ADK LOJ Ski/Snowshoe – 3/9-11/18

The Adirondacks never let me down so, I go back every chance I get. A bad day of hiking is better than a good day of work. So it was I signed up for the ADK-NFC annual LOJ outing, coordinated by the ever-so-capable Mary Schraven and her supportive, involved husband, Richard.

We carpooled through wicked weather and arrived at the LOJ to claim our bunks, take a quick snowshoe stroll around Heart Lake and enjoy a wonderful dinner in the dining room. Everyone became fast friends even though I only knew a few and not well at that.

Saturday, we rose early. Some took off to cross country ski at Cascade. Others (like me) snowshoe hiked. We had a great time, knocking Phelps off my 46’er list (even if we didn’t get Table Top. Every ambitious hike I take seems to end one short of what I planned).

On Sunday, we snowshoed again to Avalanche Pass, which was breathtaking, frozen in winter with perfect conditions, pristine wilderness, as close to heaven as you can get without departing this realm.

If you always wondered what this trip was about, whether you would fit in, or if it was worth it, don’t. Sign up as soon as possible next year (Same B1/G1 night free, same weekend 3/8-3/10) and understand, you will be addicted and it promises to be a well-coordinated, well-run trip because of the great job Mary and Richard do.

You can read the author’s daily musings on Facebook.

— Submitted by Joseph Genco

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Laura Secord Trail, part 3 – 3/4/18

Bluebird skies and mild temperatures provided delightful conditions for our merry group led by Ken Martin to complete the popular 20-mile historic Laura Secord Trail. We spotted cars and began our 6-mile hike at Rodham Hall Art Center in St. Catherines, walking along the glistening Twelve Mile Creek for most of the day.


After about 4 miles we climbed the Niagara Escarpment through lush scenic woods and found some nice views of Lake Ontario. DeCew Falls was robust, due to the springlike temps and plentiful snowmelt.

Near the end of our journey we viewed a pair of majestic Mute Swans in Lake Moodie, displaying their sinuous necks and signature orange beak and black head markings.


Our final stop was at the remains of the historic DeCew House. There in 1813, Laura Secord delivered her fateful message to Lieutenant Fitzgibbon of an imminent American attack. She made the 32-km trip in one June day, and carved out her place in Canadian history.

Guelder Rose fruit



— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Letchworth State Park – 2/18/18

For the sixth year in a row, Carolyn and Tim Kerr have rented The Chalet and then invited ADK and Buffalo Nordic friends to Letchworth for the day. Even though there wasn’t enough snow to ski, the new powder made the Cathedral Trail absolutely gorgeous with many running creeks, herds of traveling deer and 12 happy hikers.

Given the thick ice on the trail, many were happy to have micro-spikes and Yak Traks. After the hike, many stayed in the beautiful, historic chalet and enjoyed a potluck lunch together.

Thank you to Carolyn and Tim for sharing this very special place with us all! We will look forward to year #7!

— Submitted by Mary Schraven


Click Here to see more nature photos of winter wonders at Letchworth State Park taken during and after our hike.

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Laura Secord Trail, part 2 – 2/17/18

Five merry hikers enjoyed delightful mild winter weather, hiking on the wooded trails and through parts of the towns of Niagara-On-The Lake and St. Catherines, Ontario.

We hiked 7.6 miles, the second segment of Ken Martin’s 3-part Laura Secord Historical Trail series. It was a joy to hike in the Woodend Conservation Area along the scenic Niagara Escarpment, where our microspikes were invaluable on the wintry terrain. We passed the Niagara College Vineyards, and the modern Wine Education Center and Teaching Brewery. Also on campus we the viewed the inspiring First Nations, Metis and Inuit Gardens.

We crossed the impressive Welland Canal, currently drained since it is closed for the season. It was fascinating to see the dredged canal construction that support the Great Lakes shipping operation. We passed through an historical region of St Catherines which included the beautiful Victoria Lawn Cemetery where many historical figures are buried.

We walked along Dicks Creek and viewed the gigantic Totem Pole in Centennial Gardens Park.

We then walked passed Brock University’s new downtown campus before crossing the robust Twelve Mile Creek to our end point at Rodman Art Center, also part of the Brock U campus.







It was fun to get a taste of Canadian woodlands and culture. The final segment of the Laura Secord Trail will be a 6-mile wooded hike on Saturday March 3.

— Submitted by Janet and David Kowalski

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Grand Island Snowshoe – 2/10/18

Tom Burkman again opened up his lovely home and 13 acres of wooded property on Grand Island to 5 happy hikers. Tom and Janet Kowalski made a wholesome and delicious breakfast while the snow continued to gently fall. We broke a snow shoe trail across Gun Creek, and through the woods, listening to the chatter and calls of various birds and marveling at the beauty of the woods shrouded in white. With a leisurely pace of about 1 mile an hour, (the snow was deep and the topics of discussion were many!) we hiked about 2 hours and burned 312 calories for our effort. Thank you Tom! Your hospitality will be long remembered! Looking forward to a summer kayak on Gun Creek launching at your property!

— Submitted by Mary Schraven

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Laura Secord Trail, part 1 – 2/3/18

ADK hike leader Ken Martin led a few ambitious 12-mile hikes on Ontario’s Bruce Trail last Fall, and recently responded to requests for shorter distances by organizing 3 easier hikes along the historic Laura Secord Trail, a companion side trail off the Bruce Trail. This trail celebrates the 20-mile journey by ~28-year-old Laura Secord, who in June 1813 ran through forests, and across farms and along country roads to warn British Commander James FitzGibbon of an impending American attack.

After spotting cars, six well-outfitted hikers began a 6.8 mile trek at the Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston ON. We enjoyed sunny winter conditions with fresh powder and a delightful variety of sights and terrains along the way. There were a few ups and downs, and altogether we experienced ~680 feet of elevation gain. We wore microspikes for most of the hike. Last Fall, we encountered a lovely young woman on the Bruce Trail who was a descendant of Laura Secord, and was inspired to retrace her steps. The trail is well-maintained, with sturdy bridges over scenic creeks and even the QEW, and plenty of markers pointing the way. In Ontario it is not uncommon to encounter an artistic Inuksuk, an Indigenous cairn often displayed on country roads and in private landscapes. Also common along the Bruce Trail are the endearing Ladder Stiles, short v-shaped ladders to climb over at property borders.

Near the end of our journey, we sighted a few robins and a flock of Eastern Bluebirds. What a treat!

We look forward to hiking the next 2 segments of the Laura Secord Trail, and embracing the culture and nature trails of our Northern Neighbor.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Franklin Gulf Hike – 1/27/18

Five hardy hikers savored spring-like conditions in late January to explore the scenic ravines and enchanting waterfalls at Franklin Gulf County Park. Located near Eden, Franklin Gulf is one of WNY most notable gems, and offers a refreshing wilderness experience for every season. Hiking poles are always recommended for the ups and downs here, and though planned as a snowshoe hike, micro-spikes were ideal for the icy patches and atypical weather we experienced. Old growth trees are a special treat in this unlogged area that was previously owned by John D Larkin, founder of the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo. The remains of the Larkin cabin foundation provided a fun point of interest along the gorge rim trail. This park has a network of several frequently-used, color-coded trails, and is a year-round joy. Look forward to snowshoeing here when winter returns, followed by hiking among beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

— Submitted by Janet and David Kowalski

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ADK Tug Hill Winter Outing – 1/19-21/18

Situated about a half hour north of Syracuse, the Tug Hill area offers reliably abundant snow and a Winter Wonderland for adventurous ADK members to snowshoe and cross-country ski in wooded wilderness settings.

The annual ADK Winter Outing is hosted by 3 ADK chapters who take 2-year turns organizing the fun weekend. This year the Black River ADK chapter hosted for their second year, and next year the Iroquois Chapter will take their turn. The Onondaga Chapter will follow Iroquois after a 2-year stint.

There was a great selection of outings for all skill levels on both Saturday and Sunday at venues including Winona State Forest ski trails, Barnes Corners ski trails, and Whetstone Gulf State Park snowshoe trails.

Following an invigorating day on the trails, participants relaxed at the Mad River Club with snacks, a delicious traditional turkey dinner, raffle prizes, and a bike trails presentation. Board games and socializing with cheerful ADK members from across the state filled in the remaining hours. This outing is a great escape, and a fun way to try new trails and meet friendly ADK folks from afar.

— Submitted by Janet and David Kowalski

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XC Ski at Knox Farm Park – 12/30/17

Six hardy ADK’ers braved the cold and windy weather to ski and snow
shoe at the beautiful Knox Farm State Park. After the crossing of the open field, the rest of the outing was sheltered from the wind by the snow-covered woods. With only the sound of chick-a-dees breaking the silence of the woods, we all felt refreshed and enlivened by the exercise, the nature and the companionship. We also enjoyed the delicious coffee and French pastries at the old Sheep Shed. I’m so happy we skied that
day, since all the snow melted in early January as the warm temperatures took over.

Check out this State Park every Friday morning with Carol Griffis!

— Submitted by Mary Schraven

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Zoar Valley Hike – 12/10/17

This was a perfect winter outing! We arrived in Gowanda to gentle snowfall and snow-covered roads. A quiet hush surrounded us as we hiked out to view the gorge from Point Peter and then down the trail to the creek edge. 

We powered ourselves up Pyramid Hill just for the challenge, and to marvel at the rugged trees and sheer cliffs. While on top, we were honored with an Iroquois story of the importance of the White Pine. The White Pine is considered the Tree of Peace. It’s needles are in small bundles of 5, signifying the 5 nations of the Iroquois. Its root system extends in the 4 directions, unifying all people. An Eagle is often shown perched on top, to overlook and protect the peace between the 5 nations.

We paused at Valentine Flats amid the rushing rapids, with thoughts of hot skinny dippers enjoying the sun and water during the summer.

For most of us, it was our first visit to this section of Zoar Valley during the winter. Wish you all could have been there!

– Submitted by Mary Schraven

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