Posts Tagged With: Rochester

Still Hanging Out…

Tomorrow will be two weeks since the fateful crash that fractured my hip – and trying to live with no weight bearing on that leg is everything I thought it would be. Boring – Painful – Frustrating. Did I say boring and painful? As it turns out, the fracture itself can be made to stop hurting with medication and staying off it. But – what they don’t tell you is that trying to keep that leg lifted while hobbling on crutches causes every muscle in that leg to cramp uncontrollably, and nothing seems to help that.

Oh well, I’ve managed to start putting some of my pictures onto Flickr this week, which reminded me of the numerous hikes in the Finger Lakes area we did last summer. We managed to do Buttermilk Falls, Taughonnock Falls, Watkins Glen, and Lower Tremain. I think there might have been a couple of more, too, but since I can’t find the photo CD’s I can’t quite remember. However, it did make me think about how lucky we are to live near the Finger Lakes.

Finger LakesIf you don’t know, the Finger Lakes are a series of eleven long lakes in Western New York that were created by the retreating glaciers a couple of years ago (OK, actually a couple of million years ago, but who’s counting) Personally I like the local Seneca Indian legend that says the lakes were formed when the Creator touched the earth to bless the land. I like the areas between Seneca and Cayuga, which are the two longest lakes in the picture. For one, the area between and around these lakes produces outstanding wines. It should, in theory, take about an hour and half to drive from Rochester to Ithaca, but when the Mrs. and I do this in the summer it has been known to take all day, with the number of wine-tasting stops we make. At the southern end of each of these lakes are a number of beautiful State Parks with easy to moderate family hikes. Most of them either meander past or terminate at a waterfall of some magnitude – for example, the Watkins Glen hike has far too many waterfalls to count, and the trail winds around and under a number of them. The kids love this hike until the end, when the trail ends with what the sign calls “The Steep Stairs”. They are definately leg-burners, especially for the one who carries the only pack with the camera, and food and water for everyone. This coming summer – they start carrying their own!

We also did some of the hike last year at Robert Treman State Park, a bit southwest of Ithaca. We started with the hike that was to have gone to Lucifer Falls, but never made it, for two reasons. One, there was an apparent suicide there the day before, and I didn’t think we needed to bring the kids that close, and two, several hikers we passed on their return told of a “mad raccoon” along the trail near the Falls. Not wishing to investigate further, we turned around and spent the rest of the day ‘swimming’ in the natural pool Treman maintains in the summer. I put swimming in quotes because there wasn’t much actual swimming done – most of my time in the water was spent trying to simply catch my breath – as the water was only 61 degrees! As soon as your body goes off the board and hits the water, your head aches and your lungs start to slow down at that temperature. Naturally, that didn’t stop us, but a few more degrees wouldn’t have hurt.

So the plan for this summer is to do more of the same, with a bit more on the moderate side and less on the easy side. I hope to be able to push the hip rehab enough to be out there again – today it seems possible. Yesterday was so painful I doubted I’d ever walk again.

Funny, I chose the Winter Warlock alter-ego last November after watching “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” for the upteenth time – but I never expected that I would have to be thinking about just putting one foot in front of the other for real. Ain’t life funny like that!?

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Mendon Ponds WinterFest 2007

This past weekend I took the family to the Mendon Ponds WinterFest – while it had looked shaky just a week ago with such warm weather, the final week before was cold and snowy. It was perfect – we started on the southwest side of the park, where there were hosting sled dog races. We watched a few of the teams take off and finish the three mile course, and if you’ve never watched even a short race like that, you should. Until then, I always thought of these dogs as seriously overworked – but to watch their eagerness when they’re clipped to a sled is amazing. They absolutely love it, and the only thing cruel about this is not letting them run right away – the dogs simply can’t wait to get going.

We then went over to the main park offices and Nature Center, where they have recently opened a center for injured birds of prey. They had several redtail hawks, golden eagles, kestrels and two owls on the trainers hands – the kids loved this, too. There is also apparently a bobcat there, but it was hiding when we visited. EMS set up a small winter camping demonstration, but it seemed as if they could have done a bit more.

We finished by going to the fields by Stewart Lodge, which sits on the Hundred Acre Pond. There were hundres of kids sledding down the glacial kames of the park, but we strapped on our snowshoes and walked out onto the pond to see the ice-fishing demos. They hadn’t caught anything, but the demo and explanations were enough to interest my kids – not to mention the fact that they were thrilled (and scared) to actually be walking on the frozen pond.

We managed a short hike in the snowshoes, but it was pretty cold (14F) and the kids wanted to cut it shorter than I would have liked. We did stop in the lodge to talk to the local Nordic Club, who was giving free lessons and had plenty of equipment to borrow, but it wasn’t enough to keep them going any longer. Too bad – I would have liked to have joined the large gathering of skiers.

The bottom line is that I highly recommend the festival to anyone in the Rochester area – it was well organized, and there was more than enough to do for all ages, and all abilities. Rochester’s winters have been the brunt of east coast jokes for years, but for many of us who live there, it is winter time when the place really comes to life. The WinterFest proves that, and was able to show many locals new ways to enjoy the cold.

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First Post – – “Who Am I and Why Am I Here?”

Cairn on East Esker Trail, Mendon PondsHere goes nothing – sorry if this starts out slow, but I’ve been inspired to start my own by some great blogs out there like Tom Mangan’s Two Heel Drive, TrailCraft, and Casey at ModernHiker, and the new site known as, which still has a way to go, but it is a great idea I hope will take off. These guys have shared with those who are interested their experiences and insight, and I enjoy reading what they have to say. Much of what they write is about hiking, but there are often insights and views of this crazy world that are always amusing to read – especially since much of my reading is done at the pre-sun hours of the day.

I hope I can share my love for the outdoors with you as well as they have – one thing I have found insteresting about them is that they seem to live in adventure Mecca’s like Colorado and California. Me, I’m in Rochester, New York, and while I love it here, most people don’t appreciate all that’s available. We’re much more than the lake effect snow depository the Weather Channel says we are (OK, so we’re that, too, in normal years, which we haven’t had in the last few).

I have finally been able to regain my appreciation for the outdoors – for years I was married to a woman who didn’t allow me to take the time to spend outdoors as much as I would have liked, and am no longer so encumbered. My current wife loves to hike, kayak and be outside as much as I always did before – together we do what we can when we can, but you know the drill. Jobs, kids, household maintenance, and anything that conspires against you, it’s never as much as we’d like.

This year we have decided to start working on climbing the Adirondack’s 46 highest peaks – no, its not like climbing Colorado’s 14’ers, but it’ll do to start for us. I hope to share those (mis)adventures here – we hope to start in February with one of the easier ones to get the ticker going.

Meanwhile, I keep trying to get out as much as I can, and putting one foot in front of the other…thanks for listening.

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East Esker Trail

Mendon PondsWinter finally arrived in Rochester this past weekend, so Mrs. Warlock and I decided to try out a new trail in one the largest parks run by the county, Mendon Ponds. I hadn’t been out in quite a while, as I was nursing a minor surgical procedure from over the holidays, and it was great to be out. A light dusting of snow had finally lasted more than an hour, and while it wasn’t much to speak of, it made the park look more like Rochester than it has in way too long.

The trail is supposed to be about five miles, but somehow we got mixed up at a junction point where it doubles back on itself and ended up shortening it to only a mile and a half. The trail isn’t blazed too well, and I wasn’t looking at the map as closely as I should have been. Just as well – after being laid up for several weeks, the hills on this one got to me quicker than I care to admit, but it was still good get moving again. Now that we’ve had more snow in the last few days, and still expect more this week, the Park may actually be able to host their WinterFest this weekend. My kids are excited about seeing the sled dog race, and there looks to be too many fun things to do in one day, which is all we have.

Assuming we get more snow, I plan to go back and try this trail with the snowshoes – should be interesting.

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