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

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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

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Like so many sophisticated adventure-seekers before us, we were driving around Cattaraugus County, admiring the cows.

There’s a whole lot of ’em.

Restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations, people…not so much.

Eventually, a small sign told us we’d arrived in East Otto.

Apparently, we’d passed through West Otto, and Central Otto, without noticing.

Soon after, my cellphone found a signal again, and could pull up a map.

We discovered that we were southeast of Bagdad, Gowanda, and the Zoar Valley.

And due east of Persia.

Strangers in a strange land.

I hadn’t known our state had these outlandish places, in such a pastoral setting, but I liked the idea of eating cheese from such exotic locales.

Bagdad Brie, Persian Pecorino, Gowanda Gorgonzola.

And yes, as you may have guessed, we’d gotten off the interstate, decided to go home cross-country, no GPS, and were a bit lost.

The endless herds of Holsteins were the only familiar faces we’d seen.  It’s possible we’d seen some of them more than once, as we zigzagged around.

The roads wandered through pastures, woodlots, little hills. We passed an old guy cutting hay, wearing a wool plaid jacket in August, and as we went around the bend, and up a little hill, we realized there was something strange about our surroundings.

There were no cows to be seen.

No cows whatsoever.

Finding ourselves in a landscape totally vacant of cows made us uneasy.

 

 

And then, as we came over the rise, suddenly there were strange metal objects — tall, mysterious, like alien totems, as if we’d entered the territory of some weird cult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There didn’t seem to be any roadblocks manned by the Children of the Corn, so we kept driving, and found we’d driven into the Griffis Sculpture Park.

A rusted but fantabulous remnant of an ancient but very groovy time, called “The Sixties”.

 

 

 

The wonderful man who created this place was named Larry Griffis, Jr.

He came back to Buffalo after serving in WWII, and started a business making nylon stockings.

During a visit to Italy, he fell in love with sculpture.

I saw a picture of him on the internet, and he reminded me a bit of Van Morrison.  His son, and now granddaughter, have kept his workshop in Buffalo going, and the park in East Otto is now hundreds of acres of fields, ponds, and woods, full of sculptures, by Griffis and other artists.

 

 

 

Some are pretty literal creations, like this giraffe, peering into the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or this giant mosquito.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woods are full of meandering paths, with abstract creations scattered about.

 

 

 

 

A pond is surrounded by flying metal geese, and rusted obelisks, which resemble small cellphone towers, as woven from rebar by a cargo cult — some overgrown, some toppled over, and merging into the undergrowth.

A shrine-like creation, marked “Santana,” held an offering of a dozen half-eaten acorns.

 

 

 

 

What the world needs now…Peace, Love, Rust-Oleum.

 

 

 

 

Statues and shapes are cast in bronze and aluminum, but most seem to be weathered and rusted iron.

One group resembles chess pieces, another, industrial elements.

 

 

 

 

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We’d arrived quite a distance from the main entrance, where a series of fields and woods harbors some hands-on creations, that you can climb on, and in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite resembles the conning tower of a submarine, surfacing in a meadow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My snapshots only show a fraction of the collection.  You could easily spend the better part of a day, hiking around and discovering things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some of these creations, as the day got close to sundown, seemed a bit spooky, even foreboding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the overwhelming vibe of the place is of whimsical creativity and happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

So long for now, from atop the conning tower, surfacing somewhere in the Summer of Love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures were taken with an iPhone 5s.  The Griffis Park really isn’t that remote, it’s less than an hour south of Buffalo, and half that driving north from Salamanca.  Take a GPS with you. Hugs to the cows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1960's, 1970's, Art, NY, Public Art, Sculpture, Upstate New York

Pictures of Upstate New York. August. A marvelous place for a moondance.

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honeysuckle berries

 

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

Pictures of Upstate New York. July. Buttermilk Creek.

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“Indian Pipes” or “Ghost Plant”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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“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.

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A very busy photograph, but that seems appropriate for Teddy Roosevelt. The real Teddy did visit Waterloo, but by train, on a whistle-stop campaign for Governor.

 

 

 

This small village lost fifty-eight men during the Civil War.

 

 

 

The actual observance of Memorial Day, and commemoration of the fallen, will be on the 30th, as it has been, every year, for 151 years.

 

 

 

I took a picture of an old Chrysler, and didn’t see the reflection of the flags until I got home. This is similar to the one owned by Harry Truman, who would drive with his wife Bess to NYC, to visit their daughter.  He drove it himself, with no Secret Service detail.

 

courtesy of the Truman Library, accession Number: 2004-213

 

This reminded me of the 1975 song by Robert Lamm of the band “Chicago,” who was not a fan of Richard Nixon –

Harry Truman

America needs you Harry Truman ~ Harry could you please come home

Things are looking bad ~ I know you would be mad ~

To see what kind of men ~ Prevail upon the land you love ~

America’s wondering, how we got here ~ Harry all we get is lies~

We’re gettin’ safer cars ~ Rocket ships to Mars ~

From men who’d sell us out~  To get themselves a piece of power ~ 

We’d love to hear you speak your mind ~ In plain and simple ways ~

Call a spade a spade~  Like you did back in the day ~

You would play piano ~ Each morning walk a mile ~

Speak of what was going down ~ With honesty and style ~

~ America’s calling Harry Truman ~ Harry you know what to do ~

The world is turnin’ round ~ and losin’ lots of ground

Oh Harry is there something we can do to save the land we love ~~~~~ by Robert Lamm

 

Civil War, Decoration Day, Finger Lakes, FLX, History, Memorial Day, Upstate New York, Waterloo

151st Memorial Day Parade, Waterloo, NY.

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