Monday, April 7, 2014

Grills Preserves in the wet season

The Westerly and Hopkinton Land Trusts got together to build a 75-foot steel hikers' bridge across the Pawcatuck river, linking the 500+ acres on the Westerly side with nearly 700 acres on the Hopkinton side.  This winter they added a causeway and bridge across Tomaquag creek to make hiking this thousand acre preserve even more accessible.

And in these days of the spring floods, it is wonderful to be able to walk these woods without hip waders.  The swale of the Tomaquag is drowned entirely, but the bridge and causeway take you across to the granite hills on the northwest side.  Every little spring and brook is burbling and there are frogs eggs in the vernal pools.

The flooded swale of Tomaquag Creek
 We hiked from the Chase Hill road trailhead on the Hopkinton side, crossed the Tomaquag, walked over the Polly Coon bridge, waded through the remaining eight inches or so of the Pawcatuck that had overflowed the banks, and made our way along the river back to the Bowling Lane trailhead on the Westerly side (where we'd left our other car.)  It took about 90 minutes to cross at an easy pace.

Looking back at Polly Coon bridge, spanning (most of) the Pawcatuck river
Though we didn't manage the hike with dry feet, the new construction meant the woods were passable even at this time of year.  So kudos to the people who made all this happen!

Is it a trail or a creek?


  1. whoa. glad i changed my mind about heading to the grills this weekend. looks kind of damp. but i'm glad to see the boardwalk leading to the tomaquag brook bridge didn't get submerged! isn't that an amazing bridge?

  2. They did a fantastic job. It looked like whenever the creek crested a bit of water may have passed over the Chase Hill side, but everything was solid and dry when we passed. With the rain we've been having today, I'd give it another week or two if I wanted to get across the Polly Coon bridge with dry feet.

  3. Did you hear about the yahoos who went four wheeling in there during the flood? One of them got his truck stuck in the river right up to the headlights.