Hike and Paddle at Hemlock Lake

It was a glorious day to be outdoors, on the final day of June.  An even dozen gathered at Hemlock Lake to enjoy the cool, sunny weather and were rewarded.  We had our usual hiking groups.  Four hardy hikers walked the length of the lakeshore then climbed through the woodlands on Rob’s Trail, for an impressive 4.25 miles.  Another four motored up to Rob’s Trail trailhead and worked their way back to the boat launch.  In this group we welcomed two new hikers, who appeared to enjoy the outing and the easy going group of Tourists.  Two folks took the Naturalist. route along the DEC trail, out and back to the boat launch, which was a hefty 3.5 miles.  From the bench at the terminus of this trail, they spotted and waved at the paddlers out on the lake.  Only 2 kayakers ventured out on Hemlock Lake for 4 + miles of paddling.  At they headed across the lake, an eagle appeared, swooping along the western shore.  That was a good omen.  The breeze pushed them swiftly down the lake, yet was not too much of a hindrance on the crossover or the upwind part of the loop.  It was a decent workout.

A delicious picnic supper, awaited the group as they returned to Hemlock Park.  It was a perfect evening, weather wise.  Everyone remarked or the variety and quality of the culinary offerings.  (Nutritious and delicious!)  It was a top notch day at Hemlock Lake.  Thank you to all who participated.

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.



Houghton Land Preserve July 22, 2018


Display Yesterday, thirteen hikers were treated to a lovely walk in the woods at the Houghton Preserve in Corning.  The Finger Lakes Land Trust has created more than 35 of these conservation areas that are open to the public for quiet enjoyment of nature.

The abundant shade and a refreshing breeze kept us all comfortable as we meandered along the well marked and maintained trails.   Three naturalists enjoyed a gentler walk along the lower trails and a peaceful meadow, although they did cover quite a bit of ground.  The bobolinks did not put in an appearance except on a smart phone.

Ten tourists/climbers traversed the upper and lower loops, listening for a cuckoo and searching for evidence of porcupine, when they had an unexpected sighting.  A black bear loped through the forest just uphill from the trail.  Thanks to Pinock ( on his first hike with our group) for his quick reflexes in alerting us, as we might never have gotten a glimpse.  Our noise and numbers frightened the little critter away too quickly for John to snap a photo.

Our after hike social at the Market Street Brewing Company was most enjoyable, despite the slow service.  Good food, good prices, good beer.

This was Springwater Trails first outing at Houghton.  Hopefully we will return to enjoy it in other seasons.  If you wish to explore on your own, this is a very user friendly area:  ample parking,  kiosk with maps and information, well blazed trails.  Keep and eye out for bears!

Check our facebook page for more photos.

Holiday Party

Wish I had a photo to capture the hygge (Danish for coziness) of tonight’s gathering.  John and Sue provided the comfort of their gorgeous home.  We enjoyed a perfect variety of nutritious and delicious foods.  The music was lively and eclectic (Don’t Jump Off the Roof Dad).  Most of all, old friends got to relax and chat.  Thank you all, for an invigorating hike and a lovely evening., especially to John for orchestrating it all.