Laura Secord Trail, part 1 – 2/3/18

ADK hike leader Ken Martin led a few ambitious 12-mile hikes on Ontario’s Bruce Trail last Fall, and recently responded to requests for shorter distances by organizing 3 easier hikes along the historic Laura Secord Trail, a companion side trail off the Bruce Trail. This trail celebrates the 20-mile journey by ~28-year-old Laura Secord, who in June 1813 ran through forests, and across farms and along country roads to warn British Commander James FitzGibbon of an impending American attack.

After spotting cars, six well-outfitted hikers began a 6.8 mile trek at the Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston ON. We enjoyed sunny winter conditions with fresh powder and a delightful variety of sights and terrains along the way. There were a few ups and downs, and altogether we experienced ~680 feet of elevation gain. We wore microspikes for most of the hike. Last Fall, we encountered a lovely young woman on the Bruce Trail who was a descendant of Laura Secord, and was inspired to retrace her steps. The trail is well-maintained, with sturdy bridges over scenic creeks and even the QEW, and plenty of markers pointing the way. In Ontario it is not uncommon to encounter an artistic Inuksuk, an Indigenous cairn often displayed on country roads and in private landscapes. Also common along the Bruce Trail are the endearing Ladder Stiles, short v-shaped ladders to climb over at property borders.

Near the end of our journey, we sighted a few robins and a flock of Eastern Bluebirds. What a treat!

We look forward to hiking the next 2 segments of the Laura Secord Trail, and embracing the culture and nature trails of our Northern Neighbor.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Franklin Gulf Hike – 1/27/18

Five hardy hikers savored spring-like conditions in late January to explore the scenic ravines and enchanting waterfalls at Franklin Gulf County Park. Located near Eden, Franklin Gulf is one of WNY most notable gems, and offers a refreshing wilderness experience for every season. Hiking poles are always recommended for the ups and downs here, and though planned as a snowshoe hike, micro-spikes were ideal for the icy patches and atypical weather we experienced. Old growth trees are a special treat in this unlogged area that was previously owned by John D Larkin, founder of the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo. The remains of the Larkin cabin foundation provided a fun point of interest along the gorge rim trail. This park has a network of several frequently-used, color-coded trails, and is a year-round joy. Look forward to snowshoeing here when winter returns, followed by hiking among beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

— Submitted by Janet and David Kowalski

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ADK Tug Hill Winter Outing – 1/19-21/18

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

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XC Ski at Knox Farm Park – 12/30/17

Six hardy ADK’ers braved the cold and windy weather to ski and snow
shoe at the beautiful Knox Farm State Park. After the crossing of the open field, the rest of the outing was sheltered from the wind by the snow-covered woods. With only the sound of chick-a-dees breaking the silence of the woods, we all felt refreshed and enlivened by the exercise, the nature and the companionship. We also enjoyed the delicious coffee and French pastries at the old Sheep Shed. I’m so happy we skied that
day, since all the snow melted in early January as the warm temperatures took over.

Check out this State Park every Friday morning with Carol Griffis!

— Submitted by Mary Schraven

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Zoar Valley Hike – 12/10/17

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

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Deer Lick Nature Sanctuary – 11/12/17

Our lucky 13 group enjoyed a beautiful crisp Fall day exploring this beautiful National Natural Landmark. This protected sanctuary prohibits hunting, so it was an ideal venue for this time of year.

Known for it’s Old Growth Trees, we savored many Giant Gems, including beech, black cherry, hemlock, tulip, maple, oak, yellow birch, and a rare American chestnut tree. In addition to impressive views of the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek, the bare trees enabled a rare view of a pretty waterfall on the east bank.

After hiking along the main ridge trail we descended the Deer Lick ravine and viewed the top of icy Deer Lick Falls.

Overall it was a fabulous day with great people and a beautiful hiking area.


— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Bruce Trail Hike, Part 3 – 11/4/17

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

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Niagara Gorge Hike – 10/22/17

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

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Bruce Trail Hike, Part 2 – 9/30/17

Seasoned ADK Hiker, Ken Martin led a second 12‐mile hike within the scenic Niagara Section of Ontario’s stellar Bruce Trail. Our jolly group began at Decew Falls near Brock University and finished near Ball’s Falls in Jordan.



This well‐traveled section traversed beautiful native forest with occasional glimpses of Lake Ontario to the North. Thanks to Ken for introducing us Yankees to this Canadian Gem!

‐ Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Bruce Trail Hike, Part 1 – 9/9/17

Ken Martin led an enthusiastic ADK group from the Southern Terminus of the Bruce Trail to the Welland Canal. We had perfect sunny Fall weather for this 12-mile/20 km hike. We savored awesome escarpment views, copious Fall wildflower blooms, and the historic remains of the old Welland Canal.


The BRUCE TRAIL is a wonderfully ambitious 550-mile ThruTrail that passes through stunningly scenic parts of Ontario. It extends from the Niagara River to the spectacular Tobermory Peninsula on Georgian Bay.






Join Ken on September 30 for the next 20 km section, which will include waterfalls and more fascinating sites! See the ADK event calendar for details.

—  Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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