Sunday, March 1, 2009

When I don't want to get in the car and drive a great distance, or I don't have a large chunk of time to devote to walking in the woods, I usually pick the Pawtuxet River Trail to hike. It can be accessed behind Rhodes on the Pawtuxet and runs along the Pawtuxet River.
Yesterday I had decided that I was not going to take the CO2 emitter out of the driveway, but then my brother called to see if I wanted to go for a walk with him & his kids. At first I said no so as to stick to my original plan for the day, and then I realized that because I had been hermitting so much this winter, that I had not spent much time with them, so I called back and we made arrangements to meet at the above mentioned trail.

While I was waiting for him, I saw a couple of honking Canadian Geese flying over the river, some choppiness to the water because it was a bit windy, but not much else.

Once we crossed over a concrete bridge that spans a small tributary, we were immediately dodging "soft rocks" or "landmines", or as some people call it dogpoop. Walking with a 4 year old in that situation can get quite tricky, so we had to keep yelling out to her, but I'm sure she hit something at least once. We discussed why these landmines were so frequent in this one area, and we figured that maybe people "walk" their dogs by pulling into the parking lot, letting the dog out to do their business while they wait in their car. Otherwise, if they were regular users of the trail we hoped that they would be a little more considerate of where people like to walk.

After the poop we were skirting some muddy areas because the trail after all does run through and around wetlands and it had rained recently. After a bit, we branched off to a path on our right, that took us to a clearing and a small pond. The pond still had huge chunky areas of ice and the kids wanted to know if there were turtles to be found. I told them to come back when it was much warmer!

After the pond we ran into a woman walking a huge white dog, a Great Pyrenees, who was very playful and wanted us to play with him. The kids wanted to pet him, and I did too. He was very fluffy and quite beautiful.

One of my favorite spots in this trail is a large grassy area,
where the grass must stand as high as my chin. I know it's not grass, and it is perpetually dried, and my niece said it was like walking through a cornfield.

Once you walk through this grassy area, there is a small slatted wooden bridge to cross over a brook that drains from yet another pond. This pond is usually a good place to sight Great Blue Herons, or ducks, but we did not see anyone there yesterday. After crossing over the bridge, there is a lovely stand of white birch trees in a sandy area to walk through.

The kids found a large tree that was growing horizontally to climb, and they spent a little while exploring here.

Further down the path we came to a small and quite lonely looking Holly Tree,

which was quite noticeable at this time of year with everything else bare, and then a few white pine saplings. We took the trail to the left to walk along the riverbank which is carpeted in moss and I told the kids about the time I was canoeing the river on a June night several years ago when I spotted a turtle the size of a trash can lid swimming under me. They wanted me to call the turtle to come out so they could see it, and I told them once again, not this time of year.

To continue the trail, you have to cross over the river at Warwick Ave, walk through the grocery store parking lot, and pick it up in the far corner, but it was getting dark so we promised the kids we would do it another time.

This group of trees is right at the bend of the river, and in a recent rainstorm, I notice that some of the embankment has washed away, taking some of the birch trees over, and they are now in the river.

The other part of the trail takes you along the other side of the river, and out to Post Road. You'd have to then take a left and walk through Pawtuxet Village to get back to the car. Instead, we turned around and retraced our steps, with a few less stops along the way, back to our cars.

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