Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday Hikes: Among the Cairns

This week's hike was in George B. Parker Wildlife Refuge in Coventry, Rhode Island, another really pretty offering from Audobon's Passport to the Trails

Here several trails wend their way through 860 acres of maple swamp, pine, brooks, rocky streams, and old birch forest; the birches are particularly pretty right now with their young golden green leaves. There is also a historic (1700's) farmhouse and nature center, which were closed when we went, but where we attended a fun maple sugaring event in late winter.


There are also more than a hundred 'mysterious' cairns, built by... well, there are a few theories, but I suspect the most obvious answer is correct. 

I decided I'd test my Vibram Five-Finger shoes, which I use for 'barefoot' running, to see how they bear up as a hiking shoe, and they were great. It's a totally different experience to be able to feel the ground as you walk, and so much better than regular walking shoes, considering my back issues. Even after 4.5 miles of rocky and hilly trail, my feet felt terrific. 

And I was thrilled to see my first scarlet tanager.

Distance: variable, as short as 1 mile... we did the entire blue trail, which was just over 4.5 miles. Make sure you grab a trail map at the information shelter before you set out. 

Difficulty: variable. The blue trail ranges from moderate to hard in places. Very rocky, rooty, and hilly, but not difficult if you're fit and like a good walk. 

Dogs: no

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