Saturday, September 27, 1986

1986 George B Parker Woodland (9/27/1986)

Saturday, September 27, 1986
After lunch we drove out US-6 to I-295 to US-44. We ran into a traffic jam at Apple Valley, and took a right and a left to avoid it. Got a bit lost, but found our way to our usual apple orchard, Barden Family Orchard. Lots of new housing going up. We picked up a half-bushel basket and were sent off to the Macintosh apples in the corner. Supposedly we wouldn’t need the long pole to reach the apples, but it looked like we did. We found enough low apples to fill the basket. Saw a cricket on the way back. Paid $7 for the apples and transferred them to a bag. It was cool, but sunny.
Back in the car we meandered SW to RI-102 and followed that to Coventry, where we then found the Audubon Society George B Parker Woodland, a wildlife refuge. We went to the parking lot a half mile from the headquarters. Picked up a map to the archaeological hiking tour and started off. The boys brought hiking sticks from their collection, and we gave them their scavenger hunt lists.
Kyle's scavenger hunt list
Erich's scavenger hunt list
We started at the detour to the Bent Oak site (no bent oak!) which was the remains of a fieldstone foundation. We were to note the large stones with drill marks, and the southeast corner where the ground was cleared away so you could see how deep the foundation went.
Kyle in the foundation
Erich in the foundation
However, no other artifacts were found, so they determined that a house was never built on the foundation.
We continued along the trail, finding leaves, mushrooms, and berries fairly quickly.
The next stop was the Charcoal Processing site, the remains being an earthen mound, now having a trail beaten across it. We continued down to the stream, where we walked on the stones and searched for crayfish.
Kyle, Erich, and Kent
Saw water skaters, flies, mosquitoes, and a spider. Later we saw honey bees and bumblebees on the abundant ragweed. There were also other wildflowers. Erich tried to catch a big green grasshopper. Plenty of bugs!
We turned left on the blue trail and climbed among scattered rocks. We thought they might be from the stone cairns, but then we found the cairns, neat stone piles about 4-feet high and beehive-shaped. There were several cairns some containing white quartz stones. Plenty of rocks! Supposedly there were a hundred of these cairns with no known purpose.
Kent with cairn and quartz
Erich, Kent, and Kyle
Tree branch or root?
We climbed on through an oak and chestnut forest. The acorns were gone, with only the caps remaining. Under one low overhanging rock we found an old store of acorns. But we didn’t see any squirrels!
We found the noted split boulder upon which a couple hikers were resting. We saw other split rocks as well. We continued hiking along and found sassafras and a variety of fungi. We also examined bark. I overturned some large pieces of bark on the ground, and was grossed out by shiny writhing creatures. Thinking snakes, I left, but Erich studied them long enough to pronounce them as lizards. Close enough, they were newts. We saw some stone walls and began following one that seemed to border Biscuit Hill Road, now a wide grassy path.
Biscuit Hill Road
Also in this area were a few pine trees and more pine seedlings from which Erich got his pine needles. We came to the Vaughn Farm site, first seeing the barn, then the shed. We crossed the road to the house foundation and dropped stones in the covered well to determine how deep it was. We went to the stone wall to find the location of the privy, a forge, and the garden area. From here we decided to take the shortcut, walking down Biscuit Hill Road to the bypass and back to the parking lot. We saw a strange plastic-looking bug/creature.
Paplilio troilus/Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar
Found the Bent Oak well and then returned to the car. This was one of our most successful hikes, with the scavenger hunt helping to keep the kids occupied.

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