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Archive for the ‘Lake Ontario’ Category

People in Oswego interested in exploring nature may feel like the closest options are in the Adirondacks hours away, but Oswego actually has a few places of its own that give students a taste of nature.

It may be surprising to some Oswego State students that there are impressive hiking trails close to campus.  On the site of Rice Creek Field Station, less than a mile and a half there are trails that might at first appear untouched for years. However, that is also what gives Rice Creek its appeal. There are a few indications that civilization has touched the area, like the occasional telephone pole and some foot bridges to cross streams.

For students looking to explore trails that make them feel like the only living things around are animals, Rice Creek is perfect. With the scenery flying by, and the feeling of pure nature, these trails are great for an outdoor run.

Unfortunately, not many students actually know about the existence of Rice Creek, or its trails. Nature paths as beautiful and pure as Rice Creek are resources that provide a lot for students, and since it’s so close to campus, and now accessible via the Green Laker Shuttle, maybe the trails will be used and appreciated to the fullest.

For students willing to take a short trip, Sterling Nature Center, about 10 miles away, has even more to explore.  Sitting on 1,200 acres, the park features over 10 trails equaling 1.9 miles along the untouched shores of Lake Ontario. The park also offers major attractions during the year, ranging from canoeing and watching the sun set in summer, to snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.  Whether you are going to take a run, take photos, or just escape from everyday life, a trip to either of these sites is definitely worth the time.

Interactive map of Oswego hiking options

source: The Oswegonian

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James C. Montanus put his camera on a tripod, and used a 30 second time exposure in order to capture the dramatic lightning over Lake Ontario.

James C. Montanus put his camera on a tripod, and used a 30 second time exposure in order to capture the dramatic lightning over Lake Ontario.

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by Meg Vanek, Auburn Citizen, link to original post

With the weather getting warmer, there is no better place to enjoy water activities than in Cayuga County. Our surveys tell us that one of the top two reasons visitors come to Cayuga County is to enjoy our amazing lakes, and with Owasco Lake in the center, Lake Ontario to the north, Skaneateles and Cross lakes to the east, and Cayuga Lake to the west plus several smaller lakes and the Erie Canal, people in Cayuga County have abundant opportunities to spend time in, on and around the water. In fact, Cayuga County has 170 square miles of water, making almost 20 percent of the county water and giving us more freshwater coastline than any other county in New York state. Whether you simply want to lounge around a lake or you prefer the excitement of water-skiing and windsurfing, Cayuga County is a definitely the place to be for water-filled fun!

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

Most of us remember a favorite swimming spot from our youth, whether it was a pond, lake or stream, it was a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. There are plenty of wonderful places to splash around and swim in Cayuga County. Emerson Park, along with our three state parks — Fillmore Glen, Long Point and Fair Haven Beach — are all great places to take a dip in a safe environment. Smaller parks, like Frontenac Park in Union Springs and John Harris Park in Cayuga, also offer swimming on uncrowded, pristine beaches. Most parks not only offer swimming but also picnic areas, boat launches, hiking and fishing.

You might not think of the Finger Lakes as a place for a scuba diving, but it certainly is! You don’t have to go to the ocean to find sunken treasures and interesting aquatic life; the waters of the Finger Lakes can yield plenty of surprises. Finger Lakes Scuba provides local dive opportunities on the Dive Deck, a 24-foot dive charter pontoon from May through October. If you don’t already have your scuba certification, sign up for a class at the Auburn YMCA, then gather your gear and get ready for a diving adventure.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes

If you would rather be on the water than in the water, you can canoe, kayak, sail, powerboat or take a cruise on our waterways. Boat launches are located at most public parks, and boat rentals are available at many private marinas. Silver Waters Sailing on Lake Ontario offers sailing excursions and day trips as well as several learn-to-sail programs, so you can master the sailing basics. New this year, Owasco Paddles at Emerson Park offers canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards for rent. And if you don’t know how to use a standup paddleboard, Finger Lakes Paddleboard offers lessons with certified PaddleFit instructors on Owasco Lake. This ancient Hawaiian sport is an ideal way to experience the beauty of the Finger Lakes.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

A unique opportunity to experience our waterways and another one of our most popular attractions, wineries, is to jump on board Water to Wine Tours, offering tours of award-winning Finger Lakes wineries by boat along beautiful Cayuga Lake. Scenic wine-tasting boat tours, dinner cruises, happy hour cruises and private charter cruises are all available from Water to Wine Tours, with scheduled cruises departing from the Aurora Inn.

For more information on great things to see and do in, on and around the waterways of Cayuga County, stop in the Cayuga County Office of Tourism and pick up our on-the-water map and guide, or visit www.tourcayuga.com. To purchase guidebooks to the area, including @00 Waterfalls & Take A paddle – Finger Lakes, visit Footprint Press.com.

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Jim Montanus took these beautiful photos and shared his thoughts:
“Dramatic Sunrise over Lake Ontario this morning (March 17, 2013).  A big line of Lake Effect squalls had just passed through and this was the trailing edge of the clouds.”

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The sun peaks over Lake Ontario.

The sun peaks over Lake Ontario.

The stairs seem to be ascending into heaven.....

Stairway to heaven...

Stairway to heaven…

The stairs seem to be ascending into heaven…..
Some of these old concrete sections extend half way across Braddocks Bay and were once part of the old historic trolley line which ran from Charlotte to Braddocks Point.

Some of these old concrete sections extend half way across Braddocks Bay and were once part of the old historic trolley line which ran from Charlotte to Braddocks Point.

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Ready to get out and go this winter? Here are 10 good reasons to visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway along 518 miles of freshwater shoreline in New York and Pennsylvania.
·      Quiet season walking experiences
·      The snow!
·      Spectacular photo opps
·      Winter War of 1812 history
·      Ice fishing
·      Lighthouses lovely in winter
·      To be inspired to quilt the Beauty of the Byways
·      Only-here winter birdwatching
·      Winter Wine Weekends
·      Indoor-outdoor events, shopping and festivals

Find details on 50 festive, fun and fresh reasons to visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway this winter, go to www.seawaytrail.com/winter.

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by Susan Peterson Gately

Along Upstate New York’s Seaway Trail between Rochester and Oswego there exists an unusual landform found in only a few locations in North America. Known by geologists as a drumlin field, hundreds of elongate north south oriented hills shape the countryside. Near Fair Haven a number of these drumlins come to an abrupt end by the lake in a series of highly eroded steep bluffs. The best known of these cliffs of clay is Chimney Bluffs east of Sodus Bay, now a State Park. Its outstanding feature is a series of knife-edged ridges, spires and chimneys whose improbable shape attests to the durability of mere sun-dried clay. (A trail map and details are available in “Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region”) However, several other bluffs with public access and hiking trails also show lesser, but still spectacular sculpting. Sitts and Scotts Bluffs east of Fair Haven and Port Bays respectively, present scenery nearly as interesting as the more often visited Chimney Bluffs. Another interesting badlands site is the located along the shore of the Sterling Nature Center just east of Fair Haven.

A visit to one of these sites will probably turn up something of interest at anytime of year though spring and fall are ideal times for hiking. Bugs are few, temperatures ideal for mild exertions, and you are likely to have miles of empty beach to yourself at any of these sites. These cliffs of clay are one of the most dynamic and changeable landforms in central New York. Signs of the clash between lake and clay are obvious and sometimes dramatic. Yet the bluffs are also surprisingly tough and tenacious. Their resistance to erosion results in vertical slopes and strange shapes.

As you walk along the foot of these clay cliffs, they loom above, austere and seemingly lifeless. Erosion proceeds rapidly, with up to three feet a year of land being carried away by water and wind. Outwashes of silt and clay form like miniature deltas at the foot of each gully carved by runoff. Sometimes a cliff is laced with dozens of shallow channels or rills, running down its face. Other times, several tons of clay has simply slumped off the main face in a big chunk, or you may see peculiar “caves” 4 or 5 feet deep formed by undercutting at the bluff’s foot. Dead trees slide inexorably down the face to become driftwood on the beach below, and in early spring you may note a darker horizontal streak running along the cliff face showing the presence of ground water. Often you’ll encounter a sizable rock, freshly dislodged from the clay that has then tumbled down onto the beach. Unlike the smooth water rounded beach stones, a rock that has recently washed out of the bluff still shows angles and corners. Sometimes you can even see scratches on its surface left by the passage of grit laden glacial ice over it 6,000 years ago. Though they look different with their water-rounded finish; the beach stones are identical to those from the bluff since the cliffs are the source of the beach. As you search for that ideal flat skipping stone, each rock tells its own story.

The beach tells a story too, one of storms and pounding waves cutting, shifting, sorting, and ceaselessly transporting sand, clay and rock. Waves carve away at the beach when they fall as breakers upon it. They also move the stones, flinging them forward and upward, then in subsequent storms with different water levels, moving them back out into the lake again. After a season of storms the beach shows a series of ridged berms, each one representing a past storm. The berms contain cobbles or small pebbles thrown up by the waves. The winter berm, formed by the season’s biggest waves, is often the steepest and made up of the largest stones. The sorting of stones by size is very pronounced, and you may sometimes see several parallel berms of similar sized cobbles running along the beach. (These cobbles were used pre-Civil War as a building material. For details, see “Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York’s Historic Buildings.”)

The contrast in geological time scales seen along the lake shore is also striking. The clay cliffs are the insides of drumlins, piles of glacial till dating back a few thousand years to the last ice age. Inside the drumlin are rocks representing tens or hundreds of millions of years of earth history? And the beach underfoot and the gullies, rills, slumps, and slides of the bluff represent hours, days or weeks worth of erosion and form one of the most ephemeral of all local landscapes.

There are a half dozen places between Oswego and Sodus Bay off the Seaway Trail with access and hiking on and by the beach. Lofty Scotts Bluff north of Wolcott at the end of a gravel drive that runs off Broadway Road features an impressive column of clay projecting twenty feet or more from its surrounding face. You’ll also get a superb vista of the lake’s shoreline curving away to the west on a clear day. A set of steps leads down to a long stretch of state owned beach backed by the Red Creek marsh area, offering excellent beach combing and bird watching opportunities. Chimney Bluffs, a State Park just east of Sodus Bay off Lake Bluff Road is certainly the best known cliff along this stretch of shoreline. And with reason. Its spectacular spires and ridges reach 150 foot above the lake. It, too, offers a number of hiking trails to explore beach and bluff.

A smaller state-owned bluff lies at the end of Dutch Street running north off Lummisville Road just west of Wolcott. Here several hiking trails meander through the woods or follow Beaver Creek just east of the bluff though hemlock groves. Though not as lofty as Scotts or Chimney Bluffs, this bluff still offers an attractive overlook of the lake.

Fair Haven State Park offers a view of privately owned Sitts Bluff just east of it, while a few miles further east, less spectacular, but more accessible McIntyre Bluff lies within the bounds of the Sterling Nature Center. The Nature Center is well worth a day’s visit as its volunteers have laid out over 15 miles worth of trails (find a map in “Snow Trails – Cross-country Ski in Central & Western New York” and in “Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region”) through the varied terrain of 1,400 acres. The Nature Center also boasts nearly two miles of Lake Ontario beach to explore and hosts a series of programs throughout the summer and fall at its lakeside year-round headquarters facility. It is a comparatively new tourist attraction, having opened just a few seasons ago, but the volunteers and staff have done a splendid job trail building. Recently the Nature Center also built a launch site on Sterling Creek for canoes and car toppers. You can put in here and then float down the east branch to Lake Ontario (find a map in “Take a Paddle – Finger Lakes Quiet Water for Canoes and Kayaks”).

The Fair Haven area boasts a half dozen private camp grounds as well as RV camping at the state park. Grants Vacation Park in Fair Haven absorbs some overflow from the nearby park and Holiday Harbor on Blind Sodus Bay offers waterfront views and access. Another waterfront RV park option is Shon’s Boat Basin 1-(800) 524-9878, also offering waterfront cottages. This is also the home port of Silver Waters Sailing. We offer day trips on the lake that provide views of the shoreline cliffs east of Fair Haven aboard our 32-foot sloop. Call (315) 594-1906 for Silverwaters Sailing.

Editors note: Susan Peterson Gately is the author of “The Edge Walker’s Guide To Lake Ontario Beach Combing” and several other books as well as a newsletter called the Lake Ontario Log. Find out more about both at her web site www.silverwaters.com.

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Take A Paddle – Western NY

Sunset LazyPaddle on Tuesdays AND Thursdays from 6:30pm to sunset near Wilson/Tuscarora State Park. Only $15 per person rentals. Call for rentals/reservations 716-622-6585.

Canyak: Canoe and Kayak Rentals, Wilson NY

Or, rent kayaks  and pair them with the guidebook “Take A Paddle – Western New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks” to paddle many beautiful streams and lakes.

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