Posts filed under ‘Swimming’
Biking in the Finger Lakes is challenging and thrilling. The steep glacier-cut hills require iron lungs and some fat gears, but the thrills you get from the many hilltop views of a lake stretching out for 15 or 20 miles are unparalleled. Canandaigua Lake is a beautiful ride as you get many great waterside and panoramic views as you make the circuit. I think it also has some of the most challenging hills of any lake circuit.
Most lakeside routes have very narrow, gravel-filled shoulders, and the more established, well-paved routes have cars traveling at 55 MPH, so it is best to start very early in the morning, or ride during an off-peak time of year like May or October.
The Route: About 43 miles
There can be strong winds coming from the west. I chose to ride clock-wise around the lake to avoid riding into the wind on the last leg. Stating from Kershaw Park in Canandaigua, I rode on Lakeshore Drive to RT 364 (red route on map).
Heading south, continue to Middlesex where you follow a left-right jog and pick up RT 245 (a parallel quieter route runs on West Ave (364). Continue on 245 south to Parrish Rd at the south end. For a great lunch stop, continue into Naples, before turning north on the west side.
Heading north on RT 21 you can take that route to 5 & 20 and loop back to your starting spot, or you can pick up the more scenic West Lake Rd route, mid-way up the lake (blue route). This side of the lake seemed MUCH harder and hillier than the east side, but I was more tired too.
If you want to follow an alternative ride on the West Lake Road from town to Route 21, click here.
“Braddock Bay is renowned for being an excellent bird-watching location, as raptors and other birds congregate when migrating north in Spring.” — Wikipedia
Cool Great lakes breezes, alongside gorgeous wetlands loaded with wildlife makes for an awesome adventure on a hot summer day.
I put my kayak in furthest north and explored right out onto the lake. If you put in further downstream you can travel way back into the wetlands, full of Herons, Kingfishers, Puddle ducks, particularly mallards, blue-winged teal and wood ducks all nest in this area.
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.
Growing up in Rochester, one of my favorite places to explore with my family, was Mendon Ponds Park. At over 2500 acres, it is the largest park in Monroe County. In 1967 it was designated a national natural landmark in recognition of it’s unique glacial features.
Sonyea State Park is a treasure tucked away so tight that it’s really tough to find your way in. It took me 2 attempts to locate it because of bad map info for both my GPS and Google. It is close to the Sonyea (near Mount Morris) exit on 390 — fooling me into thinking that it was very accessible
I used a combination of my maps app on my Droid — innacurate — plus Google directions — WRONG — and finally just looked at the park map and a gps and ignoring the inconsistencies, bungled my way close to the entrance, BUT the road is not serviced December to April so I got to ski my way in!
There are NO signs for the park at the head of Union Corners Road, nor at the Park entrance. In fact no there is no signage anywhere except the round state park signs on the trees.
The forest shares a common boundary with Groveland Correctional Facility (I drove illegally onto the grounds following Google driving directions). The image above shows the trail connecting the Facility wit the State Park.
The current size of Sonyea State Park is about 931 acres. Prior to acquisition by the DEC, this area had been administered by the NYS Department of Mental Hygiene as a epileptic colony and state mental hospital. Many remnants of the Craig Colony remain on the state forest. (The Craig Colony opened its doors to the first neurologically impaired resident of the State of New York in 1896. It was closed in 1988.)
The park has 2 areas: up and down, with a significant ridge of vertical cliff separating the upper access road and the lower creek that winds though. There are huge cliffs of sedimentary rock that curve along the creeks edge, creating dramatic views — like a curved amphitheater. I took a gradual winding trail down to the creek edge and then was able to follow a nice raised path (railroad bed) along the edge of the Keshequa Creek
Factoid: sedimentary rock blankets the basement over three-quarters of the earth’s continental area, and The northeastern United States has undergone more violent tectonic events over a longer period of time than any other region of the country — that means we get to see the most interesting stuff — like 200 foot high sheer rock walls!
It turns out that the path I skied along the creek is actually the remains of a major branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. This helped explained a couple tightly walled passages where the rock must have been blasted away.
I noticed several other transverse raised ridges (like mine) — 4-8 ft above the height of the ground, that fanned from the rock walls, spreading to the river. Could these be eskers? Like the path I was on, they were long raised, and relatively straight, fanning out from the eastern cliff walls.
How come no one has ever heard of this cool park? It just happens to be close to Letchworth, which is quite a bit more impressive. I felt lucky to get a private tour of the park.
Here is what looks like evidence of a canal once passing through here. This shot is taken from the other side of the creek from the park (on a much nicer day ) while making my first attempt.
Here are the BIG questions I wanted to know: What does Sonyea mean, and why did they put an epileptic institute here?
I found those answers on the website of the Groveland Correctional Institute. Way to go New York State!
“At the crossroads of what were once well-traveled Native American trade routes, the area is just beyond the icy reach of lake effect weather: the climate here is generally mild and pleasing. As a result, Sonyea (in the language of the Seneca Nation, “The Valley of the Eternal Sun”) was settled thousands of years ago. The area has been continuously inhabited, it is thought, since the Ice Age.”
This land was originally purchased by Shakers. When their numbers dwindled they sold the land and buildings to the state, with the provision that the land be used for charitable purposes. “In 1874, the state Commissioner in Lunacy noted that the state mental asylums contained 436 dependent epileptics, and that many more were inhumanely confined in county poorhouses and jails. His calls for a separate institution for epileptics, who were neither lazy nor crazy nor criminal, went unheeded for two decades. … Upon the establishment of the epileptic colony, initially, males and females were housed on opposite sides of the gorge running through the property. The gorge’s sheer 200 ft high cliffs made a natural boundary.
Today it remains: hidden and historic. Take the time to discover it for yourself.
With sadness I say goodbye to: the summer of 2010, to my first 49 years of childhood, and to my son Alex who just left for college. Goodbye to days spent in a damp bathing suit because it’s too hot to get dressed. Goodbye day lilies, black raspberries, fresh corn, dinners where we cook everything on the grill, sunset boat rides and swimming by fire light and s’mores.
Saying goodbye to summer in New York State is a sad event. Summers are short, and Upstaters like me, pack-in intense outdoor activities from dawn until dusk.
This particular summer was the MOST spectacular I can remember — an entire summer of beautiful hot swimmable days. Never a 45 degree 4th of July, or damp, millipede-infested August.
With sadness I say goodbye to: summer, to my first 49 years of childhood, and to my son Alex who just left for college. Goodbye to days in a damp suit because its just too hot to get dressed. Goodbye Day Lilies and Black Raspberries,
There is SO MUCH to look forward to: raking leaves, the changing colors around the lake, hiking w/out mosquitos, apples, cider, pumpkins, lots of squash, horse chestnuts, the last swim of the season, closing the camp, finding my sweaters again, and … did I mention … raking leaves?