I’ve spent the past few weekends rambling in the Parker Woodland Audubon preserve here in western RI. There’s 2 great things about it, in addition to being a short drive: no dogs, and no hunting. It’s perfect for going off trail and doing a little bushwhack practice.
If you only want pictures, look here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQr6mZY
The nice thing about getting off trail is you generally see some neater things, including a herd of deer!
I followed the “blue” loop trail around, winding my way over Turkey brook, then along it as it picked up steam downhill. Crossing abandoned Biscuit Hill Rd, there’s a cool old millrace to check out.
There’s a yellow dotted trail connecting the two loops, 1 in the town of Foster and the other in the town of Coventry. The Foster section is definitely more remote, as its farther from the parking area, and has some non-zero climbs, bordering on scrambles. This time of year of course, most everything is dead, except for the brook.
Here’s a cool vernal pool spot, come spring this will literally be crawling with frogs.
I’m into vernal pools, in fact, I did a survey of them in southern RI a few years back.
The other nice thing about having two loop trails is that you can go off trail, and wander wherever you want, and EVEN if you pay no attention, eventually you’ll wander into the other side of the loop; you can really just follow your feet, and take the time to enjoy scenery and the like. Parker Woodland is full of old cellar holes, charcoal pits, and mysterious cairns.
With plenty of water, and easily choosable reroutes, its a wanderer’s paradise. I plan to use the loops and interconnecting trails as training hikes for my PCT2017 trip – it’s 15 minutes away, and you can do from 1/4 mile to 7 miles just by connecting existing trails – and of course you can repeat the whole thing for a 14 mile morning!
Someone else has a nice writeup as well on their own blog: