Letchworth State Park

On Labor Day my Mom and I went to Letchworth State Park. It was cloudy and rainy all day, but we still had a great time. I didn’t get photos of everything we saw, but that’s okay. The middle falls was beautiful:
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We went into the museum, hoping the rain would stop.  It didn’t, but we saw some cool things in the museum.

I saw a copy of this amazing painting by Thomas Cole, of the Portage Falls and Hornby Lodge, 1841:
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And a pencil sketch by Thomas Cole of Hornby Lodge, 1841:
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I love Thomas Cole’s work, so I was happy!

Back outside, the mist was beautiful. Mind, we went from very hot temperatures over the weekend to in the 60’s F.
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For this next photo, my camera was flashing it’s red box as if to say “what is it you want me to focus on here?”
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I love this rock face:
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We needed to go back to Inspiration Point to see the falls from up high. We had a heard a train horn, but I didn’t know we would see the train on the Portage Bridge – one very scary bridge for a railroad engineer! You can see a previous post here on a train crossing over the bridge.

Here’s a close-up from far away:
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Not so close now:
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We stopped at the Gardeau overlook and tried to find the old sycamore, and talked about Mary Jemison:
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If I ever think I’m having a bad day, I’ll imagine being Mary Jemison, on the day she lost her entire family. Suddenly the day won’t be so brutal.

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Even though it was raining, it was still relaxing and refreshing to be at Letchworth.

Scenes from the Week

Last week, as we all know, there was a beotch of a heat wave, and with the sun feeling like spikes driving themselves into your skin, we sought water and cool places.  We caught the tail end of a car show – there were some awesome cars there, but this one really caught my eye, a 1960 Thunderbird:

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And this is why it caught my eye – my Dad had one: (that’s me in my Mom’s hat)

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After walking around the car show, we jumped in the water for a night-time swim:

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The water was freakin’ hot! Hotter than bath water. So the next night we went to another, much cooler lake. And I wore the mask and am getting used to not being able to breathe through my nose, so I could see the remnants of the steamship The City of Syracuse, which was burned in 1917 and sunk. No pics, sorry.

We went to the Antique Truck Show, and quickly walked around since it was my lunch time:

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There were lots more very cool looking trucks!

That night we went to Tinker Falls, where we used to go when I was a kid, and the last time I went was with my parents in 2006. It has greatly changed since I was a kid:

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Not much in the way of water coming over the falls, and there were tons of mosquitoes and deer flies, so we won’t go back until those things go away (or bring lots of herbal bug spray).

Then we went for a swim in this water:

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Where there were ducks hanging on the edge eating:

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It was cool, refreshing, and nice to have the sun go down on a way too hot week:

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Various Places from the week

Saturday night we went to the bottom of Pratt’s Falls.
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Saw these trees hanging on for dear life:
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I had gone a week earlier and taken photos from the top of the falls
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Afterwards we went to a railroad crossing, where several trains passed, but I totally love the BNSF train horn, and I would love to have this horn for my car, or to blow when someone wakes me up out of a sound sleep by slamming cupboards at 2AM.  I’m working on how to get one. . .
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Please click here if video doesn’t show up, I still don’t know how to embed video from Flickr into WordPress.  I felt way too close to this train so I stopped the video, went behind my car, and continued.  Still felt too close, but I’m here to write about it.

We checked out Woodland Reservoir one evening:
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And yesterday I tried snorkeling at Sylvan Beach, but I couldn’t stand not having my nose to breath – this will take some getting used to, but we swam for about four hours – which was the best place to be given the heat. . . no pics because my camera doesn’t like swimming. Ended up with a bunch of bad scratches on the back of my right calf – thankfully not all from zebra mussels, but from rocks, even though I wore pants and fins.  (It sucks you just can’t swim with just a swimming suit anymore with these zebra mussels).  And then waaay too hot to carry the camera around with the strap on my neck, even though we went on the roller coaster and ate at the Canalview Cafe – I had their yummy hummus and pita.   There were lots of old photos and three-d objects inside.

And today my outside thermometer was reading 103 F at 1:30PM – crazy hot, and I wanna be back in the water today. . . will find some water to swim in again soon! For now, this is my favorite time of day when it is too hot outside:
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Camillus Erie Canal Park

This past weekend the Camillus Erie Canal Park had a Grand Celebration to dedicate the restored Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct, but since I work on the weekend, we couldn’t make it out there until Sunday after work, after all of the festivities were done.  It doesn’t matter, because I don’t really enjoy crowds, anyway!  And by the time we got there (after eating Luigi’s  pizza, mmmmm), the sun was in that perfect place in the sky to shed an orange glow on everything.

Here’s a replica of the Sims’ canal store, now known as Sims’ Museum, which wasn’t open. I do want to go back when it is open, soon!

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Sims’ Museum

A long bed of iris along the canal bank were all so beautiful!
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This is an old lock:
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As we were examining the lock, Midnight, the resident kitty, came over to greet us, and then to perch himself underneath one of the bottom valves of the lock:
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Buoy Boat 159 is on display here:
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This is a replica of a Lock House:
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We then went a mile down the canal to Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct:
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If you click on this Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct link, you can see progress pictures of the restoration:
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This looks great!
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The aqueduct over Nine Mile Creek:
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Of course, we had to walk down to the little waterfall of Nine Mile Creek:
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Assuming that this is the old wood which was taken out and replaced with the brand new wood:
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There is a steam engine exhibit that we need to come back and see sometime, soon, too! This is one of the steam engines outside of the exhibit area:
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The back wheels are taller than me!

I took this shot of the sign for the hours, so we can visit when the museum is open:
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And the last thing I noticed was this wildlife refuge sign!
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I always love to see areas for wildlife!

Oops! Happy Blogiversary

Oops, hey, I missed my third blogiversary!  For being a blog called Nature Woman, I don’t  get out in nature as often as I’d like to, but I’m hoping that will change soon.  Less drive time will lead to more outdoor time (and more reading and computer time, too)!

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Letchworth State Park on April 12, 2009

Letchworth State Park – The Nature

Since we were parked near the Portage Bridge, we decided to walk down along the Upper Falls on the Gorge Trail. Have you guessed that I love bridges? So please bear with me, here’s a couple of photos of the Portage Bridge, taken from beneath the bridge.

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I love the symmetry of bridges.

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Here we are looking down on the Upper Falls, and a sheet of ice on the east side of the falls:

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There’s interesting rock along the trail. I have to investigate this.

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This is part of the trail down. We had to really watch our steps, because the stairs are uneven, and in some places are missing:

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There are cool smaller falls that feed into the Genesee River:

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Here’s part of the ice on the east wall I mentioned above:
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We’re looking back at the Upper Falls, the Portage Bridge and the ice:
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I was on the search for Bloodroot, but saw tons of Skunk Cabbages along the west bank:
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I also saw an area with Coltsfoot (Tussilaga farfara), which is so exciting to see after winter!
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We had lunch down near this CCC Statue (sorry the statue doesn’t show up, but I was freezing after eating outside in the cold wind) and didn’t feel like getting out of the car at this point to get a better photo:
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After eating we went to the Glen Iris Inn to the gift shop to buy their new self-guided driving tour book:
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And to see the Middle Falls:
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This fountain:
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was spraying on the evergreen, causing it to ice up:
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(yes, it’s still cold in NY!)

We then hiked up the Mary Jemison trail and saw a downed Eastern Hemlock tree (wah!). Even though I was sad, I loved looking at the wood:
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I love the grain, and it smelled good, too:
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As my brother said, “this is pleasant,” and it truly was:
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Would You Pay More For Green Energy?

Every year lately I’ve been receiving ‘Voice Your Choice’ packages from my local gas & electric company. This year I have decided to go with a new electric company which offers “green” energy for a little more per kilowatt hour. Per the brochure, green energy is referring to water and wind energy, as opposed to the non-green energy of burning coal and/or etc.

I was surprised to learn that electricity in my part of the world was generated by anything but water given my close proximity to Niagara Falls. Grrr, this is where I need my Dad so I can ask him, because his Dad used to work at a gas & electric company, and he would know.

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So here’s my question, pretending I can believe the ‘Voice Your Choice’ brochure about green vs. non-green energy, if you were in my shoes, would you pay a bit more per kilowatt hour for green energy?

P.S. I wasn’t trying to trip anyone up with the woolly caterpillar question, I just assumed everyone knew that the size of the orange band on the caterpillar represented how mild or how bad winter is going to be. A narrower orange band predicts a bad winter vs. a wider orange band predicts a mild winter (Thanks for the correction Jen – I was totally fried when I wrote this last night). That’s it! Sorry about that.

Niagara Falls Ice Bridges

Mon@rch sent me some really cool photos of Niagara Falls Ice Bridges a while back, and I’ve been wondering about this phenomenon ever since. Well, I finally found my answer while reading Nature’s Niagara, A Walk on the Wild Side, by Paul Gromosiak. Yes, I could have looked it up on the Internet, too, and now that I know about it, I find tons of stuff out there about it.

Hokey, where to start. Mon@rch says he doesn’t know where the photos came from, so I can’t ask or credit the source. There’s a great online collection from the Niagara Falls Public Library called Historic Niagara Digital Collections in case you want to search for more photos.

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Amazing, huh? I’ve been to Niagara Falls in the middle of winter and seen the ice build up, but nothing like this, nothing that I can even imagine wanting to walk across. But I’ll let the book tell you why. And no, it isn’t because of global warming.

From pages 74 & 76 of the above mentioned book:

Ice Bridges. Nearly every winter ice floes from Lake Erie go over Niagara Falls and mass together in the gorge from shore to shore forming a bridge of ice over the liquid water.

On March 29, 1848, gusts of wind dammed up the Niagara River at its source, nearly drying up the falls for a day. People on both sides of the river were astounded and humbled. It was possible to frolic on the riverbed where no person had ever been.

After the dam broke up, the ice formed a bridge from just below the falls to Lake Ontario. It was possible for people [to] go to (sic) from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Youngstown by walking or riding a horse. Ice boulders as high as 50 feet (15 meters) did a lot [of] damage to structures along the shores of the lower Niagara River.

Until a fatal accident in 1912, people were permitted to go on the ice bridges. In January of 1938, the ice in the gorge was able to knock down the Honeymoon Bridge.

The ice bridges have been less impressive since the 1960s when Ontario Hydro and the New York Power Authority began installing the ice boom at the source of the Niagara River. The boom is a chain of floating barrels across much of the river which controls the movement of ice floes from Lake Erie.

For more on this phenomenon from Niagara Parks you can click here. Alrighty then. I don’t think I would have walked on that ice back then, no matter how thick it was! Would you?

Niagara Falls State Park, Whirlpool State Park

My younger brother, my niece (her first visit to the falls), my Mom and I went to Niagara Falls yesterday. It was in the 70’s here which was perfect for going to the falls. We drove over to Goat Island and first saw the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side:

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Video Note: The water and the wind were very loud, so please be careful if you play the videos!

Here’s a Maid of the Mist headed for the falls. We’ve done this boat ride during a previous visit:

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I used to love hearing my Dad tell me about the the old power plants and the huge turbines. His father used to work at Niagara Mohawk, so we always heard interesting stories.

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We then walked over to see the American Falls from Goat Island:

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And from Luna Island. It’s cool how those logs stay on the very edge:

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Looking down at the bottom of the American Falls was a complete rainbow, but I couldn’t capture it all!

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Here’s the top of Bridal Veil falls from Luna Island:

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My niece wanted to go down to the Cave of the Winds:

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She and my brother had to wear special sandals and plastic rainbags:

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While they were doing this, Mom and I walked over the bridges that cross over the Niagara River:

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After we met up again, we shopped, then left. I couldn’t get a photo of the Tesla statue or the arch entranceway (soooo many people crawling all over Tesla – poor guy). But here’s a sign on the wall of the arch entranceway:

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Next we headed to the Whirlpool State Park, down the Niagara River from the falls. They need to cut down some trees so we can get a better view of the whirlpool!

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People can hike on the Canadian side along the whirlpool. Okey dokey – not me!! And here’s another thing you wouldn’t catch me doing! Riding a cable car over the whirlpool. Turns out my younger brother thinks the same way I do about how things can break and why *not* to do something like this!

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I want to go back to Whirlpool State Park because they have a Niagara Gorge National History room that I would like to go through. I also would like to go to the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.

I didn’t get to spend time looking at the plants on Goat Island like I wanted to, but I did spy this big ginkgo tree:

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I never get tired of visiting Niagara Falls State Park. It’s amazing the attitude I received from people when I said what I was going to do yesterday! “Why would you want to do that?” is one response I got. My answer is “Why wouldn’t I want to do that?” And I want to do it again, too!

Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Today I stopped on my way home from work at Corbett’s Glen Nature Park even though it was about 100 degrees out, with 99.99% humidity, okay, I exaggerate, 99.98%, and a high ozone warning. Ah, what’s a little heat, humidity and ozone anyways.

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I had to walk through this railroad tunnel, which for some reason didn’t thrill me (it’s the engineer in me, I always think about how things can break).

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Here’s the first falls which is about a six foot drop (ohhh, I know, whoop-te-do, but hey, it’s close by)!

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As I was walking through the tall weeds to the next falls, I saw this, one of Susan’s favorite plants, the milkweed:

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Oh my, now that I’m looking at this photo, I didn’t realize how *cool* milkweed flowers are before!!

And on a milkweed leaf was a bug carrying a dead bug:

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Now I have to admit, that is cool, too!

This is what the path looked like, for the most part. Believe me, I was checking every weed looking for poison ivy:

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I finally arrived at the second falls, which is a four foot drop:

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As I was walking in to the park, I saw some kids come out in swimsuits. What a great idea, to go wading here! Ah, nice and cool!

Here’s a damselfly I saw here. It’s not exactly a macro shot (it wouldn’t let me get close) but I love the shadow it cast.

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Here’s the last waterfalls, called Postcard Falls, with a drop of about six feet:

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Once I was done photographing the water and falls, I was able to go on the normal trail:

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Oh! I saw a Baltimore Oriel fly away from me – too quick for me to grab a photo, but enough for me to see its orange self.

Here’s another view of the first falls again, and the railroad tunnel on my way out.

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There were birdies above the piping in the tunnel. I heard them making lots of racket as I was walking through.

Here’s the creek on the other side of the tunnel. I *love* the ripples in the water.

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All in all, not a bad place to visit after work! I’ll be going back! And you haven’t heard the end of this place yet. There’s some history to it, too, that I’ll share another time!

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