FLT Letchworth Branch – 4th in the Series

This Sunday’s hike is the 4th in our series on the Letchworth Branch. This hike will join the trail at Access Point F and will follow the trail to Access H for a 5 mile hike. The Tourists and Naturalists will exit early at Access G for a 2 or 3 mile hike. For hikers tracking our progress on this branch trail, you will note that we have skipped the section from E to F. This section is six miles with no early exits – so, we are postponing that hike until March and daylight savings time when less snow should allow us to finish the hike well before sunset.

Starting from shoulder parking at Access F, all hikers will follow the blue trail into the main yellow trail.  The climbers will turn left onto the main trail. In a mile and a half, we will stop at a shelter for a sip of water from our individual supply of water which all hikers are expected to carry on all hikes. In another mile, we will cross the abandoned St. Helena Rd. This road carried traffic to a bridge across the Genesee to a hamlet of St. Helena on the west side of the river. At the time of the Civil War, St. Helena had 90 students in its school, but in 1884 and again in 1904, the bridge was washed away by ice jams. In 1920, there were just 6 families left, and the school was closed. The last resident left in 1948. The Mt Morris Dam was completed in 1952 and contained the hamlet within the lake that forms behind the dam during  floods. About two miles after crossing the St Helena road, we will turn left onto the blue trail and hike out to an awaiting car to carry us back to our cars at the trail head.

The Tourists will follow the same access trail as the climbers to the main trail, but will continue straight across and continue of the park trail to the edge of the river flats or as far as the hikers wish to go. If they hike for 0.6 miles, they can reach a large old sycamore tree, the largest tree in Letchworth. The tourists will then return on the same park trail back to the yellow trail, and will turn right to follow the hikers (and naturalists). About 500 feet past the shelter, the tourists will leave the branch trail on a blue access trail and hike out to another waiting car on River Rd which will transport them back to cars at the trail head.

The Naturalists will also follow the blue trail into the yellow trail.  Turning left they will follow the climbers to the shelter. A tenth of a mile past the shelter, the Naturalists will turn left onto another blue access trail to Access G on River Rd.  The Naturalists should wait for the Tourists behind them and share the car ride back to the cars Access F.

Following the hike, please join us for a social at the Sunrise restaurant in Dansville. Prior to the hike, the tourists and naturalists should confirm that they plan to meet the climbers at the restaurant. They can let the restaurant know the number of climbers that should be expected about a half hour later than the tourists and naturalists.


From Springwater: Take NY 15-N west from the light in Springwater. At the top of the hill and around the curve, turn left onto Liberty Pole Rd (CR 38). Continue straight across Reed’s Corners Rd where it becomes CR 1A, and across Stagecoach Rd where it becomes Springwater-Scottsburg Rd and finally across NY 256 where it becomes Groveland-Scottsburg Rd (CR 1). Finally, in 8.1 miles from NY 15, in Groveland, turn left onto NY 63. Take the first right onto NY 258 (Flats Rd). At the end of that road, turn right onto NY 36. After the Correctional Institution. take the second left onto Dutch Street Rd. In 1.3 miles, turn right onto Ridge Rd. Turn left onto NY 408. Go past Frost Rd and turn left onto Hoagland Rd. At the tee, turn left onto River Rd. Parking is on the right just past the next street (Picket Line Rd).

From Wayland: Take I-390N through Dansville.  Take Exit 6 for NY-36. Turn left onto NY-36. After the Correctional Institution. take the second left onto Dutch Street Rd. In 1.3 miles, turn right onto Ridge Rd. Turn left onto NY 408. Go past Frost Rd and turn left onto Hoagland Rd. At the tee, turn left onto River Rd. Parking is on the right just past the next street (Picket Line Rd).

From Mt Morris: Take NY-408 south from Main St. In 2.5 miles, bear right onto River Rd. Continue on River Rd for 5.5 miles, past Ridge Rd, Frost Rd and Hoagland Rd. Just past Picket Line Rd, parking is on the right shoulder of the road.

From Nunda: Take NY 436 west from route 408. In 3.1 miles, turn right onto Oakland Rd. At the end, bear right onto River Rd. Parking will be on the left shoulder in about 3/4 mile.

Directions to Sunrise Restaurant: Follow River Rd south. In 0.7 miles, take a slight right onto Oakland Rd. Turn left onto NY 436. In 15 miles, continue straight onto NY-36.  At Main St, turn left. Park on the street in front of the restaurant, or take the driveway past the restaurant to the parking area behind the restaurant.

New WordPress Editor

Yesterday I received word that the Springwater Trails website has been upgraded to WordPress version 5.0.

The major change in this version is a new editor. When you create or edit a Post you will be using the new editor.  This occurs if you want to write about a hike we have taken – for example, if you lead a hike and would like to describe how it went and include some pictures.

Here are some of the changes to the editor. 

Melissa and Donna go over the edge
  • The editor seems much cleaner. In other words, things you are used to seeing around the editor box on your screen have moved and you will need to hunt for them.  So far, I haven’t noticed anything missing, but you will need to look.
    • Specifically the right side shows Document and Block tabs.  The default is Block, which contains settings for the current block – often a block is just a paragraph, but more later.
    • Most of the old settings are under the Document Tab.
    • Above the editor region is a short menu on the left and a “Publish” menu on the right.  If you want to save your Post to come back to later, you can “Save Draft”.  That way, only you can see it when you go to the Dashboard and click on Posts->All Posts. If you “Publish” then it becomes available to the public on the website, although you can still come back and edit it.  
    • We rarely change the date that a post is published. If you want to do that, the publish date is on the Document tab.
  • The editor uses blocks. Generally, when you press the Enter key at the end of a Paragraph, the editor will create a new block for you.  The idea is you then can easily move your blocks around, without concern about what is inside them.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to move blocks except by switching to the Code Editor and cutting and pasting the block.

More info later, as I learn.

Steege Hill Recap

The seven hikers who made the trek to Big Flats on Sunday were rewarded with a afternoon of pleasant Fall weather in which to explore the Steege Hill Preserve.  Although some trails were soggy from all of the recent precipitation,  the skies were clear, and the temperature was almost toasty.

Sadly, we did not have the benefit of our usual guide, Bob who is the longstanding steward at the preserve.  Therefore we had to create our own script, recalling some of the tales he has shared with us in the past. We did encounter the manager of volunteer patrols, John Abbott,  who thanked us for visiting and contributing over two hours to the schedule.

At this season of the year the forest is quieter.  The sounds of gurgling streams were prominent.  Instead of the cries of hawks, the droning of small planes from the nearby airfield filled the air.  We  saw a glider being towed through the sky.  No wildlife were evident.  The rattlers and mound ants were tucked safely away in their nests.  Although the foliage was significantly diminished,  new forest color emerged. The delicate yellow flowers of the witch hazel shone through in many places.  In one section of the woods, brilliant red barberry shrubs burst with color.  John has put up a lovely slide show that captures our afternoon adventures. https://springwatertrails.org/november-2018-steeg-hill-2/

The sun was already low in the sky when we picked our way down that steep hill to the parking area.   The setting sun lent a lovely glow to the  surrounding hillsides as we departed Steege Hill Preserve.  As always, Tag’s Restaurant provided  a fine feast for famished hikers.  The small group size made it easy for conversation.



Return to Steege Hill


This preserve, maintained by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, is a perfect refuge during hunting season.  In fact, out hikers will be performing a service to the land trust by patrolling the woods as they walk.  No worries.  In sixteen seasons, patrollers have never encountered a hunter.

Steege Hill Preserve is about 800 acres, acquired in 2001 from an anonymous donor.  The forest is regenerating after heavy logging in the 1970’s and contains many species of hardwoods.  Preserve steward, Bob Corneau, has maintained a network of over 6 miles of trails, constructed largely on the old logging roads.  On some of the steep slopes original hardwoods and conifers remain.  From its hilltop vantage point there is a bird’s eye view of the Chemung River.

Worth mentioning are two notable creatures that inhabit this forest.  Timber Rattlesnakes have long been residents here, especially on the sunlit rocky outcroppings and in the shade of the forest. They may be snuggly out of sight at this time of year, but be cautious when stepping off the trail.  The distinctive nests of Allegheny Mound Ants are a common sight at trailside and in clearings that the ants have fashioned for themselves by destroying shade plants to insure adequate sunlight and warmth for the colony.  Black bears also have been sighted in the area recently.  For more about this preserve go to http://fllt.org/preserves/steege-hill-preserve

Hiking Groups

All groups will depart together from the parking area on Steege Hill Road, heading uphill for about a half mile on a moderate pitch.  There are four trail loops to explore.

Please note:  The parking space is very limited.  Carpooling is highly recommended.  Meet at Springwater Town Hall on Route 15 at 12:45 as the drive is 1 hour.

Naturalists will cruise around the Yellow Loop, a gentle 2 mile jaunt with a few small inclines and a tranquil pond.  We may be fortunate enough to have the steward of the refuge join this group.  If not, a volunteer leader is needed.

Tourists will traverse the blue and orange trails, enjoying a variety of terrain with some moderate climbs, about 3.5 miles.  A volunteer leader will be needed for this group.

Climbers will tackle the white and red trails which offer some up and downhill challenges, as well as a nice valley view. Distance is about 4.5 miles.

Hopefully all groups will arrive back at the starting point at approximately the same time.

Directions   From Springwater, take I 390 south to I 86 E towards Corning.   Follow I 86 east to exit 48, then follow Rt.352 east for 1.5 miles.  Turn right on South Corning Rd. for .7 miles.  After crossing bridge across the Chemung River, turn left on Steege Hill Rd..  Follow up hill for 1 mile.  Preserve is on the left.  Look for green and white sign.

Social  will be at Tag’s Restaurant, 3037 Rt 252 in Big Flats,  It is a very short drive from the hike.  Good food.  We have feasted there previously.