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:

 

 

 

 

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. ūüė¶

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.

 

Winter Walk

Well, sort of winter. Forty degrees. The ground under foot was mushy under the melting snow. The creek that was probably frozen a couple of days ago was clear of ice today.


American Beech


Eastern Hemlock


Oak (and other leaves if you look closely)


Black Cherry


Yellow Birch


Hawthorn


White Pine

Nice walk with wonderful company.

January 8, 2017

Why do we wake up some days in lethargy with little interest in or desire for the day’s unfolding? That was me this morning. And then the light began to reveal a perfect winter day fresh with powder. I knew I didn’t have the energy for a full day of hiking. I also knew I would regret it if I didn’t get out there.

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Just under 1.5 miles with elevation change of around 100 feet, it was a good length and it refreshed my soul. We were only “lost” for a short distance. We’ve walked this trail dozens of times and know it well. Conversation and playing with the dog got us slightly offtrack.

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Snowshoes were a must. In some spots the powder was quite deep. The return trip was by road without snowshoes.

1.4 miles
+ another 1 mile loop with Lolli after supper.
#365MileChallenge

###

New Year’s Day 2017

Terry says my jaw dropped when he turned onto the unplowed Holt Run Road. “The road less traveled is seldom plowed,” he said. New snow tires and 4-wheel drive got us to the trail head – and back out again after the hike.

Last time we came out this way, we found the foundation of a building which we later learned had been a school / orphanage. We wanted to find it again, this time with a camera. I had forgotten to load the waypoints into the GPS, but we remembered the general area and found it.

The most perplexing thing to me is a vine that grows all over the area. Just about all the new growth coming up on the forest floor is this plant, and just about every tree near these old foundations is covered with the stuff.

I will HAVE to go back in spring to see what it looks like when it’s in bloom… if it blooms.

3.7 miles

Fine Day for a Walk

The only bad thing about a day like today is knowing how to dress. Highs predicted to be in the upper thirties with the “real feel” the same. When in doubt – go with layers. ¬†I picked well. ¬†The extra layers I carried in my pack were never needed. ¬†Go me.

We had to pick a section of the park north of France Brook Road to avoid the hunters. ¬†The Park used to always be “no hunting” on Sundays. ¬†This year, though, hunting IS allowed on the Quaker side, south of France Brook.

We parked at a new (or at least new to me) marker commemorating the location of the first capture and release program of turkeys in the park.

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According to the plaque, this¬†is the site of the first trap and transfer program. ¬†The sign reads, “Allegany State Park – Founding site for the N.Y.S. Conservation¬†Dept. Wild Turkey Transfer Program. Birds trapped at this site helped reintroduce the Eastern Wild Turkey to the northeastern U.S. & southeastern Canada. 1959.”

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We walked France Brook to the Horse/”Jeep” trail, then headed uphill. ¬†After getting tired of walking roads, we headed toward the sound of a gurgling creek and followed that all the way down to Horse Trail 11 up above Camps 10 and 12, then followed it to Camp 12, and roads back to the truck.

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There was no snow down at France Brook.  But as we climbed, the hills were covered.  Saw lots of colorful fungi, as well as some deer and coyote tracks.  But my favorite was the bear:

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The walk was about 5 and 1/2 miles.  It was a good day.

And my new thermos worked!  Hot soup for lunch.

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(No, the color isn’t off. ¬†It’s vegetarian borscht!)

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P.S. ¬†I love the new GPS I bought myself for my birthday last month. ¬†It’s fun to turn it on and track my hikes.

Lunch in Pennsylvania

I planned a 6.25 mile hike. ¬†Of course we didn’t do the whole thing. ¬†At our less-than-one-mile-per-hour speed (you gotta stop for coffee, and lunch, and pictures…) and given our desire to end the day with a beer at a favorite watering hole, we turned back before the planned half-way point. ¬†Still, it was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day.

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There’s a Wolf Run Road in Allegany State Park, and another in Pennsylvania south of the Park. The goal was to walk the length of one until we got to the other. Inside the park, Wolf Run Road is pretty wide open until it meets with the North Country Trail intersection. Then it becomes less well-kept – wide with meandering run-off in some parts as pictured above, narrow and overgrown with the remnants of ditches in other parts:

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We knew we had reached the NY-PA state line when we found a stone marker.

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The photo above is of the south side of the marker. You can see the “PA” engraved into it pretty well. The engraving of NY was much more worn on the north side of the marker:

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There were also signs indicating the boundary of the State Park:

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There was plenty to catch my eye on this beautiful nearly-spring day:

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And finally… everytime I walk this trail, I cannot resist photographing this tree:

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I don’t know what kind of tree it is… I’ll try to remember to pay attention to the leaves… if I ever hike here when there ARE leaves!

There were footprints of many kinds: deer, squirrel, mouse, chipmunk, vole or mole, coyote, fisher, grouse… for a change, I didn’t photograph any of them. hahahahah

Crick’s Run

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

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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.

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Others were “flag” types.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Squirrel tracks were equally difficult to photograph.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.