Crick’s Run

Shortly after entering the woods at the end of the road, we found orange ribbons marking the trail.

DSC00654 Orange Ribbon

We followed them and eventually discovered that in addition to orange ribbons, there were also reflective markers, the likes of which I had never seen before. Some were plain round dots.

DSC00652 Reflective Trail Marker

Others were “flag” types.

DSC00651 Reflective Trail Marker

They led to what appeared to be an old logging road that climbed up and up to a lovely old forest at the top of a hill. The view was well worth the climb.

DSC00663 Coffee Break View

Along the way, there was plenty to see, including intricate lichens and mosses on trees.

DSC00657 Moss on Tree

And footprints. I’m guessing this one is fisher. My glove could just barely cover this set of prints:

DSC00665 Fisher perhaps

The fox must have been very slight, not even breaking through the snow. Because the track wasn’t deep, it was difficult to get a decent picture of the track.

DSC00670 Fox Foot print

Squirrel tracks were equally difficult to photograph.

DSC00678 Squirrel Foot Prints

I didn’t even try to get the mouse tracks!

I couldn’t resist arranging these leaves that Glock (the German Shepherd) dug up while we ate lunch.

DSC00680 Just some Leaves

And after lunch, we chose a route that took us in the same direction as a bear!

DSC00682 Bear Foot Print

The hemlock-lined creek was running fast, making for wonderful water noises.

DSC00687 Ice in the Creek

The upturned tree was fascinating. I took several pictures, but was never really able to capture its essence. This is the closest I came:

DSC00694 Rocks and Roots

I started this post back in January when I originally took the hike. WordPress started misbehaving, so I abandoned it. Now WordPress is back… but I can’t remember what else I intended to share about the walk! It was definitely beautiful. Can’t wait to go back.

2nd Attempt

I’ve gotten it into my head that I want to find the USGS marker at the top of the hill that is labeled “Brown.”  All I have to go on is this US Topo map:

Mark on Topo

The first time we tried to get there, we came up Browns Hollow Road and intended to try following the ridge around to the marker.  But it was late, I was sick, blah blah blah…

Yesterday, we tried again.  This time, we came up from the NY-PA line – a steep 1.1 miles along the North Country Trail.

DSC00543Terry at Sign

We pulled out the topo map and compass to take a bearing and headed toward … something.  We didn’t even really know what we were looking for.

Part way in, we found that someone had marked trees with paint!

DSC00547Paint Spots on Tree

The markings were pretty inconsistent.  Some squares, some circles.  Sometimes gray, sometimes white, sometimes blue.  We abandoned the compass and map and decided to follow the paint, believing they would take us to the marker.  Why else would there be paint on trees?

Along the way, we saw some fun evidence of animals.

DSC00546Mouse or Squirrel Activity

This hole in the tree was too small for a squirrel.  There were lots of mouse tracks on the snow, so that’s my guess.

We also found some Pileated Woodpecker action:

DSC00549Pileated Woodpecker

Eventually, we stopped for lunch.  When we started up again, the paint marks that were in the same general direction that our compass had originally pointed us ended.  We backtracked to this marker:

DSC00548Big Turn

And there we found a sharp turn going in the opposite direction we thought we should be going.  We wanted to follow to see where it goes, but the sun was setting, so we retraced our steps back to the car instead.

It was a really nice hike… even though we never found the marker.  Here it is, on Map My Hike:

Map

We’ll try again, no doubt.

A Sense of Place

It was my turn to write for the weekly column.  Here’s what I came up with:

A Sense of Place
by Jennifer Schlick

I had a peak experience while on horseback in the summer heat and sun of Bryce Canyon.  Brilliantly orange hoodoos rose above me against a sky so intensely blue as I listened to the musical song of Canyon Wrens and watched the seemingly playful, though actually purposeful flights Violet-green Swallows.

IMG_3148

Bryce Canyon National Park

I’ve walked in the desert, and learned the names of cacti and shrubs that can survive in a landscape of sun and drastic temperatures.  I’ve watched seals swimming in the waters off Cape Cod and poked around in the sand and pebbles looking for shells, marveling at the power of the moon to create the tides.  I’ve hiked above the tree line in the Rocky Mountains where the air is thin and the view magnificent.  I’ve camped in Arkansas just west of the Mississippi and watched dozens of species of birds fly overhead, and on the bank of the White River near the Badlands in South Dakota on a full moon night.

IMG_4197

A Cape Cod Shoreline

All of these places hold special memories for me, but none of them is home.  None of them engenders that special “sense of place” that makes me feel whole.  It takes good old western New York forests and rolling hills, and streams to do that.

That phrase – “sense of place” – became the buzz-phrase of the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Psychology and sociology students wrote papers about it.  I found one online prepared by Jennifer Cross from the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University, written in late 2001 and based on interviews she conducted in the late 1990s with people in one particular location.  In the paper, Cross describes six categories of relationships to the landscape.  I looked for myself in these descriptions and found two that resonated – biographical and spiritual.

Pink Fog in the Morning

Keyser Lake, Camp Timbercrest, Randolph, NY

The biographical relationship, Cross explains, is “characterized by a strong sense of identification with place and a relatively long residence.  In these relationships, place is an integral part of personal history.”  I was born and raised in the Jamestown area.  I’ve been away from Western New York only for relatively short trips.  My longest times away were eleven months in Japan when I was a Rotary Exchange Student, and two and a half years while in school in the Phoenix, Arizona region.  Other trips were at most a month long.

So, yeah.  I have a long residence here.  And a good deal of my time since childhood has been spent out in it.  I grew up in that wonderful era when children were kicked out of the house after breakfast and only popped in when hungry.  We played in our yard, or the neighbors’ yards, or the schoolyard, (or the secret places we weren’t allowed to go to – shh, don’t tell my mom) from morning until bedtime.  I was privileged to spend two weeks of every summer at Girl Scout Camp in nearby Randolph, New York.  As Jennifer Cross explains, “spending time in a place creates memories and experiences, which become part of a person’s individual and community identity.”  This place is me.  I am this place.

IMG_6917

Icy Layers, Chautauqua Gorge, Mayville, NY

Cross describes the spiritual relationship as being “based on something much less tangible than personal history. [The interviewees] describe relating to place in a profound way, of having a deep sense of belonging or resonance that is difficult to describe and is often unexpected.”

This happens to me most often when hiking.  I am simply awestruck at the beauty that surrounds me, the diversity of plants and animals, and the interconnectedness of it all.  I am humbled to realize I am a part of it, too.  I breathe the forest air and have the sensation that the forest is breathing my air – that we breathe together as one whole being.  The water rushing or meandering or trickling through gorges, streams and gullies is my life blood.  We are one.

DSC00441 Frosty Morning

A Frosty Morning, Allegany State Park, Cattaraugus County, NY

I now have two dear friends and a daughter who live out west and who tell me all the time how much I would love Colorado.  Another friend extols the virtues of his Florida home and tempts me with photographs of wildlife and ocean landscapes and sunsets.  My siblings-in-law have retired on a little island off the coast of Honduras and beg me to come visit.

Visits might be fine.  But I don’t know how any place but western New York can be home.

DSC00404 Busti

Mist and Mystery, Busti, NY

Jennifer Schlick is program director at the Audubon Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road in the town of Kiantone, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania.  For more information about the Nature Center, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://jamestownaudubon.org.

Jennifer Cross’s paper can be found at http://western.edu/sites/default/files/documents/cross_headwatersXII.pdf.

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A Healing Walk

Came home from Colorado with a cold.  Spent the week taking it as easy as I could and still go to work (or work from home).  Sunday (no hunting allowed in the Park) was a day to clear out my lungs!

Only walked about 3 miles.  It was enough.  It was gorgeous!

DSC00441 Frosty Morning

I took more photos, but this is the only one I liked!

Checked several trees for Hemlock Wooly Adelgids.  Found none!  Whoo-hoo!

Browns Hollow / Wolf Run Road – 4.3 Miles

Browns Hollow Wolf Run Road Loop

I’m always looking for loop hikes. I’ve hiked this one 3 times in the last month. Well, that’s not exactly true. The first time, we were searching for it. The second time, I hiked it out Wolf Run and back Browns Hollow. The third time, we went out Browns Hollow and back on Wolf Run Road.

This trail is inside of Allegany State Park, but not any of the areas that are on the park maps.

The Wolf Run Road area was a busy saw mill community in the 1800s.  I imagine all the hillsides were “shaved” off as all the usable timber was harvested and farms were established.  It wasn’t until the 1920s and later that reforestation projects were undertaken.

As you hike today, you sometimes come across remnants of the hand of man in the park.

IMG_7072 Brown Run Creek
The Creek in Browns Hollow

IMG_7075 Foundation
I can’t imagine what this structure might have been used for. Here are more views of it:

IMG_7079 Hardware

IMG_7083 Wall and Windows

IMG_7087 Foundation

This stump was interesting:
IMG_7091 Stump

Views of the creek and the old road:
IMG_7097 Brown Run Road

IMG_7099 Concrete in the Creek

IMG_7100 Road and Creek

Did you notice this in the previous photo?
IMG_7103 Rock Art in Tree

We recognized this fork from the first time we got “lost” in this area:
IMG_7104 Fork in the Creek

The road climbs toward the North Country / Finger Lakes Trail:
IMG_7113 Brown Road

The section between mile 2 and 3 is very muddy and slippery. It gets a little better when you are back on Wolf Run Road. Here’s a few just before coming out of the woods and into the more open area:
IMG_7134 Wolf Road

All along Wolf Run Road, you can see places where there must have been homes, businesses, and even a school.

IMG_7137 Apple Tree

This is my favorite picture from the last hike:
IMG_7144 Tree Skeletons

The end…

Science Lake – Allegany State Park

I took the road through Allegany State Park to get to a teaching gig in Bradford. I stopped at Science Lake to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

IMG_7059 Science Lake

A park history (click here) says the lake was created in 1926, along with the Allegany School of Natural History.

IMG_7057 Exposed Roots

A roadside parking area makes access easy to the lake. Many feet on the shore have exposed the roots of the trees that hug the shoreline.

IMG_7064 Trees on Shore Line

I find myself becoming more and more interested in the history of Allegany State Park.

IMG_7067 Quick Sunlight

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