Westside Overland Trail Q to M

Mary and I continued hiking the next section of the Westside Overland Trail today – beautiful weather for it – starting off cool, and eventually warming up, humidity not too oppressive. We are hiking south to north. The way points are labeled A to S, so we are hiking S to A. Today’s section was Q to M, Route 474 to Eggleston Hill Road, 4.5 miles.

Recent wet weather made for lots of ‘shrooms. And the baby toads were just so adorable. Lots of dragonflies at the pond near the Lean-tos. Love hearing the thrushes and pee-wees singing us along our way. Several Red Elder shrubs along the way. I wonder if they are edible. Also so Elderberries along some of the roads we crossed.

Most of the bridges need repairs! (Any Gold Award or Eagle seekers interested? Contact the Parks Department!)

Pictures

The Hike

#17 – Eastwood Meadows Trail

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We got a late start, so decided to tackle what we thought was a 2.4 mile loop, based on the information in the Allegany 18 packet. Odd that the trailhead sign says it’s 4 miles. My GPS says we hiked 3.9 miles. With this hike under our belts, we are half way through the Allegany 18 challenge!

It was a hot day after some days of rain, so there were lots of ‘shrooms! Indian Pipes were also up in several places, some starting to turn their heads upward to form the seed pods. Lost count of Red Efts. Gypsy moths laying eggs. Pretty pink Smartweed in the open areas.

Pictures

The Hike

#11-Patterson and #12-Ridge Run

Well, we intended to do Ridge Run and Snowsnake trails today. When we arrived, however, a kind gentleman warned us that “they” are not mowing Snowsnake this summer in an attempt to control some invasive species… not sure what. Wearing shorts in long grass during peak tick season did not sound appealing, so we heeded his advice and revised our plans.

We hiked about 9 miles and completed both Patterson and Ridge Run. In order to do all of Patterson, we had to hike an extra mile, backtracking back up to Ridge Run. No biggie.

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We couldn’t find either of the wooden markers for the Allegany 18 Challenge. Hopefully these photos will provide enough proof that we actually hiked it!

 

The Hike:

A Wolf Run Meander

I don’t know if you can call what Terry and I do “hiking.” It’s more like meandering. Because we are never in a hurry and stop for 1 or 2 coffee breaks and lunch and photos, we often manage an average speed of 1 mile per hour. Today, .9 miles per hour.

We also rarely stick to the designated trails and love to go “bushwhacking.” Today’s meander started on Wolf Run Road, scooted into a Norway Spruce plantation, picked up the Finger Lakes / North Country Trail, then back to the truck via Wolf Run Road.

Norway Spruce Plantation

I wonder how much life is left in these Norway Spruce trees and what will happen to this section of the park when they give up the ghost…

Norway Spruce Plantation

Many of these trees have giant squirrel middens under them.

Maidenhair Fern

I think Maidenhair Fern is my favorite of all the ferns.

Wolf Run Creek

There is a bridge over this creek on the FLT/NCT.

Milkweed

The fields were full of milkweed. We saw many kinds of butterflies, including a few Monarchs.

Black-eyed Susans

I love the look of wild Black-eyed Susans. They seem more delicate than the cultivated ones you find in gardens.

One of my favorite trees

I can’t seem to resist photographing this tree. I wonder how many photographs I have of it now?…

Glock

It was warm. He found a way to cool off.

The Hike:

15 – Sweetwater – Allegany 18 Challenge

The weather did not look promising for a full day of hiking. But there was a rain-free window in the early morning and we opted to take it to bag another of the Allegany 18.

The trail is listed as 2.7 miles. But the “loop” starts .4 miles from the parking lot and ends .7 miles from the parking lot. We hiked a total of 3.6 miles, according to my GPS.

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Several of the Allegany 18 trails can be accessed from the Art Roscoe Cross Country Ski & Mountain Bike Area Trailhead.

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Proof we made it to the #15 marker!

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Black Cohosh was in near bloom in several places along the trail.

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These trails are well-maintained and groomed in winter for cross country skiing. We saw 2 other hikers and one biker on the trail this morning.

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View from the memorial bench where we ate a little snack and sipped some water.

Here is the hike:

Twelve more to go!

Westside Overland Trail – S to Q

The Fred Cusimano Westside Overland Trail Runs from the Hannum Road entrance to Chautauqua Gorge south almost to the PA state line, with trail markers along the way labeled A through S. This trail traverses state forest, private land, some roads (very few), and some county forest.

Mary and I have decided to do the whole length of the trail backwards from South to North in little bits and chunks. Today, we tackled section S through Q, approximately 5 miles. We left her car at Q – along Route 474 between Panama and Clymer, then drove my car down Townline Road to the southern most trailhead/parking area, just north of Nazareth Road.

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Here we are being COVID safe with our masks in place.

By the time we figured out our plan, we hit the trail at about 8:45 a.m. The light coming through the trees was incredible.

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The trail starts on Brokenstraw Forest road, but soon veers off into the woods.

Mary’s house is close to the terminus of the Westside Overland Trail. So, she decided we would hike it from south to north.

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Westside Overland Trail Terminus – or in our case Origin!

In case you were wondering what Mary was reading in the above photo, here it is:

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The first section of this trail is on

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At this point in the hike, we came into a stretch of sunny, fields, and in my quest to get from shade to shade, I forgot to take pictures!

It was a very hot and muggy day and we were accompanied much of the way by deer flies. But the company was stellar and the time just flew by. I’m writing this from my home office after having enjoyed a cool shower and with my feet in a basin of cold water. Very comfortable.

I refrained from taking pictures of every cool nature thing I saw… red efts, some weird little gravel mounds in the creek, a cheeky gray bird of some kind who scolded us for being in his (her?) woods, etc.

Here is our hike:

 

 

 

 

7 – Osgood Trail

Emily and Gretchen and I continued our progress on the Allegany 18 by hiking the Osgood Trail today.

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Trail Head Sign

The loop is fairly steep on the way up and more gradual on the way down – if you take it counter-clockwise, which we did. We passed several other groups that chose to do it the other way around. My knees prefer to do the steep part going up!

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Emily and Gretchen

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Emily and I – proof that we hiked trail #7.

There is no vista at the summit, but that didn’t make it any the less stunning up there.

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The light coming through the canopy at the summit was beautiful.

On the way way down, we came upon several groups of large rocks.

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There are some awesome rocks along the way! (I’m not sure how this photo came out so green. Hmm….)

There were also some very large, old trees.

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This picture does not do justice to how large the trees were.

 

Here is our Hike: (I forgot to turn my GPS on until we had climbed a bit of the first part of the trail. Ooops.

13 – Leonard Run AND 14 – Christian Hollow

In our quest to complete the Allegany 18 Challenge this summer, Emily and I picked two trails in the Art Roscoe Ski/Bike System.

Both Leonard Run and Christian Hollow start at a junction that is .9 miles from the parking area. So, even though the Leonard Run loop is 2.9 miles and the Christian Hollow loop 1.7 miles, we walked a total of 6.5 miles to complete these two loops.

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Emily and Gretchen on Leonard Run

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I can never resist a photo of a Red Eft!

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It’s pretty in green (but I prefer to ski it in white).

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Proof we walked Trail #13 – Leonard Run

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Proof we walked Trail #14 – Christian Hollow

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My friend, Sue, told me there was a new leanto along Christian Hollow. But I forgot about it until we came upon it. Beautiful!

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Fairies seem to have set up a permanent encampment here, too.

It was warm an humid and rain was in the forecast. In fact, we got sprinkled on during the last quarter or half mile of our walk. Luckily we were in the car when the torrential downpour started!

Our hike:

5 – Bear Springs Trail

My daughter Emily, her dog Gretchen, and I have begun hiking the original trails at Allegany State Park with the goal to complete them all this summer. This challenge, the Allegany 18, was put out by the Park. I sort of tricked Emily into it by leading her to believe there might be a patch at the end of it. I never said patch. But the logo for the contest looks like it would make a good patch and so she leapt to a false conclusion. Not my fault. Haha.

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Bear Springs is an easy out-and-back half-mile trail. I say easy, and it was on this dry, almost summer day. But it is obvious there are sections that would be very sloppy in the spring after snow-melt and rain. There are several places where clever built structures help you over seasonally wet areas, though not all mucky areas have them.

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The spring itself is pretty neat, covered by an igloo-shaped stone structure. I’m not sure why the water coming from the spring is orange. I suspect iron.

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There are other structures nearby, too, that look like they were grills/ovens at one time.

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A pretty little moth.

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A plant! At first I thought it was a fern. But those seed heads seem to be coming from the fern-like foliage.

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Obligatory selfies!

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4 – Three Sisters

I retired from job at Audubon. Friday, June 12 was my last day.

Today, on my first official would-have-been-work-day of retirement, my daughter Emily, her dog Gretchen, and I started the Allegany 18 Challenge. This challenge put out by Allegany State Park is to hike and document all 18 of the original hiking trails. We started today with two short ones so we could see how Gretchen would do. Turns out, she’s a trooper and I think she’ll be fine, even on the longest of the trails.

Three Sisters is “hike #4” of the challenge, a 2.5-mile loop that starts very near the Quaker Administration Building.

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We did the loop “clockwise.” When we got to this sign, we went straight (left).

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This took us into a camping area which was a little confusing. We found a trail marker on a high on a tree leading us up a gated road. That road led to a mowed power line and no indication of where the trail picked up. Hmm… We found it eventually by going right and headed up the steep woodsy trail.

At the top of the hill we found the engraved number 4 where we took our obligatory selfie.

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There weren’t many wildflowers in bloom. Lots of Virginia Waterleaf on the descent, but my picture didn’t turn out. 😦

This Wood Sorrel turned out pretty good though:

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There were areas on the descent that are obviously very wet in spring, but were dry on this almost summer day. It was a perfect first hike of The Allegany Challenge.