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Stid Hill North Hike – July 27 2014 @ 4:00

DSCN5621Stid Hill Multiple Use Area is a DEC-managed property consisting of two tracts – one in Bristol and the other just down the road in South Bristol. It is an area that was used for pasture and reverted to forest after transportation and refrigeration made it uneconomical for agricultural use, so we will see rock piles, ruins of stone fences and some large old trees that might have been left in the pastures for shade.

WARNING: Stid Hill is presently accessible from the north, only, as Rte 64 is currently closed, due to road work, just south of Bristol Mountain.  If coming from the south or west you will need to follow Rte 20A east through the hamlet of Honeoye, then Bristol, to the intersection with Rte 64, then turn right onto Rte 64 and head south.

Directions to Stid Hill are available by clicking here.

We will hike the North tract and meet at the parking lot on SR64 1.4 miles North of the Bristol Mountain Ski area entrance. If coming from the North it is a little over three miles south of the Bristol town center at the intersection of SR64 and CR32.  Look for the DEC sign on the East side of the road; parking lot is just beyond it. The parking lot is adequate but not overly large so park with that in mind. DSCN5622There is a Stid Hill South parking lot near the intersection with CR34 which is not where we will be, so don’t go there.

As the name implies, it is a hill. The whole trail has roughly a thousand feet of elevation change, but a well designed system of switchbacks was developed by mountain bikers which makes it a relatively easy climb. There is also a part of the trail system that is an old road of some kind, which is steeper. The access trail is not immediately marked by blazes but is clearly defined by use. At the first important fork on this access trail two colors of blazes appear, Yellow and Blue. This year’s hike will be a bit different from the one we did last year, as we will be exploring trails further south and west within the north tract which include a pine forest and running stream.

Climbers/Tourists and Naturalists will hike up the Yellow switchbacks to the intersection of the Yellow trail and the Blue trail, which cross at an important landmark part way up the hill that I call the Crossroads. Naturalists will then follow the Blue trail downhill to the left, heading back towards the parking area.  After walking downhill for a while,  the trail levels off some then starts to head downhill again. At this point, on the left-hand side, is a trail through the woods that leads back to the parking lot. The entrance to the trail is marked by a broken tree that has one end on the ground and its top end shoved onto the limb of another tree, apparently quick thinking by Marty who forgot tags and improvised. Recently, someone also added a water bottle, which is stuck onto a broken branch of the tree. If you miss all this, there is a tiny white, circular trail tag attached to the tree.  As you walk, eventually, you will see white blazes on the trees which mark the trail. Naturalists also have a variety of additional options including exploring the meadows and meandering creek down below. Climbers/Tourists will take Blue uphill and continue following this trail -  along the way an enormous shale rock on the left-hand side of the trail will provide a landmark for the route. We will continue until we see and pick up the Yellow trail which is on the right-hand side and marked by yellow blazes on two trees directly across from each other. Upon reaching a fork where Yellow goes to the right and an unmarked trail goes to the left, those who wish to head back will bear left on the unmarked trail, passing an old pickup truck off to the right, then bearing to the left and picking up the Blue trail which is unmarked at this point but defined by a downed, twisty tree across the trail. Those who wish to continue for a stroll through the picturesque, serene pine forest will follow the Yellow trail through the pines to a stream, then turn around and head back, eventually bearing right on the unmarked trail across from the spot where the two groups separated. Blue leads back to the Crossroads. Everyone will then continue past the Crossroads on Blue and go down the steeper and shorter route that the Naturalists previously took back to the parking lot.

Length of hikes are approximately 1 hour roundtrip for Naturalists; 2 – 2 1/2 hours round trip for Climbers/Tourists. This is based on my pace, which I would describe as moderate. A social will be held at Locks, Stock and Barrel one-half mile south, on the right-hand side of Route 64.

 

News from Springwater

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Exploring the Ponds in Wolf Gull – June 29, 2014

the ponds at Wolf Gull

the ponds at Wolf Gull

What makes Wolf Gull in Naples so unique? Is it the narrow valley surrounded by two steep hills, the creeks that flow in two different directions from the lush ponds, the protective environment, the secluded seasonal little cabins, or the variety of plant and aquatic life? Where are the 15 owners and why do they come here? Do they come for hunting, silence from a busy world, or to study nature? Springwater Trails wants to know as they have visited in the winter and summer! Thanks to landowners Mike Arena, John Shipman, and Schum Acres Dairy Farm, Springwater Trails has received special permission to explore the Wolf Gull area from the top of Richards Road/Lanning Road, to the bottom on Atlanta Garlinghouse Road, dropping over 600 feet and following a dirt road through the narrow valley.

P1110411P1110398P1110397Naturalists, lead by Ellen Folts from Amanda’s Garden, identified the following plants: dolls’s eyes (white and red baneberry), wild leek, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger, common milkweed, white turtlehead, joe pye weed, wild geranium, barren strawberry, hepatica, virginia waterleaf, patridge berry, may apple, rose polygala, solomon’s seal, flowering raspberry, early meadow rue, fall meadow flower, foam flower, red trillium. A variety of ferns including sensitive fern, interrupted fern, christmas fern and others were prolific. Trees included yellow birch, hemlock, witch hazel and maple leaf virburnum. Thanks Ellen for sharing your knowledge and Amy for her photo’s.
image003 Pictures of the native perennials can be obtained from Amanda’s Garden website.

For a little more of a workout, Char and Brook climbed the steep road, allowing most Climbers and Tourists (with good tires) to 4 wheel up the road which housed deep ditches on either side. We began our hike from the top of Richards/Lanning Road at what seemed like a landing pad of some sort to park our cars. In the winter the C-4 Snowmobile Trail and feeder trails pass through this area and Views of the windmills can be seen to the south. We proceeded left on a farm trail passing through the planted fields to a gate that dropped into Wolf Gull. We think the gates that mark the entrances to Wolf Gull are to protect the rough logging roads from erosion, keeping the ATV’s out that tend to dig up the roads, but allowing the snowmobiles in the winter.
image002image001image004 An hour later we arrived at the ponds to rest from our steep drop into Wolf Gull, listen to the frogs, swirl the green algae(?), study the overlow area and how it was constructed, and try to figure out why the creeks go in different directions from these ponds…one to the Naples Creek and the other we suspect to the Cohocton.

After hike social was at our favorite Atlanta Restaurant, the Mountain View. Thanks to Pam, Rick H., Amy, and Ellen who helped to organize this beautiful hike. We will return again in the winter, given permission from local landowners, to answer some of our questions.

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