HIKE — FOREST LAWN in Buffalo — 6/15/19

A delightful balance of Nature, Art and History set the stage for a wonderful 4-mile hike throughout Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery on this cool spring day. The rolling hills, valleys and spring-fed ponds that comprise this urban burial ground were originally farmland located over 2 miles from the City of Buffalo. Following the 1849 land purchase, trees were planted to provide shade for future grave sites, thus creating a Forest on the Lawn. The water, trees and ground-cover provide a welcoming landscape for numerous deer that live here (photo).

Forest Lawn has over 3500 trees comprising at least 100 species that support over 200 types of migrating birds. We observed spectacular tulip tree blossoms at their blooming peak (photo), in addition to unusual trees like Bald Cypress, Fern-leaved Beech, and Weeping Beech.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Blue Sky Mausoleum, beautifully situated on the rising bank of the sublime Jubilee Spring. The iconic spring-fed Mirror Lake provides a gorgeous setting for two sculptures, Three Graces Fountain (photo) and The Little Girl on the Little Island. This is a favorite destination for photographers and birders.

We ventured to Serenity Falls, an aptly named cascade waterfall within Scajaquada Creek. Extensive cleanup of the creek and a new Wetland Sanctuary with attractive arched bridges are wonderful improvements.

We enjoyed visiting famous residents including Flag Day pioneer Sara Hinson, Seneca Chief Red Jacket, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, North Pole explorer Frederick Cook, U.S. Weather Bureau founder Albert Myer, R&B musician Rick James, and numerous other historic Buffalo figures. It was a joy for our group (photo) to visit this urban gem and savor the natural beauty, artistry and impressive Buffalo history that Forest Lawn offers.


— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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PADDLE — Niagara River — Memorial Day 5/27/19

On a beautiful spring day, 7 paddlers met at Grand Island’s East River Marsh for a fun paddle on the Niagara River. After crossing over to Pirate’s Island (Motor Island Wildlife Management Area), we paddled upstream to observe the aviary with nesting herons, egrets, and cormorants. Continuing upstream through the new Strawberry Island Archipelago (man-made islands), we entered the Strawberry Is. lagoon to observe the active bald eagle nest. A great day on the water

– Submitted by Bob Van Hise

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HIKE — Franklin Gulf in Eden — 5/19/19

We enjoyed a delightful Spring hike in Eden’s Franklin Gulf County Park, one of Western New York’s wilderness gems. The hike start was delayed a few minutes by a fast-passing thunderstorm, but after this dramatic beginning we had perfect weather. Our knowledgeable trip leader Kim Newland took us on an unmarked trail on the other side of a familiar ravine. Views there offered a whole new perspective of the forest and revealed several new waterfalls. Along the hike we encountered about a dozen bright orange wiggly eft salamanders, the juvenile stage for the Red-spotted Newt (photo).


We explored some wooded snowmobile trails and eventually crossed the creek to the familiar light blue trail for our return trip. We were treated to a smorgasbord of wildflowers including the sublime pink lady’s slipper orchid (photo), along with white baneberry, trilliums, violets, elderberry blossoms and a mayapple flower.

Altogether we hiked over 3 miles with nearly 800 feet in elevation gain for a delightful Sunday outing that was a feast for the senses. Thanks to Kim for leading a wonderful excursion.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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HIKE — Beehunter Trail in Allegany State Park — 5/18/19

TRILLIUMS GALORE!! Mother Nature displayed a feast of beautiful Trillium flowers along the wooded Beehunter trail for a delightful Spring trek in Allegany State Park. Hikers met leaders Victoria Rowley and Micah in Ellicottville, then caravaned to the Beehunter trailhead. Perfect Spring weather conditions were complemented by the sounds of songbirds and bursts of forest colors.

A chill we felt in the air quickly dissipated as we climbed up 600 ft. in elevation into the forest. Proceeding on the trail we observed hundreds of White Trilliums, some rare and lovely Painted Trilliums and a number of  Red Trilliums (photo).
Many other wildflowers were seen as well, including Dwarf Ginseng, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Miterwort, Mayapple, Violets and Speedwells.

Our group enjoyed the cool shade of the newly-leaved hardwoods, and enjoyed a picnic lunch while sitting on logs by a babbling brook. Altogether we hiked 6.5 miles with over 1300 feet in elevation gain and had a great workout. Our friendly group ranged in ages from 12 to adults.

A great time was had by all! There’s no better way to spend a Spring Saturday in Western NY.

Thanks to Victoria and Micah for a wonderful outing!

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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BOUNDARY MAINTENANCE — Allegany State Park & PA Border — 5/4-5/19

Our goal was to walk as much of the park’s Pennsylvania border as possible while trimming brush to maintain a line of sight between markers. We added more flagging tape as necessary and posted a few more state park signs.

With 25 volunteers, including 12 SUNY Buffalo students, our teams covered all the top priority sections. Letters of appreciation were subsequently received from the Allegany Park foresters and from our ADK Executive Director, Neil Woolworth. Great job, everyone!
– Submitted by Bob Van Hise

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HIKE – Niagara Gorge from Devil’s Hole State Park – 3/24/19

Mild spring temperatures and sunny personalities provided for a wonderful hike along the mighty Niagara River. We descended the newly refurbished stone steps at Devil’s Hole State Park and hiked along the river past the giant ‘Rock of Ages’ boulder, and to the iconic Flat Stone area to observe the surreal rapids and waves.  Some new rock slides made trail trekking more adventurous, but our ADK group was unfazed by the challenge.

Nature provided fascinating snow and ice sculptures from the tail end of winter that were an artistic feast for the senses. Potholes filled with water and ice hinted at their amazing formation process. 

Hike leader Beth Hartz was elated to announce her engagement to longtime partner Ted, and they pointed out the spot along the Niagara where Ted proposed. It was a joy to witness their wonderful memory and wish them future happiness.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Hunters Creek Conservation Park – 3/2/19

Hunters Creek Park is on undeveloped Erie County  land and is designated as a “Conservation Park” to be used for nature appreciation and outdoor recreation.

Click image to Enlarge

On the day of our hike, trails were covered with compacted snow with some icy spots. We wore micro-spikes to prevent slipping on the many ups and downs along the trails. We started our hike by heading downhill near the shoreline of Hunters Creek.

Later we hiked up to a ridge trail that has views of both the creek and gorge cliffs decorated with icicles on the opposite side of the creek. After crossing a shallow ravine, we took a loop trail that descends to the shore of the creek and returns at higher elevation through a beautiful evergreen forest.

Hiking away from the creek, we climbed to higher elevation through a deciduous forest. We hiked down along a ravine to view Silent Falls, a small waterfall which was mostly ice at this time. We finished our hike by trekking along the edges of 3 ravines, each containing streams that flow downhill into Hunters Creek.

Hunters Creek Park is a terrific hiking spot that’s easily accessible. Check it out!
To download a trail map, click here.

— Submitted by David Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Erie County Forest – 2/16/19

Conditions were ideal for our winter trek on the beautiful wooded trails in Erie County Forest near East Concord. Following some warm, wet weather, temperatures dropped and fresh powder on the crusty base provided perfect trail conditions for our micro-spike hike. The fresh snow on the young evergreens was enchanting, providing magical wintry scenery. This area used to be abandoned farmland, and in the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Cops (CCC) planted millions of trees including Spruce, Red Pine and Maple. In 90 years the impressive reforestation now supports hiking trails, maple sugaring, wood production, and wildlife habitats.

We first climbed the hill on the north side of Genesee Rd. (Rt. 409) and hiked the 1.5-mile Silent Wood Trail. Next we completed the 2-mile Old Scarbuck Trail on the south side of Genesee Rd., including the extra ~1-mile loop after crossing The Bridge Too Far. Our group had fun crossing icy Dresser Creek to explore the charming picnic island area. One man in our group remarked how great it felt to be exercising on the rolling hills in such a beautiful place. We met a couple of sisters on the trail, one an ADK member and pediatrician in Springville. Other groups including a meetup were also enjoying this special place. Altogether we hiked about 5 miles is this WNY gem.

– Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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Micro-Spike HIKE – Sprague Brook Park – 2/10/19

Our group led by experienced leader Kim Newland opted for a micro-spike hike since there was not enough snow for Nordic skiing and it was icey. This turned out to be a wonderful option, and we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic, winding ravine trail along the East bank of Sprague Brook. We encountered a few other adventurous hikers and bikers who were also enjoying this beautiful Erie County-run trail system. After a few miles we were forced to turn around since the ice on Sprague Brook had broken and the raging creek was too dangerous to cross. We backtracked and our knowledgeable leader led us to a delightful Outer Loop Trail on the other side of Foote Rd. (Rt.563). Altogether we hiked about 5 miles, and are eager to return when we can rock-hop across Sprague Brook and explore more of the trails in this beautiful park.

— Submitted by David and Janet Kowalski

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SS/HIKE – Grand Island – 2/9/19

Four ADK members gathered in Grand Island at Tom Burkman’s house for a winter hike on February 9. After a breakfast of eggs, bacon, fresh fruit salad, and tasty sweet rolls, the group braved temperatures in the low teens walking through the woods around Gun Creek.

The hikers had to move cautiously over wetlands where thin ice easily broke through to the shallow puddles below. A light snow layer over ice revealed the tracks of a variety of wildlife. The morning finished up with coffee and hot chocolate before a warm fireplace.

– Submitted by Tom Burkman

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