Susquehannock 2018

 

Our favorite trail to ski is the Ridge Trail, approximated on the map with the blue line, a little over 6.5 miles. It starts at the Ranger Station and ends at the Susquehannock Lodge. This year, the snow conditions were not good to take that trail. Ice beneath a thin layer of snow gave the ski poles no purchase. As my friend put it, we could have endured the trail, but we would not have enjoyed it.

Luckily, we ran into some “regulars” – trail users who knew alternatives. They suggested that we take the logging road instead. It was wide and groomed and the snow was perfect. It is pictured in the map with an orange line. We skied out and back for a total of about 5.5 miles.

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My friend Sue on the Logging Trail.

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Lamont and Martha

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Me and My Shadow

It was a champagne day on the trails. Just delightful! We enjoyed it!

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.

glock

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

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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

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.

DSC00965 bright sunny day

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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DSC00988 Dogwood Branches

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

France Brook Road

It was a gray and rainy day, but we never let that stop us from a nice hike!  I took the opportunity to shoot a bunch of photos some of which might end up as my Assignment #2 for the photography class I’m taking at Jamestown Community College.

FranceBrookRoad
In winter, France Brook Road in Allegany State Park is closed to car/truck traffic and groomed for snowmobiles. We have learned that snowmobilers tend to sleep in and come out in the afternoon. So we had France Brook Road to ourselves most of the time. Toward the end of our walk, we waved at quite a few people on “sleds.”

BeechAndRedPine
It was a gray and rainy day. But I managed to find some color. Loved the aqua-colored lichen/moss/fungi? on the Red Pine behind this Beech, still clinging to leaves.

Goldenrod
These Goldenrod were swaying in the breeze and the rain was thicker – almost snow!

HillsBehindSpruce
I don’t know what species this tree is, but isn’t the green spectacular?

LichensOnGuardRail
This bridge is closest to ASP2. The guardrail was covered with lichens.

MapleAndRedPine
I just loved the combination of colors and textures with this small Maple growing right up next to a Red Pine.

NettelsTrailSign
We discovered TWO trails that we didn’t know exist. We’ll be going back to see where they go! I suspect they are horse trails that go to one or the other of the Group Camps.

Willow
The color of the Willow was spectacular against the darker background. I love the layering of the hills.

Witchhazel
This picture didn’t come out very sharp, but I like it anyway.

YellowBirch
The branches of the Yellow Birch are so delicate against the sky. The little catkins add a nice touch.

Solstice

Today marks the solstice.

Tree: looking up

It was a gray, heavily overcast day. Dark at night. Dark in the day. Well, at least not bright. There was a bit of snow on the ground, but not much. A perfect blend of autumn and winter to mark the solstice.

Leaves and snow

Much as I would love to see a lot more snow, the scant dusting let some pretty colors show through.

Pine needles, moss and snow

As the days get longer and we move into the frenzy of the holidays, be good to yourself. And get outside!

The Gorge!

We had to park up near the first campsite and walk down the rest of Hannum Road.

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We saw evidence that people had been down there along the Westside Overland Trail on snow shoes and skis. But no one had been down the path to the creek in some time.

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I couldn’t help thinking about hemlock trees since I’ll be giving a workshop about them on Saturday.

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The gorge was very full and very frozen… so slippery, there would be no hiking along it today!

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And it was more frozen than I have ever seen it! So beautiful!

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Trees

I wrote this article for Jamestown Audubon’s weekly column:

Trees
by Jennifer Schlick

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Eastern Hemlock

The temperature has risen 30 degrees to a balmy 23F, perfect for outdoor recreation.  The snow in the woods behind a friend’s house is thigh deep, so I strap on snow shoes and head out with the dogs.  The little one makes me laugh sometimes disappearing up to her ears as she bounds through the sparkling white stuff.  The first fifteen to twenty minutes is fast-paced to get the blood pumping.  After that, I’m warm and toasty for the rest of the walk and even feel the need to stop and cool down – frequently.

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American Beech

To speed the cooling I remove my gloves and unzip my jacket.  While I catch my breath I marvel at the trees, reflecting on the time I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, where the only native trees seemed to be Saguaro cacti and the imported palms looked out of place.  How can people live without trees?  I only made it for a couple of years in the desert and had to return to the forested landscapes of my upbringing.  I never feel more at home than when I’m in the woods.  I just love trees.  The beech still clinging to dry shriveled leaves, the big old maples and oaks gnarly and majestic, and the hemlocks – by far my favorite tree.

Old Maple

Old Maple

Not a fan of sun, the deep shade provided by hemlocks draws me in no matter the season.  I trudge a little ways off the trail to sit beneath the boughs for a few minutes.  I can just barely hear a little trickle of water in the creek under the thick ice.  Chickadees, nuthatches, and kinglets jump from branch to branch above me chattering their social calls, foraging for winter insects.  I scan the landscape and notice that this woods is relatively new.  The trees are young and dense.  Down here by the creek, the species of trees are all native.  Up on the hill, there are stands of White Spruce, Scot’s Pine, European Larch and others that were planted by the landowners many years ago.  None of the trees are really old, though.

There are places nearby where I can commune with really old trees.  I’d love to know the age of the big Sugar Maple on the hill next to the Nature Center building at Audubon.  And do you know the massive oaks on the far side of Spatterdock Pond?  How about the really nice stand of old growth in Allegany State Park off the East Meadow trail, or the forest at Heart’s Content?  There is a feeling you get in the presence of these old trees that you don’t get anywhere else.  You begin to wonder how many people have walked by this spot and what stories the tree could tell if it could talk.  You begin to question the significance of your relatively short life.

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Oak

We’d like to give you a chance to meet a few old geezers in Chautauqua County in March.

Jamestown Audubon’s 2014 “Bucket List” calendar features twelve must-do, must-see nature phenomena to experience before you “kick the bucket.”  The March 15 event focuses on old trees.  Restaurant proprietor Chris Merchant is passionate about old growth forests.  He and Audubon program director Jennifer Schlick will lead a chat about trees over lunch at Mariner’s Pier Express in downtown Jamestown, New York, before heading out to see some of Chautauqua County’s oldest trees.  The regular price of $43, or Friends of the Nature Center price of $34, includes lunch and transportation.  Prepaid reservations are required by March 10 and can be made by calling the Audubon Center at (716) 569-2345 or by visiting http://jamestownaudubon.weebly.com. The trip begins at 11:00am and we expect to be back in Jamestown by 4:00pm.

Another opportunity to learn about trees will be offered on Saturday, March 8, from 1:00pm until 3:00pm.  After a classroom program to learn about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an insect that threatens Eastern and Carolina Hemlock trees, we will take a walk to Audubon’s hemlock grove to search for signs – and hopefully find none!  The fee for this program is $16, or $12 for Friends of the Nature Center and can be paid at the door.  Registration is requested by Friday, March 7, and can be done by phone, or at our website.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania.  Learn more about the activities at the Center by visiting http://jamestownaudubon.org or calling (716) 569-2345.

Jennifer Schlick is program director at Jamestown Audubon.