April 30, 2017

Clark Reservation for the Win

My Mom, Mary, has been visiting from Michigan the last few days, staying first at Erin's house, then here.  On Friday morning, after dropping Frankie off at school, I drove out to Beaver Lake and caught up with Mary, Erin, and Alden on the Deep Woods Trail.  Yesterday, we had a picnic in the cold wind at Onondaga Lake Park, then the boys played on the playground eternally and we visited the memorial bench for my late grandparents.  Erin and Alden aren't available Sunday mornings, so we made plans to meet up this afternoon to hang out after Alden's nap and have dinner together.  Then Mary, Frankie, and I packed lunches and headed out for a short hike at Clark Reservation.

We hiked a variation on a favorite loop: Cliff Trail > Long Trail > Pulpit Rock Trail > Long Trail > Switchback Trail > Big Buck Trail > Dry Lake Trail, for a total of 1.5 miles.  This route was largely Frankie-driven, plotted to hit all his favorite "holes" and scrambles, with some guidance from us to stay on the Pulpit Rock Trail rather then veering onto the Power Line Trail, to maximize the wildflower viewing.  For a little excitement, we took Frankie around the edge of the cliff for the first time.  He was terribly thrilled by the little "cave" created by overhanging rocks, and insisted we eat our lunches there.  It was a great spot for a picnic on a gray day threatening rain.   

I was a little worried about how Mary would fare in this terrain, as she had total hip replacement surgery less than three months ago.  I knew she has worked hard throughout the recovery process, and was recently discharged from physical therapy, and I knew she and Keith have been hiking in Michigan this spring.  But while still easy enough from a technical standpoint, there is considerably more variability in the substrate at Clark compared to Beaver Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, or the woods behind my house, the only places I've been out with her since the surgery.  However, I need not have worried -- she was amazing!  And what great positive reinforcement... THIS is why she did it.  All the pain and inconvenience of the surgery and recovery?  It was all worth it to enable her to continue hiking.  I'm so proud of my Mom!      


we took Frankie below the cliff edge for the first time
he loved it!
Photo by Mary

Photo by Mary

Frankie loved the pictures of him in this tree and wanted to put a heart on one

Photo by Mary

early saxifrage (Micranthes virginiensis)
white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

barren strawberry (Geum fragarioides)

Canada violet (Viola canadensis)

April 23, 2017

A Sunny Spring Day at Great Bear

Erin and I had been waiting for a nice day to get the boys to Great Bear Recreation Area.  Alden is big enough now to have acquired the ubiquitous kid joy in throwing things in the water.  Splash!  By taking Great Bear Road, then Alec's Trail, we reached the Oswego River in about 1 mile.  For little legs, this is the perfect distance to get some time in the woods, then have a lengthy rest-and-snack-and-play session before returning via Great Bear Road.  Because of this, we almost always take the same route, and likely will for some time to come.  Alden hiked almost the entire distance himself, only requesting portage during the climb back up Great Bear Road toward the end.  This is a very impressive hike for someone who is only very newly 2 years old, so it wouldn't be reasonable to ask the little guy to go further for a while yet. 

It was a fantastic little hike!  The boys played well together, which was heart-warming and swoony.  There were no significant issues with Frankie hoarding sticks or rocks.  The weather was spectacular, and there were spring wildflowers in bloom along the trail.  We even convinced the boys to sit together for a portrait session -- cuteness overload. 

Great Bear Road
red trillium (Trillium erectum)
Alec's Trail
trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

Oswego River
photo by Erin
photo by Erin

Frankie drew a picture of a cat using a wet stick

download map from Friends of Great Bear