Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Rochester Ride

Oh! Hey there! It's been a few weeks, hasn't it? 

I am in Rochester, NY for a conference this weekend. In fact, I've been here since Thursday and the conference is just starting this evening. But because I'm on the Board for the conference, I've been here for lots of pre-conference activities (mostly meetings). Thanks to an adjustment to the pre-con activities schedule this year, I wound up with nearly all of today as free time - hallelujah! Having done my homework before I came to Rochester, I knew that there were several bicycle trails in the area. I opted to bring my personal vehicle to this conference so I could toss my bicycle on the back and get out for a nice ride today...which is exactly what I did!

While other Board members were looking forward to sleeping in, finding a nice spa for a massage, or generally just chilling for the day, I've been looking forward to this morning since I arrived and wheeled my bike into my hotel room!

Naturally, Milton Moo made the trip; he wanted to pose on my bike in my room.

As soon as I got up, I started to get ready - I braided my hair, hit up the ice machine to fill my CamelBak, and put a Lara Bar and a snack bag of pretzels in my pack. I wheeled my bike down the hall, onto the elevator, and into the lobby. I parked it and consulted with a girl at the front desk on my intended route. I was out on the street and riding by 8 AM. 

I headed south on South Street (appropriate) to Broad Street where I crossed the Genesee River and picked up the Genesee Riverway Trail (GRT). My plan to was to continue south on the GRT until I reached the Erie Canal Heritage Trail (ECHT). Originally, I'd planned to head west on the ECHT, but when I got to the intersection of the trails, I opted to head east instead. While I'll never know what I missed by not going west, I do know what I saw by heading east and I'm quite pleased. Let's take a look, shall we?

After leaving the hotel, I rode straight through to Pittsford, NY where I stopped after an hour of riding for breakfast - a Cherry Pie Lara Bar.

The waterfront in Pittsford was very quaint.

Along this portion of the waterfront, bikes must be walked.
(There is an off-waterfront continuation of the trail for bicycles.)

The ECHT runs right through the grounds of the Maintenance Subheadquarters during the weekend.

It was a lovely morning along the Erie Canal.

Erie Canal Lock 32

The Erie Canal - The Great American Canal!

A little bit about the Erie Canal.

Erie Canal Lock 33 - Henrietta, NY

Another shot of Lock 33. Sadly, I didn't see any boats in the canal during my ride.

I noticed this cycling banner and just had to take a pic!

In Brighton, NY.

One of the ECHT trail markers.

Directional signage along the trail.

The East Guard Locks at the Genesee River Crossing.

I found quite a bit of enjoyment on two of the three trails!

Crossing the Genesee River on my way back to the GRT, looking north.

Looking south crossing the Genesee River. Those are dredging boats in the background. Silting happens constantly, so silting is a year round operation.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fulfillment of Waldo. J. Nielsen's vision this morning!!!

Um, wasn't very steep!

Approaching downtown Rochester.

The tall white building on the left in this picture it the Hyatt where I'm staying this week.

I doubled back to the University of Rochester campus to tool around just a bit (and add some more miles to my trek).

See what I did there?

And my final mileage. All along I was telling my colleagues that I was shooting for 25-30 miles this morning, so 27.28 works for me!

This morning's bicycle ride was EXACTLY what I needed today. I haven't been out on my bike since I did 33.70 miles THREE WEEKS AGO. I was OVERDUE for a nice, long, mind-clearing ride which is precisely what I got this morning! It was just enough "me time" to put the last few days of meetings behind me before focusing on the actual conference which kicks off in less than an hour with the First Time Attendees Reception. And this morning's ride makes New York the fifth state in which I've ridden my bike...45 more to go!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Buggy, Muggy Hike

Last time Chris and I were at Parker Dam State Park, we picked up a trail map. When we got home, we analyzed it and pieced together what we thought would be a great hike by combining segments of the Beaver Dam, Snow, Skunk, and Souder's Trail. This past week, we decided to spend one of the days of the weekend out at PDSP giving our loop a whirl. Originally, we'd planned for Saturday, but when we woke up Saturday morning, we decided to run our weekend errands and spend Sunday at the park. 

We woke up Sunday morning, showered, and prepared to leave. I packed sandwiches, apples, and a Cliff Bar for Chris and a Lara Bar for myself, then Chris and I filled our CamelBaks. We arrived at the park shortly after 12 PM and found a picnic table so we could enjoy our sandwiches and apples before striking out on the trail. Yesterday was the Annual Woodhick Weekend, which showcases the area's early lumber heritage and history of the park, including the recover of the forest started by the Civilian Conservation Corps following decades of timbering. The event features Woodhick demonstrations and amateur competitions. Competitors and exhibitors alike were beginning to arrive as we were finishing our lunch. We put our cooler bag back in the car and began our sojourn.

TRAIL STARTS: That man might find unity with nature...

To access the Beaver Dam Trail, we walked back the Cabin Road. It looked like every cabin was occupied for the Labor Day Weekend. We encountered two people headed the opposite direction shortly after setting out on the Beaver Dam Trail, but before long we left it behind as we met up with the Snow Trail. 

Chris used the trail sign as a leaning spot while he fished gravel out of his shoe.

The Snow Trail

While we were hiking, I spotted this snail on the trail.

It was cloudy during the first 2/3 of our hike, but it was still very muggy.

While we were hiking the Snow Trail, we talked about the times we'd hunted along the trail and Chris joked that it would be just our luck if a huge herd of deer went barreling by us. Not five minutes later, we were hiking and chatted when CRASH! SMASH! CLATTER! - two HUGE does when bounding across the trail in front of us. We just looked at each other and laughed. Chris said if it had been hunting season (when all of the leaves would have been off of the trees), we probably could have squeezed off a shot or two and had some fresh venison. If only...

The Snow Trail ends at Moose Grade Road, which we hiked one mile back to Mud Run Road. Along the way, we saw several smashed TONS of smashed frogs. And what was weird was there were bees seemingly feeding on the carcasses. Bees! I guess I didn't realized bees ate dead animals, but apparently yellow jackets do?!?

Moose Grade Road

Poor smashed frog!

We stopped at the intersection of Moose Grade Road and Mud Run Road so Chris could de-gravel his shoe again and so I could tape my broken little toe to the next one, as it was really starting to bother me. We were on Mud Run Road very briefly before we turned onto the Skunk Trail.

The beginning of the Skunk Trail at Mud Run Road.

The Skunk and Souder's Trails are part of the PDSP XC ski trail loop.

The Skunk Trail was especially buggy.
We got quite an arm workout waving the bugs away on this trail.

This fallen tree looked pretty recent; its base was massive!

The Skunk Trail crosses Laurel Ridge Road enters into a stand of pines where the trail bed is soft and mossy.

The Skunk Trail ends at an intersection with the Souder's Trail, which we took back to Fairview Road which connects the Park Office with the Campground.

Meeting up with the Souder's Trail.

We encountered this twisted tree on the Souder's Trail.

TRAIL ENDS: ...for man and nature are all one.

We walked down the Lake Access Road - picking blackberries along the way - to the concession stand where we treated ourselves to a small ice cream, which we ate while we people-watched at the beach. Once we were done, we decided to walk up Fairview Road to the Campground (picking more blackberries - we got about a cup), along the dam, and across the rocks to get back to our car.

Chris stands on "the drumstick" rock at the bottom of the spillway.

A monarch visits the butterfly garden at the park's museum.

When we got back to the car, we'd logged 7.02 miles with a moving average of 2.6 miles per hour and a moving time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. Chris had our GPS unit tracking our hike, so check out our track and our elevation plot:

We had a great time and - even better - burned a ton of calories while getting a good dose of fresh air and vitamin D. Needless to say, we both slept very well last night! We're making plans to tackle the Moss Hanne Trail next; it's an 11-mile loop at Black Moshannon State Park. Stay tuned!