On Sunday, Springwater Trails hiked the area of South Hill in Middlesex, NY. Eighteen hikers, lead by Steve, explored Clark Gully from the stream bed, the West River Nature Preserve and the Great Hill Nature Preserve. South Hill, with a peak elevation of nearly 1900′, anchors the south east corner of Canandaigua Lake. The hill has very steep slopes down to the lake and to the West River, which greatly limited any logging on the hill. This has resulted in a varied and luxuriant forest. Clark’s Gully drops 1100′ in two miles through generally soft sedimentary rock which has resulted in high walls on both sides of the gully and deep shadows in the late afternoon – we found it a beautiful and pleasant hike for a 92° day.
The group turned around at the first waterfall and proceeded to the West River Nature Preserve, at the bottom of Clark’s Gully. This preserve is focused on grasslands, the preferred nesting area for many birds and animals. Grasslands are disappearing across New York, as the land is returning to forests. The Finger Lakes Land Trust will be preserving the grasslands with an annual, late summer, mowing.
After a road walk along Sunny Side Rd, we reached the Great Hill Preserve and walked along a level trail at the top of the steepest slope down to Canandaigua Lake. We all decided to return in the Winter to enjoy the views of the lake when the leaves are gone and the poison ivy will be buried.
Next week we will enjoy another a stream walk at Wesley Hill Preserve, yet another Finger Lakes Land Trust. Details are available on the website – springwatertrails.org.