We continue to practice what we tell others they can do to #Avoidcrowds. We packed our bike the night before, including everything we’d need for the morning and got up early to head out first thing. It promised to be a hot, muggy day, and we wanted to avoid the worst of the heat. Our destination was Pascoag, RI, (a village in Burrillville) to a very short paved bike path. Our plan was to start at the Burrillville Bike path, and do some road biking from there.
As we continue to figure out how to best avoid crowds, we are discovering that quiet country roads are often our best option for reducing the number of people we encounter when outside. Pascoag seemed to offer the possibility of both being not too far from home, and having some quiet (we hoped!) roads.
The only dedicated parking for this path in Burrillville is at a small spot on Eastern Avenue in the village of Pascoag. Only one other car was in the parking area when we arrived. This 1.2 mile paved path is quite short, but for folks like me who struggle to walk far in summer heat, even that is difficult, so I was grateful for our adaptive tandem bike. This bike allows me to peddle along behind my husband, who pilots our tandem (and listens to my running “tour guide” narrative as we go 🙂 )
We encountered other morning visitors on the trail, all of them walkers. The trail has pedestrian access points at the edge of several neighborhoods, which is a great amenity for these neighbors. An additional access point brings travelers out to Railroad Avenue, where the Clear River crosses under the road. A picturesque waterfall slips underneath the road, but visitors to the trail are in a great position to stop and take in the view of the river.
About mid-point on the paved path is a sign pointing to the Duck Pond. We spotted no ducks, but we did see some blackberries along the trail.
A sandy area, most of the berries at the crest of the hill overlooking the pond had dried up, but we found a very few, unripe berries that will be waiting for summer visitors in a few weeks.
The trail has some swampy areas on either side of the path, and some blueberries, quite ready for picking, caught our eye. These berries are growing in a more advantageous (for berry bushes) location, right on the edge of the swamp. High bush blueberries prefer swampy spots, and these bushes are thriving along the trail. My guess is that visitors will soon devour any remaining berries. We arrived at just the right time to enjoy a summer treat.
Near the parking area is Reservoir Road, where we hoped to catch some views of the water as we pedaled. To reach this area required a little travel through Pascoag Center, but cars and trucks seemed for the most part to take care and allow us to make our way.
Once on Reservoir road, we saw some cool bedrock with potential tiny caves peaking out from the rock face. The land is for sale, so we suspect this bedrock will soon be blasted to make way for housing.
We found along Reservoir Road two places with access to the water, designed as boat ramps. The Pascoag Reservoir has lots of housing along the shoreline, and we spotted numerous power boats buzzing along on this warm summer morning. One, Ice House Road, has no parking, just a boat ramp into the water.
The other, a fishing access point, has room to park for a few cars, and also has a boat ramp. It is the quieter of the two access points. The fishing spot also is on the downstream side of the dam that creates the reservoir. It looks like a nice place for a quiet paddle.
Reservoir Road was busier than we had hoped. We figured out that it is an access road to get to Rt. 44. But the views along the road are nice, lots of historic stone walls on both sides of the road, indicating this is an historic pathway from years ago. If we took this trip again, we would head to the other, apparently quieter side of the reservoir, taking High Street to Eagle Peak Road.
We spotted the Episcopal Conference Center on Reservoir Road as we pedaled by and learned that it is a retreat center. Like everywhere else, they have been impacted by the Covid-19 virus, but are welcoming visitors on a very limited basis starting in early July through August.
We wish you the best as we continue to make our way through this confusing time. Please take care, wear your masks even when out on the trail, and stay well. Happy Trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.