For the past 20+ years Julie and I have amassed a very large collection of glass Christmas ornaments that hang from our four trees each year. Some are new and some very old.
When the boys were born we began the tradition of purchasing them each a Christmas ornament every year. As they got older we would all jump into the family truckster and head for the Hand of Man in Owego where we would pick our ornaments together. The thought was that Michael and Max would look forward to putting their ornaments on the trees every year all the while building a small collection of ornaments for themselves to take with them once they leave home.
Last evening we took our annual pilgrimage to Owego for our Christmas cheer one last time. Pat Hansen the owner will be retiring and Hand of Man will close their doors in April 2020.
We are truly sad but this evenings outing was wonderful family tradition complete with a few slices of pizza to finish it off.
My obsession with the Adirondacks can sometimes overshadow the pure beauty of home. Recently I was reminded of a little gem almost in my backyard called the “IBM Glen” or “Glen”. The Glen is part of the Waterman Conservation Education Center.
The sound of leaves crunching underfoot can be soothing or even thought provoking, oak trees are my favorite. They are strong, powerful and their leaves fascinate me. The day was cloudy but still beautiful to be outdoors as I wandered up a portion of Gray’s Creek. Some ice and snow lingered in the depths of the forest where the sun’s warm hands could not touch. Water flowed smoothly over the various small waterfalls muffling the sound of the noon fire whistle. As I made my way out of the creek and up the hillside the scurry of chipmunks was entertaining to watch. The tap, tap, tap of a woodpecker caught my attention as I scanned the woods. Unsure but I believe my new friend was either a Yellow-bellied sapsucker or a Downy woodpecker, no matter this one was very determined.
Continuing to crunch along I would end my day with a wonderful 4.25 mile walk in the woods. It was nice to slow down and just take in life.
The IBM Glen comprises over 200 acres in the Town of Union, in the heart of the so-called Triple Cites region of New York State’s Southern Tier. The IBM Glen contains a mature forest with some of the oldest and largest trees in Broome County, and its cascading gorge is the region’s finest. For centuries people have enjoyed the Glen’s majestic trees, cool waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and abundant bird and animal life. We know that the region’s native inhabitants must have loved this magical spot, and when white settlers began to arrive in the 18th century one of the first homesteaders built next to the Glen.
In the IBM Glen, a carefully-built trail with natural stone steps and bridges, including two stone arch bridges, was built in the 1930’s or 1940’s. Stone fireplaces and picnic tables can be seen along the Glen’s trail.
The IBM Glen is a mature forest of maples, dark green hemlocks, tall oaks and occasionally a white pine or two that is three feet in diameter which towers over them all. The “old growth forest” is located close to the stream and is an important part of The Glen for people to see.
Wildlife has many different types of homes in The Glen. From reptiles to birds to mammals and amphibians, people of all ages can walk through The Glen and enjoy all of the different types.
Waterman Center obtained the property in 2004 when a group of people convinced IBM not to log the old growth trees and sell the land, but rather to turn it into a refuge for people to enjoy.
The IBM Glen is a “Place for All Seasons”! Walking is the most popular sport of those who use the trails at The Glen but there’s also room for those who snowshoe and cross-country ski in the winter.
The color in the Adirondacks is gone however the Tamaracks are stunning even on a dreary afternoon.
Nelson Lake which is tucked away south of Minnehaha, NY or just outside of Old Forge in the Black River Wild Forest has been on my radar for close to a year now. The week of September 23rd I found myself working very close to the Adirondack Park, combine that with beautiful weather and you have a recipe for adventure.
The Nelson Lake trailhead sits along route 28 several miles south of Thendera, NY. There is a .35 mile carry along a wide dirt road to the put-in. After you cross the railroad tracks the path narrows and drops for the remaining several hundred feet to the Middle Branch of the Moose River. Once on the river it was about .06 mile paddle to the Nelson Lake outlet according to my GPS. The outlet was shallow and loaded with Pickerel weed. I zigged and I zagged through the outlet and easily crossed a small beaver dam before entering the 84 acre lake.
A palette of red, orange and yellow was evidence that Autumn was here while the sun at my back gave me some warmth from a cool breeze. Slowly paddling the shoreline I realized I was alone, I had the entire lake to myself. As I made my way around the lake I was looking for campsites. I did see what I thought was one however it wasn’t marked. I’ll have to look into it for the future.
I would paddle 3.6 miles, hike just over a half mile but more importantly spend time in a beautiful landscape.
Last week the weather was spectacular and I would find myself in the Adirondack Park for a few days. I’ve been wanting to visit Helldiver Pond in the Moose River Plains area for quite some time. Mostly because “Harold” the resident bull moose makes his daily morning appearance, sadly Harold is rumored to have passed.
Moose or not I would make the trip to Helldiver Pond. Helldiver is nestled 10 miles in on a dirt road from the DEC sign in off of Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, NY. Once at the parking area it is a short 1/4 mile carry to the 15 acre pond. I had the place to myself until I noticed a mountain biker show up with a pair of binoculars and scope the place out. I paddled over for a few minutes to chat.
As I have mentioned this pond had been on my to do list for a while. Although I went mooseless I was not disappointed. Autumn had begun to show its true colors.