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Posts Tagged ‘Foothills Trail Club’

These are trail clubs across the state that volunteer to maintain a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail. Join them for hikes and trail work.

Buffalo Area:
-ADK Niagara Frontier Chapter http://www.adk-nfc.org
-Foothills Trail Club http://www.foothillstrailclub.org

Rochester Area
-ADK Genesee Valley Chapter http://www.gvc-adk.org
-Genesee Valley Hiking Club http://www.fingerlakestrail.org/gvhc.htm

Syracuse Area
-ADK Onondaga Chapter http://www.adk-on.org

Ithaca and Elmira Area
-ADK Finger lakes Chapter    607-936-3988
-Cayuga Trails Club http://www.cayugatrailsclub.org

Corning Area
-Three Rivers Outing Club    607-962-5157

Binghamton Area
Triple Cities Hiking Club http://triplecitieshikingclub.org/

Chenango County
-FLT-Bullthistle Hikers http://www.bullthistlehiking.org

Eastern NY
-ADK Mid-Hudson Chapter http://www.midhudsonadk.org

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BY JOAN BARONE MCDONALD, The Buffalo News, Link to original post

Surviving a Buffalo winter can be tough: snow, rain, cold temperatures and a lack of sunshine can leave Western New Yorkers feeling bored and depressed. Some lucky snowbirds jet off to warmer climates, but most of us are compelled to find other ways to beat the winter blues.

The urge to simply hunker down and isolate ourselves from the elements, however appealing, may not be the best solution. Research shows that direct contact with our natural environment improves mental health. The idea isn’t new. Author Henry David Thoreau preached it from Walden Pond more than 150 years ago, saying, “I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright,” and psychologists today agree.

This winter, rather than languishing in front of the television or computer screen, get out and enjoy all that our nearby parks and recreation areas have to offer. And end it all with a steaming mug of hot cocoa!

Winter landscapes

The summer pleasures of Delaware Park, a 350-acre masterpiece created by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted, are well-known to Buffalonians, but many forget that winter in the park holds a beauty all its own. Walk, snowshoe or crosscountry ski through the park during a gentle snowfall and take in a pastoral scene of scattered trees and snow-covered meadows. If you have a thrill gene, sled down Shakespeare Hill, making sure to notice the contrast between your pounding heart and serene Hoyt Lake at the foot of the slope.

Located within Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo has certain advantages in winter. Check out the Gorilla House where, with fewer visitors, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the primate antics. And don’t miss Rainforest Falls, a tropical paradise of Spanish moss and huge-frond ferns, complete with a rushing waterfall and a quaint rope bridge. Here, giant anteaters nose for termites, capybaras scout the riverbank, brightly colored parrots perch on branches, and Scarlet Ibises flit about the greenery overhead. It’s warm, awe-inspiring—and much cheaper than a trip to Costa Rica.

The bears will be outside waiting for company and, if you time it right and arrive around lunch time, you can watch them feed. You’ll also be able to stroll past the snow leopard, the gemsboks, the pacing spotted hyenas and, of course, the bisons, all hardy enough to remain outdoors.

Zoo admission is $9.50 adults, $6 children; under 23 months, free. Open daily 10 a. m. to 4 p. m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays in January and February. For information: www.buffalozoo.org.

If skating is your thing, don’t miss Buffalo’s answer to Rockefeller Center: Rotary Rink in downtown’s Fountain Plaza. Here you can rent skates for $4 and glide around, surrounded by tall buildings, with the sun glistening in ribbons on the well-groomed ice. If you’re not in the mood to strap on skates, you can sit on a bench and perhaps catch a glimpse of a businessman in dress pants and a fedora floating gracefully around during his lunch hour, or a Dad clutching his toddler’s hand as they slip around the rink. Open through March 14, hours are 11 a. m. to 2 p. m. and 5 to 9 p. m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 11 a. m. to 10 p. m. Saturdays; and 11 a. m. to 6 p. m. Sundays. Admission is free.

Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264-acre nature refuge dedicated to conservation and environmental education. Visitors can rent snowshoes on site or bring along their own cross-country skis and take advantage of five miles of nature trails. There’s no cost to enjoy the trails and other outdoor sights during daylight hours at the preserve, located at 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd. The visitor’s center is open 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p. m. Sunday.

Tifft also hosts events, such as the “Full Moon Stroll,” 6 to 7:30 p. m. Jan. 30, billed as a chance to “enjoy the sights and sounds of a winter night.” Cost is $5; snowshoe rental is $2. To register, call 896-5200, Ext. 338. On Feb. 21, Winter Fest will return to Tifft with hikes, winter arts and crafts, and workshops. Food and hot beverages will accompany the merriment. It’s free, with a suggested donation of $3.

For general information: 825-6397, www.sciencebuff.org.

In addition to self-guided trails found in other parks, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve—a unique 292-acre complex of forests, ponds and wetlands on Honorine Drive in Depew— offers guided nature walks at 10 a. m. Saturdays through the Department of Environmental Conservation. These free walks, lasting about 90 minutes, are held rain, snow or shine. Other DEC programs offered each month include snowshoe and ski adventures and walks on seasonal topics. For more information: 683-5959,www.dec.ny.gov/education/1837.html.

Take a hike

If you enjoy group activities, the Foothills Trail Club offers outings in all seasons. When asked about the special pleasures of winter hikes, member Cheryl Peluso explains that, in addition to the sheer beauty of a quiet, snow-blanketed woods, “you can often see signs of wildlife in winter in the form of tracks, while in the summer, wildlife is more difficult to spot.”

If such an idea touches your fancy, you can join the group on various treks thorough locales like Elma Meadows, Stiglmeier Park, Reinstein Woods, Como Park and Tifft Nature Preserve. On Sunday, for example, the group meets at 1 p. m. for a hike along the Ellicott Creek Bike Path in Amherst (meet at the North Forest Road parking lot); at 1 p. m. Jan. 23, the group takes a four-mile trek through Stiglmeier Park. Refer to www.foothillstrailclub.org for additional info.

In the country

If you love sledding, head out to Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park. The 350-foot sledding hill is open all winter—as long as there is snow. You can ride toboggans, tubes or sleds, catching a view of Lake Erie and the city as you speed down the hill. For the less adventurous, the observation platform on the upper level of the Casino also provides an impressive view, or simply sit by the fire inside and sip hot chocolate. Winter sports enthusiasts can snowshoe, hike, snowmobile and cross-country ski in the park, which is open every day until dark.

For some quality outdoor skate time in the Southtowns, drop in at the Time Warner Classic Rink, 41 Riley St. in East Aurora. Glide across the glistening ice during public skate hours, breathe in the crisp winter air, and listen to the piped-in tunes; you may just feel like you are in an old-fashioned Currier and Ives lithograph. A heated dome is set up adjacent to the rink in case the chilly air becomes a bit overwhelming.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, with skate rentals available for $3. Public skate times are 7 to 9 p. m. Fridays; 2 to 4 p. m. and 7 to 9 p. m. Saturdays; and 2 to 4 p. m. Sundays. Check the Web site (www.thinkrink.org) for additional information.

Situated on Route 240 in Glenwood, Sprague Brook Park offers wide, well-groomed trails perfect for novice crosscountry skiers and snowshoers. The 3-mile loop wends through peaceful woodlands, quiet enough to hear the crunch of the snow underfoot and enjoy the sight of the sun slanting through the pines. If you don’t own equipment, rental is possible from nearby Colden Ski Rental (8843 State Road) at $12 a day. Other recreational alternatives in the park include hiking, sledding and snowmobiling.

If speed is what you crave, skiing or snowboarding at Kissing Bridge will fill the bill. With about 16 feet of snowfall each season, KB’s 700 acres boast 30-plus ski runs, ranging from beginner to advanced. Feel the adrenaline rush as you swish down the slopes, powdery snow pluming behind you, and you’re sure to appreciate living in Buffalo just a little more. Lift tickets vary in price from $28 to $52, depending on age, length of ticket and time slot (weekday or weekend). Check www.kbski.com for specifics.

At almost 10 stories high and 600 feet long, the run at Colden Tubing, adjacent to KB North, promises to offer “Western New York’s No. 1 thrill ride.” Tubers are towed up to the top of the hill, so your only job is to glide down the groomed lanes from the summit to the valley floor. Why not get off the couch and take the plunge? Four hours on the slope will only set you back $15.

Happy ending

Butterwood Desserts on Route 240 in West Falls makes what might be the best cup of hot chocolate outside of Holland. The cocoa mix is a secret in-house recipe that is combined with cream and milk. Thick and velvety on the tongue, with a robust flavor that leans toward the dark chocolate family, this is a treat you shouldn’t miss. For $3.95 you can select regular, mocha, or an extraordinary Alpine white. Sit in a booth, watch the snow fall gently outside, listen to Frank Sinatra croon, and enjoy the winter season. Hey, you got off the couch; you deserve it! •

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