Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool Rapids Hike — 8/26/18

A few new faces joined some familiar ones for a five mile excursion along the Niagara River, enjoying perfect summer conditions and the always-captivating powerful rapids.

Seven hardy hikers started at Whirlpool State Park on a trail with spectacular views into the gorge, then enjoyed the scenic rim trail to the newly refurbished steps descending into Devil’s Hole gorge.

The lower river trail is breathtaking, being in close proximity to the forceful flow of water downstream of Niagara Falls. With the sight and sounds of the rapids, and the emerald blue-green color of the water, the river is a feast for the senses.  At the turn-around point on the Whirlpool Rapids Trail, all enjoyed a relaxing snack break on the flat rocks, savoring this special spot.

The fit group completed the climb up the 340 steps to the gorge rim and returned to the visitors center, exhilarated by the natural beauty and exercise.

Click Here to view Videos of the rapids and additional Photos of this spectacular environment.

— Janet and David Kowalski

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Oswegatchie Canoe Camping (8/6– 8/8)

With beautiful skies and warm weather, 6 of us met at the Star Lake Post Office and made the short carpool to the put in on the Oswegatchie near Inlet. The water level was perfect and we paddled up stream for about 3 hours to the lean to campsite. We were the only ones on the river and had a pristine experience of the area. The stream became very meandering to the point we began to tire of the amount of sweeping strokes it took to make the hairpin turns. The campsite was terrific with flat areas for tents, a decent outhouse and a wonderful view of the river. The next day, we continued upstream for a few hours, over beaver dams, rocky rapids and even tighter turns. After a lunch break and the steady down-pouring of rain, we all agreed to return to our lean to and chill out. The rain was scattered so we could enjoy a fire and dinner without much trouble. We all agreed that we had fully explored the paddling opportunity and we were in agreement to leave the next day. On the way out, we had lunch on High Rock and was treated to hummingbirds, a blue heron and a lovely view of the meandering river. One memorable part of this trip was that 2 participants came from other chapters. One from Albany and the other from PA. I was so happy that they saw the outing on the ADK.ORG website calendar and felt comfortable calling the trip leader and joining us.
—Mary Schraven

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Klondike Lean-To Privy Re-made ’18

After the Memorial Day Klondike Trail clean-up, it was reported to the

DEC that the privy was in need of repair.  In July, Kevin Bolt, who assisted with trail stewardship last year, reported it was still not repaired.  Due to

their understaffing, it took ADK-NFC member, Lee Clucky, “leaning” on

the DEC to facilitate getting it done.  So on Aug 5th, Lee and the

Schravens backpacked the sides of the privy to the lean to .  The following day, Lee hiked back again with tools to put it all together.  Thank you Lee for all your efforts.

—Mary Schraven

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Clarence Bike Trail Ride (7/30/18)

On a pleasant overcast Monday night (7/30) two bicyclists set out on a 16.5 mile ride from Clarence Center to Akron Falls Park. The riders maintained a pleasant conversational pace of 10.5 mph as the scenes changed from suburban town to farms and fields. Riders circled through the lower portion of the park and returned around 7:30pm. —Mike Lex

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Canoe Camping Allegheny National Forest (7/25-7/27/18)

A fun, adventurous group of 4 set out for paddling, exploring, swimming, camp fires and plenty of laughs.  The Allegheny Reservoir is one of my favourite recreational areas offering a wide array of adventure for the outdoor enthusiast.  We spent a lot of time on our boats with beautiful sunsets, swimming, beach visits, wildlife observation and exploration of parts of the 91 miles of shoreline along the 24 miles body of water.  One of the highlights was a visit to an osprey nest to observe Mom and her chicks.  The end of the trip was visiting a couple of the many cultural and historical areas including Kinzua Damn and Kinzua Skywalk with it’s new Information &  Museum Centre.  This is a trip I would certainly like to repeat and hope to get more ADK’ers

—Marion Hanover 

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Memorial Day Work-Play Klondike Trail Weekend ’18

Our group of five had been warned that an earlier wind event probably produced a lot of blow down on the Klondike trail in the High Peaks. An additional challenge was that thunder storms were predicted for mid-afternoon of our workday.

With the temps cool enough to do trail work and the black flies mostly absent we got on the trail 8ish Saturday morning. We clipped a few trees that were completely blocking the trail just enough so we could pass and hiked 4 miles to the Yard Mountain turn off. The plan was to assess how much work we had and prioritize our efforts on the return hike. We pushed some trees off the trail and others we lifted and moved just far enough to clear the trail. About 10 to 15 trees were large enough to require time consuming saw work. We kept up a quick pace knowing that partly cloudy skies could turn to predicted thunder storms. We skipped cleaning water bars and left some blow down that could be easily stepped over. The afternoon storms never developed and we were back to the trail head by 4. In the end we had cleared 35 to 40 trees from the trail. In comparison in previous years we might encounter on an average of 5 blow downs. What a workout!

We spent Saturday evening enjoying the hospitality of Marilyn and Peter Gillespie in Saranac Lake. The DEC recommends hikers avoid the higher wet and possibly snow covered trails this early in the spring to minimize erosion. On Sunday I found it very easy to comply with that suggestion since I was very sore from playing lumberjack the previous day. I took in Baxter and Blueberry Mountain in Keene Valley.

Submitted by Lee Clukey

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Lockport to Gasport Bike Ride – 7/8/18

Our group of eleven set out on a perfect summer day with temps in the the low to mid-eighties.  We had full sun with a mild breeze as we worked our way to Gasport.  The gravel bike path was very busy due to a Buffalo – Albany 8 day event that was also in progress.  We maintained about a 9 mile per hour average speed with a few water breaks under shady trees.  Upon our return to Lockport, we viewed Locks 34 and 35 areas while a paddle-wheel boat made its way through the locks.  We concluded our trip with a well-deserved break at Lake Effect ice cream shop.  We hope you can join us on our next bike outing on Saturday, August 11th to Royalton Ravines County Park.

Submitted by Kevin Bolt

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Oak Orchard River Paddle – 7/14/18

Seven kayak paddlers spotted their cars at the take-out and returned to the put-in near Gravel Road north of Medina in Orleans County.  The river was flowing nicely due to the water contribution from the Barge Canal.  We were joined by a nearly endless quantity of other groups of paddlers and floaters.  (Some were accompanied by floating rafts with ample liquid refreshments).  It was a great day for the trip with warm temperatures and a mildly overcast sky, which is good for photography.  We found a good spot to pull out and have our lunches.  At some point, a very light rain began and one of the paddlers saw a lightning flash so we picked up our pace to the takeout.  On our way home we stopped at Millers Market on Rt. 104. For an Amish food shopping opportunity.

Submitted by Richard Schraven

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Darien Lake State Park Hike – 6/30/18

Our merry group of 9 beat the extreme heat enjoying a delightful 4-mile hike in the cool forest of Darien Lake State Park — a terrific way to launch the festive holiday week!

The trail was in great shape, with bright orange markers, boardwalks through wet areas, and an impressive new lean-to. We took a relaxing break to snack and chat at the Sumner Road turnaround point.

A variety of trees provided ample shelter from the hot sun, including maple, cherry, hemlock, pine, and  a healthy-looking array of ash trees thankfully not afflicted by the Emerald Ash Borer.

On our pre-hike 2 days earlier to inspect the trail, we spotted a lime-green Luna Moth on a tree trunk, our first sighting in the wild. These beautiful creatures are rarely seen due to their very brief (1 week) adult life.

It’s always a joy to be in the woods. You never know what Mother Nature will reveal.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Backpack ‘Ha De Ron Dah’ Wilderness – 5/18-20/18

The Ha De Ron Dah Wilderness is just outside of Old Forge New York in the Western Adirondacks. Our band of seven intrepid backpackers left Buffalo on Friday morning. We hiked in the first night over rolling hills about 5 miles to the Middle Branch Lake lean-to. The site is lovely with nice water access and a glorious sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

The second day we hiked about 11 miles in the rain to Middle Settlement lake lean-to. Gusting winds and rain all day made us happy to have a lean-to and some chill time to warm up and enjoy the company. Some of the trail crossings were a bit more challenging than the first day.

 

Sunday morning we hiked out about 5 miles to finish the trip. Some amazing rock formations and a nice sandwich were our rewards. A great trip with newer backpackers learning from more experienced ones.

 

 

— Submitted by Aaron Slosman

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