HIKE – Niagara Gorge from Devil’s Hole State Park – 3/24/19

Mild spring temperatures and sunny personalities provided for a wonderful hike along the mighty Niagara River. We descended the newly refurbished stone steps at Devil’s Hole State Park and hiked along the river past the giant ‘Rock of Ages’ boulder, and to the iconic Flat Stone area to observe the surreal rapids and waves.  Some new rock slides made trail trekking more adventurous, but our ADK group was unfazed by the challenge.

Nature provided fascinating snow and ice sculptures from the tail end of winter that were an artistic feast for the senses. Potholes filled with water and ice hinted at their amazing formation process. 

Hike leader Beth Hartz was elated to announce her engagement to longtime partner Ted, and they pointed out the spot along the Niagara where Ted proposed. It was a joy to witness their wonderful memory and wish them future happiness.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Hunters Creek Conservation Park – 3/2/19

Hunters Creek Park is on undeveloped Erie County  land and is designated as a “Conservation Park” to be used for nature appreciation and outdoor recreation.

Click image to Enlarge

On the day of our hike, trails were covered with compacted snow with some icy spots. We wore micro-spikes to prevent slipping on the many ups and downs along the trails. We started our hike by heading downhill near the shoreline of Hunters Creek.

Later we hiked up to a ridge trail that has views of both the creek and gorge cliffs decorated with icicles on the opposite side of the creek. After crossing a shallow ravine, we took a loop trail that descends to the shore of the creek and returns at higher elevation through a beautiful evergreen forest.

Hiking away from the creek, we climbed to higher elevation through a deciduous forest. We hiked down along a ravine to view Silent Falls, a small waterfall which was mostly ice at this time. We finished our hike by trekking along the edges of 3 ravines, each containing streams that flow downhill into Hunters Creek.

Hunters Creek Park is a terrific hiking spot that’s easily accessible. Check it out!
To download a trail map, click here.

— Submitted by David Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Erie County Forest – 2/16/19

Conditions were ideal for our winter trek on the beautiful wooded trails in Erie County Forest near East Concord. Following some warm, wet weather, temperatures dropped and fresh powder on the crusty base provided perfect trail conditions for our micro-spike hike. The fresh snow on the young evergreens was enchanting, providing magical wintry scenery. This area used to be abandoned farmland, and in the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Cops (CCC) planted millions of trees including Spruce, Red Pine and Maple. In 90 years the impressive reforestation now supports hiking trails, maple sugaring, wood production, and wildlife habitats.

We first climbed the hill on the north side of Genesee Rd. (Rt. 409) and hiked the 1.5-mile Silent Wood Trail. Next we completed the 2-mile Old Scarbuck Trail on the south side of Genesee Rd., including the extra ~1-mile loop after crossing The Bridge Too Far. Our group had fun crossing icy Dresser Creek to explore the charming picnic island area. One man in our group remarked how great it felt to be exercising on the rolling hills in such a beautiful place. We met a couple of sisters on the trail, one an ADK member and pediatrician in Springville. Other groups including a meetup were also enjoying this special place. Altogether we hiked about 5 miles is this WNY gem.

– Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Sprague Brook Park – 2/10/19

Our group led by experienced leader Kim Newland opted for a micro-spike hike since there was not enough snow for Nordic skiing and it was icey. This turned out to be a wonderful option, and we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic, winding ravine trail along the East bank of Sprague Brook. We encountered a few other adventurous hikers and bikers who were also enjoying this beautiful Erie County-run trail system. After a few miles we were forced to turn around since the ice on Sprague Brook had broken and the raging creek was too dangerous to cross. We backtracked and our knowledgeable leader led us to a delightful Outer Loop Trail on the other side of Foote Rd. (Rt.563). Altogether we hiked about 5 miles, and are eager to return when we can rock-hop across Sprague Brook and explore more of the trails in this beautiful park.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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SS/HIKE – Grand Island – 2/9/19

Four ADK members gathered in Grand Island at Tom Burkman’s house for a winter hike on February 9. After a breakfast of eggs, bacon, fresh fruit salad, and tasty sweet rolls, the group braved temperatures in the low teens walking through the woods around Gun Creek.

The hikers had to move cautiously over wetlands where thin ice easily broke through to the shallow puddles below. A light snow layer over ice revealed the tracks of a variety of wildlife. The morning finished up with coffee and hot chocolate before a warm fireplace.

– Submitted by Tom Burkman

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XC SKI – Elma Meadows – 2/3/19

Bluebird skies and warm temps provided a beautiful morning of Spring-like skiing at the lovely Elma Meadows Park. This county-run facility offers well-groomed Nordic trails in addition to comfy amenities in their cozy clubhouse. After a week of crazy winter weather there was a solid base of snow to support a few miles of Nordic trekking, and it felt wonderful to ski a few laps and soak in some welcome sunshine. You never know what Mother Nature will bring, and it pays to take advantage of nice days when we have them. Grateful thanks to Leslie Salathe for organizing this fun outing.

– Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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ADK Allegany State Park Weekend – 1/18-20/19

Wonderful snowfall, great people, amazing potluck dinner and renewed friendships made for another truly memorable annual weekend for ADK-NFC in Allegany State Park. Led by Joanne and David Magavern, who celebrated their 20th years of when they first met, AND the 20th year of leading this annual winter outing for NFC. Many thanks to you both for sharing this special weekend with us all. Next year, with a new trip leader this event will continue, and hopefully Joanne and David can participate, and enjoy without all the responsibilities. Many thanks to Joanne and David.

– Submitted by Mary Schraven

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FAMILY HIKE – Deer Lick Conservation Area – 1/6/19

After the holidays, this winter hike was enjoyed by 11 hikers braving the brisk 35 degrees at the beginning of this Deer Lick/Zoar Valley hike.  The sun periodically made an appearance to help warm us up throughout the hike.

The group enjoyed this 3.2 mile hike through old growth hardwood trees, scenic overlooks to the Cattaraugus Creek canyon walls and the crossing of the creek near the Deer Lick Falls.

Hikers were treated to many large mature cherry, hemlock, tulip and maple trees as this property is maintained by the Nature Conservancy. While most leaves have fallen off, tree identification was done by the bark or finding the fallen leaves under the trees.

After the hike the group was invited to Dave and Wendy’s home to eat 2 different types of corn soup and a boiled cornbread. Dave and Wendy are Seneca traditional knowledge holders and shared information on the origins of corn and various corn foods made from corn grown on their farm. They also shared information on the “One Bowl One Spoon” treaty/wampum belt. This is an agreement/principle between two or more Nations/People for sharing hunting territory/food/environmental resources to take no more than you need. In principle, all People are all eating out of a single dish, which is the environmental resource (hunting, fishing, water, food). One spoon signifies that all People sharing the territory are expected to limit the game/resource they take and to leave enough for others for continued abundance and viability of the resources into the future. The soups, bread and conversations were enjoyed by all. Go to their podcast for more information on the important work the Brays are doing.

– Submitted by Trip Leaders Dave and Wendy Bray

The group not only enjoyed the outing, the socializing and the delicious food, but the lesson learned from Dave and Wendy will be a lasting memory. Their generous presentation of homemade food, hospitality and the pertinent metaphor of One Bowl One Spoon was a reminder of the necessity to respect each other and to work to lessen our impact on the environment from eco-safe farm practices to our own diets. Many thanks to David and Wendy for being an example of conservation in practice.

– Submitted by Mary Schraven

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HIKE – Royalton Ravine – 12/9/18

It was a stunning day with bright blue skies and crisp temperatures. The snow covered woods gave us the perfect environment to enjoy the waterfalls, trees, chirping birds, and our ADK friends. We tromped around the trails, then wandered through a Spruce tree grove into an orchard then followed a deer trail back down to the ravine. We lingered at the suspension bridge and the old foundation of the Belva Lockwood Homestead.

Make sure you visit this gem of a park in Niagara County!

– Submitted by Mary Schraven

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HIKE – Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve – 12/8/18

Bluebird skies and 30 degree temperatures provided ideal conditions for our 4-mile hike on snow-covered trails at this urban oasis, just minutes from hectic city life. Two new faces who recently joined ADK were part of our group.

We circumnavigated the entire Nature Preserve and then hiked a second loop inside the first one. The land was once owned and managed by Dr. Victor Reinstein, who planted over 30,000 trees and dug numerous ponds for his family to enjoy. Mature Norway spruce trees line some trails, providing beauty and a year-round habitat for animal residents. The largest living Beech Tree in NY State once resided at Reinstein, but it died after suffering extensive damage in the 2006 October snowstorm. It is still standing but is decaying naturally, and will eventually fall and fertilize soil to nurture new tree growth. The New York State Symbols trail, including the state fish (brook trout), gem (garnet), flower (wild rose, source of rose hips for Red Zinger Tea!), elicited interesting comments and conversation. Abundant animal tracks on fresh snow revealed that this nature preserve is far from inactive during the winter season. Coyote, fox, deer and rabbit tracks attested to animal activity.

It was a joy to savor this nearby gem during the busy holiday season.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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