Posts filed under ‘Hiking’
One sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, we took a long walk through Mt Hope Cemetary. This cemetery is famous for the grave sites of Stephen Douglas, Henry Lomb, Hiram Sibley, Nathaniel Rochester, Margaret Woodbury Strong, and Susan B Anthony.
Mount Hope Cemetery is one of the most remarkable Victorian cemeteries in America. Its 196 acres of lofty hills and picturesque valleys created by glaciers were transformed into a beautiful historic cemetery. A mature, diversified forest forms an arboretum shading thousands of marble, bronze, and granite monuments. The cemetery is a verdant museum of funerary sculpture and mausoleums spanning more than a century and a half.
Dedicated in 1838 in Rochester NY, Mount Hope is America’s first municipal Victorian cemetery.
The cemetery features 82 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, winged angels of mercy, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in Gothic Revival style, a Moorish gazebo, and infinitely varied tombstones marking 350,000 graves.
You can hike over many well trod roads as well as less travelled pathways as you view 2 centuries of memorials in every form and fashion. The winding hills and variety of trees make this a top pick when visiting Rochester.
It’s nice to take a hike, even nicer when you have an experienced guide to share everything you would ever want to know about the plants and the history of the area.
I took a hike with the Penfield Trails Committee to learn more about Lucien Morin Park, aka the Ellison Park Wetland aka The Rifle Range Trail. The Rifle Range Trail is so named because it passes what remains of a rifle range and pistol range formerly used by the National Guard and State Police, during WWII.
When tourists come to upstate New York and want to see the unique geological wonders carved out by the glaciers, they usually head to well-known Watkins Glen. However, there are several other gorgeous gorges — one of them right outside of Ithaca, known as Buttermilk Falls State Park.
Small footprint — big impact. That’s what you could say about Dorothy McIlroy’s life and the 198 acres of land purchased by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, in her name, at the southern end of Lake Como. Dorothy McIlroy was a professional birder, playing a significant role in the early days of the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Her children wanted to create a bird sanctuary in her memory. When I visited I could see that there is a LOT more than just birds enjoying sanctuary.
This was my opportunity to hike a “fen.” I have bogged and swamped, and marshed, but can’t say that I have had the opportunity to explore a fen — until now.
So what is a fen? — according to Squidoo, “Similar to bogs, but not the same ecosystem.
- Fens are freshwater cold region wetlands that receive their water from rivers, streams, and springs as well as rain.
- Fens vary from mildly acidic to alkaline.
- Fens are often found alongside bogs, but have more diverse flora and fauna.”
That definition is clear as mud — which you’ll tramp through a lot of — regardless. According to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, “The most unusual aspect of this preserve is the variety of plant life. Rich shrub fen, peat swamp and forest thrive on either side of Falls Creek. The limestone bedrock of the creek favors fen development — the surrounding northern-type peat swamp forest makes this site exceptional. A number of plants that are uncommon or rare in our region are found at the preserve. Many species are on the State protected list.”
How do you find this precious gem? The easiest way is to look at the map of protected lands on the FLLT web site. I drove south on 41A, past Bear Swamp, until I could take Lake Como Rd. The Lake is VERY small, so it’s easy to miss Fire Lane A with the tiny sign, as soon as you run out of lake. The Fire Lane can get very muddy, so you may want to park on the lake road and hike in to the sanctuary entrance.
Because there are so many varieties of plants and animals its best to stay on the trails —otherwise someone might give you the snake eye!
Beware: The McIlroy Bird Sanctuary will be closed to the public during early and late bow (archery) deer season.
The state bought the land from the Girl Scouts for $600,000 in 1996. Unfortunately, before the State could upgrade and open the newly acquired park, a budget crisis got in the way. The park’s purpose became a manageable “preserve” and it opened with no improvements in 1999.
The park contains 250 acres of pine and hemlock groves, wooded hills and marshy ravines, plus over 1,500 ft. of pebbled Lake Ontario shoreline with access to the west side of Maxwell Bay.
If you are riding a bike in the Watkins Glen region you can expect hills — lots of hills — unless you ride the Catherine Valley Trail.
The CVT is a converted canal towpath and railroad bed spanning from the edge of Seneca Lake in downtown Watkins Glen, heading south, to Millport. The plan is to eventually continue on through Mark Twain State Park, all the way to Horseheads (15 miles). A new section will open in May of 2012 connecting Millport through Pine Valley to the State Park.
At the highest spot between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes is a patchwork of 16,212 acres, known as the Finger Lakes National Forest. This area was all farm land 100 years ago and was then bought back by the government early in the 20th century, who returned it into forests and pasture land.
A hike in Bergen Swamp is like taking a trip back 400 million years! This delicate environment of alkaline and acid soils, favors a diversity of plants uncommon in the area.
Bergen Swamp contains 2,000 acres of primeval marshland located in the town of Bergen New York, and was the first site to be designated a Natural National Landmark, but has been protected by the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society since 1935.
There is a huge variety of species that call the swamp home. On my hike I saw, Dog Tooth Violets, May Apples, Trillium, Marsh Marigold, Cinnamon Ferns, Swamp Cabbage, Beech Trees, and other friendly forest dwellers
I was happy to miss the Rattlesnakes, Queen Snakes, Black Rat Snakes, Ribbon Snakes, and Green Snakes … do you see a theme here?
It is important to remember that it is always wet here, so wear boots. I was in Wellingtons and I still went over the tops in a couple of sink holes right on the path.
Stay on trails. This is a dense forest and it is easy to get lost. Remember that list of snakes I mentioned above. Plus there is the danger of sinking into the bog, as the swampy soil reminded me of the stuff that swallows up bad guys in the movies.
Hemlock-Canadice State Forest — 6,684 acres, many of them covered with creeks flowing down into our water supply.
Hiking creek beds to get the best possible view of several nice waterfalls off the beaten path.
I hiked the Johnson Hill Trail, accessed via Johnson Hill Rd, off Bald hill Rd, just off Rt 15A, at the southern end of Hemlock Lake.
There are parking lots on 15A, which lead into Reynolds Gully and another one on Johnson Hill Road with a nice 1.5m trail.
The Finger Lakes region has several awesome parks with waterfalls. Little-known Filmore Glen is another example of the beautiful work of the glaciers that passed through 10,000 years ago and left us the “gorgology” the makes the Finger Lakes region so special. The park has five waterfalls, several miles of great trails and 60 campsites plus a natural stream-fed swimming hole.