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.
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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

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Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved.

Jack in full color with Red Trillium

The Brown Dragon

Brown dragon is an apt nickname for Jack-in-the-pulpit, captured here with Red Trillium on the forest floor of Fillmore Glen State Park. I was down in the mud for the closeup,

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Click me for a post with more information about Jack-in-the-pulpit. There is a great deal more information about Jack-In-The-Pulpit on my previous post, at the above link. Try it out!!

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Young, fresh and green

Hidden on the forest floor

We can roam the woods and gorges this time of year to find these wildflowers camouflaged in their young, green foliage. Here are two images from a June 3rd afternoon in Fillmore Glen with a waterfall. Enjoy!!

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Like a blank paint by numbers print, the mature stripes are outlined. Here you can see the leaf canopy that can make it difficult to find a jack.

Click me for a post with more information about Jack-in-the-pulpit.

Growing on the gorge wall, I did not have to crawl in the mud for this image.
Hermits Rest
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Red Berries

Jack-In-The-Pulpit one June Day

The many names for this plant are reflective of how wide spread it is. Called Arisaema triphyllum (scientific name), jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin, or wild turnip this secretive plant flourishes in moist soils across eastern North America, everywhere north to south. I say “secretive” because the varieties I am familiar with hide the flower under the leaves, three of them growing from a stalk.

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Lovers Lane Observation Platform– CLICK ME!!!!

Those of you who know Georgia O’Keefe may be familiar with the form and coloring of Jack-in-the-pulpit from the series of six oil canvasses from 1930, her time in the east living near a spring. There is a spathe, the pulpit, strongly colored in dramatic vertical, flowing stripes, wrapped around a spandix, the “jack”, being a stem covered with male and female flowers.

Around the time my photography habit started in 2002 I was surprised by the jacks growing from the walls of Fillmore Glen, spying the distinctive forms flowing a bit above eye level under the three large leaves. Seeing them was like recognizing a friend in Halloween disguise, the exotic O’Keefe shapes in a known place.

From this gift, an awareness of the possibility lead me to recognize “jacks” in many other places. I have yet to exhaust the possibilities.

2015 I acquired a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM lens for our cruise around South American. It proved very useful for an unending combination of situations. Here, it allowed me to frame this specimen, the former covering of three leaves now sere brown and collapsed, the berries revealed in startling clarity among evergreen ferns, Christmas red and green. The strangely named Dry Creek, the driving force of Fillmore Glen, flowing below this humus layered shelf moist with a constant flow from the gorge walls.

The park trails make for a pleasant choice at the start of each excursion. This day, Pam and I visited Cowshed Falls at the foot of the glen, climbed the north rim trail to walk among the hemlocks, listening the leisurely calls of Hermit Thrust like breaking crystal. The time of mushrooms was past in late September, instead we enjoyed the Indian Summer sun and breeze safe in knowing it will not last.

“Jacks” are part of the known lore of the Native American woodland tribes. These berries are poisonous, so beware of handing them. Wikipedia tells me a ploy was to mix the berry juice with meat to leave for enemies. Hidden by the meat flavor, the heartily enjoyed poison lead to death. The plant grows from a thick root, a corm. Correctly dried and prepared, the corm is food. I can imaging these plants an entities haunting the forest, choosing to reveal themselves, or not, to knowing souls. Maybe this is was drew O’Keefe to these woodland shapes growing around the springs of her summer homes. Leisure and an open, wandering glance are important, anyway, for noticing them. Most strangers wander by, engrossed in conversations, memories, evanescent distractions.

Here are other “shots” from the same day.

Here is another posting about the Finger Lakes of New York State.

Copyright 2018 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 Part 1 of this hike on the gorge trail of Treman Park.

Photography Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved