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…

Stress Relieving Walk

I’ve been putting all my brain power into a big fundraiser for the Nature Center where I work. On Thursday afternoon, just an hour before we had to drive down to set everything up, I took a much needed nature break. Here’s some of what I saw.

Staghorn Sumac:
IMG_6973 Sumac
I love Staghorn Sumac. Much of it is more brilliantly colored than this one at this time of year, but I didn’t find any fiery ones on my walk. This deciduous shrub produces fuzzy red berries on the female plants which persist all winter and provide food for birds, and can be used to make tea. It spreads like crazy from the root system, so you often see big patches of the stuff that are tall in the middle and shorter as you move out from the center. Click here for lots more info from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Red Maple against a background of Red Pine:
IMG_6989 Maple and Pine
After checking the forest service website (which you can visit by clicking here), I’ve decided Red Maple is the Superlative Tree. Consider these quotes:

  • one of the most abundant and widespread trees in eastern North America
  • the greatest continuous range along the Atlantic Coast of any tree

I’m fond of Red Maple in all seasons. The spring “flowers” are very interesting.

The Red Pines in the background are not native to our area. They were planted when the Jamestown Audubon Society first got the property – a vast goldenrod field – in order to provide wildlife shelter. If you pay close attention to our Red Pines, you will notice they are always growing in straight lines! If that’s not a clue that they were planted by humans, I don’t know what is. Read more about Red Pines by clicking here.

White-tailed Doe:
IMG_7010 Doe
This little lady was nibbling away in one of our bird banding net lanes. I took several shots through the brush and while she noticed me, she did not seem concerned with my presence. So, in order to get a better shot, I sneaked down the “steps” and into the net lane with her. She let me snap the above shot, then turned up her tail:

IMG_7009 White Tail
White-tailed deer are very common in our region. And this is the season of the rut. The males’ antlers are quite impressive at this time of year. After mating they will shed them and I will search for the shed antlers and probably not find any, if past experience is any indicator… (sad face) Read more about White-tailed deer by clicking here.

Swamp Rose:
IMG_7011 Swamp Rose
I wish we could eliminate some of the non-native Multiflora Rose that grows like crazy at the Nature Center and replace it with native Swamp Rose. It’s a much prettier, if less prolific plant. Its blooms in spring are showy and pink, and in fall the hips are big and the leaves so colorful. You can learn more at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website by clicking here.

Some Leaves on the Surface of the Pond:
IMG_7015 Pond Surface
Those little round ones are Frogbit, an non-native that we discovered in our waterways at the Nature Center back in 2006. It has since spread to all the ponds. It makes really pretty little flowers, which is why it was brought here from Europe – to decorate backyard ponds. But it sure makes thick mats, which isn’t good for native wildlife… It doesn’t look bad in this photo, but boy can it grow fast! Read more about it by clicking here.

Even more Swamp Rose because it’s so pretty at this time of year:
IMG_7019 Swamp Rose

And the Big Sugar Maple; I just can’t resist a photo every time I pass it:
IMG_7028 Sugar Maple
This great, old sugar maple was on the property when Jamestown Audubon Society acquired it. It is a massive tree and I have a hard time walking past it without snapping a few photos. I worry about our sugar maples in this era of global climate change. You can read about sugar maples in general by clicking here. And you can read about the effects of climate change on sugar maples by clicking here.

The auction was a great success. Many thanks to all the volunteers, donors, guests, and to the venue staff for making it so much fun.

And many thanks to Mother Nature for the stress relieving break she gave me while in preparation for it all!


Stay-cation – Days 3-4-5-6

When Stan came in from the barn, he reported mist over the hills.  So we did what any self-respecting photographer would do:  We went outside in our pajamas to shoot the mist!

IMG_6728 Morning Mist over the Pasture BW

I stole this photo from my friend’s Facebook page. It’s a picture of me taking a picture of her:


After breakfast it was off to Panama Rocks.

IMG_6732 Rocky Path

IMG_6763Autumn Leaves

IMG_6778 Rocks and Beech

IMG_6788 Beech Leaves

IMG_6799 Pile of Rocks BW

I think I like the color one better:

IMG_6799 Pile of Rocks Color

IMG_6805 Rocks and Beech

A college professor of mine happened along the trail as I was getting ready to take this next shot. He saw me removing twigs and leaves so that the fern could stand alone with out distractions. He asked, “What are you doing??” I said, “Tidying up.” He said, “But nature is untidy.” I said, “Perhaps. But sometimes I don’t want untidy pictures.”

Do you tidy up before taking pictures?

IMG_6836 Curved Fern

IMG_6839False Solomon's Seal

IMG_6844Light Through the Trees_1

I wrote a haiku for the next one:

Resting in branches
before drifting to the ground
to become the soil.

IMG_6852 Maple Caught by Beech

IMG_6861 Ice Crevice from Above

IMG_6864 Watch Your Step

IMG_6865 Rock Jumble

IMG_6868 Patches of Light

IMG_6871 Panama Rocks Scene

IMG_6873 View from the Top

After hiking the Rocks, we enjoyed a picnic before heading to the Nature Center. My friend does some naturalist work where she lives and wanted to see the place where I work. We led a walk for some teens from an after school STEM program, then went to mom’s to grill some hamburgers for dinner.

I didn’t end up taking any more pictures…

Day 4: We made art in the morning, then headed to town for lunch at The Pub. We visited the 3rd on 3rd and Dykemann Young galleries. Then we headed to Deb’s house for a journal-making class and quiche for dinner.

Day 5: I slept in at mom’s while Kat and Mavis toured the woods behind the farm. Then it was a driving tour of Clymer/Sherman and a visit with Kat’s mom. After that, I took Mavis to Wegmans where we bought ingredients for dinner: Pork tenderloin rubbed with rosemary, lavendar, and garlic, roasted vegetables, and salad. Several rounds of Bananagrams ensued before bed.

Day 6: I learned where the Erie train station is when I took Mavis to continue her Northeast adventure. Home in time for CBS Sunday Morning and laundry and football and snoozing through 60 Minutes.

So so fun… and exhausting. Not sure I’ve caught up on sleep yet.

Wolf Run Road

I needed to hike.  And I needed a fairly flat road.  Wolf Run Road, off Route 280 was the perfect spot.  It’s a part of Allegany State Park, though not a part that the average visitor frequents.

Wolf Run Road

I was a little worried about hunters.  As we walked, I realized that even though the tire tracks seemed relatively fresh, none of the ice on the puddles was broken.  Oh yeah!  No hunting in the Park on Sundays.  Whew.

We saw a pheasant and a grouse. Chickadees. Blue Jays. A Red-tailed Hawk… But what had me fascinated all along the way were those frozen, unbroken puddles.

Frozen Puddle

Frozen Puddle

Frozen Puddle

Froze Puddle

Lunchtime Walk-About

Tuesday was a day jam-packed with meetings.  A break at lunchtime between meetings afforded me a walk. It was a working walk – looking for potential volunteer projects for a small group that will be coming in next week. But plenty of time to be stopped by beauty.

Winterberry Holly

Grasses and Cattails

An Oak Leaf, Stuck in the Hemlock

Beech Leaves Catching a bit of Sun

Swamp Rose

At this time of year when the trees’ color is just a tiny bit past peak color, the edges of the ponds still hold some amazing color.


IMG_1932 IMG_1906

Not being much of a summer fan, I seem to have no photos of the blossoms.

UPDATE:  After reading this, my friend Kathleen sent me this picture of hers of Swamp Roses in summer:

(Thank’s Kathleen!)

The fruit is bristly:

Swamp Rose Hips

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris):

Winterberry Holly

What’s all that red out there?


Winterberry Holly
Ilex verticillata


And wow, are they loaded with fruit this year!

Poisonous to humans, they will provide food for birds and small mammals.  Like other hollies, this one native to North America is dioecious – there are male plants and female ones.  Unlike other hollies, this one is deciduous.  After the first frost, the leaves will turn dark and drop off.  But the berries will remain through the winter.


More information:

12/12/12 at 12:12

It was a beautiful day on 12/12 – and so, spontaneously, we (at Audubon) decided to take a hike in celebration of all the twelves. We put out a call to the Spontaneous on Facebook, which was answered by Bob and Emily… and then off we went on an Audubon Walk-About.


We took the 2.2 mile “Yellow” trail loop that goes all the way around Big Pond.

Emily stopped to read about the deer exclosure.

I’m not sure any of my photos did justice to the intense blue reflected in the ponds.

In this picture, Katie is taking MORE photos of the Bald Eagles we saw.

Bald Eagles over Big Pond
Katie Finch took this photo from the Big Pond embankment.

Bald Eagle Eating in Big Pond
And I photographed Katie as she took this photo of one of the eagles eating. I love the muskrat lodge behind, too.

Colors were sometimes subtle and sometimes intense. See the Red Osier Dogwood here? And why is the Duckweed still floating in the ponds in December? Weird weather!

Just SO blue!

What were you doing at 12:12 on 12/12/12?