Climb to Gorge Trail

Potential danger abounds

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the third post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Emerging from the blind canyon of Cowsheds Waterfall, we are faced with this gorgeous pool fed by Dry Creek (yes, that is the name). Formed by a dam, the water is deep and very cold.

We were standing on this footbridge for the above photograph. The trail to Cowsheds is on the far side of Dry Creek and to the right.

We have yet to count these steps, don’t know why. The limestone blocks were quarried locally from the same stone of the creek bed. The gorge trail begins at the top.

Trillium Seed Capsule

This is a Purple Trillium, I believe, formal name Trillium erectum. It is a large specimen judging form the width of the bracts, leaf like structures at the based of the flower stalk. When fertilized, the ovaries form this seed capsule containing up to 16 seeds, each with lipid with a high content of oleic acid. During summer, the capsule opens, seeds disperse. Ants encounter the seed elaiosome, the oleic acid content triggers “corpse carrying behavior.” The ants carry the seeds into their nests, consume the lipids leaving the seeds. After a year dormancy the seeds sprout and the additional depth in the ant nest provides a good start.

Trillium are a favorite food of deer, unfortunately. Some seeds are spread this way, passing through the digestive tract and out in fecal waste. I use the color of the seed capsule to identify it was Purple Trillium. In my experience the white variety (Trillium grandiflorum, and others) has a light colored seed capsule.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Presidents Fillmore and F. D. Roosevelt

A U.S. President born in a log cabin, MiIllard Fillmore

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly, we visited
Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is Pam and my favorite park for the lack of crowds, variety of wildflowers and dramatic views.

A the bottom of Gorge Trail, near the creek fed swimming pool, is a cabin moved to the park from a few miles away to commemorate an American President’s birthplace. Milllard Fillmore was born on the peneplain above the gorge of Dry Creek in a place called Locke, five miles from the modern park entrance. His birth cabin was destroyed in 1852, the land is dedicated to his memory with a monument. This cabin of a type identical was disassembled and reconstructed on this spot in 1965 by the Millard Fillmore Memorial Association.

The 480 square foot (20 by 24 feet) original (the rebuild is a bit smaller) had a central fireplace and and will chinked logs, a ceiling of simple planks.

The cedar shingles were hand made, as were the nails.

More information on a display inside the cabin.
A few feet away is a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. We can thank them for building much of the park infrastructure we depend upon today.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.

The Space Station and the Waterfall

Potential danger abounds

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly, we visited
Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is Pam and my favorite park for the lack of crowds, variety of wildflowers and dramatic views.

Growing near Cowsheds Waterfall, at the foot of Gorge Trail, was this
strange fruiting wildflower so like a modular space station. It is Baneberry.  There are white and red forms. This is white Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda).  These terminal round nodes resolve into white balls with black dots, like dolls eyes. The cylindrical connectors (as in space station) turn bright red. Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) has bright red berries. The flower is a fluffy white mass that gives no hint of the seed form.

All parts of both forms are highly poisonous, the bane of Baneberry. The berries are deadly. Ingestion of as few as two berries by children will cause death from cardiac arrest. Six for an adult.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Cowsheds Waterfall is littered with enormous limestone blocks, remnants of a shelf. The rock under the limestone, a soft shale, is worn away first by running water forming a room (or Cowshed) under the limestone. Eventually, the limstone falls into the creek. The waterfall is at the end of a blind canyon with a sign at a trail end warning visitors to go no further. Careless visitors to Finger Lakes Gorges are killed, on occasion, by falling rock when they loiter beneath cliffs.

Overview of the site
Click me for my Fine Art Photography Gallery.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.

Katrina Sunrise, August 28, 2005

The effects of the category 5 hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as the sun rose on the West End of Jones Beach on Long Island, August 28, 2005. This amazing sunrise was an element of the unusual atmospheric effects that are evidence of the power of this storm.

The featured image (heading this blog) is my print, “Katrina Sunrise”.  This work is enjoyed by hundreds of my clients.  Use the link, below, to acquire your own.  Custom framing is available.

Click this link for Katrina Sunrise from my Memory Dreams Reflections Online gallery
The following images are the rough drafts taken in the early morning hours. The beach was literally deserted as I mounted the camera and framed the view for this series. Many image captions include the file time stamp, for example 6:07:13 is 6 am and 7 minutes 13 seconds.

West End Sunrise 6:07:13
6:07:13 First image of the set. Below the horizon the sun lights the upper atmosphere.
West End Sunrise 6:07:34
6:07:34 As the sun approaches the horizon the lower clouds catch light. My Camera was a Sony DSC-F828 tripod mounted with a polarizing filter.
West End Sunrise 6:07:56
6:07:56 I panned slightly to the east. ISO was set to 64 throughout.
West End Sunrise 6:08:16
6:08:16 Gradual brightening. The lens is 7.1 – 51.0 mm f/2.0-2.8.
West End Sunrise 6:08:38
6:08:38 All levels are brighter. It seems those low clouds will block the horizon. That was not the case. The variable focal length is 15.6 mm.
West End Sunrise 6:09:05
6:09:05 It is happening!!!! Exposure was set to automatic on a f stop of 8.0. It was 1/3 second for this image.
West End Sunrise 6:14:34
6:14:34 The view is panned west. That is the Robert Moses water tower of Jones Beach State Park looking like a rocket ready to blast off.
West End Sunrise 6:15:15
6:15:15 Will those low clouds block the sun? Looks promising.
West End Sunrise 6:16:11
6:16:11 Clouds on the upper margin catching the sun. Horizon brightening….. Exposure 1/20 second.
West End Sunrise 6:14:39
6:14:39 This will be a disappointment if that sun does not show. Exposure 1/25 second.
West End Sunrise 6:18:27
6:18:27 Almost there….1/15 second exposure….
West End Sunrise 6:19:07
6:19:07 Quick framing adjustment to bring the lighting of shore margin into the composition. The final version was created from two images captured seconds after this.
Hurricane Rainbow Panorama
As the sun rose a rainbow formed in the western sky.

Click this link for my blog “Sunrise Photo Album March 2 2017.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park

Want more? Click this link or any photograph for my Online Gallery.

In the nature of fame, today Watkins Glen is the best known of the Finger Lakes State Parks. The International Speedway of that name enhanced and amplified name recognition during the post war years. Founded in 1948, the course used public roads of the town until the inevitable happened, an accident and the death of a seven year old child in a group of sidewalk spectators when a racer lost control.

The glen predates the race by 12,000+ years formed at that time from glaciation using materials from distant eons . Watkins Glen was known as a tourist attraction from the 19th century for the resort hotel on the south gorge rim, acquired and developed by New York State in the first years of the 20th century.

From a gate off “Lovers Lane” a sturdy flight of concrete steps with custom made handrails lead to an observation platform over the gorge. This feature will be known to many future generations……

Lovers Lane Observation Platform– CLICK ME!!!!

…….the fine grained concrete is worthy of a Roman wall, the heavy iron handrails were built to specification as flowing curves unlike what is done today: built as modules and accommodated on site.

Lovers Lane Observation Platform– CLICK ME!!!!

In the 20th century the fame of Watkins Glen attracted the road race, the popularity of racing enhanced park attendance. Today, the gorge trail of crowded summer weekends. On Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Pam packed a picnic lunch and we made a late start for a weekday visit. The upper entrance is enhanced by mature trees, oak, elm, hemlocks. We had our picnic under these on a moldy picnic table enhanced with a green striped table cloth and fresh coffee.

Pam is my personal photographer. Here is an example of her work.

Michael Wills in Watkins Glen– CLICK ME!!!!

To give me my due, I did the driving and carried the 30+ pound pack into the gorge.

Pam captured me in position downstream from Rainbow Falls with a Manfrotto tripod with hydrostatic ball head on which is mounted a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and Canon EF 24mm f1.4 II USM lens, Tiffen nd 0.9 filter.

It was coming up to 4 pm eastern daylight savings time, the sun still high overhead. I needed to carefully choose a position for a frame in the wide angle lens without hot spots. Here are two results.

The sun was just of the gorge rim, to the right. Rainbow Falls forms from the tributary to Glen Creek cascading over the gorge walls.

Rainbow Falls of Watkins Glen– CLICK ME!!!!

Visitors walk under the falls where falling water eroded the soft, underlying stone to form an overhang.

Rainbow Falls of Watkins Glen– CLICK ME!!!!
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Summer Walk

Experience a hike around Taughannock Gorge on a summer morning with thunderstorms threatening

Constant winds from thunderstorm updrafts, I brought along an umbrella just in case.

Click photograph for slide show. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click the “Watch on YouTube” for a larger format view and more information about each video.

Taughannock Falls Gorge on a humid summer morning
Hemlock Forest on South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls Gorge from South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls from South Rim trail
View of Taughannock Falls Gorge from the North Rim trail on a humid summer (July) morning. Turkey Vultures circle overhead…they are there most summer days.
View of the first waterfall of Taughannock Gorge from the railroad bridge linking the North and South Rim trails on a humid summer (July) morning. This large waterfall empties to the gorge above the 210+ foot Taughannock Falls.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

June Nature Walk

A perfect afternoon, June 16, 2021

Here is a repost for those who missed the video. Please click on video, below and share your responses via comments. Thank You

The Finger Lakes Trail joins Robert H. Treman New York State Park, running along the south rim along the park border.

Today, I started from the stairs next to the Mill of the upper park, walking along Fish Kill Creek, a brief visit to the CCC plaque, over the new footbridge and a steep climb up to the ridge to a marvelous view over the way we just walked. That is a millipede resting on a wooden trail stake.

A word on the creek name. The Dutch word for creek is “Kill”, the anglicisation of the original name retained the Dutch making it, in effect, “Fish Creek Creek,” not a memorization of fish massacre.

There’s one shot of the damage done to tree leaves by hoards of caterpillars…I found chewed-up leaves at my feet throughout the hike.

Then, I re-join the State Park South Rim trail, down the Cliff Staircase to wander the gorge floor below Lucifer Falls.

Up the Gorge Trail with many shots of these wonders including Lucifer Falls, Devil’s Kitchen Waterfall, and the Gallery.

Close with a shot of early Tiger Lily blooms on the south facing bank of Enfield Creek.

I used a new format with this post, with all media in one You Tube video. Enjoy!!

Finger Lakes Trail and Treman Park June 16 2021 – YouTube

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

May Nature Walk

Our first post COVID outing

Pam and I headed out to Treman Park for a walk to the Lucifer Falls overlook. The Gorge Trail is not yet open due to the danger of rock falling from the gorge walls — the park maintenance staff needs to survey winter damage and knock down material in danger of falling.

Our first stop was the mill waterfall. This was was directed to the mill stream to power the mill where grain was ground to order.

Here is an overview of the Mill, now a museum not yet opened post-Covid. The millstone stands at the start of the foot trails. All media on this post is from my IPhone 7, lightweight equipment for this hike. The automatic upload to ICloud is convenient.

Round trip is four-plus miles, with several hundred feet elevation change. Pam and I discussed a car caravan for our next visit, to support a one-way downhill hike (still plenty of uphill hiking). We need to work up to the round trip after our winter inactivity.

Trillium are in bloom!!

Multiple overlooks into the gorge grace this trail.

More trillium before we reached the overlook. Lucifer falls and the incredible path etched into the cliff by the Civilian Conservation Corps (Roosevelt’s Tree Army during the Depression).

After the Lucifer Falls overlook is this stupendous view from the top of the Cliff Stairs, 224 steps continue to link to the Gorge and South Rim trails.

As we lingered on the top steps the flowering plants slowly revealed themselves.

I captured this tragic image on the return trip….a trillium discarded on the trail. Stiff fines await anyone caught doing this.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Thin Leaved Sunflower

Farm Journalist

“Out in the meadow, I picked a wild sunflower, and as I looked into its golden heart,such a wave of homesickness came over me that I almost wept.  I wanted Mother, withher gentle voice and quiet firmness; I longed to hear Father’s jolly songs and to see his twinkling blue eyes; I was lonesome for the sister with whom I used to play in the meadow picking daisies and wild sunflowers.”

from “Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist, Writings from the Ozarks” edited by Stephen W. Hines”

Click me for more flower posts

Photography Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Last Sunlight

A Waterfall in November

Summertime, reckless souls jump from the stone stairway into a cool water carved pool at the foot of these falls, one of my memories of the Treman Gorge Trail.

Click the link to learn more about this photograph’s story.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved