Conservation Trail Days 12-13

Holland to Wales
Day 12: HOLLAND~ Vermont Hill to Warner Hill section CT6 Map
“No Camera” and 26+ Ravines and fellow hikers”
Started our hike in cool weather by a pretty field of horses with the sunshine making nice patterns on their pretty coats. Today we hiked out through the ups and downs of the Holland Ravines (counted about 26, give or take a few!)! Some were little; some were incredibly deep with wonderful staircases made by the Alley cat crew. Kudos to them!
Today we met 2 fellow hikers, both men doing sections as well. Then, we met fellow ADKers Janet and David Kowalski (thanks for the photos as we left our cameras behind today) who recognized us from this newsletter. Guess we are now famous! We had a nice visit.
We hiked in the section that was honoring the birthplace of the Conservation Trail and dedicated to Mabel James, the woman who began it all. The following was taken from the Internet about her.
MABEL JAMES : the founder of both the Conservation Trail and the Foothills Trail Club.
She was Born June 14, 1887 on a farm Mansfield, Connecticut but lived most of her life in the Town of Holland. Much of her childhood was spent outdoors looking at plants and animals. An avid hiker, while at Holyoke College in Mass she obtained permission to take walks instead of going to gym class. She became a science and math teacher and it was here that she began introducing her students to her favorite places in the woods and fields.
In 1918 she moved to western New York and noticed the difference in plants and this caused her to want to know more about plants and she would walk in the woods to study them.
In 1935 she was a naturalist for the Garden Center Institute of Buffalo and she would take people on Sunday nature trips to Holland. She would charter a bus for $10.00 a day, filled it with people who were interested in the outdoors and went to Holland to hike. Each person paid 50 cents for the bus fare; 5 cents for all the coffee they wanted and each brought their own bag lunch.
She then wanted longer – all day – hikes and realized for that she needed foot trails. She thought of the Long Path in Vermont and wanted to use this as a pattern. So the trail from Lewiston to Allegany State Park was her dream.  To her delight Art and Olga Rosche were willing to help, along with boy and girl scouts. Thus, the birth of the Conservation Trail in 1962.
Day 13: WALES & HUNTER’S CREEK ~ Centerline Rd to Bear Rd.
“Getting out of the Parking Lot, Labyrinths, and Swamps”
David and I laugh all the time about “getting out of the parking lot” beginning our hikes; sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t! Today in Hunter’s Creek was no different. Since we had skipped some road walk, we were disoriented and began our hike back the wrong way, South! It did not take long to find ourselves immersed in the well known “labyrinth” of Hunter’s Creek trails, 5 different colors, all merging into one spot! Since the Conservation trail has been incredibly well marked with orange every few hundred yards, we knew instantly we were wrong and turned back to figure it all out… every time we go to Hunter’s Creek we get lost for a bit!
Hunter’s Creek hike began on the ridge above the creek and although it was really cold, 36 degrees we had some sun in and out and we moved fast! This section of the trail was really, really pretty and very easy to hike and follow. The forest floors are still covered with ramps so much you can smell it and fields of False Hellebore with their nice striped and shiny leaves growing in the “muck” as well. Trout lily and May apple leaves are also poking up! I have lost our woodland wren, but there have been lots of chickadees and woodpeckers to keep us company and a few deer.
Road walks have also been interesting with some nice old gingerbread houses, horses, and even an old billy goat who stood so still while I came upon him, I thought he was a statue! However, the 2nd part of this hike was the worst section due to constant swampy and mucky trails through not so nice woodlots and back yards. It was a very cold windy ride for David on his bike back to retrieve the car as I walked into the wind to meet him. It never got higher than 38 degrees! Onto to Darien lake, then Clarence next!
 
-Submitted by Joanne and David Magavern
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