Travelling to Allegany State Park

Yesterday I visited Mon@rch at Allegany State Park again! You can click here to see my post from my last visit. Due to construction and pouring rain it felt like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get there, but it was great to see the beautiful hills along Route 86 (Route 17). The love of hills is in my blood, and seeing these hills gets me really excited.

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The rain and clouds, not so much. Even though we really need the rain!

Finally! This is a most welcome sign!

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And I’m finally in the park – I love this bridge that I’m about to cross:

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While putting on my hiking boots I broke my middle fingernail back beyond where it is attached so it is really hard for me to type today. I won’t mention the blood because it makes somebody sick, but I will mention I love carrying my herbs for just such situations as this! So, stay tuned for more about Allegany State Park – hopefully tomorrow my finger will be feeling better and I’ll post more then about our fun time!

A 65,000 Acre Backyard

What does one do with a 65,000 acre backyard? Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mon@rch (Tom) and experiencing first-hand some of what he does in his *huge* backyard! We hiked to many very interesting places. First we went to an old growth forest, where he taught me so much more about old growth forests, so now I hopefully can spot one when I’m in one! One of the many signs are the mounds created from fallen trees. Saplings grow on this rich soil, eventually this soil is washed away, and this is an example of what is left:

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And this:

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You will also see buttress roots on the older trees, like this:

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Another sign is when you look up a tree there are no branches down low. You have to look up at the canopy to see the leaves of the trees, like this:

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The old trees will be nice and straight, like the one above and this one:

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(are you getting than I’m in heaven here with all of these trees and learning!)

You’ll see newly fallen over trees, which leave a huge hole in the canopy. The saplings that have been waiting for this opportunity start growing, and eventually the strongest sapling(s) win.

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You see a variety of trees in the area. One of the trees that I was really surprised to see (and I didn’t capture a photo of) is a HUGE cucumber magnolia tree!

On the way down and back up the old ski slope we saw lots of interrupted fern:

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And Mayapple:

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along with a large variety of other vegetation, including club moss, that I didn’t capture (I know, well, I’ll just have to go back, won’t I?)

Next, Mon@rch took me to see a 200 year old Sugar Maple tree. Mon@rch showed you his up-tree photo, so I’ll show you other views:

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Check out these buttress roots. Aren’t they gorgeous!

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I love the rocks laying all over the place. Makes it hard to walk through a field of rocks like this, but I still think they’re wonderful:

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Next we saw Bridal Veil Falls, but it was raining so we didn’t bring the cameras there. Hopefully I can take photos another time!

Next stop was at Thunder Rocks. Are you getting the theme, I love trees, flowers and rocks, and of course, birds! Rock polypody grows on these boulders, along with moss, lichens, trees, etc.:

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And a tree that looks like it’s sitting up down on this boulder:

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Next we went to France Brook and saw a beaver:

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And when it got scared it disappeared under the water and didn’t show up again. We also saw a pair of grackles removing fecal sacks from the cavity of a dead tree. Here’s a beaver dam in a pond down further:

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While Mon@rch was talking on his cell ordering us some food, I took photos of the Administration Building:

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And the bridge at Red House lake:

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Then we went up to Stone Tower:

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This is the view from the top looking north:

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There is an arrow in the stones pointing to (magnetic?) north:

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And here’s the view looking southwest:

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If the trees weren’t there we could have seen Red House lake!

We stopped to see a ton of Blue Cohosh, a favorite herb of mine!

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Then we went up to the top of another hill with a restaurant on it and took some photos of the view:

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After that we headed for the store for (vegeterian – thanks Mon@rch) pizza, and met Grace who is the naturalist at Allegany State Park and does the ASP blog here.

If anyone wonders why I love New York State, this park is a fine example of why I think NYS is one of the most beautiful places to live! Many, many thanks to Mon@rch for the wonderful day of learning and hiking!

Big Old Trees and Hills

I love going to Onondaga County to do and see several things. As I was driving down the hill on Rt. 20 going west from LaFayette to Cardiff – one very steep hill – I took some photos. This one is near the top of the hill, going down the part where it isn’t too steep – yet:
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Here I am about 1/3 of the way down the hill:

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Please excuse the blue windshield at the top. Here I am about 1/2 way down the hill:
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This hill just continues forever. It’s not very nice on the vehicle brakes. I didn’t capture a photo at the bottom looking up at the hills – they’re wonderful – maybe another day! I’ll have to stop and get out – it’s very tricky at the bottom because the road curves.
Another thing I love is the South Onondaga Cemetery because several of my family members are buried there, it’s out in the country, I like doing genealogy, and I love the very old trees there. These are all Sugar Maples, and they are absolutely gorgeous in the fall:

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Here’s another very old Sugar Maple:

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This garden dedicated to Harold Abbott has been added near the rear of the cemetery:

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Harold Abbott lived in South Onondaga and was the caretaker of the cemetery for many years until he died just recently.
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Yup, I love this county. As I was driving along today I saw several trees just starting to turn color. Very pretty! I love fall, almost as much as spring and summer!