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
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
Ken Martin led our merry group on Part 3 of a Bruce Trail journey throughout the Niagara Section in Ontario. Eight of us began our 20 km hike near the gorgeous Balls Falls and finished just east of Grimsby.
We enjoyed perfect Fall weather, along with views of Lake Ontario and Toronto for most of the day. We climbed over 1900 feet in elevation, adding together all the scenic ups and downs along the Niagara Escarpment. While taking in the views from a cliff, we were surprised by the appearance of a rock climber who silently arrived at the top!
This is a lovely area, full of beautiful woods and numerous vineyards and wineries. Stay tuned for Ken’s next Bruce Trail adventure!
For more photos as well as maps and a video, click here.
— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski
A dozen Happy Hikers had perfect sunny Fall weather to descend into the Niagara Gorge for a close encounter with the mighty Niagara River.
We hiked along the wild water from Whirlpool to Devil’s Hole State Parks, viewing the gigantic boulders alongside the trail, and a few natural caves in the cliff walls. We saw numerous fellow hikers of all ages, and a large number of fishermen as well, and even witnessed a catch that was about 2 feet long! The Devil’s Hole stairs were closed for repair, so we backtracked to the Stone Flats adjacent to the Whirlpool for a relaxing lunch.
Altogether we did about 5 miles on mostly flat terrain along with the challenging rock staircases. What a beautiful area this is, a WNY gem!
— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski
Ice Skating (February 17) – Is it possible for those over 50 to re-enter the world of ice skating and enjoy themselves as they had in earlier years? YES! Under the guidance, encouragement, and friendship of ADKer Paul Kochmanski, our outing in February has proven just that for 5 skaters at the North Buffalo Rink. One skater used to be a figure skater in her youth, but hasn’t been on skates in 25 years. You should have seen the joy on her face as she rediscovered her turns by the end of the evening! Another skater used to play hockey, but hasn’t been on skates in 15 years; he was proud to have not fallen the entire evening, though somewhat swarmed with pre-teens! The season is over now, but keep it in mind for next year as we explore different indoor rinks and different times, and not have to worry about the weather. Submitted by Judy Catalano.
Eighteen cheerful hikers enjoyed a 4-mile scenic gorge hike, starting at the trailhead on South Creek Road in Hamburg. At the 2-mile turnaround point there was a comical sign: TRAIL ENDS HERE. The Creek’s name is based on the distance between its Lake Erie terminus and the Niagara River. There is another Eighteen Mile Creek in WNY that flows into Lake Ontario, which is named for the same criteria. I never realized this until I researched the Creek before our hike…. Cool!
Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski