Posts filed under ‘Hiking’

Letchworth Park Spring Hike

I received a GoPro from my family and am enjoying its simple interface, and how easy it is to edit. Charlie offered a Letchworth explore, so naturally I engineered a “hike or die” for a sunny spring day.

This hike is seven miles long, starting at the south end of the park and heading north. We left bikes at the end of the hike to get back to our cars. The views from the edge remain lovely the entire hike, and the craftsmanship of WPA stone fences, picnic tables and bridges inspires the challenging walking path.

April 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

Fresh Christmas Trees in the Finger Lakes

Wilberts is our favorite cut-your-own tree farm.

Wilberts is our favorite cut-your-own tree farm.

Hunting for the perfect Christmas Tree is a great way to spend time enjoying the Finger Lakes. There are great cut your own Tree Farms across Upstate New York.

By far the hardest part is cutting it down.

By far the hardest part is cutting it down.

Remember that cutting your own tree can involve a long outdoor exposure in snow and mud. Everyone has an opinion on which kind of tree is best: strong boughs hold the ornaments best but sharp needles are tough on the hands. Choosing the right height and shape is also a matter of opinion, often leaving sap on the ceiling when you realize its too tall.


We usually buy our tree at Wilberts — where its simple — hike out with a saw and wheel it back on a tree cart. However, if you have small children you might want to try Skokie Tree Farm which has tractors with wagons that can drop you off and pick you and your tree up after you cut it. They also have lots of fun activities and snacks for kids.

Listing of Christmas Tree Farms in the Finger Lakes



November 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Make tracks to Blue Cut Nature Center

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 4.25.40 PM

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

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 2 comments

Turning Point Park: Walk on Water

In the heart of Northwest Rochester, as you enter the town of Charlotte, there is a magical trail that allows you to walk right OVER the Genesee River!

Tucked right off Lake Avenue,  Turning Point Park has a 3,572 ft-long boardwalk over the Genesee River, at the “Turning Basin.” The  boardwalk section of the park features a pair of nesting swans, on display each year, famous rail hopping herons, turtles, ducks, Kingfishers, and many other water-loving creatures. Bring your binoculars!

The trail is also part of the 16+ mile Genesee Riverway Trail.  Continue north, once back on land, and you will wind up in Ontario Beach Park (Home of the H2O Hero). If you bike the trail south you can pick up the Greenway Trail in Genesee  Valley Park, and go all the way to Mt Morris, and beyond.

The easiest way to reach the boardwalk is to park in the lot at 260 Boxart St, right off of Lake Avenue.

October 23, 2013 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

Hike + History = Mt Hope Cemetery

Rolling hills make for dramatic views

Rolling hills make for dramatic views

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.

Bronze Mausoleum Doors

Bronze Mausoleum Doors

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.

Monument to the soldiers of the Civil War

Monument to the soldiers of the Civil War

The Friends of Mount Hope offer guided walking tours each weekend, May through October.

Close-up view of the Civil War Monument reveals beautiful patina

Close-up view of the Civil War Monument reveals beautiful patina

Dedicated in 1838 in Rochester NY, Mount Hope is America’s first municipal Victorian cemetery.

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 7.14.52 PMThe 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.


Great names. And he had 3 wives

Great names. And he had 2 wives

Get lost in the sea of green

Get lost in the sea of green

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.

April 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm 1 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

Buttermilk Falls — See Why Ithaca is Gorges

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.

Continue Reading September 15, 2012 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Finger Lakes Summer

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

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.

Finger Lakes Summer

Trail is well-marked. When visiting in spring and fall, boots might be in order.

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.

Finger Lakes Summer

It’s only fenny ’til someone gets hurt

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.”
Finger Lakes Summer

beaver biography

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.”

Finger Lakes Summer

This guy was hiking the same path as me.

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.

Finger Lakes Summer

Why you should stay on the trail

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!

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary

Trail Map

Beware:  The McIlroy Bird Sanctuary will be closed to the public during early and late bow (archery) deer season.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust has since added 86 acres of wetlands and uplands to the Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary, expanding the Summerhill haven to span 250 total acres.

The Ithaca-based conservation organization said the additional land — acquired as part of the state’s Open Space Plan using funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program —  joins two existing portions of the McIlroy sanctuary and stretches the borders to include land along Lake Como and Peth roads.

August 19, 2012 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Find: Discovering Beechwood State Park

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.

Continue Reading July 14, 2012 at 3:56 am Leave a comment

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