Posts filed under ‘Cross Country Skiing’

Make tracks to Blue Cut Nature Center

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Blue Cut Nature Center’s name originates from the construction of the railroad in the 1840s. They cut  into Blue Vernon Shale.  The  40 acres of land  have several trails winding through red pine, mixed hardwoods and wetlands.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.20 PMBlue Cut Nature Center offers trail has three self-guided trails. There is a small teaching shelter, picnic tables and restroom facilities. The “Nature Center” would be better called a preserve as there is no center on the property or elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.24.31 PMI followed a trail that winds up and around a drumlin on the east side of the property, past a lovely warning sign for a neighboring firing range.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.12 PMTrain tracks run right through the nature center. If you love train-watching, you can watch up close while still on the trail. While I was hiking along the wetlands I was able to see the train pass close by the woods trail, then stop for quite a while at a location across the pond.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.47 PMThe water was frozen while I was hiking, creating another nice trail through the wetlands. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed as snow permits. Biking is not allowed. This is a perfect picnic spot and nice for young kids as the trails are not too long.

Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk.

Buildings: Small lean-to and an outhouse (bathroom)

Picnic Area: 5 Tables for picnics and 3 charcoal grills available

Blue Cut Nature Center is located on State Route 31 in the Town of Newark in Wayne County.

April 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment

Skiing at Highland Forest

GroomedTrails_Highland ForestAt the furthest eastern side of the Finger Lakes is a little slice of the Adirondacks. The oldest county park, Highland Forest is a mini mountain, featuring 20 miles of trails, 11 of which are groomed and track set daily, offering a variety of challenges for many different levels of skiing ability.

Skyline_Lodge_Highland_ForestPark maps are available at Skyline Lodge. During ski season the Adirondack-Style Skyline Lodge serves food and drink on weekends. Trail Map

Ski lessons are available, weather permitting, Saturdays & Sundays, mid December – mid March and daily during school breaks.

SnowField_HighlandForest

What else can you do at Highland Forest?

Snow Shoe
Highland Forest trails offers all levels of snowshoers a chance to enjoy the forest on 5 trails; a 1 mile loop, 2 mile loop, 3.6 mile loop, 7.75 and a 9 mile loop.

Mountain Biking
In the summer there is no better place to get  a great workout than Highland Forest’s mix of country road, mountain trail and backwoods trails. Mountain Biking trails are open May 1 – October 31.

Visit the Pioneer Museum
One of the park’s most famous attractions is the Pioneer Museum. The museum is run by the Fabius Historical Society and focuses on the historic Skaneateles Turnpike, a tollroad that once brought travelers and settlers from Plainville, in the east near the Cherry Valley Turnpike to Skaneateles.

TrailMap_Highland ForestOpen Daily
April – November: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
December – March: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
(closed Christmas Day)

January 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

The History of Corbett’s Glen

This is usually where the salmon run out of gas.

This is usually where the salmon run out of gas.

An early snowfall with a twenty degree drop in temperature. I hear shovels and snowblowers at work. Time to layer up, grab my skis and enjoy Corbett’s Glen.

At the end of my street is a spur trail that takes me into a lovely park called Corbett’s Glen. When Mr Corbett lived here, in the fifties, he mowed a ball field for my sister and brothers to play on. Now it’s a Brighton town park with two miles of paths. The skiing here is some of the best in the county. Although the trails are not groomed like Mendon Ponds, the snow is often here for a week or two longer than any other park.

As you travel through the park you may hear three or four trains pass. Take notice as this is the famous New York Central Line. These tracks are where Abraham Lincoln’s body travelled  as it was transported from Washington DC to Springfield Ill for burial. The train passed through the glen area most likely in the night of the 26th of April of 1865,  as it left Albany April 25,  at 10pm, and arrived in Buffalo, April 27, at 7 a.m., traveling at 20 MPH. Lincoln’s funeral train was the first national commemoration of a president’s death by rail.

Railroad tracks underpass holds the creek and a road.

Railroad tracks underpass holds the creek and a road.

The north-west side of the glen has a Parking lot facing Penfield Road for easy access. The southern side can only be accessed by parking on Glen Road, off 441, and walking under the railroad trestle bridge. Two miles of Trails loop in a circle around both sections of the glen.

My Mom told me years ago that the part of the glen nearest Penfield Rd would never be developed because the Tobin Meat packing plant had used it as a dump during the war. She was convinced the ground was contaminated. My family’s first home was built on Dale Road (formerly an orchard) as soon as construction began after the war. I’ve never read this information anywhere else to verify.

The paths wind through the woods, full of Bittersweet in the fall,  and the prehistoric looking Pileated WoodPecker. There are some unusual geological features:  eskers, and moraines. (eskers are what give the park trails their dramatic pitch and slope. Rivers on the ice sheet would sometimes bore a hole and flow under the ice in a winding tunnel. When the glacier and water were gone these stream beds looked like low snaking ridges of rubble.)

Allens Creek runs through the park

Allen Creek runs through the park

Today the trails are busy all day with dog walkers, families, fishermen, photographers, runners and in the winter, snowshoers and skiers. Allen Creek winds through the southern edge of the park with lovely waterfalls. There are board walks to traverse the swampy areas, a picnic table and benches and boulders along the trails for resting.

December 20, 2013 at 3:50 am Leave a comment

Lucien Morin Park — Guided Hikes Unlock the Secrets of the Trail

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.

Continue Reading October 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

View from Hemlock Lake

At normal water levels both Hemlock and Canadice have limited shoreline. Left alone, the forest grows right to the water’s edge. However, after a long dry summer, the lake level drops, creating a generous shore with some startling views.

Continue Reading October 1, 2012 at 9:02 am Leave a comment

Catherine Valley Trail: Bike from Watkins Glen to Horseheads

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.

Continue Reading May 13, 2012 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Cracker Box Palace — “we’ve been expecting you”

Finger Lakes Summer

Kids have an opportunity to get up close and meet farm animals

Many of you may know “Cracker Box Palace” as a song from a George Harrison album. “We welcome you to Cracker Box Palace, we’ve been expecting you..” That song  is a memory from my childhood. If you want to make some more great memories for your kids, bring them to the Finger Lakes version of Cracker Box Palace. It’s a perfect family destination with many kid-friendly activities throughout the year.

Cracker Box Palace is a not for profit, no-kill rescue and rehabilitation shelter for over 180 farm animals. Animals of every kind come to recover from illness, neglect or abuse. Once given necessary adjustment time and veterinary care, animals are available for adoption.

Finger Lakes Summer

View of the farm and a variety of very happy animals

In early 2011, Cracker Box Palace achieved ownership of  a beautiful piece of property — Alasa Farms. This farm was formerly a historic Shaker community in the early 1800’s. Some years later, it served as a migrant camp. Today it is home to horses, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, several breeds of pigs, llamas and (see the video) donkeys.

The farm is funded totally through memberships, sponsorships, donations, and grants. If animals cannot be placed in suitable adoptive homes they will stay on the farm. They also offer a sponsorship program for people who love animals but do not have facilities to care for them. Cracker Box Palace also offers a variety of Youth Programs for scouts, special needs groups, and school community service projects.

The farm has apple orchards as well. The month-long, Apple Pic-n-Picnic starts around the 2nd week of September with U-Pick apples from dwarf trees. Alasa Farms also participates in the annual Apple Tasting Tour.

Finger LakesView of Alasa Farms in proximity to Sodus Bay

Alasa Farms is located just southwest of Sodus Bay. The property and surrounding land is very beautiful and contains many waterways that flow to the bay.  With the assistance of the Genesee Land Trust, Alasa Farms has ensured that their 627 acres of forests, wetlands, working crop lands and orchards, will remain open land. By spring of 2012 there will be trails through the woods and around the farm marked for horseback riding and hiking.

Finger Lakes Summer

There are several waterfalls on the property

Additionally, The Nature Conservancy has acquired another 500 +acres between the Farm and Sodus Bay, including 800’ of frontage on the bay. It will remain undisturbed and eventually be transferred to New York state for inclusion in a wildlife management area.

Finger Lakes Summer

Location of Cracker Box Palace/Alasa Farms

HOURS:  10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays
Contact us to inquire about tours, call 315.483.2493.

Cracker Box Palace on Facebook.

Location:  6450 Shaker Road, Alton, NY, 14413

February 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

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