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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04/18 – HIKE – Hunters Creek

Saturday morning turned out to be a great day for a hike! We followed the Pink/Red trails along the creek up to intersection #24 and found a combination of slushy mud a bit challenging to navigate without slipping, but we were rewarded with great views of the creek, a small waterfall, and a unique melting of the snow high up in the trees which caused frequent and large droplets to fall… reminding us that a hat or hood was in order today. We then followed the red trail / dirt access road west until we reached the pink trail (near intersection 13) and then the pink trail south, back to the cars. This leg of the hike was very different – open forest with much drier trails and views of the creek from afar. As we became closer to the parking lot, it was apparent that many people had the same idea today – families with kids and small adult groups were also out to explore today. By the time we reached the parking lot around 1PM, it was nearly full (only a few cars when we arrived). Overall, social distancing was no issue and we will be back to hike other trails!
-Submitted by Greg Germaine
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04/16 – Mill Road Park

On Thursday afternoon, after the late winter blast, I took a stroll along Cazenovia Creek in West Seneca. It was a brisk, but invigorating, outing. I captured this image of the branches covered with melting snow and the raging creek as a backdrop.
Submitted by Paul M. Gannon
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04/08-04/14 – HIKE – Conservation Trail

Conservation Trail “Trail Angels” and April Surprises!
Days 8-11, April 8-14, 2020
We left the Alleghany and headed north to the Cattaraugus creek area, Erie County Forest and Holland. We hiked up lots of very, very steep old logging roads, some really mucky and some re-routed trails that took us by surprise. We entered the Lake Erie watershed too and walked some country roads due to closures of some trails by landowners. We even managed to get lost a wee bit when the kind landowner came out to greet us as we were studying our map in confusion and then actually walked back up the hill with us to show the “way” again! Most landowners have been welcoming, some even with nice signs and one with a little bench to sit and rest our weary souls! Although trail was closed due to logging, but we did it anyway because it surprised us and our car was parked at the top of the giant, steep hill upon which this lovely bench sat) Others greeted us as well as we began to near more farmland and gently rolling hills on towards Holland.
SURPRISE! Day 9 from Rozyk Rd to Rt 39 although we did dress warm (it has been 38-45 most days with some sun)we NOT prepared to hike in deep snow when we began and the winds were howling, but on we marched….  Monsters and all we did meet! We even found some bear scat and it was FRESH!
Just the day before the snow we were welcomed with warmer weather another “Trail Angel”, Andy. After a rough day hiking 10 miles up and down mucky old trails, I sat to wait for David at trails end while he “bicycled back” to the beginning to pick up the car and come back to get me. Now this bike back was tough as it was up and down some good steep roads and the wind was in his face. It was to take him about 30-40 min to bike, then another 15 min car ride back for me. HOWEVER, when he got to the car, he discovered he had NOT TAKEN the car key with him, but had the older Subaru key instead on his key ring; he tends to keep the newer car key SEPARATE and had left it in our backpack, which, unfortunately was with me! So, this would have meant 2 more bikes back and forth for a total of about 24 miles of biking and still a car ride to me, which would have meant about total of 135 min. to come back for me, not to mention how exhausted he would have been! I had discovered the key in the pouch as he was leaving and yelled and yelled, but he did not hear me, so I began to walk RT 240 to help him cut off some of this return bike.
Low and behold, Andy, a local man with a pickup truck who lived just up the hill from our car came along with David and the bike in tow and not only did he come for me, he drove us both back to our car! We would not have gotten home until around 9-10 pm that night if he had not come along and helped us, even with all the virus scare! LESSON LEARNED; check your pockets before you set off!!!!!! Now we can laugh about it, but imagine how David felt when he got to the car and realized all this
We are now hiking in the rolling hills and farms around Holland and onward… till next time, farewell and stay safe!
-Submitted by Joanne and David Magavern
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04/01-04/06 – HIKE – Conservation Trail

Conservation Trail continued…”Old friends and Signs of Spring.”
Days 4-7 April 1- 6, 2020.
We have continued our hiking and have finally left the Alleghany and Ellicottville area, but have encountered along the way some signs of spring, like the “forest of pussy willows” on the Seneca Nation’s land, mating salamanders and chorus of frogs in numerous small ponds, along with lovely flowers and emerging colors of budding trees on the hillsides. Some steep climbs were conquered and lots of driving, sometimes more hours than our hiking, but we are getting closer to home, so the drives will be shorter now.
We then hiked through some old friends, Little Rock City, Holiday Valley, and Holimont Ski areas in Ellicottville. I never thought we would ever be “walking “ down a ski slope, or shall we say, “sliding” down?
Even with all the snow still there though there are signs of spring to come.
Like the ancient tree roots at Little Rock City, we will preserver! More to come…
-Submitted by Joanne and David Magavern
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03/21 – CLARENCE BIKE PATH

On Saturday, March 21, a few of us gathered for a socially distanced walk along the Clarence Bike Path. It was a beautiful and sunny day to get outdoors after the isolation of working from home all week. With reduced human activity across WNY, the sounds of nature seemed to come to the foreground. I don’t recall the exact location, but likely near Kraus Rd, the mating calls of frogs was exceptionally loud this day! We all enjoyed stopping to listen for a brief moment. Our newly adopted dog, Mia, was especially tired after we got back home – happily going to sleep for several hours on the couch 🙂
-Submitted by Greg Germaine
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03/26 – A WALK IN THE PARK

On Thursday, March 26, I took a brisk walk around the soccer park in West Seneca, and captured this bucolic scene.

-Submitted by Paul M. Gannon

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03/27 – PADDLE – Ellicott Creek

Reflections on the creek. I had my first paddle of the year. Put in at Niagara Falls Boulevard and went south. I took a tip from Ellen Two-hat Gibson and wore a woolen watch cap and a sun hat, The weather was cool and bright. Though the picture doesn’t make me look either.
-Submitted by Larry Beahan
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03/27 – HIKE – NIAGARA GORGE

Leslie Salathe and took a walk along the Niagara gorge Friday. It was a gorgeous day and we were able to keep our distance most of the time. It was so great to get out! I really needed a change from the Amherst bike path. We did five miles and lots of steps, and talked about all the great hikes we will be in shape for when we can get back to the mountains.

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03/25 – HIKE – LEWISTON

With the sunny spring day on Wednesday me and a fellow adk member Debbie decided to hike along the Niagara gorge. We started at the trailhead in Lewiston near Artpark and hiked to Devils hole and proceeded down the long cement staircase and along the lower gorge towards the whirlpool bridge. We made sure to keep the advised 6 foot social distancing throughout our hike and enjoyed our lunch on separate rocks basking in the sun and gazing at mighty churning of the Niagara. My dog Riley managed to mooch some hard boiled egg and chicken breast along with his doggy treats.
We headed back to the trailhead and noticed a greater amount of people all out and about surely feeling the cabin fever as well. We noticed the parking lots were full when heading back towards our separate cars of course. We enjoyed our 10 mile hike maintaining a safe distance. Riley dog jumped in the back seat fully exhausted tongue dangling and we waved farewell until our next adventure!
-Submitted by Maureen Rowley
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