Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Day - Carr's Pond

Karen's Kitchen, Esmond - Click Image for larger view
We did get off to an early start this morning and were at breakfast in Esmond, Rhode Island before 9:00 - this is early for us as you may know by reading this blog. The reason we were in this part of the state was because our grandson had a flying lesson, and I always get a camera rigged in the cockpit to record the fun. Karen's Kitchen was a clean and very friendly place and as you can see on the sign, the home of the Hot Wiener Omelet! I have never heard of a hot wiener omelet before but am a big fan of the Rhode Island Hot Wiener, also known as a New York System wiener. Our waiter was prompt and the coffee was good and of course I had to order the hot wiener omelet. It was just as I imagined, excellent - here'e the recipe - one wiener sliced finely mixed into the omelet and cooked up- I think there was some cheese and onions in the egg mix too - once the omelet is on the plate, it is covered with the meat sauce and
The Mug Shot
raw onion and of course celery salt. All the ingredients to make a great Rhode Island omelet. I told the waiter just how much I enjoyed the omelet and within minutes Karen herself came out and we had a nice long chat about the restaurant, apparent she is getting ready to retire and is selling the place, I hope the new owners keep the Hot Wiener Omelet on the menu. Once we finished up, we made our way toward the airport but had a few minutes to spare so Nana and I stopped in the Lincoln Mall, at Target's and picked up a few thing we needed for home. At the airport I got the camera gear delivered and made plans to drive to T F Greene Airport in Warwick where our grandson was landing for the first time. He is very familiar with take off and landing at the small North Central Airport and this was his first time at a large commercial airport with a very active tower. So Nana and I took off to see if we could find some place along the perimeter of the TF Green airport to video the landing. Most of the area along the outer fence was posted that you couldn't even stop, just keep moving, nothing to see here. . .  but we found a nice place that didn't have signs and parked and walked up the clearing to the fence to await the landing. we had been there about 20 minutes when the police arrived and the first words out of the officer's mouth was 'Are you ISIS?' - He was very thorough though it was obvious what we were doing there, and we almost missed the landing, and the good news is we didn't go to jail.
It was about a 15 minute ride down Route 95 to exit 6 and another 5 minutes to find the parking for the pond. I found this place using the AllTrails app on my phone and there seems to be miles of trails in this area. There was a hint of spring in the air, with little wind and temps in the 50's. We planned to walk around the pond and a quick glance at the app and we were off. Here is a word to pay attention to...a quick glance at a map could be less than helpful. What we thought would be a two mile hike turned into an an almost four mile hike. I thought I saw that the path continued around the pond but at the far end, over a mile into the walk, there was a (beaver?) dam that made a backwater that took us further afield and added a couple of miles to our walk, which was fine as it was a beautiful was just unexpected. There are many many trails here that cross each other and
go off in all directions, and they seem well used. You can see by the picture here that some of the rocks seem to have been visited by younger people who thought they would look better painted. We saw many signs of late night parties around campfires along the trails. It is an easy access place and lots to explore. It seems as though it is well maintained although many of the recent trees that have fallen across the trail have not been removed yet but there were many that had fallen earlier in the year that had been cut for easy passage. We saw some Canada Geese on the pond and heard a lot of seemingly invisible  birds . We came across lots of little flowers - yellow, purple and white and a curious little plant that had waxy leaves and big red berries. I spent quite some time searching the internet (because the internet knows everything) and I think they are Wintergreen Berries.

Here is a picture of the plant with it's bright red berries. If you know what it is let me know..but I think it's Wintergreen Berries. As we made our way back toward the car we crossed over the bridge on the road we drove in on, crossed the road and hiked the forest on the other side of the road back to the car. This was a great place to spend some time. There were many other hikers, people fishing the pond from the bank and from canoes and kayaks and people out with their dogs. We met a man with a beautiful boxer deep in the woods. This was a fine Sunday walk. And now, more pictures.
Hot Wienie Omelet

Crossing another stream

The dam that foiled our plans

Pappa crossing

the pond

At the finish

Our route

Monday, April 18, 2016

Recovering - West Island

Margarets, Fairhaven - Click image for large view
Margaret's in Fairhaven, a suggestion from friends, turned out to be a great restaurant. Nana and I got out of the house in good time today and arrived here around 10:30 am - not a real early start but better than we have been doing in the past few weeks. I am recovering from an operation I had on Wednesday - abdominal hernia - 11 incisions - yuk. Getting up and down is the hard part. We chose West Island in Fairhaven because we knew it would be nice and flat and right now climbing is not what I need to be doing, and as a matter of fact I think that the medical folks would like me just resting, but I am so bad at that, so here we are at breakfast in Fairhaven. What a great selection they have on the menu. One of the things that we tried was the blueberry french toast with warm blueberry sauce.
The Nana Mug Shot
The home fries were also exceptional in my opinion, Nana thinks I am just a little crazy when it comes to potatoes, but these were really well done and when I asked, our waitress said that they are prepared with just salt, pepper and paprika..they were very good. The only thing they did not get quite right was my toast - I am also very picky about my toast. I like my toast, well toasted and dry. Most restaurants have a different view of toast and it seems as though I always get just warm bread.. I like crunchy and if it starts to smoke while it is in the toaster then is is just about right. . . again, Nana thinks this is outside the norm. Also I want to mention that the people at Margaret's were wonderful, and our waitress was great.. makes up for last weeks surly waitress. So once we had out fill of breakfast goodies we were off to West Island which is at the very southern tip of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. It was here in Fairhaven that Nana and I had out first apartment back in 1970..but that is a whole other story.
Holly Tree
We parked at an obvious place on Fir Street and began out walk back through the woods on a nice wide and very flat trail. Interestingly the trails here are not marked in any way, so you are just free to wander. I guess they figure that you are on a small island, so how lost could you get really? I am amazed at the Holly trees we have seen since we started our Sunday walks. I always thought of Holly as a bush.. but the Holly trees are really very pretty. After a short while we took a side trail and walked out into a wide low marsh where there were lots of birds feeding - we didn't see anything exotic, but lots of gulls and a couple of egrets and herons. There were also many unidentified small birds around..but that is our fault, as we aren't too good at identifying birds at this point, but willing to learn.
Marsh - looking toward Buzzards Bay
Back on the main trail we continued until we came to a rocky beach and as we began our hike along the beach we came across an abandoned and beached sailboat. Since I was carrying my camera with me, I thought that it would make a good subject for a time lapse. Also, since I am recovering from that operation it was also a good time to sit on a rock for a while and rest up. So while I sat up my camera and fussed with things, Nana went off to continue to walk and explore. I have been having fun shooting these things. This one is not too exciting but here it is. After Nana returned and I got my gear packed up we continued on and came across a site where there was a rope swing and a zip line -- we guessed that this was the work of a younger crowd. Nana tried the zip line which gave me a good laugh - she certainly did better that I would have but we think it is best if we leave these activities to the younger crowd. The woods here are nice to walk in but don't offer the variety of sights we have experienced in other locations, but they do have great beaches and marsh lands, which is always a plus. Many of the side trails that we took just seemed to stop in the middle of nowhere, so we did a lot of backtracking. As we  were approaching the end of our walk, we heard a gurgling sound and it sounded very close. A quick search for the source revealed a white perforated PVD cap coming up out of the ground and gurgling like a bad bathtub drain. We had a good chuckle but still have no idea what was down below making that noise. By the time we got back to the car we had walked a little over  a mile and a half, not bad for a recovering old guy. Maybe a longer walk next week. Below are some more photos of our time on West Island.
At the Marsh

Zip Line Queen

Shooting the time lapse
Our walk
The gurgle pipe

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My birthday walk - Massasoit State Park

I woke up this morning one year older, not a big landmark year, but still noticeable. As is becoming usual on a Sunday morning, I started off with a cup of coffee and a chat with both of my brothers, who live in Illinois. With all of the world problems resolved with the brothers, Nana and I had our own little celebration with the traditional Huff family birthday cup. Another late start day, which of course was excused because of it being my birthday and all.
OV's in East Taunton -click for larger view
We made our way to a restaurant called OV's in East Taunton - the picture at the right was taken at 11:10 as we walked up to the door. The place was busy but not crowded. We did not get served until 12:05 and we were ready to walk out just as the food arrived. It is really difficult to understand bad service at a breakfast place, and I am sure they would present us with a bunch of reasons why the food was delayed, but the key here would have been to keep us informed of the process as it dragged on. However I will say that the food was good once it arrived..but then again, at that point Nana and I were really hungry. I had my usual fare of two eggs, home fries and toast and Nana went out on a limb and had the Polish Pierogi Omelet which was tasty (she let me have a taste) - and we shared a Carrot
The wait was just beginning. . .

Trail head sign
Pancake, which was surprisingly very tasty. Another good point is that this place is only a couple of miles form the entrance to Massasoit State Park there in East Taunton, Massachusetts. The parking was at a premium when we arrived at the park and people were everywhere..we guessed it had something to do with Spring Fever. The park has lots of trails and as we were looking for parking we passed several trucks with horse trailers, and many cars with bike racks..these are multi use trails. Even though we did not see any horses while we were hiking we could tell they had passed by what they left behind.  We began our hike by the Perry Bogs, cranberry bogs we guessed, and we started following the white trail as you can see in the picture. The signage is at the trail head near the parking lot. Interestingly the white trail as shown on the map has blue markings along the trail.The paths here are wide and well marked and the terrain is easy walking but the forrest is spectacular in many ways. Lakes appear through the trees at almost every turn as the trail winds around. There are small streams with small bridges to accommodate people on foot and in several spot the path turns into a very wide path allowing Nana and I to walk side by side. Nana was quick to spot some beautiful purple little flowers and identified them immediately as Vinca. Of I am always 'Mr Technology so I whipped out my phone which has a flower identifying app and proceeded to take a picture and sure enough Nana was right. She snapped a picture of me looking Vinca up on my phone while sitting on a nearby bench.
Look up Vinca
Looks like my air bag went off. . .
 We found several places along the trail where there were picnic areas complete with fire pits and it looked there are campsite available here, but I don't think the park was completely opened for the season, as several roads had iron gates across them. But for those of us who are content to travel by foot the gates are no obstacle. And this must go for the folks on mountain bikes as several passed us along the trail, and they were all courteous, which is appreciated.
Another phone call this Sunday during our hike from our son Jason who called to wish me a happy birthday but as always what likely started out as a simple happy birthday turned into an hour talk about all sorts of things from finances, new cars, family relationships and stomping about in the woods..always a good my boy.

On another note it is amazing how much water likes to pass through my system. Now I know this is not necessarily great blogging material and may be a bit off color, and I know I drank a lot of water and even more coffee, but it all started to make itself known almost as soon as we hit the trail and did not let up. I bet I had to 'go find a bush' about a half a dozen times during our walk. I am glad that most of the walk was in a secluded area...but as we neared the car there was just no 'bushes' to be had . . .maybe it is an age thing.. in the end it all worked out with no public embarrassment. When we arrived back at the car our apps almost agreed, they both read 'almost' five miles. My app said 4.93 miles, Nana's app said 4.85 miles.. it's now almost 11:00 Sunday night and my app says I walked a total of 7.9 miles today. Not too bad of a day. Nana and I had lots to do after the walk, stopping at a car dealership, putting gas in my car for the week and a trip to the big box home improvement store for a new toilet seat. Then we off to our daughters house for a birthday celebration with the family ..thanks Meg for everything. And I will put a few pictures below of some of the sights along the trail.

Nana on the shore of Lake Rico

A large 'puddingstone' rock along the trail

Nana walking below as I went looking for a bush


Middle Pond

Along the blue (white) trail
It will be interesting to see if I get a hike in next Sunday as I am having surgery for an abdominal hernia on Wednesday...but until we chat again, keep putting one foot in front of another. . .

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Snowy start to a fine day - Arcadia Management Area

A Snowy start - Click images for larger view
Imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up to a few inches if snow, wind at 30 knots and temps in the twenties...this is not the spring morning I wanted. I snuggled into my chair with my coffee and my news while Nana finished up her sleep. We had a late evening last night with friends playing cards...I got my butt kicked, but it is the company and the conversation that made the evening so worth while. While Nana slept, I read news, watched a few videos on my phone and then as Nana was getting her day underway, I had a good conversation with my brothers who were together and on speaker phone.. always a good time. Just when you think the insults couldn't get any harsher. . . . well I'll leave that to your imagination.

We did not get off to our earliest start, but once underway we made haste to the Middle Of Nowhere Diner, which always has consistently great food. We have eaten here a couple of times and the service is great and although there is always a crowd you never seem rushed or hurried.
Morning Coffee
Middle Of Nowhere

Big portions
Even though they claim to be in the middle of nowhere, they really seem to be in the middle of everywhere and an easy spot to get to, about 20 minutes from home. After having our fill and too much coffee, we were off to the Arcadia Management Area off of Route 165 in Southwestern Rhode Island. We parked at the Upper Roaring Brook Pond and followed the brook down to Browning Mill Pond. There was still snow on the ground and the wind was still howling. I had difficulty keeping my hat on. . .

All bundled up
We walked along the yellow dot trail which completely circumnavigates the pond - about a two mile loop and a very flat trail. The trail was very easy and obvious to follow and is very scenic. Lots of rocks and a variety of twists and turns make this a very interesting walk, and even though there are several areas where the trail goes through marshy or boggy places, those who manage the trail have made planked 'bridges' over these obstacles so your feet stay nice and dry. Along the side of the trail there is a wide variety of lichens on both trees and rocks, and Princess Pine, lots of Princess Pine -- the forest floor was blanketed in some areas with thee pretty little plants. I spotted a birds nest in a tree along the shore of the pond, and it seemed to have three yellowish colored eggs in it.I didn't recognize them and didn't want to get too close. . . Later when we were near the main dam, we saw many Swifts or Swallows diving toward the water. (Reminder to self, bring a Bird Guide Book) We guessed that something must have been hatching for this much activity, and I wondered if those eggs didn't belong to one of these pretty birds. Below are several photos from the walk and are in the order which they were taken around the trail. I will caption them in away I hope explains to the viewer just what they are looking at.

Planks laid down over the soft bits along the trail

We passed several little streams along the early part of the loop

And each stream had a bridge to accommodate 

Down below the dam at the far end of the pond catching some of the sun's warmth.

Curious Ponds
We came across these ponds that were marked with little yellow signs that said 'Closed Area No Admittance' - at first glance we thought the ponds might be cranberry bogs but they didn't look right for cranberries - we came to the conclusion that they are likely fish ponds maybe for raising trout to release back into the wild. But that is just a guess and will require further research. These ponds we below the dam and had good water control to fill or flood them as needed. From here we walked back up to the dam and had a great view of the pond. It was here that we saw all of the Swallows feed above the surface of the pond.

Up on the dam

Like walking through a cathedral of wood
Walking through this area of tall pines was very thought provoking. So many tall and straight trees and the silence was fantastic. And in the area we met a guy walking his dog who lives in the area. We chatted for a while, he said he does this loop every day..I am jealous.

Nearing the end of the loop, more stone walls in the woods.
We closed the loop around the pond back at Roaring Brook and walked the last quarter mile back to the car along a wonderful raised boardwalk through the woods. The boardwalk makes the trail handicapped accessible for those in wheelchairs... a nice touch. So when we arrived back at the car my hiking app said we had walked 2.8 miles - Nana's app was in disagreement and said 2.2 miles - if I were to have guessed I would have said even was a very easy walk.