On 8 May, before we walked the Trustom Pond NWR trails in South Kingstown, RI, we checked out the Kettle Pond trails at Ninigret NWR, in Charlestown.
These trails are described at the very helpful Trails & Walks in Rhode Island blog. Until we got there, though, it was unclear to me that Ninigret NWR is divided into two parcels that don’t abut each other. There is a Salt Pond trail area and a Kettle Pond trail area. Had we realised this, we would probably have chosen the Salt Pond section, off Old Post Road (formerly part of Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Landing Fields), but as it was, we ended up at the Kettle Pond section off Bend Road; there is a visitor center/headquarters there, which is handy (and how we got tipped off to visit Trustom Pond NWR). The main features of this section are views of Watchaug Pond, a vernal pool, and some erratic boulders left by retreating ice sheets. There’s also a short trail with a view to the ocean.
What’s confusing about the Kettle Pond section of Ninigret is that it abuts and intertwines with both the Rhode Island Audubon Kimball Bird Sanctuary and Burlingame State Park. Some of the trails intersect near a private house or two as well. There is a colour-coded system that’s helpful but not entirely unambiguous.
We started off on the 1/2-mile trail to Watchaug Pond.
Along the way, we saw a few interesting plants:
We also saw some moss before we got to the pond.
Then we took off on the colour-coded trails, skirting or overlapping with the bird sanctuary and the state park. I didn’t take any photos on this part of the walk except for trail signs, the trail itself, and a cemetery sign.
The orange trail led us back to the Toupoyesett Pond Trail, which connects to the main (Watchaug Pond) trail.
I guess we walked by Toupoyesett Pond, which was quite high, and the glacial erratic boulders.
Arriving back at the parking lot, we took off in the opposite direction to follow the 1/2 -mile Ocean View Trail.
It wasn’t the most interesting walk during our 4-day coastal Rhode Island visit — though the towhee sighting was exciting — but it’s an easy stroll through some varied habitat. I look forward to seeing the rest of Ninigret (the saltwater Ninigret Pond section) next time we visit.
Ninigret (c.1610-1677) was a sachem of the eastern Niantic Indian tribe in New England at the time of English colonization. He was based in Rhode Island, though he spent some time with the Dutch on Manhattan. His remains are supposedly buried at Burying Hill, near Charlestown, RI.