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.
As of 8:50 Thursday, September 13, 2018, Linda and I are grandparents!
Lunch at the top of Camel Hump
24 people – members, friends and relatives – came on the outing to Vermont’s Little River State Park this week, and most of us are now home. It was a superb trip, with great hiking on Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield, and kayaking on the Waterbury reservoir and many wonderful photos. 6 of us made it to the top of Camel’s Hump, and the trip down on the Long Trail was an adventure in itself. Those with kayaks took the sunset paddle with a park guide, and that too was a wonderful and educational experience. All who went on this trip enjoyed it immensely!
Melissa and Donna go over the edge
It’s appropriate to thank Bill and Pam once again for organizing the hikes and the party dinner after the Camel’s Hump hike. Both did an outstanding job; we all thank them again for the effort they put in to make this trip such a success. It couldn’t have been better!
Please keep Bill in your thoughts in the next few weeks. He’s had a few heart twinges and is going to have a stent installed. It has slowed him down temporarily, but not much and not for long.
On Sunday, Springwater Trails hiked the area of South Hill in Middlesex, NY. Eighteen hikers, lead by Steve, explored Clark Gully from the stream bed, the West River Nature Preserve and the Great Hill Nature Preserve. South Hill, with a peak elevation of nearly 1900′, anchors the south east corner of Canandaigua Lake. The hill has very steep slopes down to the lake and to the West River, which greatly limited any logging on the hill. This has resulted in a varied and luxuriant forest. Clark’s Gully drops 1100′ in two miles through generally soft sedimentary rock which has resulted in high walls on both sides of the gully and deep shadows in the late afternoon – we found it a beautiful and pleasant hike for a 92° day.
The group turned around at the first waterfall and proceeded to the West River Nature Preserve, at the bottom of Clark’s Gully. This preserve is focused on grasslands, the preferred nesting area for many birds and animals. Grasslands are disappearing across New York, as the land is returning to forests. The Finger Lakes Land Trust will be preserving the grasslands with an annual, late summer, mowing.
After a road walk along Sunny Side Rd, we reached the Great Hill Preserve and walked along a level trail at the top of the steepest slope down to Canandaigua Lake. We all decided to return in the Winter to enjoy the views of the lake when the leaves are gone and the poison ivy will be buried.
Next week we will enjoy another a stream walk at Wesley Hill Preserve, yet another Finger Lakes Land Trust. Details are available on the website – springwatertrails.org.