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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ganondagan Again

  We visited Ganondagan again, Marie hadn't seen it before, and Ruth met us and acted as guide. I was there one other time, in the winter, with Ruth and Dan. In the summer, the museum is open. Ganondagan is a state historic site, and arts and cultural center for the Seneca Nation. They also have an extensive trail network.

This is a reproduction of the wampum belt which depicted the five nations of the Iroquois confederacy. Left to right the symbols stand for the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas (keepers of the central fire), Oneidas and Mohawks. wampum belt We hiked from the museum to the top of the Fort Hill where the corn granary was located when the Senecas lived here. Nice view. About 3 miles round trip. view from Fort Hill Ganondagan What is Ruth looking at? hiker studying Joe Pye Weed It's a Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed. tiger swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed They also have a full size reproduction of a bark house which would have been occupied by about 40 people of the same clan. Here's the interior. The lower shelf was used for sleeping, and the upper one for storage. seneca bark house I love all the interpretive signs. Some are history, and some are "ethnobotanical" like this one, with the symbol for a plant, the Seneca word, and then why it was important. This one is White Pine. white pine interpretive sign Seneca Nation We only hiked about 3 miles, but looked at the signs, and then Marie and I stayed longer and went through the museum. Did some grocery shopping and then came "home" and played our game. Nice day. 

See Ganondagan

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Bristol Hills Branch Trail - Complete

  Today, we walked 8.5 miles and completed the Bristol Hills Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail. Most of the day was spent in the Pigtail Hollow State Forest and then on Clark Hill, walking its length after we climbed up. This actually isn't where we climbed on foot. I took this picture on the road we drove to spot the ending car. It seemed odd to drive between corn that was planted right up to the road, and the road seemed to disappear at the base of the hill. Actually, it turned and angled up the face. Clark Hill Road We basically went up-down-up, but not much elevation change each time. About 300 feet. It was mostly a lovely woods walk. The only thing that made it difficult was that it was hot and humid (high 80's). We managed to get out a little earlier (read, Marie managed to get me to move a little faster in the morning), and we had a tiny bit less mileage to cover. trail in woods We had lunch on the shores of Lake David, a nice little pond. I couldn't provide the premo lunch spot of a couple of days ago, but it wasn't bad. We sat on the remains of an old dock or bridge or something. Lake David There was one view from the trail in the afternoon. This is looking across the valley where State Road 53 passes, to Fritz Hill opposite. view of Fritz Hill When we read the description of the afternoon's miles, we were a little mystified by this: "Cross a steep difficult gully on a ladder bridge." We spent a fair amount of time discussing what this might be, and laughing at the possibilities. We weren't sure we were up to dancing across a ladder that had been laid from bank to bank. However, it turned out to be a nice sturdy bridge with a short ladder at the end! ladder bridge A few minutes after 2 pm, we reached the main Finger Lakes Trail. If you can't read the sign, it says, "Finger Lakes/North Country Trail... < 375 miles to Long Path... > 186 miles to Penna Border." I've hiked all of that and more! Marie has done almost all of it. Just a quarter-mile more to the car. Finger Lakes Trail sign We got ice cream, and came back to the campsite. The water in the showers was cold all last week, but we finally found the caretaker and asked him about it yesterday. Today the water was hot. We were so filthy and stinky, the hot shower was particularly exquisite today.

There is something about a completion that is highly satisfying. In the past couple of weeks we've done all of the Interloken Branch, the Montour Falls Loop, and the Bristol Branch. Officially a total of 72.5 miles. With aome side trips, it's actually been a total of about 78 miles. This is a little less than our usual 100 miles a summer. But we did a ton of visiting.

We will add a few more miles in the next couple of days, but not on the FLT. 

See Bristol Hills Branch- Day 1

Monday, August 10, 2020

Family Time

  We are camping only an hour from where one of Marie's brothers lives, so today we all got together and just had a quiet day with Steve and Karen. visiting in lawn chairs We hadn't as yet explored this campground very far from the trailer. So we all took a walk. I guess Marie was wanting to fly in. walkers There's a nice little pond, but no swimming allowed. pond The Joe-Pye Weed was a bright purple, somewhat unusual. It's usually a duskier pink Joe Pye Weed The views from the top of the park are pretty impressive. view across Canandaigua Lake Just one of those pictures one takes to show that we were there. We went out to dinner, and now Marie and I are going to play our game. Back on the trail tomorrow. friends

See Evangeline

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Bristol Branch - Evangeline

  There were several really cool parts of today, but I'll concentrate on one of them for this blog post.

We had another perfect lunch spot if we hiked fast. We wanted to make it to the Evangeline Shelter. The Finger Lakes Trail System has quite a few shelters, all named. I'd heard this name before, but hadn't heard how it got it's name. It is indeed named for the poem of the same name by Longfellow. These quotes are on the wall of the shelter. "This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlocks." And "When she had passed it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music." Evangeline poem carving This is meaningful to me because it was my grandmother's favorite poem. This is Granny Rowe, the one who raised me on epic poetry and stories of all kinds. The shelter itself is wonderful. Here's a long view. The little pavilion in front of it houses a block fireplace with a grill. Evangeline  Shelter In this picture, you can see how the inside is laid out. There is a sleeping loft with carpet! There is a table and some chairs, books, various utensils, things hikers might need (bandaids, bungie cords, t.p., etc). Evangeline Shelter There was even a porch swing mounted inside that I found quite comfortable. Marie had to coax me out of it to get me back to hiking. Evangeline Shelter It was a day of many hills, but most of them only in the 200-300 foot range, and unnamed. Here, we had just come down one and were starting up the next. Finger Lakes Trail Faber Pond, a small body of water we passed. Water features always look nice. Faber Pond Of course, right after that we climbed another hill. This is looking back at the hills we had just come over. hills The last treat of the day was the Huckleberry Bog nature loop. I'll tell you more about that another day. For now we'll settle for "the hugging trees." These two are a white pine and an oak. By their ages, someone has speculated that loggers spared them and twisted them together long ago.

twined trees
9.3 miles for the day. It was hotter than yesterday, but we felt better because the humidity was not as high. It was Marie's birthday. We had ice cream!

Tomorrow is going to be another play day. Stay tuned.
See Bristol Branch - More Italy Hill

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Bristol Branch - More Italy Hill

  Today was flatter than the previous days, but it was challenging enough. We started out with a 300 foot downhill on a roadwalk with the distant hill ahead in the mist. I think we were on Italy Hill all day- following the ridge south. Dunn Road hill Although there was still plenty of forest walking, there were also rural spaces. I had to take a picture of this really old tractor. old tractor The Finger Lakes Trail is fairly continuous, without too many road walks because they work hard at creating agreements with landowners to allow the trail passage, often along the edges of fields. edge of a field of corn This was our other big down and up of the day. We dropped another 200 feet on this road, and then climbed back up again. Pulteney Road Marie was teasing me that I wasn't going to be able to live up to providing a premo lunch spot when we began looking for a place to sit to eat. What a laugh we had when a bench materialized in the woods! It was most welcome. bench in the woods The afternoon heated up a bit, and the humidity climbed. An unexpected steep hill was briefly daunting, but we arrived back at the car at 3 pm. We did 9.5 miles today, then came back "home" to Sunny and had potato chips and cold drinks! We saw another brown and gold garter snake, and a really dark (almost black) toad, but he didn't want his picture taken.

See Wood and Italy Hills
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