunning place, we are lucky to have this right in our back yard. We talked of coming back more frequently as we now have more time to do this sort of thing. It will be fun to watch the seasons change here and the different migrant birds as they come and go. This location sees a couple of Snowy Owls each year, we didn't see any but were told that they
Doesn't get any better than this. . .
are here. I did get some good shots of deer. There were several feeding in a field just off the trail. I had my long lens on the camera and got a few shots and decided to see if I could get closer. They ignored me almost completely as I approached and would just take a few steps away as I took a few steps in their
Pappa returning from shooting deer
direction. These deer are certainly used to people walking by. After a while, and a hundred photos later I just tired of taking pics and let them graze in peace. We wrapped up the day back in the car with a total of a bit over 4 miles of walking for the day. A nice Sunday indeed. Below are a few more photos.

Along the shore

West Island, Little Compton - 3 miles away

Beach stones
Not in the wild, but in a display case, stuffed, fooled ya...

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Windy Day - Colt Park, Bristol - February 16, 2017

Since we can now walk just about any day of the week these posts may come more frequently. Today we took a walk in Colt State park in Bristol, Rhode Island. Colt Park has been the site of many of our
Guardian Lion
family activities and a favorite place to go and toss Frisbees fly kites. Today though I don't think you could do either as the wind was up steady over 25 knots and small craft warning flags were flying. With the temps in the low 30's the wind was piercing. Colt State Park was the home of Samuel Colt, the nephew of the famous Sam Colt of the firearms trade. This Colt was a banker and
Colt Park Headquarters
farmer. Samuel Colt was the founder of the Industrial National Bank, the long standing and largest Bank in Rhode Island. This park was once his farm where he raised cattle and pigs and where the public was always invited. A more complete history of the park can be found here.  Carol and I mad our way from the parking lot just below the park office along the road and paths toward the stone bridge and the water. Walking was tough as the roadway had traffic and the path were still filled with
By the stone bridge.
snow. When we reached the stone bridge we met a lady, who was gracious enough to take a picture of us, but who had also just had a bad experience with a Park Ranger. The ranger threatened her with an $85 fine for not having her dogs on a leash. Now understand that is the rule, you must have your dogs on a leash. However beside this woman and us, there was no one else foolish enough to be out walking around in this cold wind. Here dogs were no threat to anyone. She was ripping mad and was heading
On the pier
to her car and said she was going to go back and give the ranger a piece of her mind. We hope it all turns out well for her, she seemed nice, mad, but nice. Once we left the stone bridge area our walk took us straight int the teeth of the wind. I put the chin strap down on my goofy hat, just in case. We walked over tho the fishing pier which we also
Sign about the boats
had to ourselves. Narragansett Bay was about as rough as I have ever seen it. The wind was doing it's job. Just next to the pier were a couple of signs with information about the bay islands and the kinds of boats that work the bay. There were no boats out there today. On our walk along the bay side of the park we were amused by birds (Brants, Canada Geese, Gulls and Pigeons) trying to take flight into the wind - all turned back. The wind
Snowy roadway
seemed to be increasing and the wind chill seemed to be dropping. We made our way down a long snow covered roadway back to the office parking lot and to the warmth of our car. Another good walk, and on a weekday, imagine that. The office
At the end of the walk.
area and parking lot were guarded by two large bronze Lions on top of the stone walls. This is indeed a lovely place

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Missing time

Nana and Kathy at Caratunk
A lot has happened since I last posted here. First off, Nanna and I have still been walking. We didn't miss a Sunday from our last post through early January. Nana retired on the first of the year and Pappa on the 13th of January. Yes, Nana and Pappa is now officially retired, so what you would expect is a lot more walking, but that isn' how it has developed, at least not yet. But let me get you all caught up first off.

Pappa at Parker Woodland
Back on November 6th we went to Caratunk with our friend Kathy and hiked the 2+ mile loop through the woods where we found a Hickory tree which I believe Kathy had never identified before. The following weekend, November 13th, after a breakfast at the Seaplane Diner (a favorite) Nana and I headed out to Greene Rhode Island and hiked Parker Woodland. This was a great 4 mile hike and I would recommend this walk to just about anyone, not too strenuous and lots of variety. We explored the old Vaughn Farm ruins.. very interesting. Easy to follow trail with lots of rocky outcroppings. The
Rehoboth State Forest
following weekend, November 20th we started the day at the KP Diner on RT 44 in Rehoboth and hiked the Rehoboth Forest. We had lived in Rehoboth for over 25 years, and it is where Nana grew up, but we had never hiked the forest. This was another easy
Hope Farm, Bristol
walk and only a little over two miles but plenty of a walk for the weekend before Thanksgiving. On December 4 we had breakfast at Green Eggs and Hame in Bristol and hiked the three mile loop around Hope Farm on the shore of Mount Hope Bay. This was a great walk which provided fantastic views of the bay. We even strayed off the trail and scrambled along the rocky shore for a while. There is a cottage there that apparently you can rent out.
Cumberland Monastery Trail
That would be fun. We are continually being surprised at what we can find within minutes of home. This is a very cool place that I am sure we will revisit in warmer weather so we can stick our feet in the water. The following weekend, December 11th we found J's Deli in Cumberland and headed for the Cumberland Monastery Trail. As a stupid side note, I was
Norman Bird Sanctuary
thinking that this was the Buddhist Temple just up the would think that at this advanced age I would know the difference between a Monastery and a Buddhist Temple... This too was a very good walking trail, wide and well marked with lots of dog walkers and there was a footrace going on as well. We got a free water at one of the water stops for the race. Parts of the trail were not very passable because of high water, and moving ice, but we made our way through. The weekend before Christmas we were at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown. This is a must do hike for anyone living in
Hunt Mills
Rhode Island. This day we saw several different kinds of birds and several deer grazing right next to the trail. Even though there is a fee - this hike is worth it.  Friday before Christmas we got in our Christmas Day hike as
Roger Williams Park, Christmas Day
we might be other wise occupied on Christmas Sunday. Hunt Mills, in East Providence, offers a variety of short walks along the river and around the old mill site, and as a bonus it is only a couple of miles from home.  We did make time Christmas afternoon to get in a short two mile walk around Roger Williams Park and had a great chat with our west coast family..cell phones are great. Although there were may people in the park it felt as though we had it to ourselves. The weather was crisp and Nana dressed for the occasion. On December 30th we found ourselves in Cromwell, Connecticut hiking up a very steep hill in a bit of a
Green Hill Mountain Loop, Cromwell
snow squall. We got away for the weekend to celebrate the coming year and found this great hiking spot thanks to our hiking app - did I mention how helpful phones can be. Once we got to the top of Green Hill the view was spectacular, but coming and going was a bit dicey..steep up, steep down and well worth the effort. The next day, we were still in Connecticut, we went to the Mark Twain house which I would recommend to everyone, yes everyone..what a great man he was and the house tour give particularly good insight into his life. On the way home from
Beaver sign, Browning Mill Pond
Connecticut we stopped in Exeter, Rhode Island for our New Years Eve walk around Browning Mill Pond. Even though we have done this before it is always a satisfying walk. The terrain is varied and it has really good views through the forest and around the pond. We discovered a spot where beaver had been at work. This is another of those walks that everyone should do, as it is very easy access and not too long or strenuous. On January 15th, just two days after my retirement and the day before our big trip south we went to Taunton,
Boyden Wildlife Refuge, Taunton MA
Massachusetts and hiked the Boyden Wildlife Refuge. We did almost two miles and again a pretty cool place, but it was in need of some repair as some of the trails had deteriorated and a few were even closed and inaccessible. We still had fun, and we had another excuse to stop at the KP Diner in Rehoboth. So this pretty well brings us up to the point of the 'Road Trip' - we did a long drive south to visit friend and to explore - that experience can be found by clicking this LINK.
So now that we are caught up with what happened before the road trip, here is a brief few lines about our Valentine's Day hike yesterday in Lincoln Woods. We hiked the road loop around Olney Pond as
Broadway Diner, East Providence
it was cleared of the snow..we have had several inches (maybe about 18 - 20 inches in Lincoln Woods) over the past week. The park crew had plowed the road around the pond, a 2.5 mile loop, so walking wasn't too bad, with only a few slippery spots.  We
Lots of snow
started the day at Broadway Diner, another local favorite, although yesterday they were not up to par... there was a toast issue... When we parked in Lincoln Woods, we parked right in front of some bird feeders and I had my camera with me so I got quite a few shots of woodpeckers, flickers, tufted titmouse, chickadees and several other birds.
Flicker in Lincoln Woods.
I will try to be more punctual in writing this blog, excused are fewer now that I am retired, so I will try and Nana and I are not longer confined to the weekend. Hopefully this year will bring lots of great hikes and new places. Happy New Year to all who take the time out of their busy lives to read these words. Nana and I appreciate all of our friends and wish everyone a happy and healthy 2017 and beyond. . .

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Catching Up

So it has been over a month since I last posted..we have been walking most Sundays, only missing one but I have been under the weather and maybe just a bit lazy as well so the posting of the blog has fallen behind.. so here goes

October 30, 2016 - Miller Brook Conservation Area

Kathy's Coffee Shop, Westport
Our morning started at Kathy's Coffee Shop in Westport, breakfast was great, good toast, and friendly service. A good start to the day. After a ten minute drive we arrived at a parking area on Copicut Road and started our hike off into the woods. This is a highly recommended place for an easy walk and you can determine the length. This day we walked about two and a half miles..although there was some disagreement about this as our apps that record our movement seemed to bot be confused.. I think about 2 and  a half miles.
Lots of stone walls.
We hiked through wonderful old growth trees and areas of stone walls that boggle the imagination. Once we made our way back to the car we crossed over the road and went and explored the reservoir, which to our eyes seemed very low with lots of exposed rocks. A great place to explore. Back to the can and home in time to watch the Patriots.
A short Movie is below

November 6, 2016 - Caratunk, Seekonk

Carol and Kathy at Caratunk
Our dear friend Kathy joined us this morning and after a great breakfast at a local diner we headed to Seekonk, MA (10 minuted from our house) and had a  very pleasant 2 mile walk. This is our favorite 'close by' walk. It is not too long, and since we were all feeling a bit under the weather it fit the bill just nicely.
We seemed to have the place to our selves and hikes several of the trail making a large loop around the perimeter of the preserve. There were a variety of plants and although the area is know for the birdwatching... I don't think we ever saw a single bird on this trip. In the final mile of the walk we came upon a stand of Hickory trees and the nuts were easy picking. I thin this was the first time Kathy had seen a Hickory nut so of course I had to mess with them with my knife and I stained just about everything. . .
Hickory Nuts
When I was a kid growing up we had a huge Hickory tree in our back yard and we always gathered several bushels of nuts and let them dry out so we could feed the squirrels all winter long. When we returned to the parking lot it was completely full. It seems that we were not the only ones to go hiking that day.

November 13, 2016 - Parker Woodland

At the Seaplane Diner
 This day we started off at one of my favorite actual Diners in Rhode Island, the Seaplane Diner on Allen's Avenue in Providence. This is a typical spot for my friend Kathy and I to go sketching when the weather is too cold or too dark because of the early hours we keep, but this time it is where we started our hiking day. Being Sunday it was not the same crowd that I normally see there. This time the service and the food only qualified as adequate..maybe weekdays are better. From Providence we drove out to Coventry and the George B. Parker Woodlands. Another fantastic spot in Rhode Island that we had never heard of.
Along the trail
The trail here varied from narrow and un even with some climbing to dead flat wide walking trails, and it seemed a very popular place as we met quite a few folks along the trail. I am always impressed with the amount of stone here in New England. Being raised in Illinois we had neither many hills and almost no stone in the ground..this landscape is a treat for me.. 
A split rock.
The weather has been very cooperative this fall, as we have had almost no rainy Sundays and yet we have been having rain during the weeks.  Well into the woods we came upon the Vaughn Farm. A homestead site that dated back to 1750 when the Vaughn family first settled here.  Carol and I explored the site which was well 
Carol explores the foundation
marked and well documented. It was also in these woods that we came across an area where there was over 120 cairns that one one could explain. These large stacks of rock were scattered across the hillside and some were quite large in the 4 to 6 foot high range. A lot of speculation surrounds the apparently..some think the Phoenicians built them, some think native Americans..and of it could have been those pesky little green aliens that we hear about and never see.  There was a couple of beautiful streams and some wooden raised platforms and bridges.. a variety of things along this trail. Another two and a half mile walk. Lovely.
The final past back
Another of those unknown spots that could become a favorite. Such a wide variety of terrain. 
Cairn Field - so strange

The photo on the right is the area where the cairns were. It is such a strange place to stumble upon way out in the woods.

November 20, 2016 - Rehoboth State Forest

At the KP Grille
The KP Diner as we have always known it is a great stop on Route 44 in Rehoboth Massachusetts - our old hometown. Carol and I lived in Rehoboth for over 25 years and it is the town that Carol grew up as a child. In all that time we had never heard of the Rehoboth State Forest. After finishing up at the diner -- which we both recommend - we headed to the forest to explore. This was another of those Sundays that we felt a little pressure because of outside forces like, say, the Patriots. We found the parking area just fine and headed down the path.
We never knew...
The map on the signpost only shows a very short path but I think we could have walked much farther as the were many unmarked paths through the woods. We hiked both the Cedar swamp trail and the Pine Loop and even found a freshly blazed (yellow) trail that wasn't on any map but it brought us back to our parking area. The trail is wide and easy walking in most places. The cedar swamp is beautiful with tall straight cedars and a good mix of rock walls and even a bridge across a brook. The Pine Loop is nice as well and although the marked trails aren't too long it is still a very pretty walk.
Our cairn
In one area of tall pines Nana and I decided to make our own cairn. This is something we first did when we were cruising the North Channel in Canada during our Great Loop in 1999. That area had lots of cairns on the little islands we stopped at. So now the Rehoboth Forest has a new cairn, at least until something knocks it down.
Rehoboth Forest

So I think we are all caught up. We did no hiking last weekend, November 27,  as Nana was out of town with the grandkids, but as I write this we are planning a hike for tomorrow and we will see what that brings.