When you think of wild places, Rhode Island probably doesn’t come to mind. But even the smallest state has its fair share of wooded havens, many protected by The Nature Conservancy.
Here are a few photos from a hike at the Beaver River Preserve, which I was lucky enough to visit in the company of one of TNC’s intrepid volunteers, Dale Higgs. This is an important place to protect: The Beaver River is a tributary of the Pawcatuck watershed, which serves as the sole source of drinking water for more than 60,000 people.
Along the 2-mile loop, Dale showed me a terminal glacial moraine (a bunch of big boulders left behind by the retreat of the last ice age), a beaver dam, and a termite-exploded tree, as well as his efforts to maintain the trail through all seasons and Hurricane Sandy. Not bad for a short hike in the smallest state!
Split Boulder & Sky
These big boulders are actually from Canada, brought south by glaciers during the last Ice Age and left behind as the ice retreated back north around 10,000 years ago.
The Terminal Moraine: the edge of the glacial advance.
The Keeper of the Woods. Hunting is not allowed on these lands, but we still wore orange, just in case.
This tree was eaten from the inside-out by termites and then exploded in a wind storm!
Dale & Drew, Father & Son at the Beaver Pond
Man’s Best Friends: his hat & his dog.
Higgs’ Family Portrait
Beaver Pond D.O.G. Dio is standing on the beaver dam, which has been vacant for a couple of years now. Dale fears somebody trapped the beavers, which is legal in some areas, though not on Nature Conservancy land.
Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
I grew up in Northern RI and spent my first 20 years there. I still visit often. Many are surprised by how thick and wooded it is. Exploring those woods is what got me so enthused in hiking and mountain biking. If they only had big mountains…sigh…I would probably consider being back there. For now, Wyoming suits my needs well.
Wild places are everywhere! My cousin, who grew up in Rhode Island just informed me that Rhode Island has one of the largest “blank spots” on the map along the eastern seaboard. Very cool. I’m already scheming to spend part of next summer in Wyoming! Have you been to Vedauwoo Rocks? https://theblondecoyote.com/2012/05/10/awesome-reader-tip-of-the-day-vedauwoo-rocks-wy/
RI may be the best kept secret in the northeast. For a few reasons!
I haven’t done any east coast hiking….so thanks for the tour. You got some great photos. I’m partial to rocks!
Enjoyed seeing the tour of RI.
Man’s best friends: hat and dog comment made me smile, and I loved the photo of the “exploded tree” looks very statuesque, perhaps because of the way you(?) framed it: good shot (not a hunting reference!)
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