Anchor Staff Writer
Mother Nature recently decided to bless us with some gorgeous weather. Wanting to stretch my legs and get outside, I dragged my family along to Smithfield, Rhode Island where I had heard of something called the “Smithfield Apple Trails.”
The apple trails consist of seven hiking locations in the town, ranging in levels of difficulty. The Smithfield Economic Development Commision started this now annual extravaganza last year. This year's event started in October and is running through November. Once it is finished, 100 apples will have been found: 33 red, 33 green, 33 yellow and one clear. The apples are hidden along the trails in the notches, at the bases of trees, in between stones and in hollow stumps. You will never need to dismantle anything, but you will need to search to find these shiny treasures.
Each of the trails involved is unique and all are in fairly close proximity to one another. Mowry Conservation Area is a stunning retreat, with its calming riving, gradual inclines, hemlocks and pines, it’s an oasis of sorts. A favorite among my family, there are many spectacular apple hiding spots along the trails.
The Ken Weber Conservation Trail, named after the former Providence Journal journalist, is a little more of a challenge. This trail, which has rocky inclines, loops and a beautiful babbling brook is an adventure in itself.
Stillwater Scenic Path is much more accessible for all walkers. It was once the path of train tracks but is now an easy stroll for walkers of all abilities. It is not only accessible, but is beautiful too, with water views throughout much of the path.
Connors Farm Conservation Area is one of the more challenging hikes. Containing rugged glacial rock ledges and large oak groves, this path is unique and tranquil. Though it is challenging, my four children were able to complete it; my youngest is only two.
Mercer Lookout, part of the Wolf Hill Trails, is a rocky but wondrous hike. Part of the trail is a lookout that stands at an old, burned down Boy Scouts cabin. All that is left of the cabin is its stone fireplace, but it stands overlooking a stunning view of the Providence skyline. If you have no luck finding apples at Mercer, the remaining Wolf Hill Trails also may be hiding these gems.
The last of the locations is Olivia’s Forest. These trails are old farmers cart paths that weave through the forest. It is listed as a moderate hike due to some stones and roots, but it is sure to be a beautiful hike.
Since first dragging my crew along to the apple trails a week ago, we have ventured out to Smithfield for the apple trails another three times. The trails are not only a great adventure trying to find crystal apples, but they’re also a great activity to do as a family. We haven’t yet found any apples, but there are still about a dozen apples left on the trails to find. Most of the remaining apples are green, but a few yellow and one red do still exist somewhere out in the woods of Smithfield. If you are looking for something fun and adventurous to do as the days of fall wind down, consider a nice hike and a good scavenger hunt.