Woot! Another double hike weekend! I need a t-shirt that says “Hiking is my religion.” Being outdoors improves everything! I took advantage of some mild weather this past weekend to visit a long time favorite park, Stiglmeier Park and a new park near Honeoye Falls called Mendon Ponds Park.
Saturday morning was pretty cold. I’m trying to thicken my skin so I didn’t back out of the hike in Stiglmeier Park. There was a new group to meet, Creation Exploration. The group met in the parking lot of the park and I asked about needing micro-spikes on the trails. The leaders both said, “No, I doubt it.” Well, the entire trail was complete ice. Note to self and others, when leading a hike always hike a little of the trail before everyone gets there so you can be aware of the trail conditions to inform your group how to prepare. Ugh. As we were sliding on the ice, one of the leaders smiled and said to me, “Should have worn your spikes, huh?” Okay, strike one.
We were walking the Seneca Trail and we were looking for wildlife! This was a slow paced walk through very flat (but, icy) trails. Some of the animals and birds that made an appearance were: White-Tail Deer (a nice sized buck!), Mallard Ducks, Red Tail Hawk, Cardinals, Black-Capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Juncos, Downy Woodpecker and some cool tracks of little critters. There were probably others, I just don’t remember.
We had a super view of the Red-Tailed Hawk swooping over a meadow and again hovering and diving down to catch some lunch and then again it was flying through another meadow. Birds are amazing, especially birds of prey. They fascinate me.
The group was small and some of us were new to the group. Everyone was nice enough, but since we didn’t know each other it was a little stiff. When I saw the Red-Bellied Woodpecker and pointed it out there was a man that didn’t believe me because it had a red head not a red belly. Well. Okay. But then another man in the group confirmed my call and the guy believed him just fine! Strike Two. Moving on then! They don’t get a strike three. I don’t need that. I kept my mouth shut the rest of walk. It was still a nice walk in a beautiful park. This was not challenging at all, except for the people part.
The weather on Sunday was AMAZING! It was forecast to reach 60 degrees and I think it was a bit higher than that. It is so nice to be able to hike in the snow while wearing just a fleece on February 28! We were hiking Mendon Ponds Park with my familiar Day Hikes group. The trail we took was the East Esker Trail. There were only 6 of us on this hike and I do enjoy small group hikes. I can really get to know every person and we are like a little family on the trail.
My friend Shelly (check out her blog at: http://livingonthedirt.com) hiked along with me. I was so glad she was there. Hiking up a hill, she commented that I was really keeping up and what a long way I’ve come so far. It made me feel terrific. Even I noticed that the hills weren’t so tiring as they were on past hikes. Like they say, the more you do, the better you get!
You are probably wondering what “Eskers” are in my title. I learned a little bit about glaciers on my hike to Mendon Ponds. Eskers are a winding ridge of sand and gravel that are very long and remind me of walking on an old abandoned railway embankment. They are created when streams flowed under and within glaciers. It is a little more technical than that so I’ve supplied the wiki address if you interested in learning more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esker
Shelly brought along her new camera. She will have to leave a comment below as I don’t remember what kind of camera it is. The pictures of my rear end came out lovely as usual.
You can see how the trail conditions changed during our hike. Lots of snow and ice then it changed to mud then back to ice.
This hike was moderately challenging for me, it would have been more challenging if Shelly and I were alone because she marches me up the hills! Since we were with a group we stopped frequently and took pictures.
I made the final decision to not sign up for the Finger Lakes Trail Cross County hike this year. Too many of the dates conflicted with vacation and other events. Instead, I hope to backpack by myself or with my son in Alleghany National Forest or other places this Spring and Summer. This coming weekend my husband I are visiting Downtown Buffalo for a little City getaway. I hope to visit Tifft Nature Preserve to get my outdoor time in.
Thanks for tuning in to learn about my adventures in training for my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. Until next time – Hike on!!