Sunday, June 22, 2008

What's RiverHag doing up in Tanglewood?

Looking for the Chemung River, of course! I knew it would be a long hike, so I chose a cool, cloudy morning.That turned into a bright sunny scorcher. No matter, since I would mostly be in the shade. Not so, however. There are plenty of sun-drenched paths. Fortunately they usually run back into the woods.
And then it is a pretty, shady hike. But the trail I needed to walk was very, very long. To visit the River, even from above, would take me about 45 minutes. Not to mention 45 minutes back.
When I finally saw the Chemung, I had to fight the vertigo. The drop is breathtaking. I was already tired, and it was a struggle to continue walking. Good thing I had my fortified camera pod, because I really needed to lean on something.
No kidding. Looking out over the river, I could see that where the rocks began, the trees stopped.
Finally. Fitch's Bridge.

When I reached the overlook, there was no place to rest. The park bench was in pieces, held up with a teetering tower of rocks. I took a quick picture and began to look for landmarks. Ten years ago my sister and I hiked to the very same spot. The view is quite different, because trees now block much of it.Still, it was worth the trip. Looking north, one can follow the river all the way out through big Flats. I took one last shot that focused on the opposite bank, zooming in a bit:Looking straight across, there are pretty farms and some fairly impressive homesteads. Wonder if some of them are new since my last visit?

Tanglewood has changed in ten years. The trails are better marked, and there are more facilities.

I've changed too. Multiple Sclerosis may be a nervous system disorder, but it has really messed with my muscles and sapped me of stamina. What used to be a pleasant walk of about and hour or so now becomes two full hours that slowly turn into torture, with me dragging my bad leg and shuffling my feet. Thank heavens I wore hikers.

There were deer, butterflies, some of the biggest squirrels I have ever seen, bullfrogs and some very large birds that I was too tired to try to identify. An earlier morning, or later afternoon, would no doubt produce different wildlife.

It was worth the trip. I saw the Chemung River from the hilltop.

Little Pond

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Practically in the heart of Elmira, NY

To the visitors from the blog, welcome to RiverHag's main site. You may recognize the name of the owner of these fields, the Janowski family. Their farm goes way, way back in time, at least to the beginning of the last century.
Nearly all the land that is now the Gateway area of the Chemung River used to be part of their farmland. Of course the various floods changed the topography again and again, but it was still the Janowski's until the Army Corps of Engineers turned it into a protected area.
I don't know if they also owned Jones Island, pictured here. Lately, we can cross the river onto the island, if we don't mind getting our feet wet.

These sights are all accessible from the levee on the south side of the Chemung River. I park in a shady spot along Brand Park, or sometimes at the Fishing and Boating Access near Dunn Field. The levee goes way, way south, where the RiverDog and I have not even begun to explore.

Little Pond