Stid Hill, Dugway Road Hike

It was overcast and a chill was in the air but, thankfully, it did not rain…our hike Sunday brought together 14 people (11 regulars and 3 new – Char’s co-worker and her two children) to explore the area. Resplendent with many varieties of mushrooms – some of which even Gene & Georgia weren’t familiar with – the trails were easy on us, thanks to the dry weather.

Two hikes were offered and each one provided much of the same terrain and views, albeit from parallel trails. Our biggest challenge was avoiding some pretty serious horse dropping piles… As we passed through a forest of thorn trees which emitted an aura of dark spookiness, there was a hush amongst the group; when we entered the pine tree forest with its peaceful softness, smiles abounded.

There were no awesome climbs or treacherous jumps over ravines – it was a much different side of Stid Hill, a nice, easy amble. Hunters are typically further south so we did not have to deal with that on our walk. Several hikers brought back “souvenirs” and there were numerous mushrooms slated for identification by the Rochester Mushroom Society in the near future.

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Clark Gully Sunnyside/South Hill Hi Tor Hike Report


journey up the hill

With blue skies, abundant sunshine, and temperatures hovering around 80 degrees on this early autumn day, Sunday, 14 people and four dogs climbed to the top of Clark Gully, beginning from Sunnyside Road. Waterfalls had slowed to light trickles and the gully floor had scant hydration, but the views of the surrounding hills were exquisite. About three-quarters of the way up, however, a different kind of adventure began.


portion of winding gully

Newton, one of our canine hikers, took off in a flash, down the steep embankment to the gully. After getting no response from Newt, to his calls, Douglas quickly climbed down into the gully to begin a search which would eventually reunite the two in a place located in the middle section of Clark Gully. His search was up and down, back and forth, covering just about the entire gully area, focusing on places the two had previously been to.

area, down below, where Newt was found

Newt was finally located down a steep embankment located between two large waterfalls, where most hikers dare not to tread, and, perhaps that may now include Newt, as well. Luckily for Newt, his owner works for an area fire department and is well-trained in rescue as well as endurance. Upon locating his dog, Douglas climbed up the left then down the right side of a ridge, then was able to coax Newt up the right side, then carried him on his shoulders for a while, back to his car. Newt survived the journey with a sore right front leg but, luckily, nothing worse. Apparently, Newt gets bored if his fellow hikers are going too slowly, and since the two have hiked most of this area many times before, he went off on his own. His owner said Newt preferred the stream/gully hike and just didn’t want to wait for us slow-pokes…so a doozy of a hike for both of them and a happy ending to boot.


black snake

Meanwhile, back on the trail, the rest of us came to rest after an exhilarating (or exhausting – depending on one’s perspective) climb. We had a nice campfire with our social, thanks to Linda, who found some nearby branches to keep the fire fed. Bob, Char and I hiked up to the South Hill parking lot to get food from the cars and on the way saw a large – about 3 foot long – black snake.


Mark, Pam and Mac taking in the view of Naples hills

One of two women, walking near us, that spotted it, mentioned that she’d seen one about 6 feet long, earlier, in the gully…hmm, joining us for the social, perhaps? We then ventured back, meeting creek-walkers Pam and Mark on the way. By that time, sitting down on the cool stone chairs in the Flintstone living room felt wonderful and that glass of wine did, too.

Thanks to all who attended, braving the Naples Grape Festival traffic along the way.

Hi Tor Clark Gully Sunnyside

DSCN5686This week we will hike a portion of High Tor – Clark Gully – beginning from the Sunnyside Road parking lot. Known for its several intense waterfalls, Clark Gully runs from South Hill Road down to Sunnyside. While the best time to view the waterfalls is Spring, which is not now, the area also encompasses lovely forest overlooking breathtaking, scenic vistas of the surrounding hills and two large fields of autumn wildflowers. While scouting out the area during May and June, we were at the mercy of knats and mosquitos, which will not be the case now. Low-level water, currently, in the gully, makes it ideal for creek walking. For those of you who attended the Stid Hill Hike two weeks ago, this climb is shorter and somewhat less intense. We will all meet at the second Sunnyside Road parking lot, after turning onto Sunnyside from Rte 245. Based on interest and skill level of those who show up we will either divide into two groups – Climbers/Tourists and Naturalists – or there will just be one group, the Climbers/Tourists.DSCN5690 From Sunnyside the climb is uphill, about 40 minutes worth, then a very short descent to the gully. After this, Climbers/Tourists will continue on to do some creek walking to explore the gully, which winds around and around, viewing a few trickling falls and some mega boulders. Due to low water level, it is easier to walk the gully and explore much more of it than it was in the spring. DSCN5694We will then walk back, through the gully, to what I call the Flintstone’s living room – a grouping of stone seats encircling a campfire pit. Actually very comfortable – just the right slant on the backs to really relax. There is also a stone chair in the water but it’s a tad too chilly to sit there now. Our social, weather permitting, (extended forecast is currently calling for 80 degrees with 0% chance of rain) will be held here – bring what you would like to nosh on in your backpack – sandwich, salad, night-before’s leftovers, etc., and beverage of choice. The theme here is keep it simple – no dishes to pass, no donations, no cooking, no heavy tub. Campfire would add to the ambiance so I will bring matches and newspaper and we certainly can find some sticks nearby. DSCN5698There is a small parking area on South Hill Road where those who choose the Naturalist hike can park and have a short walk down to the gully in order to join us for the social – there is a short, steep climb back up from the gully, however. If weather is uncooperative we will meet at Middletown Tavern on Rte 21/Main Street & CR 36 in Naples for the social after the hike. Climbers/Tourists will walk up to South Hill and carpool back to their cars – we will decide how to arrange this before we begin the hike. Poles are recommended as are solid, treaded shoes – rocks in the gully can be slippery. Dogs are welcome on this hike. Naturalists will have several options – they can explore the lower gully and flat portion of the woods or if they desire a longer walk, the Middlesex rail trail, which runs parallel to the West River, is nearby at the first parking area on Sunnyside.


NOTE: Amy points out that the Naples Grape Festival is this weekend.  You are encouraged to visit Naples Saturday or Sunday prior to the hike.  However, if the weather is good, expect heavy traffic in Naples on your way to the hike.  Due to the location of Naples, avoiding this traffic may not be possible.  (A detour south of Hi Tor will add 35 minutes to the trip from Wayland. The directions from Canandaigua avoid the center of Naples by taking Parrish Rd.  This may avoid some of the traffic).  Please leave extra time to get to the hike. Please refer to my comment below for alternate directions. D


From Naples, take Rte 21 N to Rte 245, make right onto 245, go 3.9 miles, then left onto Sunnyside Road. Parking lot is on right-hand side.

From Wayland and Springwater, take Rte 15A south to Rte 21N, make left onto 21N, then follow directions from Naples.

From Honeoye, take CR36/West Lake Road south to Rte 21, make a left onto Rte 21/Main Street and follow directions for Naples.

From Canandaigua, take Rte 21S past Woodville, left onto Parrish Road (just past Monica’s Pies), left onto Rte 245, left onto Sunnyside.

From Rochester, take 490E to last Victor exit (right before Thruway). Take Rte 96 through village of Victor. Make right onto Maple Avenue/Rte 444. Take left onto Rtes 5/20, right onto Rte 64S. Follow 64 to left as it winds around, right after Bristol Springs, then dumps into Rte 21S. Continue on 21S through Woodville them make left onto Parrish Road, left onto Rte 245 and left onto Sunnyside.

Stid Hill South Hike Report

Stid Hill South 02On a crisp pre-autumn day Sunday,  sixteen people and three canines hiked Stid Hill. Four hikers, led by Gene and Georgia, selected the Naturalist non-climb hike, exploring the fields, replete with lovely wildflowers – but, alas, no mushrooms, down below. The rest of us, including 80-year old Katherine (if I live to that age may I be just like you), hoofed  it all the way up – about 1000 feet – to the hang gliding launch atop the hill. There was a stunning view of downtown Rochester which we got a closer view of thanks to Doug’s binoculars – we could clearly see the downtown Kodak building on State Street. There were plenty of oohs and ahhs amongst the group, and rightly so – in addition to the city view there is an awesome view overlooking Bristol Mountain and the adjoining hills and valley. Several years ago, while sitting with my friend in a hospital room at Strong, he told me that one could see somewhere in Bristol from Rochester. Stid Hill South 04It was always foggy and overcast then but we could see something way off in the distance – I finally found the view from the other direction. As I sat on a bench and glanced around the group I was happy that they were so awed, too. There was something for everyone – the find of the day for one canine hiker was a deer skull with one antler (?) which Newt chomped away at – yummy, apparently.

Stid Hill South 05As we began our descent we were surprised (actually bordering on shock, but since there were several new members with us our fearless leader tried not to come totally unglued) to see that the hot pink blazes on the trees, visible several weeks ago, had vanished (stranger things have happened, really) but thanks to Melissa’s good sense of direction and some recall from a previous hike, combined with Doug’s GPS on his phone, we were soon on our way down the proper trail. Nothing like an added challenge to enhance the experience…All told, it was 5 miles roundtrip of rugged terrain, even climbing on all fours and grabbing onto tree roots for a short time but we all finished with smiles on our faces (or maybe delirium).

Stid Hill South 08Meanwhile, down below, unbeknownst to the rest of us, Gene and Georgia had some time to kill after their hike finished, before our troops arrived down from up above. Luckily, Joan, Bob  and Tippi arrived around 4:30 and Bob called me to make sure we hadn’t decided to spend the night up there. Once at ease, he rested, after a grueling day of taking down some trees, and Joan and Tippi did some hiking up the hill.

Stid Hill South 07Our well-deserved and delicious beer and brats were very welcome at the after-hike social which was held at Brew and Brats, down the road in Bristol Springs. We sat outside, to dine alfresco, possibly for the last time this year…

Welcome to a few new faces and welcome back to some whom we had not seen in quite a while. It was a great hike, a fun group and the best-attended Stid Hill hike to date. Thanks much to all who attended and thanks, Douglas, for your lovely photos. Cheers!

Stid Hill South 06Stid Hill South 01