Experiencing the Forest in a Different Way…Forest Therapy Walk…December 4, 2016

gathering

Mark said, “this was different for many of us.” Pam added “you were really good sports!”  and….” If you just take the time to be silent in nature, anything can happen!”  Others added…”I really saw nature in a different way than ever before.” ” I felt like a child again!” “We are entering into another one of the four seasons, the circle of life, death to rebirth.” forest-therapy-036

A two hour “forest therapy walk”, led by Deb Denome was truly an inspirational experience for many of us as we were guided slowly on a cold late fall day through nature.  As 16 of us traveled through the forest tapping our senses, observing, listening, seeing, smelling, and sensing motion,  we silently experienced nature on a personal level and shared it with others as we gathered around the well attended campfires.forest-therapy-007

Some of us had unusual experiences, like talking to objects in nature and getting a response.    Others traveled to places within the forest to sit quietly and reflect. We were called back to share our experiences by our leader’s flute or bird call.  Someone made a perfect crow call that got everyone’s attention.  canadice-outlet-revisited-037

What was really interesting to me was that we experienced seeing our hiking friends in a new and deeper way.  As they shared their thoughts, gratitude, and connectiveness with nature, we all gained new insights. Many had a sense of peace, calmness, while others related what they experienced in nature to a call for personal growth.  forest-therapy-008

A Forest Therapy experience is said to last at least 7 days.  I know for myself I have gone back to my spot in the woods to reexamine Mr. Vine and his family, listen more acutely, and share the beauty of the forest with others.  There are lessons to be learned, and many answers…if we just are silent. Thanks to Deb for taking us there.

Memorial Day Weekend Event – Hike/Bike/Kayak in Western Maryland – May 27-May 30, 2016

moving 037I believe this could be the first time Springwater Trails has attempted to organize a holiday weekend event in a new location, outside of New York State.  There is an interesting area that is easy to travel to through Pennsylvania, just about 5 hours from Springwater, into Western Maryland. The terrain is similar to the Little Finger Lakes, complete with farmland, mountain-like hills, lush state forests, reservoir lakes, multitude of fishing creeks and rivers, hiking trails, old railroad beds (which are developed biking and hiking trails), outfitters, Amish and craft stores, and excellent restaurants and campgrounds. We’ve spent 3 months planning this event into this secret place and to date, we have 15 persons already registered from Springwater Trails and joined by some members of the Secret Hikers from Kentucky.

moving 014Our event will begin Friday afternoon after hikers settle into their respective campsites or motel rooms.  We will gather at 4:00 at our campsite in New Germany State Park in Grantsville, Maryland.    grantsville, maryland 012A short 2-3 mile hike in New Germany State Park will exercise our bodies after our long car ride, followed by dinner at the Cornucopia Restaurant on the Casselman River at 7:00.   Reservations have already been secured for 12-15 persons.

On Saturday morning, we will gather at 9:00 at the Ranger Station of New Germany State Park, and will divide into two groups, one for kayaking, the other for hiking, and travel to the Savage River State Forest 10 minutes from our campsite.  moving 043 We have a local outfitter that will deliver rented kayaks to the dry boat launch on the Savage River Reservoir for a  4 hour tour. (lunch will be provided, bring water shoes, and prepare to possibly get wet).   Those experienced kayakers, with their own kayaks, will join us at the same boat launch to determine their own route with some suggested directions.(bring your own lunch). moving 058
Hikers will travel close by to a
spring wildflower trail called Monroe Run, moving 059crossing the creek several times for a 5 mile, mostly flat hike in the State Forest. (bring water shoes for creek crossings and lunch).

 

Evening pot luck dinner and campfire  will follow around 6:00 at our campsites in New Germany State Park.

grantsville, maryland 039grantsville, maryland 022On Sunday we will bike the Great Allegheny Passage from Deal to Cumberland and hikers will walk from Deal to Frostburg or to their ability level. We will gather at 9:00 in Grantsville. Bikers will carpool to Cumberland where the outfitter will shuttle us and all bikes to Deal.moving 034 Regardless of whether you have your own bike or are renting from the outfitter, we will all ride the shuttle with the outfitter. The 24-mile ride from Deal to Cumberland will then take us back to our cars/bike racks.moving 035   Bikers can decide if they want to continue on C& O Canal trail, have lunch in Cumberland, or return to their cars.  Hikers will walk the same downhill flat path, passing through the Big Savage grantsville, maryland 026Mountain Tunnel about 2 miles south of Deal and a mile south of the Eastern Continental Divide.  grantsville, maryland 031Some hikers may continue to hike 8 miles to Frostburg.  Hikers will decide if they would like to lunch in Frostburg or join others in Cumberland at the railroad station and visitors center. Hikers may also choose to walk some on the C&O Canal trail. Dinner, which includes a cooking contest, will be provided by Canadice Kitchens. (bring your outdoor cooking stoves and cooking pot). Campfire and hot chocolate to follow.

On Monday, after checking out of our rooms or campsite before 11:00, we will have a short hike at 11:00 for those interested in staying longer. Others may want to check out the moving 029historic Western Maryland train ride in Cumberland or other tourist areas located nearby.moving 007grantsville, maryland 020

 

 

 

 

If you do not have reservations and would like to join us, we will try to accommodate late reservations if possible due to the holiday weekend.    Contact Pam or Bill for details. Costs for outfitters:  Kayak/tour $65.00  Bike rental (full day) $30.  Bike shuttle as group of 8 about $27 each.

Directions from Springwater:   Take 390 south to the Southern Tier Expressway (I-86, NY  17).  Drive east towards Corning.  Take US 15 which is also I-99 south into Pennsylvania.  At Williamsport, take US 220 south.  220 is a bypass around Williamsport. The signs will say Lock Haven.

Take 220 south to I-80.  Go west on I-80 (which is also 220).  At the second exit, take 220 south.  Signs will direct you to State College and Bellefonte.  220 also becomes I-99.  Take 220 all the way through PA down into Maryland.  The I-99 designation ends after Bedford.

In Maryland, you reach I-68.  Go west, passing through downtown Cumberland, to Exit 22, the first of two Grantsville exits.  After taking the ramp at Exit 22, turn right if you’re staying at the Casselman Inn.  At the light on Alt 40, turn left and drive about 2 miles to the Casselman which will be on your right.  If you’re staying at the Comfort Inn or camping at New Germany State Park, turn left from the Exit 22 ramp.  The Comfort Inn is on your right on the other (south) side of I-68.  For New Germany, continue on the road (Chestnut Ridge) until it dead-ends at a T intersection.  Turn left and drive 2-3 miles – look for signs for New Germany State Park.  The Park HQ and Visitors Center is on the right, the campground entrance is on the left – follow the signs.

Our Friday evening dinner is at the Cornucopia Cafe which is less than a mile from the Casselman going east on Alt 40. The restaurant is behind the Penn Alps restaurant.

Cumberland Road Trip – Last Call

Pam and Bill have planned an exciting weekend in Cumberland MD for Memorial Day. Cumberland is at the junction of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Pittsburgh and the Cumberland & Ohio Canal Towpath Trail to Washington.

Bill and Pam will be camping at the New Germany State Park and the nearby Savage River State Forest has numerous primitive low-cost campsites over a wide area, some of which may still be available.

Activities that have been planned for the weekend include Kayaking on the Savage River Reservoir, hikes in the State Park, and an awesome downhill bike ride on the GAP Trail with including a ride through the Big Savage Tunnel, and views of the forests, farms, and distant mountains of Maryland.

If you are interested, it’s time to sign up and help plan the weekend. Contact Pam at cumberland@springwatertrails.org.  Remember that it is a holiday weekend and you will need a place to stay, so planning ahead is recommended.

 

Exploring the “new” NYS Parks, Recreation and Preservation area in Springwater

013A section of land between Reynolds Gull and Town Line Road which surrounds the mighty creek of Reynolds Gull, has recently changed hands from the Nature Conservancy to NY001S Parks, Recreation and Preservation.  16 SpringwaterTrail hikers ventured deep into the gully to explore the overgrown logging roads and fingers of Reynolds Gull creek on a beautiful fall day.  At this time of the year, water levels from this powerful creek were perfect for creek walking which provided an adventurous experience for all.

016Car pooling and social took place from the historical Evergreen Cemetery which borders Reynolds Gully located on Canadice Lake Road.  Thanks go out to Mr. Hoppough and the Evergreen Cemetery Association for allowing us to have our social at the cemetery location and explore the old gravestones of early settlers in the area.  It is also reported that there was once a covered bridge that crossed the deep gully below. Maybe future pictures of this bridge and interesting stories about the settlers will appear at some point from Rick Osieki”s website on Hemlock/Canadice history or the Springwater Historical Society.

003004Looking at detailed GPS maps and using smart phones, hikers began their exploration of the creek from the old cabin located near the creek bed. The cabin is open, the pond has been filled in and the old dam has been removed by the Nature Conservancy.  According to the Nature Conservancy,  these improvements will allow a suitable environment for brook trout to develop.  Hopefully, additional trails will be maintained by the state.

Hikers followed many overgrown old logging roads while crisscrossing the stream back and forth according to their skill levels.  The “Creek Crossing Award” goes out to John who managed the slippery rocks without getting hurt.011

005While many mushrooms were identified along the way, none were eaten, and only one was picked. Some hikers decided to” leave no trace” and left the beauty of the mushrooms in place for others to photograph or study.  No brook trout were seen nor other wildlife.  We hoped to locate the bear cave that we identified two years ago on one of the fingers of the creek, but to no avail, nor any cougar sightings.  The sounds of the creek traveling over little waterfalls through the deep gully and the silence of the woods were truly inspiring.012

Seven climbers accepted the challenge to explore the creek into unknown territory.  Beginning at the cabin, they proceeded downstream, following the creek bed into a deeper section of the gully with the knowledge that they would have to climb out of the deep gorge at some point, possibly near the area of Tamarack Campground.  The creek bed became wider along the way as expert creek walkers crisscrossed the creek back and forth, managing to cross on not-so-slippery rocks or even walk through the creek at shallow locations.  Sue managed to use her smart phone and GPS to identify our location in the creek which gave some clue as to the location of Tamarack Campground high above the creek.  Running out of time, we opted to climb the gully wall, holding onto trees for leverage, and even crawling on all fours at times to reach the top.  It was truly a mountain climbing adventure! We were tired as we finally emerged victoriously into civilization.015

Social was enjoyed by all, including a grape and apple pie,  many filling soups, beans and chili!  Nice to see Amy, Joan and Bob once again!   Welcome goes out to our new hikers Bill, Karen and Sue.  Thanks also to our hike scouts, Wendy, Bill C. from Kentucky, and Marty!  It is our hope that possibly someday, Springwater Trails could assist the state in maintaining these trails in our Springwater Trail Corridor.