It’s Summer! Take a Hike!

Last fall, I accompanied my son on a hike with his Cub Scout pack in the woods of the Arcadia Management Area. Boys in blue and tan uniforms led the way while parents followed and observed from close behind.

The night before, my son and I flipped through his Cub Scout Bear Handbook for info on what to bring. It listed six essential items for hiking: a first aid kit, water bottle, flashlight, trail food, sun protection and a whistle. In my outings, I additionally bring a lighter, a pocket knife and an extra top layer of clothing in case it gets colder than expected.

I am not always the most prepared person, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that my pack contained all six of the essential items recommended by his handbook. Aside from the food and water, I never use these items, but they are there as a safety measure. It is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

Landscape

Landscape

Each season brings a different set of challenges. The components of a hiking pack will vary depending on the weather and the time of year. In the summer, sunscreen and water are crucial. It doesn’t hurt to have insect repellent on hand, either.

There are many great hiking trails throughout Rhode Island with different terrain and degrees of difficulty. With just a little planning and preparation, a great outing in the woods could be just down the road.

If you are not a very experienced hiker, but hoping for a casual stroll, Goddard Memorial State Park in East Greenwich is just the place. The trails are wide and well-groomed, and parking is easy.  The 1.4-mile loop offers an excellent beach view, and hikers of all ages and experience levels will be able to enjoy themselves here.

If heading deeper into the woods sounds more appealing, you will find good hiking at Arcadia Management Area in Exeter. There is a 10.6-mile looping trail, and the terrain is moderate, or at least a little more challenging than Goddard Park.

For those seeking a little more variety, Lincoln Woods State Park is a great place to wander. Set in the woods of Lincoln, the 3.4 mile paved loop with a lake view is perfect for those in pursuit of an easy hike. You can also veer off the main loop to find trails with more difficulty. The park is popular for mountain biking and rock climbing, and the lake is stocked with trout for fishing.

The terrain at Duval Trail in Wakefield is unique. The hills and slopes are well-groomed and easy to hike, but steep and long enough to make you break a sweat. The trails are clearly marked, and the maps at various intersections make it easy to stay on course. It is not heavily trafficked, but a little privacy might be exactly what you are looking for.

Wherever you decide to venture, remember the Cub Scout motto: Be prepared.

For more info on hiking trails throughout Rhode Island, go to alltrails.com. It gives detailed descriptions of each trail, including difficulty level, mileage, style of terrain and whether you can bring a dog, among other important information.

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