Bob Ensminger led a paddle on Oak Orchard and sent in this picture. Doesn’t it look lovely and peaceful?
David and Wendy Bray were wonderful leaders for our scenic hike in the Deer Lick Conservation Area, owned by The Nature Conservancy. Fall colors, old growth trees and deep gorges provided spectacular views. Good company, great weather and a natural spring added to the enjoyment of this delightful outing. Submitted by Janet Kowalski
It may have been past peak leaf season but the woods behind Ellicottville were still remarkably full of color. Many ooo’s and ahhhh’s were heard as our group meandered along the trail. Though it had been sprinking on the drive down the rain had stopped on time for our hike. Even though the trail footing was rocky and uneven, the beautiful scenery was worth the discomfort. About 3.5 miles into the hike we came upon the remarkable rock formations of Little Rock City and plant life clinging to them for life. We took the Finger Lakes Trail through the prettiest sections of this “city” before turning back to our true trail and continuing on. Further on we had a good sighting of the tornado area which had been blasted flat about 5 years ago. Altogether it was a wonderful time in the woods with an interesting group of hikers. Submitted by Cheryl Peluso
Experienced hiker Kim Newland led a delightful and informative Fall outing throughout Griffis Sculpture Park, an area she knows well from her childhood. We hiked about 4 miles with several hundred feet of elevation change among the eclectic art displays including creatures, a maze, nudes and a climbable castle. Our congenial group thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and culture at the tail end of the colorful Fall hiking season. Submitted by Janet Kowalski
Eight enthusiastic hikers savored the gorgeous views and glorious colors along the 3-mile section of the Gorge Trail between Lower and Upper Falls. Letchworth was crowded with throngs of leaf peepers,
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on this cool Fall day. Our jovial group took in all the highlights including the pedestrian bridge near Cathedral Rock, Inspiration Point, and even witnessed a long freight train crossing the high tressle near Upper Falls. Submitted by Janet Kowalski
Ten hikers (and a Spaniel named Cooper) ventured to Zoar Valley on a beautiful, sunny fall day. The trees already had a bit of color, and the air had a touch of fall scents and damp earth. The hike started at the Valentine Flats parking area on Valentine Road. Before heading down to the Flats, we hiked out to the Point for a fabulous view of Cattaraugus Creek and the gorge. We then headed back to the main trail and down to the Flats, the site of an old farmstead, and dropped down to the creek. John Sander (co-leader) offered various bits of interesting trivia about the area (e.g., the rocks in the gorge floor are 350 million years old, the granite boulders along the creek are from Canada; they were deposited here by the last glaciers and are known as erratics). After enjoying the Flats and the creek for about 20 minutes, we headed for the North Rim Trail, with a pit stop at Tim Hortons.
For this part of the hike we parked at the DEC parking area on Vail Road near Unger Road and hiked to where the overhead cables with big orange balls cross the gorge. At this point, we headed east for about a mile, enjoying the sights and scents of the deep woods. There are few places where you can see the gorge along this part of the trail, but the cool air, earthy scents, and natural beauty of the woods are just as inviting. We encountered several relict vernal pools, toads, some very old trees (as evidenced by their size and buttresses), and numerous mushrooms, and retrieved a vintage 1962 Canada Dry bottle (worth $7 on the internet). We then reversed course and headed west. When we again reached the overhead cables, we could hear a helicopter cruising through the gorge just below us, well below the cables and obscured by trees (practice, possible rescue?). After passing the cables, the gorge can be seen from many locations along the trail. Our first stop was the Knife Edge, a precarious narrow ridge used by some intrepid hikers to reach the gorge floor 400+ feet below – definitely not for everyone! Several of us climbed about a third of the way down the Edge to get a better view of the gorge and, hopefully, to see the bald eagles that frequent this area (we didn’t). We then continued past the Knife Edge for about a mile, stopping periodically to snap photos of Cattaraugus Creek as it snakes through the gorge. This part of the trail offers the best views of the gorge in the entire Multiple Use Area. We then headed back and had a leisurely walk to our cars. The hike was probably about 5 or 6 leisurely miles. Submitted by JoAnn Ratajczak and John Sander
We had a marvelous day on the river. Due to some recent rain, The river was running higher than recently. That was a good thing in view of the difficulty in paddling over gravel in recent weeks. It also made for some interesting sections where the current was faster going around exposed and unexposed boulders and downed trees. There were fifteen paddlers.
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This occasionally created backups when we had to pass through narrow areas, but it came in handy having the extra help for paddlers who had mishaps. It also was fortunate, in some instances, when members of the group had extra clothing in dry bags. Submitted by: Richard Schraven
After leaving the Mount St. Mary’s Hospital parking lot in Lewiston, NY, we had clear sailing until going north on Rt. 400 from Toronto. It seems that everyone else was trying to go north for the weekend. It took an hour more than expected to get to Barrie, but the traffic diminished greatly for the rest of the drive on the 400 and then ON 69 to the road to Killarney. At the Park Office, it took a half hour to sign in and pay our backcountry camping fees, but then with our boats fully loaded, we started to paddle through the beautiful landscape that is Killarney Park. The first night, both groups camped on George Lake. We started the second day with an assisted and unassisted canoe and kayak rescue workshop. At that time, Roy, Ineke, Mike and Ruth moved on to Killarney Lake to find the perfect campsite for the next three nights. While they were gone, John Yates led an excursion to a part of the La Cloche Silhouette Hiking Trail. We did some bushwhacking and were treated with some excellent views of various quartzite deposits and a very impressive beaver dam. We also got to check out John’s Sawyer water filter for a refreshing drink. Back at the campsite, John’s group moved to the larger and more convenient campsite, which offered better tent sites, fewer mosquitoes and better access to the pit latrine. Meals were an adventure with many different selections, but Bob’s strip steak, grilled expertly over the wood campfire, was especially nice, particularly for Moxie who, to that point had not been eating very well. Ellen had a mix-up with her liquid bottles between the one of salad dressing and the one with Bonners’ liquid Castile Soap. Her dessert of dried fruit and nut cakes was a hit. The next day we crossed the portage to Killarney Lake and found the huge campsite our advance party had found for us. Tom had collected enough firewood for the rest of the summer.
On this trip, we had two separate itineraries, which we used creatively for the twelve participants. One group was supposed to camp the last night on O.S.A. Lake, but instead, a few people just checked it out with day-trips and we all stayed together on the large Killarney Lake campsite #20. We were getting used to quick breakfasts and closing camp, so the last day, we had an early departure for the trip out. The portage was easier with the lighter food packs and the cooperation of all of us to get packs across. The paddle out was uneventful except for a couple of spots where the winds came up and the water was rougher.
The much-anticipated stop at “Herbert’s Fish Market” brought a surprise. The converted bus that was the place that had served up “Herbert’s World Famous Fish Fries” was gone. In its place is a brand new building that houses the market, the kitchen, a large indoor dining room and modern restrooms. It had lost some of the memorable “ambiance”, but the fish and chips were hot and delicious. The ride home was much faster with only a little delay caused by a fire truck and a burned out van on the QEW.
On their way from the village of Killarney on ON-637, Bob, Jim and Ellen got to see a black bear that had jumped out in front of Ellen’s car. Sort of a special bonus at the end of the trip for them.
Submitted by: Richard Schraven
We had a beautiful day for thirteen paddlers and one dog to paddle down the Erie Canal to and through the Lockport Locks. The Erie Canal is always a calm water paddle, with very little boat traffic in the area of Lockport; there was only one moored boat at the marina from which we launched. Once we got near the locks we had a brief wait while a tour boat came through, and then we entered the Locks 34-35. We ascended a total of 48′ 11″ while being photographed from tourists up above us. Once through the locks we paddled under the “Big Bridge”. Built in 1914 the span is 399 feet wide and 129 feet long and it is one of the biggest bridges in the country. Following that excitement we enjoyed a gentle paddle west on the canal towards Pendleton, turning around at the Route 93 bridge for our return trip descending the locks and back to our launch site. For those that have not done this paddle, it should be on your bucket list. While not very challenging, it is very different and cool. Look for it on next year’s paddling schedule.
There were seven bikers who decided Sunday morning was the perfect time to check out the falls via wheels and spokes. Traveling the bike path beside the Niagara River we stopped to admire the jaw dropping view the rapids, where this photo was taken, and then proceeded to Goat Island. The tourists were just starting to fill the paths so we carefully picked our way off the island and onto the bike path along the Robert Moses Parkway, stopping at Devil’s Hole State Park for a quick lunch break.
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