Yesterday we walked by plantations of white pines and spruce,  remnants of old apple orchards, lovely red sugar maples, beeches, hornbeams, and hophornbeams.

Those last two trees are pictured above.

Of the two, I prefer the hophornbeam.

I mean, who wants a hornbeam that just sits there?

I find it’s true that Nature abhors a vacuum.  Ambling along,  pretty much totally vacant of thought, empty-headed, so Nature provided a little wake-up call – – two ruffed grouse, alway wiseguys, suddenly shot up, like whirring rockets.

I’ve never gotten a picture of a grouse,  just a few minor heart attacks, when they suddenly blast off, three feet in front of my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d gone into a stretch of hemlocks, where it’s always a bit darker, and getting along toward sundown, so we’d decided to head back, while we could still see the trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But first we walked just a bit down the hill, to listen to the creek, and look at the tiny waterfalls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And found a shrine-like assemblage of pebbles on the bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little heart-shaped stones were tucked every which way into crevices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know, damn hippies.  This won’t gladden the hearts of most hikers I know, who are fundamentally opposed to leaving any alteration or trace of human activity in the woods.

And humans being humans, they kinda overdid things, maybe just a tad, so it ended up looking like a Neolithic dump, just after Valentine’s Day in the Stone Age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there were no beer cans, cigarette butts, or shell casings, and to be honest, I kind of got a kick out of this particular little display of weirdness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why am I always thinking about food? I saw these lovely ferns, and all I could think was, how come there’s never a good salad bar in the woods, when you need one.  With those little croutons.

 

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Ithaca, NY, photography, Public Art, Uncategorized, United States, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. October. Corazón de piedra

Image

I’ve never seen the mushrooms achieve the size they have this summer. This looked like someone tossed in a big old bath sponge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cap to show the size of these clumps

 

 

 

coexisting nicely

 

 

 

 

An archipelago of coral fungus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, food, hiking, Ithaca, NY, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. September. An archipelago of coral fungus

Image

 

 

 

 

 

honeysuckle berries

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Ithaca, NY, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. July. Buttermilk Creek.

Image

x

 

 

 

 

“Indian Pipes” or “Ghost Plant”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

red newt.  my friend here, and the fungus photos, taken with an iPhone 5s

 

 

A walk in the woods today, turned out to be a macrofungi field trip.  Still very damp, even mucky in places, after getting eight inches of rain in recent weeks.  All these pictures, with the exception of the second one, were taken within a few hundred feet of each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Ithaca, Nature, NY, photography, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. July. A Rose by any other name

Image

 

 

 

 

 

Some towns to our west, in Cayuga County, have had flooding recently. Eight inches of rain over two weeks, and the woods are filled with fungus. I know little of wild mushrooms, so no one should rush out to eat this on my say-so, but I think this is what the old folks call “sheepshead”. You can get an idea of size from the oak leaf in the top right corner, of the first photo.  Kind of sloppy ground for walking, but also kind of neat.  So many fungus, almost glowing in the dim woods, it struck me that a coral reef was taking root.  While I was away last summer, there was a drought, and everyone reported on all the little streams that pretty much dried up, but they’re now going full tilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. July. Eight inches of rain

Image

Finger Lakes, FLX, photography, Upstate New York

shadow of a fern

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Excelsior” is the motto of New York State, “Ever Upwards,” and this works for the glen.

A series of little waterfalls, the tallest is actually a thin cascade over one hundred feet tall.

First time I’ve hiked here.  A few miles from the much better-known Watkins Glen, but this one isn’t a park.

The “entrance” or mouth of the glen is unmarked, and unattractive, a narrow opening next to a highway, so it doesn’t attract many people. But one minute’s walk and it’s quiet and picturesque – the tiny waterfalls are great.

There are two other issues, though.

One, there’s very definitely sulfur in them there hills, and the stream smells of it.

Two, it’s a good place to break your neck. Don’t bring children.

It’s private land, and hiking is allowed, but no real trail in parts, so it’s a scramble over slick, crumbling shale and clay.  I’d advise real caution going up the stream bed, or along it, and normally I never say stuff like that.  This is a very slippery place, and one member of my party, who was being careful, stepped on a root and went down a slope. Fast.

Luckily a two-inch sapling snagged her before she went over and hit the rocks, and nothing broken.

And just as important, she wasn’t carrying my camera, so everything was ok in the end.  (Kidding!)

The Finger Lakes Trail passes close by, but it’s been routed away from the glen, and you won’t see most of the falls by staying on it.  But if you’re very, very careful, and don’t mind a whiff of sulfur, the falls are really nice.

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, photography, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. Late Spring in Excelsior Glen.

Image