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Monday, March 9, 2009

Letchworth and Gibsonville

Today and tomorrow I want to show you some really interesting things from a hike I took while on my trip last week. So that I wouldn't have to drive home in one long, long day I stopped at my friend Irene's house. She lives about 10 minutes from Letchworth State Park in New York. Letchworth is an amazing glacial gorge, sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East. But these pictures aren't going to show you any of the really interesting features because we chose to hike on a less-traveled trail.

She's a hiking buddy so our favorite way to spend a day is to find a new path to explore (with her dogs of course). She recently discovered that there is a trail in the park where the map doesn't show one. So....

We started at the point that I have marked with a red 1 on this map, and followed the green line. But first let's talk about the view at point 1. Notice on the map that North is not "up" but angled toward the upper right corner. So if you stand at point 1 and look east across the Genesee River you will notice a long point of land on the map labeled a hogsback. That is what you are seeing in the next picture. These kinds of ridges are called hogsbacks because they supposedly resemble the spine of a wild boar. The river has to flow an extra mile to find its way around this point.

We followed the unlabeled trail to point 2 in red on the map. That is where the Silver Lake Outlet (a large creek) flows into the river. So the next picture, which looks similar to the first one, is completely different. The Genesee River is on the left, flowing from the back of the picture to the front. Silver Lake Outlet is on the right, also flowing from the back to the front. Just out of view, at the bottom of the ridge I was standing on to take the picture the creek makes a sharp turn toward the river.

It was quite a surprise to me to see how the creek and river met during the winter. With the ground frozen the creek took a long meandering pathway beside the open water of the river before finally joining up with the main waterway. All the shiny, crackled coating is ice. The water in both channels is flowing from right to left, and meets out of view.

We continued on to red point 3 where in the 1800s there was a village called Gibsonville. Then in the 1930s it was the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp. This chimney is all that remains of a number of barracks, staff and officer's housing. There was an interpretive sign and we spent a lot of time trying to orient the camp with an aerial picture because it wasn't obvious which building this chimney was part of. We finally found some other foundations which helped us figure it out. It turned out that this building and a bridge that still remains don't even show in the picture. Nevertheless we liked another shot that showed the chimney in happier times.

This view shows two of the CCC men relaxing. Some of the work they did included constructing the main park road, building shelters and bridges, removing dead trees, and operating two stone quarries in the area. From point 3 we walked along the road back to the vehicle.

Tomorrow I'll show some other interesting features from our hike (clue- Irene's nickname is "treeweenie").


Rick (Ratty) said...

I can see why those are called hogsbacks. All of that fuzzy brown at the top of the ridge.

Finding a chimney like that is a great hidden gem. Seeing what it looked like long ago was somehow comforting to me.

rainfield61 said...

Linking current to history is interesting. Chimney is still the same chimney but people are different right now.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Ratty- I first learned about the glacial features called hogsbacks in Ann Arbor. There are several in SE MI. I should have known them from growing up in NY, but didn't!

Rainfield- Yes, the chimney alone looks very sad. I was really happy to see this homey picture on the sign.

betchai said...

it is nice ti take the less traveled trail, it is like a surprise each step since you do not know what to expect.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi betchai- my favorite trails are the new ones. I love the discovery!