Bridge Views

Exploring Dry Creek Gorge

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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 fourth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Gorge trails follows the path cut by Dry Creek through eons of multiple and various sedimentary rock. The work of the CCC crew (see “Presidents Millard Fillmore and F.D. Roosevelt”) makes it literally child’s play to negotiate a course otherwise impossible to do without getting soaking wet.

There were seven bridges, wooden over steel I-beams, we crossed today. The trail beyond bridge seven is closed due to hazardous conditions, don’t know what exactly. The gorge is plagued with landfalls. Much of the modern work is elaborate wooden supports of the land beneath the trail.

Delved Deep

Every step on the Gorge Trail is beneath 100+ foot walls, steep slopes held in place by the forest and every variety of native wildflower.

I took the following video from a zig-zag path over a difficult steam topography tamed by two bridges and limestone walls sourced from the stream bed.

Evidence of Plate Tectonics

Above, is a view of the characteristic right angle faulting of the limestone base of Dry Creek, faulting produced when the North American plate pressed against the African plate, released, then after pivoting 90 degrees, pressed again against Africa before finally separating with the create of the Atlantic Ocean.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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 2019 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.
Click me for my Fine Art Photography gallery.
Copyright 2019 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 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.

Fourth of July

Fireworks!!!

Here’s a fireworks display to help you celebrate the Fourth of July.  Click on any image for a larger view.

Our home on west hill has a great view of the Ithaca fireworks. I had to shoot through overhead electricity wires. Some of the photographs were enhanced to remove the lines.

Click photographs to view larger images as a slide show.

Click link to visit my online Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Solved: Flowering Bush Mystery

from Asia by way of Germany

Thank you to the readers whose thoughtful responses appeared these past two days. Pam and I were caring for two grandchildren and, last evening after their Mom picked them up, I sat down with “The Botanical Garden” by Phillips and Rix, Volume I (2002, Firefly Books, Buffalo, New York and Willowdale, Ontario) and a sprig of the leaves and flowers and narrowed the choices to the genus Weigela of the family Caprifoliaceae.


Native to Asia (China, Korea, northeastern Siberia, and Japan), it was cultivated in France in the late 19th Century and is popular in cold climates, where it does well. These plants have been outside the kitchen window of our home for as long a Pam can remember (back to the 1960s).

I don’t know the exact species, it may be a hybrid of several. What identifies it is the overall growth pattern (tall, though we prune it down so the kitchen window view is not obstructed), the leaves (shape, come in pairs on opposite sides of the branch, tip is pointed and edges have teeth), the flower (tubular, 5 petals, 5 stamen shorter than the petals, 1 simple style with a capitate stigma). “Capitate” means it is round and on top of the style like a head. “Style” is an extension of the ovary though which fertilization by pollen happens. Ours is not fragrant, though some are.

Weigela is the family name of a early professor of Botany (and Chemistry, Pharmacy, Mineralogy) for the university town of Greifswald on the Baltic Sea. There is a botanic garden and arboretum associated with the university and, I suppose, a specimen of the plant was collected for the garden where it is scientifically characterized by the professor.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flowering Bush Mystery

Request for Assistance

I need your help this morning. This year each of these bushes in front of our kitchen window has profuse blooms after Pam pruned and fertilized them early spring. I am coming up blank with identifying them.

The two bushes are over six feet tall and lose leaves each autumn (deciduous).

Here are some photographs. Can any readers identify these bushes? The common name or scientific will be much appreciated.

Thanks so much.




Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills