Saturday, April 25, 2009

have to be a grown-up today :(

No hiking today--too much to catch up with around here. That's OK, I really wanted to get out into the garden anyhow.
Spring is one of my (many) favorite times of the year. Everyday is different, and I love seeing the latest sprout burst forth from the earth and think of what it will look like in just a few short weeks. Let's take a stroll around my garden to see what was blooming last year.....
This spot is the first thing you see coming off the driveway. It's very shady - in fact no sun at all once the huge maple blooms (is that right? to say a tree 'blooms' or is that just a flower term???). Pete built this deck right around the tree - if you look closely, you can see the trunk in the center of the pic. The awesome wine press was a gift from our neighbors, Bonnie and Bill. They found it in their basement. LOVE IT!

Meghan took this shot. It is one of my very favorite.
Sometimes you need to step over the dogs to get to where you want to go!

I miss you Sabre

Under the arbor and through the gate into the yard. The gate was salvaged from a beautiful brick home that was torn down on West Avenue. The credit union's drive thru was constructed on the site.

Along the garage, old tulips planted by a previous owner a long time ago (we've been here for 19 years), still bloom among the ferns.

My 'main' perennial garden lines the border between our yard and Bonnie and Bill's. I couldn't even begin to remember how many perennials I've tried in this area. For a good 4 years I had the best delphiniums right where you can see the fence. They just died off one year, never to return. I've just let the garden fill itself these past few years.
Wild roses grow along the back fence. No matter how I try to fix that area up, these girls just take over the place.

I do have a 'vegetable' patch, but I just am not a good veggie farmer. My plan is to fill the majority of the spot with rhubarb. I had some rhubarb plants along the fence line that were here when we moved in, but over the past few years the plants got smaller and smaller, and now are gone completely.
I guess it's time to hit the nurseries!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Watch the Eagles!

I have become obsessed with checking on the baby eaglets in their nest.

You too can watch them grow, thanks to the Hancock Wildlife Foundation live camera.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bond Lake

Although every sign in the area claims it to be "Bond Lake" everyone in this area refers to it as "Bond's Lake", doesn't really matter; it's a sweet spot.

For years I only knew Bond's Lake to be a sledding hill on the north of the road and a lake that comes right up to the edge of the road on the south with a few picnic tables and shelters scattered along its shores. Never really thought of it as a place to take a hike,until we went beyond the obvious lake in the front of the park. That's where the real treasures are!

This time in, we passed the main entrance and continued up to Blacknose Spring Road which brings you into the Tuscarora Indian Nation lands. There's a place to park to accomodate a fair number of cars and today there were quite a few trucks in the lot. To be expected, I guess; it was a great day.

The path is very wide - large enough for a vehicle to drive on although the entrances are all blocked with either downed trees or chain, etc. so that's not going to be a problem. In short order, we came across one of the 'back' lakes. I'm not sure exactly how many bodies of water are in this park, but I think there are at least 5 or so.

The main path will lead you right past the lake and it goes to the back of the park which opens up into a huge field.

We tried a branch off the trail in a direction away from the lake which we hadn't tried before, but in short order the trail just became a mud pit, so we turned back around and cut over to follow the trail through the woods that leads to the lake edge.

The trail is not marked in any way, just an obvious walkway that hikers have worn down. It meanders out onto a somewhat steep, narrow peninsula and the views are just beautiful on either side. A few Canada Geese kept us company along the way.

Portions of the path are steep and narrow; I would not recommend bringing small children.Once on top of the peninsula, the views from both left and right are equally pretty. On the left is the large lake and to the right a small cove.

Toward the end, a nice open flat spot appears which offers a great view of the lake. A leftover campfire circle proves I'm not the only one who thinks this is a nice spot to take in the view.

This is the view from the tip of the peninsula looking east, away from the large lake. So tranquil compared to the 'lake side'.

Love the way this huge slab is balanced on the small boulder along the far shore.

After leaving this area, we cut through the woods further and came out on the other side to a large wide path/roadway. This path cuts between the cove area you can see from the peninsula on the large lake and another smaller lake filled with coves and islands that just beg to be explored. I don't know if canoeing is allowed; I've never seen anyone in the water.

Here's the view from the same spot looking west.

The pine trees are on the peninsula I was just on a few minutes before.

A view to the east into one of the many cove areas tucked in along the shoreline. The Canada Geese obviously preferred this lake as opposed to the larger lake. Probably because it was much smaller and not as 'exposed' as the other lake. They certainly were vocal - watch the video to hear them chattering on and on.

Although the scenery in the park is a sight to behold, I will admit there are a few drawbacks. First and foremost - litter - I have never seen so much garbage; from beer bottles, coffee cups, cans, food wrappers, etc. all over the trails. Horrible. The worst I have ever seen. The other issue is the Niagara Sportsmen's Club has their shooting range either in the park, or right next to it. For the majority of the hike gunshots were a constant interruption. Maybe during the week it would be a quieter hike.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rollin T. Grant Gulf Wilderness Park

Another beautiful spring day in Western New York. Another reason to get to the woods.

We were really short on time, so we stayed right here in Lockport and hiked a bit of the Rollin T. Grant Gulf Wilderness Park on W. Jackson St. A little slice of heaven in the City. The trail from the road is laid with what appears to be old ground up asphalt. But it changes over to a more natural state the deeper you go on the trail.

The violets were blooming all along the trail.

In short order, we came upon the creek. Here's Pete 'going out on a limb' to get a better view.

Same spot on the trail, just looking upstream instead. Can you see the electric poles right in the middle of the picture? Weird. But they weren't incredibly distracting to the rest of the view.

Even the wild roses know its spring :)

As we followed the trail downstream, we came across a photographer using the old large format type camera. Very neat.

The trail officially ends at this waterfall, though we could have easily crossed the rocks to the other side.

Here's the view to my left. Hard to pick out, but there is a massive old tree on the hill that had fallen. There were a lot of those laying around. Always makes me a little sad.

We backtracked and continued west on the trail, going upstream. Lots of rolling hills with rocks everywhere with little mini waterfalls cascading down to the large stream.

Not sure if this rock staircase was man-made or not, but it's really cool.

A nice short hike to satisfy the soul for now.....