Early snowfall provided a delightful wintry setting for our 4-mile hike through the enchanting woods at this protected Nature Preserve. We traveled on a perimeter trail throughout the Northern portion of the property, starting with the Jenny Glen boardwalk, then climbing the Hawk Ridge Trail to the connecting Long Trail, to a fun lollipop trail on the Backwoods Loop, and returning to our start via the Rusty Stove and Kettle Pond Trails. Amidst the forest footpaths we enjoyed the red pines, white pines, balsams and hemlocks.
The tamarack trees (also known as larch) were at their gorgeous golden peak color, being the only conifer that loses all their needles in the Fall. On the fresh white snow we were treated to a golden carpet of the fallen tamarack needles.
You never know what beautiful sights Nature will provide! We enjoyed a snack break at the impressive Arboretum that holds many exceptional labelled trees including white and red oaks, redbud, and witch hazel. It was a wonderful way for our group of 9 to launch the winter hiking season!
— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski
One of the many benefits of ADK membership is the annual ADK Fall Outing, an opportunity to explore a new scenic part of New York State and be hosted by locals who know the surrounding terrain. The sublime Finger Lakes area around Watkins Glen provided glorious settings for this year’s Fall adventures. Numerous lakes, streams and waterfalls carved by ancient glaciers enabled nearly 30 hiking, paddling and biking options to choose from over the 3-day event. Since the ADK Finger Lakes Chapter has a small membership, our Niagara Frontier members provided invaluable expertise to organize the weekend.
NFC Outings Chair Mary Schraven did a formidable job organizing 28 outings. Our Webmaster Rob Laing oversaw the website for outreach and registration, and our Treasurer Doug Gaffney handled the finances. Many of the outings were enthusiastically led by Niagara Frontier members including Rob Laing (Sugar Hill Fire Tower, Goundry Hill hikes), Janet and David Kowalski (Finger Lakes National Forest and CT Hill Wildlife Management Area hikes), Mary Schraven (Watkins Glen and Taughannock State Park hikes, Richard Schraven (Chemung paddle), Teresa and Peter Corrigan (Cornell Ornithology Lab visit), and Cheryl Peluso (Tanglewood Nature Center hike). Over 130 ADK members attended, with the diehards from the Niagara Frontier Chapter having the highest participation.
The 3-day event included 28 outings, a Winery Reception on Friday, and Presidents Banquet on Saturday. An impressive eclectic list of outings were offered, including hikes of various mileages, and casual visits to Ornithology Labs and Nature Centers. Hardy and prepared ADK hikers were unfazed by rainy Saturday weather, with cheery optimism and enthusiasm to explore new trails overpowering wet conditions.
Of course the best perk of all was meeting and getting reacquainted with the congenial, terrific ADK folks from other chapters across the state. It was a joy to engage with others who share similar interests and values in the beautiful outdoor settings. Look forward to the 2019 ADK Fall Outing that will be held September 6-8 in the Poughkeepsie area.
— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski
Glorious weather sustained an ideal Autumn outing amidst old-growth trees, scenic ravines, and a sparkling waterfall. Our enthusiastic group of 11 hiked about 4 miles altogether, ascending the gorge rim to a lookout point exposing views of canyon walls and the South Branch of the Cattaraugus Creek below.
We were treated to many large mature hemlock, tulip and maple trees, thanks to the dearth of logging in this area. This donated property is maintained by the Nature Conservancy, which is wholeheartedly committed to conservation, plant diversity and sustainability. Efforts to invigorate the vanishing American Chestnut tree, a victim of blight, were inspired here and we found many spiny nut husks under a lone tree. We saw milkweed plants that attract and sustain Monarch butterflies. Our group identified a hickory nut tree, and butternut and black walnut varieties.
After descending to Deer Lick Creek and viewing the beginnings of a waterfall, we climbing out of the ravine, and descended a steep side trail for excellent views of Deer Lick Falls, its airborne spray sparkling in the sunlight.
Following a steep ascent on the return trail, we paused for a fun swing on a strong old grapevine hanging down between two trees.
Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski
With a very iffy weather forecast of 40-50 degrees, chance of water spouts and scattered rain, it seemed likely to cancel but when our fearless and optimistic trip leader proposed a modified version launching from the beach of N.O.T.L. everyone who signed up heartily agreed to come. This was a trip requiring careful planning and much time and effort selecting the appropriate gear for biking and paddling in mid-October. Richard and I packed it all, waterproof jackets, hats, insulating layers, windproof gloves, wool socks, wadding boots, wicking layers, plus a complete change of clothes in a dry bag. But there was one among us with blue jeans, and a sweat shirt (yes! Cotton! Can you believe it?!). He didn’t get wet, but I did get to test out my wonderful protective clothing just as I was getting out on the rocky shores of Lake Ontario. Luckily, my dunking was at the end of the outing and I could quickly change.
In spite of the iffy forecast, the group agreed to follow the original plan of boating from Queenston to Niagara on the Lake, and biking on the Niagara Parkway. The day turned out to be lovely, no rain but with ever-changing skies from sunny and blue to heavy clouds. We really enjoyed the shared conversations, adventure, fall leaves and a hot meal at the Epicurian Restaurant.
Thanks to everyone for being patient, flexible and good natured, a great time was had by all!
– Submitted by Mary Schraven
Bicyclists set out under beautiful blue skies and gentle breezes on a 21 mile round trip ride from Wilson to Olcott. The riders looped through Wilson-Tuscarora State Park before following the Ontario lake shore past apple orchards to Olcott. Upon arrival in Olcott the bicyclists were treated to bag pipers and Celtic music at the Niagara Celtic Festival. Back roads provided a further view of the lake, sailboats, & charming cottages, The bicyclists maintained a 12mph touring pace perfect for conversation and views of the Ontario Shores.
– Submitted by Mike Lex
Nineteen members of ADK NFC & Bell Ski Club hiked and paddled on the historic grounds of Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks during the first weekend of Fall.
Others enjoyed a guided nature walk, a boat tour on Raquette Lake or Blue Mountain Lake, or a trip to nearby museums.
Delicious food and conversation around a fire brought each day to an end.
— Submitted by JoAnn Zurek
Setting off through the brisk morning air of the first day of Autumn, made this hike quite comfortable and enjoyable. Going at an easy pace, 3 nature appreciators noted various fungi and identified trees within the second growth forest. Straying from the Conservation Trail, us hikers found our way down to the creek to watch tiny fish in the water, watch the beautiful (and already changing) leaves float down stream. We found fossils, a geo-cash, and spoke of the different rocks along the trail – including coal … much speculation of how it founds its way there. All in all, a wonderful 6 miles along the Conservation Trail, looking forward to spending more wonderful Autumn days on this trail finding even more to appreciate!
-Submitted by Mary Kay Noack
Four ADK bikers circumnavigated Grand Island on Saturday morning, with cool temperatures in the 60’s. The day was cloudy and breezy but no rain. The outing began with breakfast of French toast at Tom Burkman’s house. A headwind challenged the group whether they were headed south or north, but the trip was completed in about three and a half hours. One member of the group suffered a flat tire in the final stretch. The culprit was a minuscule but sharp shard of gravel that penetrated tire and tube. The leader picked up bike and rider in a pickup truck without much delay. A new bike path is being created along West River Road by the State. It will lead directly into Beaver Island State Park. It should be ready in time for the next ADK bike outing on Grand Island. – Submitted by Tom Burkman
Our group of 5 set out from Lockport along the canal path on a picture perfect summer day with temps in the mid to upper seventies. After about 1 hour, we reached the park and sat down under a shelter for conversation and lunch, which included cold water and cookies my wife had packed and delivered to the park for our return trip. This was about a 14 mile round trip and we averaged about 8mph. – Submitted by Kevin Bolt
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