Monday, February 25, 2019

Winter Hiking the Finger Lakes Trail in Letchworth State Park

On this week's blog post our friend Keith Walters takes us all on another hike. He recently trekked most of the Finger Lakes Trail on its' course through Letchworth State Park over the course of two days, even spending a night in a lean to shelter.  Let's join him, shall we?


Monday, February 18, 2019

Western New York Secret Places: Little Rock City

by Mike Radomski


Little Rock City, located in Little Valley, NY, is one of Western New York’s Secret Places named by the late Bruce Kershner’s book by the same name. Little Rock city is a “seemingly unending labyrinth of odd blocks of colossal rocks, lined up like buildings.” Little Rock City gets its name from the arrangement of rock formations which resemble a planned city like New York City.  The giant, rectangular rocks form streets, alleys and buildings and are named after famous New York City ways such as Wallstreet, Broadway and Rockefeller Plaza. See the map below.

Little Rock City is the largest rock city on public land covering over 50 acres and is part of the Rock City and McCarty Hill State Forest. Little Rock City, contrary to some belief, was NOT formed glaciers. Rather is was formed by mountain building events called orogenies. By the gradual erosion of a layer of conglomerate rock, cracks developed in the rocks and widened.  The cracks eventually became crevices and the rocks very slowly slid down the mountain forming today’s Little Rock City.

A labyrinth of rocks.
Along with the interesting rock formation, Little Rock City has some unique features noted in the book. The Inscription Grotto (#7) has historic carvings dating back to the 1800’s. The oldest noted in the book are “J.D. June 30, 1861” and “Moall 1861”.  Another interesting set of features are the trees.  You can see trees seemingly growing out of the rocks with roots enveloping them to reach the soil. Stilt Tree (#4) is one such hemlock tree that stands on two large roots.

1800s inscriptions at Inscription Grotto.
In fact, all of the rock cities in NY, Pennsylvania and Ohio were formed by this process. They all lie just south of where the Ice Age glaciers stopped and retreated 12,000 year ago.  Had the glaciers continued, the area would have been “obliterated” and would have looked much like parts of NY just north.

Stilted tree.
When visiting, be sure to bring boots and an extra pair of shoes for after the hike. The alleys are muddy even during the dry summer months. And as the author suggests, bring a plastic supermarket bag and pick up any litter you find. It's important to always follow the practices of ":Leave No Trace" whenever we are outside enjoying these special places.

Map of Little Rock City from Secret Places by Bruce Kershner.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Winter's Hike on Trail 2A at Letchworth State Park

This week's blog post comes courtesy one of our favorite local nature photographers, Ketih Walters.  The next time you visit the park be sure to stop in at the Visitor Center to see some of his work displayed in the lobby.  It's spectacular! In the meantime, let's join him as he takes a leisurely early morning stroll through one of the lesser known areas at the South end of the park.  

Monday, February 4, 2019

A Winter Wonderland at Letchworth State Park

by Mike Radomski


"The Grand Canyon of the East"
Winter is a great time to get outside and take in the frozen landscape. I cannot think of a better place than Letchworth State Park.
In 2015, Letchworth won the USA TODAY Readers’ Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States! Letchworth is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East” because of the 17 mile, 550 ft. canyon that bisects the park.
Upper Falls at Letchworth State Park

Middle Falls at Letchworth State Park
The park is home to more than 35 waterfalls including the 70 ft. Upper Falls, the 107 ft. Middle Falls and Lower Falls along with New York State’s highest plunging waterfall: Inspiration Falls, which is seasonal, and only flows during heavy rain.

Middle Falls at Letchworth State Park
During the winter season, the landscape is transformed into a scene from the Chronicles of Narnia or the Game of Thrones. The many cascades into the gorge are frozen, creating giant icicles on the vertical rock. The three main falls create magical views, encasing the whole area in a sheet of ice.

Ice Volcano at The Glen Iris Inn
One of the most unique features of Letchworth State Park in the winter is the Ice Volcano that is formed at The Glen Iris Inn. A giant cone is formed by a gravity fed fountain on the pond. It can reach heights of 35 ft. or more depending on the temperatures.

Letchworth State Park is a magical place anytime of the year. Experiencing it in the winter is second to none. You will experience breathtaking views of the frozen landscape and the peacefulness the stillness of winter brings.

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