Sunday, October 9, 2011

Great Swamp Pedalling in Narragansett Country

On this unbelievably beautiful and summerlike October day I was joined by Mrs. Trashpaddler for some exploring of Rhode Island's South County.  Before the day ended we'd dipped our toes into the waters of Rhode Island Sound, Block Island Sound, and Worden Pond. 
We started our adventure at Kingston Station at the northeastern corner of the Great Swamp.  This was where the Narragansett Pier Railroad once connected to what is now the Northeast Corridor and site of an Amtrak Station...
The long gone Narragansett Pier RR is now the William C. O'Neill Bike Path and allowed us to bike about 7 miles to the present end of trail at Mumford Street in Narragansett.  We then followed local streets another mile or so to Narragansett Pier Beach (seen in opening photo).  A nice ride indeed!

After riding about 1.5 miles from our starting point at Kingston Station we visited the Tefft Historical Site and its Tefft Family Cemetery...
 The Tefft family property is only a couple of miles from where the Narragansett tribe had built their winter stronghold in 1675.  Joshua Tefft had lived and worked alongside his Narragansett neighbors for 14 years by then.  Could it be that he was just helping his friends and neighbors defend themselves against foreign invaders that fateful day in December 1675?  His actions resulted in his being convicted of treason (against his own race) and subsequently executed in a most brutal way.
Later in the day, we rode our bikes down another path leading to the Great Swamp Fight Monument.  There is something wrong with this monument site.  It is poorly marked and poorly maintained.  Is the state of Rhode Island ashamed about what happened here?  Why is there no monument representing the Narragansett people that fought and died here?  No marker to tell their side of the story?
Near the monument site we saw the remains of 3 small (ceremonial?) fires that may have been part of a recent tribal pilgrimage to the site...
Each fire was surrounded by 4 stones, perhaps representing the 4 winds?

After reaching the end of the rail trail at Mumford Street, we continued on local Narragansett town streets passing this unique sculpture by Peter Toth...
It is titled "Enishkeetompauog Narragansett" and stands sentinel at an intersection a few blocks from Narragansett Pier.

Upon return to Kingston Station our trash haul posed in the sunshine...
There were 18 pieces of trash: 12 recyclable containers and 6 pieces of misc. rubbish.  YTD total stands at 5530.

We then journeyed by car down the South County Trail (Rt. 2) to Charlestown where many Narragansett people live today.  This smoke shop was the scene of a confrontation between the tribe and state of Rhode Island over tribal sovereignty several years ago...

The southern terminus of our trip brought us to Charlestown Beach where the scene looked more like a day in July...
Here we waded into the waters of Block Island Sound before beginning our trip back home, though Block Island looked very tempting in the distance.
On the way we would stop briefly to rinse off the salt in the waters of Worden Pond.

 

2 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

Hey Al - almost missed this post - glad you made it down to my home state. There is lots of great paddling in the South County area.

Suasco Al said...

Hi Erik, I did some paddling of the Great Swamp back on September 22 nd (see post Great Swamp Paddling in Narragansett Country).
Worden Pond and the Chipuxet River were real nice. Hope to paddle more of the Pawcatuck in the future. Discovering South County has been great!