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

I love Camp Timbercrest

This week, my daughter and I hiked at camp twice.  I was in search of the Pink Lady’s Slippers that bloom there.  On Tuesday, they were up, but still pale and ghostly.  On Saturday, the were glorious.  Along the way we took lots of other pictures, too.

Painted Trillium:

Rose Twisted Stalk:

Star Flower:

Wild Geranium:

Golden Ragwort:

May Apple:

A bench overlooking Jackman Bay:

Jackman Bay from the Peninsula:

Re-growth around beaver-chewed trees:

Red Eft:

Animal Tracks in the mud:

This Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) was good for my soul! So grateful to be a Girl Scout and have access to such a gorgeous place for hiking.

A Spring (?) Walk

April 10, 2016.  25 degrees.  Snow lingers on the crunchy frozen earth.  I dress for a February hike.  I should be looking for spring wildflowers, not animal tracks in the snow.  Ah well…

IMG_7433-Coyote tracks

In addition to coyote tracks, we saw tracks of deer, rabbits, squirrels, mice, fox, turkey, and more. We also heard grouse and saw deer. We visited the beaver pond and watched a goose try to swim away making tinkling noises as he broke through the ice.

There were wildflowers, though. And domesticated ones.

 

IMG_7436-Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

 

IMG_7459-Narcissus

Daffodils

This in April. And in December I could have photographed violets and dandelions.

Weird Weather.

Escapism

So, Kathleen and I jumped into her car for a little escapism. We had a lovey day driving round the Stedman/Clymer/Sherman area, stopping wherever we felt like it.

First stop, East Branch Books (etc) in Sherman, New York.

IMG_7220 Book Store Sign

That place is packed floor to ceiling and then some with used books, all nicely arranged into categories for easy browsing.

IMG_7224 Book Store Herb

IMG_7226 Book Store

IMG_7227 Book Store

IMG_7229 Book Store

Then it was off to the Reverie Creamery to buy artisan cheese, Stedman Corners for a delicious lunch, then we took the long way to Clymer for ice cream for dessert. Along the way, we stopped for photos, mostly at beaver ponds.

IMG_7251 Beaver Lodge

IMG_7261 Cattails

One of the ponds had me thinking about the exhibit I visited at the Albright Knox in Buffalo a couple of weeks ago, and the sign about Monet’s work and how over time the horizon line moved further and further up on his canvass until eventually it disappeared altogether…

IMG_7273 reflections

IMG_7276 Beaver Pond Reflection

IMG_7287 reflections

At the pond with the Swamp Monster in it (you’ll have to see if Kathleen has a good picture of it!) I was transfixed by a grouping of three trees. I’m not sure exactly why. They just caught and kept my eye for some reason.

IMG_7288 Three Trees

IMG_7296 Three Trees

It is hard to convey the size of this old remnant of a tree. It was enormous. Would have loved to have known her when she was whole.

IMG_7242 Once Great Tree

Finally, I really want to see the insides of these apartments just a stone’s throw from the business district of Clymer!

IMG_7298 Te Croney Dairy Apartments

— Update:
YAY! Kathleen did have a picture of the Swamp Monster! Here it is:

Swamp Monster by Kathleen Tenpas

Salamander Migration

On a rainy spring night with temperatures sufficiently warm and ice melted from the ponds and ground we go to The Pool. We hope we have picked the right night and will be able to meet up with our old friends. We are not disappointed.

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Spotted Salamander

DSC01020-Jefferson Blue Spotted
Jefferson / Blue-Spotted Complex

DSC01023-leopard frog
Leopard Frog

DSC01024-wood frog
Wood Frog (not sure why he appears blue-ish here!)

This was only my second time using this camera (Sony DSC-RX100) at night. (The first time was in a snowy blizzard, and this time in the rain…) I tried using it without the flash, lighting each critter with a new, powerful MagLite flashlight I bought just for the occasion. I need to practice more to get better focus and to get the light just right, but I’m not displeased with the exposures.

DSC01076-Flashlight and Boots

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.

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.

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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!