Despite the discouraging weather forecast, four intrepid hikers made the journey to Big Flats for the Sunday Hike. Their fortitude was rewarded. What awaited was a winter wonderland of ice coated trees and soft snow which truly enhanced the serenity.
The steward of the preserve, Bob Corneau, met us at the trailhead and hiked with us through the forest. The deep wet snow slowed our pace which allowed for many observations we might have missed on the fast track. Bob provided much history and many personal stories, having spent countless hours in these acres. He tuned us in to the pulse of the forest and its wildlife as we pondered about pine species, animal tracks, and “yellow snow”. His extensive knowledge of the terrain, the trees, and the reptile population made the two and a half hours fly.
Our education continued during a hearty post-hike feast at the local eatery, Tag’s Tavern. The food, beer, and conversation provided a pleasant conclusion to our adventure.
If you have the opportunity to visit this unique preserve in any season, you will not be disappointed. Read about it at fllt.org/preserves/steegehill-preserve Springwater Trails will definitely be making a return visit.
The Finger Lakes Trail in Letchorth Park, Mount Morris, NY
The glorious Fall weather inspired twenty hikers to attend last Sunday’s hike in Letchworth State Park. This section of the FLT was new territory for most of the group. As you can see from their smiling faces, the long and challenging trek left them feeling victorious. The forest was full of color, the trail well maintained. All agreed it was a successful venture. The early start was a good choice as we did not finish until after 4:00.
About half of the group joined the Climbers for a vigorous scramble up and down some serious gullies. There was some consternation when we did not find the park trail leading down to the riverbank for a view of St Helena. However, no one whined about the extra mile down and up a rather steep trail. The scenery did not disappoint. A smaller group of Tourists did the hike in reverse, hoping to meet up with our faithful photographer, Char. They encountered the steeper terrain towards the end of their journey, a true test of their stamina. The Naturalists explored an easier route and one of the FLT’s famous lean-tos.
A huge thank you to volunteer hike leaders Mark and Gene, and to John for the group photo. God bless Pam and Bill, Gene and Georgia for coming to the aid of a fellow hiker.
Several folks convened at Scovill’s Grill after the hike for some much needed refreshments. Despite the shortage of beer, it was an enjoyable meal with some lively conversation.
It was a very warm afternoon last Sunday, but that did not deter the dozen determined hikers who came to explore the beauty of Cleveland Hill, on a section of the Bristol Hills FLT branch, also shared by the BSA Camp Warren Cutler. While we saw no trace of the legendary General Cleveland what we did find was a well maintained trail, some lovely views or the Bristol Valley, and numerous flying foes. We welcomed two hikers new to our group, Kathy and James.
A small group of three headed northeast toward the beaver pond to enjoy some gentler terrain. Under Mark’s leadership, another group made their summit attempt from the south access on a less challenging slope. Melissa led the remaining seven hikers up the steeper north side. Elevation achieved, 2210 feet. Along the route we observed some activity by an environmental agency, thinning out some of the oaks to make room for new growth. Along the trail, James pointed out several species of oaks and pines he had learned in his wilderness course. We passed several side trails that connect to the Boy Scout camping area, but opted not to add to our mileage.
The two climbing groups met near the overlook at the top where Mark so graciously surrendered his keys to those who would have had to road walk for a mile plus. Gene also pitched in and transported the long hikers back to their vehicles. Many thanks for saving us from a steamy slog up CR 33.
A quick break along the trail
View from the overlook, well worth the climb.
Following our hike, many folks gathered at Brew and Brats in Bristol Springs for some excellent refreshments. Thanks to John French, the owner, for being a very accommodating host.
End of the trail
Thank you all for hiking with us on our adopted trail. There were a few new faces in the group, which is always nice to see. We had over twenty folks in attendance to enjoy the Spring like weather. Hopefully many of them will be inspired to return when we schedule our trail maintenance.
Gene led the Naturalists as they departed Seaman Road to ascend the ridge on a reconnaissance mission, to identify maintenance issues. The trail register was located and repaired. The signs of Spring have not yet revealed themselves. The trail crunched underfoot with frost needles remaining from the previous days of cold temperatures. These kept the muck to a minimum.
Wendy headed up the Tourist group on a longer journey, over the ridge and through the woods. They enjoyed the serenity of the late winter woods with a few patches of snow and none of those pesky insects.
Climbers trudged up that LONG hill from the Naples access, rewarded by that marvelous gorge and waterfalls along the way. They paused to take in the view at the overlook of the Naples valley before continuing through the forest and over the ridge on their five mile adventure. They found the trail to be well-blazed with no major blockages. Hopefully our photographers will share their interesting images. As they approached the Seaman Road access, a barred owl made its presence known. Some of this group found a stream which served handily as a much needed boot washer.
Many hikers gathered at the Middletown Tavern afterward to share the day’s events and enjoy a much deserved meal. The folks at Middletown were most accommodating. Thank you to Pat and Tony for their photos displayed on the Springwater Trails Facebook page.