Erie-Attica and the Finger Lakes Trail

Since I have Char’s pictures from the last two hikes today, you will get two hike reports in one – sort of a two for one sale!

On Oct 18th, 15 hikers enjoyed the Erie-Attica trail and the Genesee Valley Greenway near Avon. It turned out to be a nice day with a dry trail.

The day started with a presentation sponsored by the Avon Historical Society, discussing the renovation of the Opera Block building on the circle in Avon by the Town Government.  They now are assessing the community interest in renovating the third floor stage and multi-purpose room of that building for community events.

Lower Glen HikeOn October 25, sixteen hikers met at the Wayland parking lot to car pool to the Finger Lakes Trail north east of Hornell. Thanks to volunteer drivers and careful attention by everyone, we were able to carpool in six cars.  Two were left at the end points of the hike (C and D) and the others transported everyone to  the start points (A and B).

The Climbers and Tourists started up hill through a Hemlock woods and then a Red Pine plantation. The Red pines were a very clean woods, with almost nothing growing at ground level.  The occasional tree making it way certainly stood out.

IMG_1070 IMG_1069 Red pines

The naturalists started at the top of the hill for a road walk.  The rest of the hikers caught up to them and enjoyed the views across the valley.

We re-entered woods to follow an abandoned town road past an old barn and down the Katherine’s waiting car which transported the Naturalists and Tourists back to cars parked at the start of the hike and then to the Country Kitchen for our social.

Meanwhile, the climbers crossed CR 70A and continued over one more hill to the Hornell Water Filtration plant.  John’s car was a two small for all of the climbers, so Char and Linda and one dirty dog walked to the social.

October has arrived – 2015. (UPDATED) and also time to think Winter hike planning

Yes, October has arrived in 2015!  That means fall foliage viewing (monikered “leaf peeping” by some folks), and things like the 50th annual Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival, Bristol Mountain skyrides, 40th annual Letchworth Arts & Craft Festival (also) in Letchworth S.P on Columbus Day weekend, fall foliage trolley rides  & pumpkins and trick-or-treating (on Saturday 10/24) at the NYMT and also RGVRRM train rides.   (Some S/T hikers may recall the April 19th, 2015 hike starting at NYMT and may also recall some hiker interest shown in seasonal train rides & trolley rides offered in both Autumn foliage season and also near Christmas, as well as summer.)

This October also brings a very unique opportunity in Western NY for hikers and historic canal appreciators.  The 2015 October Fall Field Trip of the Canal Society of NYS is focusing on the former Genesee Valley Canal, and more specifically the southern portion.  The Fall Field Trip scheduled for October 23&24, 2015, is based out of Mt Morris, NY, with multiple visits to substantial parts of the former Genesee Valley Canal.  Sound interesting?  The details can be found at the above hyperlink provided, or click ⇒ October 2015 Field Trip schedule details.

Also of note, for folks interested in canals in NYS, is an official website publication of the NYS Canal Commission. ⇒  New York State Canal System .                                        .
Of course, October conjures ghosts, goblins, witches, and Halloween at the end of the month. And too, October brings Jack-o-lanterns, quintessentially Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers’ MONSTER MASH (Yep, Drac’ is back with all his friends and is cool with being part of the band, despite not much play on that Transylvania Twist), and Pumpkin Spice beer.  October also brings high hopes of delicious homemade casseroles and wholesome healthy vegetable dishes, in sync with a bountiful harvest season, at S/T after-hike socials (hint), Just Sayin’.  Beautiful Autumnal colors can abound on trees and underfoot along hiking trails.  Fresh fallen leaves can bring beauty and hiking cushioning and the “crunching” sounds of treading on dried leaves, as well, slipping challenges may now exist in wet conditions.  Thus, October, November and December may bring to mind use of Traction Devices (TDs) for hiking which are easily donned and doffed upon hiking boots & shoes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           .
October, … ah yes, that “Turkish Carpet” on the ground surrounding the Finger Lakes certainly has its beauty in a multitude of ways.   Bright reds, oranges, and Yellows, and some tans & browns, all abound around us.                                                    .                                                                                                                                                                        .
On a different topic of salience, October is Disabilty Awareness month, and at least one S/T hike in October (the 10/18 Avon hike) has a routing suitable for Flatlanders (hikers and would be hikers with mobility limitations).  We’ve had others in the past and will have more in the future. Many hike locales do not lend well to limited mobility hikes, but when a locale does, … well, seize the opportunity may be in accord.                                                                         .                                                                                                                               .
 More hike thoughts – October 10th, 2015 brings the last Saturday series hike for the Ontario Pathways guided hikes, albeit a bit of a travel for many S/T hikers to northeastern corner of Ontario County. As well, October 2015 brings the seventh and last 2015 Genesee Valley Greenway State Park Interpretive Hike on second Saturdays of the month April thru October, but being the hike series runs for two years (2015 & 2016) there will be seven more hikes in the series starting in April 2016.            .                                                                                                                                                                                  .
Our own S/T hikes in October take a tour of various towns, with the first hike being a gully/creek hike, in yes Springwater. Then hike locales in South Bristol/Canadice, Avon/Caledonia, and Hornell/Almond (update – the trail section chosen for this hike has been shifted eastward, so we’ll be in Hornellsville only).   And speaking of hikes… what about Winter, not rushing things mind you.
October also is a time when fore-thinking hikers will start to consider Winter hikes for possibilities of Hike Planning.  Mendon Ponds Winterfest in January on (1/17/2016) the Sunday of MLK Jr holiday weekend is scheduled.  And a tentative hike/snowshoe/ski with a tenuous date of February 7th, 2016 at the Town of Rush Park at 6565 ERR and the adjacent NYMT at 6393 East River Rd is under consideration.  What favored hike as a reader of this article, might you like to see on the Winter 2016 S/T Hike Schedule.  OK.  Suggest it and hopefully Hike Plan it for benefit of your fellow S/T hikers!     .                                                                                                                                                       .
Please bring Winter 2016 hiking season (January-March) Hike Plan proposals and offers on October 25th to the Sunday hike and we will start putting the Winter hike schedule together on 10/25 and thereafter.
One last tidbit of potpourri. Remembering the hikes we’ve had in Letchworth State Park, and particularly the combo hike event (June 2014) that provided for a tour of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Mount Morris Dam for flood control, you may be interested to learn a bit about present day debris removal at the dam.  There were questions about this in hikers’ discussions following the dam tour & hike.
Now that you’ve read; if you’ve laughed, or learned, or are now thinking about Hike Planning a Winter hike for S/T, well, … then it would be an author’s success.

Exploring the “new” NYS Parks, Recreation and Preservation area in Springwater

013A section of land between Reynolds Gull and Town Line Road which surrounds the mighty creek of Reynolds Gull, has recently changed hands from the Nature Conservancy to NY001S Parks, Recreation and Preservation.  16 SpringwaterTrail hikers ventured deep into the gully to explore the overgrown logging roads and fingers of Reynolds Gull creek on a beautiful fall day.  At this time of the year, water levels from this powerful creek were perfect for creek walking which provided an adventurous experience for all.

016Car pooling and social took place from the historical Evergreen Cemetery which borders Reynolds Gully located on Canadice Lake Road.  Thanks go out to Mr. Hoppough and the Evergreen Cemetery Association for allowing us to have our social at the cemetery location and explore the old gravestones of early settlers in the area.  It is also reported that there was once a covered bridge that crossed the deep gully below. Maybe future pictures of this bridge and interesting stories about the settlers will appear at some point from Rick Osieki”s website on Hemlock/Canadice history or the Springwater Historical Society.

003004Looking at detailed GPS maps and using smart phones, hikers began their exploration of the creek from the old cabin located near the creek bed. The cabin is open, the pond has been filled in and the old dam has been removed by the Nature Conservancy.  According to the Nature Conservancy,  these improvements will allow a suitable environment for brook trout to develop.  Hopefully, additional trails will be maintained by the state.

Hikers followed many overgrown old logging roads while crisscrossing the stream back and forth according to their skill levels.  The “Creek Crossing Award” goes out to John who managed the slippery rocks without getting hurt.011

005While many mushrooms were identified along the way, none were eaten, and only one was picked. Some hikers decided to” leave no trace” and left the beauty of the mushrooms in place for others to photograph or study.  No brook trout were seen nor other wildlife.  We hoped to locate the bear cave that we identified two years ago on one of the fingers of the creek, but to no avail, nor any cougar sightings.  The sounds of the creek traveling over little waterfalls through the deep gully and the silence of the woods were truly inspiring.012

Seven climbers accepted the challenge to explore the creek into unknown territory.  Beginning at the cabin, they proceeded downstream, following the creek bed into a deeper section of the gully with the knowledge that they would have to climb out of the deep gorge at some point, possibly near the area of Tamarack Campground.  The creek bed became wider along the way as expert creek walkers crisscrossed the creek back and forth, managing to cross on not-so-slippery rocks or even walk through the creek at shallow locations.  Sue managed to use her smart phone and GPS to identify our location in the creek which gave some clue as to the location of Tamarack Campground high above the creek.  Running out of time, we opted to climb the gully wall, holding onto trees for leverage, and even crawling on all fours at times to reach the top.  It was truly a mountain climbing adventure! We were tired as we finally emerged victoriously into civilization.015

Social was enjoyed by all, including a grape and apple pie,  many filling soups, beans and chili!  Nice to see Amy, Joan and Bob once again!   Welcome goes out to our new hikers Bill, Karen and Sue.  Thanks also to our hike scouts, Wendy, Bill C. from Kentucky, and Marty!  It is our hope that possibly someday, Springwater Trails could assist the state in maintaining these trails in our Springwater Trail Corridor.