Ready to hike some trails that our group hasn’t hiked before? Better bring your camera to this one. Since we’ll be in turkey season, bright attire may be advisable.
This Sunday, we’re going to hike Sonyea State Forest in Livingston County, between Dansville and Mt. Morris. The current size is just under 1000 acres. Prior to acquisition by DEC, this area had been administered by the NYS Dept. of Mental Hygiene as an epileptic colony and state mental hospital. Many remnants of the Craig Colony, the Genesee Canal and Pennsylvania Railroad will be seen on the hike.
We will meet at 2 PM at the large parking area, on the right, about 1/2 mile inside the park entrance. Since this parking area is not well defined, we will try to get to it before 1:30, so you can look for us and our purple Mazda. From exit 6 on 390, turn right (south) on SR 36. Then, take the first right onto CR 72, aka Presbyterian Rd. Follow it around, bearing right, to Union Corners Rd. Turn right here and keep going, till our meeting spot. This last road is unpaved, with lots of potholes, making for slow going so, consider this in planning your travel time. From Springwater, you can also make your way west via Liberty Pole Rd., going straight across 36 onto CR 72. From Rochester, and points north, follow above directions from 390, exit 6.
Following a brief visit to a unique cemetary near the parking lot, we will divide into 2 speed groups. Rick will lead the ones who want to go faster and Georgia and Gene will lead the slower paced group. During our April 24 prehike, many wildflowers were starting to come out, and could be in bloom, on this day. We’ll try to identify as many as we can. Nesting birds are back and singing away. Many of them were identified by their unique song and some were seen. A beautiful garter snake was also encountered.
Our hike will take us to the western side of the forest, where we will encounter the gorge along Keshequa Creek. Within the gorge, we will see remains of the Genesee Canal and a major branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as rapids and falls along the creek. Total distance, for the loop, is 3.7 miles.
After the hike, we will enjoy the return of warmer days with a picnic in the parking lot. Bring a dish to pass, or make a donation. Unlike last week, this time, all we have is a clear area so, bring folding chairs, and a table, if you have one. There are no washroom facilities, not even portable ones, but lots of trees so, if drainage is required, boys to the left and girls to the right. If the day should turn out to be a rainy one, the alternate plan is the Sunrise, in Dansville.