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Posts Tagged ‘footprintpress’

It’s winter – time to plan for some fun in the snow. If you live in or near Monroe, Wayne or Ontario Counties, there are trails nearby that provide opportunities for a quick evening moonlit ski or a longer weekend outing. Here are 10 of my favoritesSnow Trails.

Monroe County
1. Mendon Ponds Park in Mendon has 20 miles of groomed trails for all levels of ability. The trails wind among the eskers, kames and kettle ponds of this glacially sculpted landscape. It’s a popular winter playground for avid skiers.
2. Powder Mills Park in Pittsford is another hilly park with 8 miles of marked, groomed trails.
3. For less hilly terrain, try Webster Park along the shore of Lake Ontario. It is the beneficiary of lake effect snows. Escape into the wilderness in the middle of suburbia on a myriad of loop trails.
4. Genesee Country Nature Center in Mumford is great for families. There’s a small entrance fee, but you’ll find 4.5 miles of easy, groomed trails, a warming hut, and restrooms. Plus you can rent skis or snowshoes on site.

Ontario County
5. Canadice Lake Trail parallels the west shore of Canadice Lake with gorgeous views for an easy 7.4 mile round trip. For more of a challenge, try the side loop trails up the steep hillside.
6. Cumming Nature Center is a week-end family favorite with amenities and equipment rentals. It offers 15 miles of groomed trails. There is a small entrance fee.
7. Skiers’ Mecca is Harriet Hollister State Memorial Recreation Area south of Honeoye Lake. This park sits at high elevation and promises snow cover when the rest of the area is barren. The 20 miles of trails are groomed by volunteers from the N.Y.S. Section V Ski League and are used for ski races. The trails wind through pristine woods and one trail offers a panoramic view north over Honeoye Lake.

Wayne County
8. Casey Park in Ontario offers a 1.8-mile round trip on a flat trail along the shore of a lake that formed in an old iron ore quarry. The more adventurous can continue around the lake on the hilly, narrow north shore trail with gorgeous views down to the lake.
9. Blue Cut Nature Center sits between Newark and Lyons. Here you’ll find 2 miles of easy trails through the woods and along a marshland. The trails are free, but don’t expect amenities.

When you head out to ski, it’s helpful to have a guide specific to winter such as the local guidebook “Snow Trails.” The guide describes which parking areas are plowed in winter, which roads remain unplowed and become part of the ski trail network. You’ll also learn how each trail is rated in terms of beginner, intermediate and expert runs, and which trails are too narrow and steep and are best left for adventurers on snowshoes.

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Take A Hike – Rochester (NEW) 3rd edition

It was a beautiful, blue sky, fall day. And, as luck would have it, the Crescent Trail Association was leading a hike. Rich and I wandered through the woods on the trail with 20 others in search of fall’s beauty.

The club was offering a shuttle back to our car, but we wanted to walk, so we headed back down the trail. This time we walked in silence, just the two of us. The temperature had dropped and big snowflakes began to fall. It fell in blankets that stuck to our hair and soaked into our clothing.

Rich and I made mistakes that many people make when heading out for a hike. We didn’t prepare for a change in weather. We were wearing blue jeans and we didn’t have gloves or hats. We had gone on a guided hike and didn’t have a map or compass with us. In fact, we had nothing with us.

We plodded through the deepening snow. The trail and the blazes became hard to see. Then it happened. We passed a landmark along the trail for the second time! We had gone in a circle and didn’t even realize it. We’d read about people getting lost and going in circles. But we were two intelligent human beings. How could it happen to us?

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

So, we were lost and getting progressively wetter and colder. We knew major roads formed boundaries for the land we were on. We guessed at the direction and headed to the road noise. When we reached the road we discovered we were back at the farthest road, not the road with our car. Without a compass we had guessed wrong. We had embarrassed ourselves enough for one day, so we decided to follow the roads and walk about 3 miles back to our car in the dark, arriving exhausted, cold, and soaked to the skin.

In hindsight, we were fortunate. We knew the roads surrounding the woods and the area was small. Making a similar mistake in unknown territory farther from roads could have been fatal. And we learned a valuable lesson. We now go out prepared, even if it’s a short, guided hike. We put together a survival kit in a zip lock bag that is kept in our daypack and taken on every hike. We make sure we always have a map of the trails with us, and we each carry a bottle of water. We no longer wear cotton (except on short summer hikes) and we put clothes in our daypack for one level of wet or cold below what it is when we head out.

We’ve fine-tuned our route finding abilities over the years as we’ve explored the hundreds of trails throughout Western and Central New York. I can happily report that in the ten years since this incident we haven’t been lost once.

Survival Kit
compass
pocket knife with scissors
small flashlight
waterproof matches
small emergency space blanket
iodine tablets (to purify water)
small roll of toilet paper
sun screen
lip balm
band aids
mole skin
bug repellant
bandana

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Take A PaddleOne of many pristine places to paddle in Central & Western New York, Hemlock Lake was saved from a ring of cottages to serve as Rochester’s water source. Leo Roth writes about his recent paddling experience there & references our Take A Paddle guidebooks. Click here to reariver otter dend his article and see a photo of me & Rich.

The photos are of two different river otter dens:river otter den

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