Long Island Trail Lovers Coalition

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Napeague

Hither Woods:  Bluffs and Beach

 

 

Last Saturday, my wife and sister both had a free day and I talked them into joining me on a short hike to the water.  They are always ready for a day at the beach. My wife agreed, but knowing me, asked skeptically “how far will we have to walk?”  I sidestepped this question by explaining that it was in Hither Woods and we would be visiting Napeague Bay.  “Sounds beautiful”, my wife responded, “but how far do we have to walk?”  “Only four miles”, I responded.  “Each way? – no, I want to relax at the beach!”  “An easy two mile walk each way”, I cajoled her, and we set off on our adventure. 

We tucked our pants into our socks and entered the woods by the Serpent’s Back Trail sign.  This is a little confusing because you are actually walking the Parkway Trail.  We headed east a short distance and took the first left to the Serpent’s Back Trail; marked with black plastic blazes.  It heads north to the Paumanok Path and then a short trail takes you to the beach at Quince Tree Landing.  My wife remembered our walk there last summer and alarmed, asked “Are we walking the Serpent’s Back Trail?”  That beach is very rocky and the hilly trail is tough to walk.  I reassured her that we’d only be on this trail for a short distance then turn left onto the Ocean View Trail following it for .6 mile to Old North Road. 

Around this time we became aware that the mosquito population was frighteningly oppressive.  I suggested going back to get the insect spray that we had applied to our shoes; the can reads that it can be applied lightly to the skin but when I use DEET on my skin it makes me nauseous.  My wife remembered that she had a bottle of Avon Skin So Soft with her.  Supposedly, this is an effective mosquito repellent. We frantically covered ourselves with the oily substance and were amazed to find that it was so effective that we could immediately tell what spots we had missed. On the beach, however, the green flies didn’t seem bothered by it; ticks also don’t seem to notice it.

When we arrived at the Old North Road we turned left and then made a quick right onto Fresh Pond Landing Road.  The Old North Road is supposed to have green blazes, but I couldn’t see them.  We crossed over the railroad tracks.  Turning  either left or right would have taken us to the Paumanok Path.  We continued straight ahead on Fresh Pond Landing Road; a wide woods road that takes you to the beach.

The beach is breathtakingly beautiful; even worth being accosted by mosquitoes to get there. The bay was cold and the beach refreshingly cool.   We spread out our blanket and took a well-deserved rest, enjoying the peace and quiet as we observed the terns, cormorants, and osprey. 

After a time we felt ready to hike back to the Overlook.  We walked back up Fresh Pond Landing Road and, deciding to take a different return route, took a right turn onto the PP, heading southwest.  At first this route seemed like a better choice; both my sister and wife thought it was prettier and easier to walk (less rocky and hilly).  We passed by Fresh Pond and through an area that was almost like a meadow: grassy, with low green growth and many “Indian Pipes” (a plant without chlorophyll that resembles pipes).  Soon after, we walked through a trail dense with pine, enjoying the scent and the soft bed of needles on which to walk.  Later on though, the trail became quite narrow; we walked through overgrowth that made my sister and wife feel claustrophobic and concerned about acquiring ticks.  We continued walking, turned left and crossed the railroad tracks onto Elisha’s Valley Trail.   We took a quick right onto Old North Road and then a left onto the Petticoat Hill Trail.  This trail splits in a few places; several different routes take you back to the Overlook. 

Free maps are available at the Overlook kiosk.  For a better map, you might want to purchase Charles Whalen’s East Hampton Trails Map (call Richard at 631-324-1127).

 

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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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