Updated: Mar 26, 2020
After a rough week, Agent K decided it was time to get out into the wilderness. With a full moon and clear skies, a night time hike was in order. The John H Chaffe Nature Preserve in North Kingstown was the chosen venue. The Preserve encompasses the Rome Point peninsula and the nearby forest. The main trail leads directly to the bay. Walking north along the shore leads to the end of the peninsula and overlooks Fox Island and the Clump. The Clump is a group of rocks which seals are known to sun themselves on. There are many side trails creating numerous options for loops.
Agent K, Agent B, and a couple friends met at the parking lot well after sunset. We decided we would hike out on the side trails and return via the main trail. With the moon already out, we did not need our headlamps. After an initial wrong turn, we took the first left and hiked out to the large erratic. (Erratics are large boulders left behind from the glaciers that once covered New England. This one is about 15 ft high and weighs several tons.) After the erratic, we passed through a dense section of trail during which our taller compatriots needed to duck. Meanwhile, Agent K pointed out remnants of an old farming community including stone walls, house foundations, and even a light post.
Soon we discovered we were not alone. One of our party was using a red headlamp to help him avoid trip hazards. When he scanned the side of the trail, the light reflected off a pair of eyes. Although over a dozen feet away, it was a reminder that we humans are not the only creatures in the forest. After watching it for a minute, it scampered off into the woods. Not long after this encounter we came upon two cars. These cars are probably from the 1950’s but have been vandalized and maimed almost beyond recognition. We again saw (and heard) our forest friends.
Soon we came to the peninsula, along which the trail runs down the middle with light scrub and trees on either side. About halfway down, it narrows and with no flora it provides the hiker with views north into Bissel Cove and south across Narragansett Bay to the Jamestown Bridge. As is usually the case, Agent K timed it just right as the moon which had obscured made an appearance when they reached this point. After enjoying the views provided, we continued down to the tip of Rome Point. We were again rewarded with spectacular views and a clear night sky.
After we had fill, we turned back the way we came. Before reaching the cars, we turned left and hiked along the power lines. In three tenths of a mile, we turned left onto the main trail near its terminus in a picnic area with benches. Which naturally led to another break and further enjoyment of the scenery. With all of us having engagements the following morning, we decided to head back. We took the main trail back. It is wide enough for three people to walk side by side and is more like a dirt road than trail.
When we arrived at the parking lot, we decided that moonlit hikes need to be a regular occurrence.
***Project Outbound would recommend anyone looking to explore Chafee Nature Pressure, to do so during the daytime. There is a myriad of trails- official, unofficial, and game trails- which can easily confuse a hiker. Agent K is extraordinarily familiar with the location and was able to guide the group with little assistance from the map.