Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Flanders

Sears Pond Walk

 

 

Southampton Trails Preservation Society has trail maintenance outings on Thursdays.  I joined the group on a work outing last week and helped to clear a segment of the blue loop trail that circles around both Sears and Bellows Ponds.  The white rectangular blazes of the Paumanok Path and the blue blazes of the loop trail run around the southern half of the pond; the blue loop trail continues around the northern half of the pond.  The blue loop is well blazed along the trail corridor that it shares with the Paumanok Path, but the northern segment of the loop needs to be reblazed.  When my friend George blazed this trail about six years ago, he blazed it in only one direction.  He wanted to control the order in which the hiker experienced the trail.  This works fine if you intend only to hike the trail in question, but if you wish to use a section of the trail as part of a different hike you may find that you need to walk backwards on this trail.

The day following the work outing, my friend Rudi and I decided it would be fun to see if we could walk the trail around Sears Pond.  We parked our cars at Spinney Road North.  Normally, to get to Sears Pond, I walk the Birch Creek Trail to Owl Pond.  This trail was blazed almost 10 years ago and the yellow painted blazes are disappearing, but the trail is well worn.  It starts behind the kiosk near the entrance to Spinney Road North and runs north, parallel to Spinney Road.  The Birch Creek Trail and Spinney Road both head north to the Paumanok Path.  We followed the Paumanok Path east to Sears Pond.  Rudi and I were in a hurry to get to Sears Pond, so we walked straight up Spinney Road and then turned left onto the Paumanok Path.  Spinney Road is a wide semi-paved road.  We saw several trails cross this road before we got to the Paumanok Path.  I look forward to coming back and investigating these side trails.  We walked Spinney Road for almost a mile and then traveled the Paumanok Path east for half a mile.  Here we found the intersection with the Black Owl Loop and George’s one-way blue loop.  The Black Owl Loop is a 6-mile loop trail that runs through both Sears Bellows Park and Hubbard’s Creek Park.  The blue loop circles around both Sears and Bellows Pond.  We followed  this trail only around Sears Pond.

Following the three different colored blazes around the southern half of the pond, we walked on a makeshift boardwalk of miscellaneous pieces of wood.  The trail was moved to higher ground a few months later.  The trail took us onto higher ground and then down some well built steps.  Soon we reached an intersection where the blue trail turns left at the Sears Lake sign.  We crossed Mill Creek on a new bridge built by County Parks.  Now we were walking the portion of trail that the STPS Trail Crew had cut the day before.  There were several trails running at angles to the pond; they reach marshy areas and then disappear into the wetlands.  We walked these small trails (they afford some lovely views of the water) and each time found our way back to the blue trail.  The northeast quadrant of the loop winds away from the pond avoiding some wetlands; then we found the black owl blazes again.  We were back to where the Paumanok Path intersects the loop.

This time, instead of taking the Path back to Owl Pond or Spinney Road, we followed the black owl blazes north across CR 24 into Hubbard’s Park.  At the next major trails intersection north of CR 24, we followed a trail that occasionally branched but generally took us in an eastward direction.  I don’t suggest doing this because we lost the trail just before reaching our goal.  We had to walk through 100 yards of thick catbrier but when we got to the road, we were facing the Spinney Road intersection where our cars were parked.

Spinney Road North trailhead in Flanders is on the south side of CR 24 just east of Birch Creek.  There is a paved parking lot with a kiosk.  The opening to the trail is on the west side of the Spinney Road parking area, near the kiosk. The road is closed 50 yards south of the intersection; park anywhere along Spinney Road's west side. There’s a nice variety of hikes you can take from this trailhead.  To contact STPS for more information or if you wish to help wit trail maintenance call 537-5202.
 

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Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

Ken Kindler
Open Space & Trails Advocate
Post Office Box 1466
Sayville NY 11782
ken@litlc.org

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