Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Misty September Morning on the Chemung

The cold mornings have been raising a huge amount of fog over the valley, so we went down to the river to watch it rise. Huggamutt came along for the hike.She especially like the opening from Hoffman Creek outflow. The water here is clear and shallow. Some days we can cross the rocks over to the other side, without climbing the levee. This was not one of those days.
The mists kept us pleasantly out of sight and allowed closeups of the waterfowl, who apparently couldn't see the Mutt for all the fog.
The little fellow below refused to move more than a few feet at our approach, but he still managed to stay fairly hidden from view. But not from the dog's nose; Ellie finally flushed him out from the mouth of a drainer creek.
These fat fellows simply kept their distance, clucking and honking warily.
Below is a sunlit view through the woods of Foster Island.
This sweet, idyllic scene is one of the HuggaMutt's favorite haunts. Water Board in the background.
The other end of the same area, looking towards the river.
One misty morning. One lazy hour. Two tired hikers and a camera full of shots to cull. If anyone else tells me there is no place to run the dog, or no place pretty inside the City limits, I think I'll whap 'em one upside the head.

Little Pond

Monday, September 3, 2007

Where Only the Intrepid Go

(All the photos in these posts can be accessed by double-click. They are chosen for detail, so you might like to view them in full mode!)

I drove across town and pulled into the trailer-truck parking area, sneaking along a Department of Environmental Conservation roadway. Parked the Tracker right along the lane, with one side to the bushes; Route 352 was on the other side. We were well out of sight. Ellie and I climbed the levee and wandered into the woodland, moving towards the river. It took a bit of hiking, but we pretty much stuck to visible paths. Most were ultimately obscured by knotweed. We should have started way back in the spring, before the summer growth began to hide the human and deer paths.

Ahh. Here is what we need. There is a pathway through the woods right down to the creek. Only problem is the drop down is significant.

I hurt my back sliding down the opening, but it was worth it. This place is a gorgeous swimming hole! There is even a discarded pair of shorts and a backpack, just to illustrate that others have come and gone before us.

Totally hidden from view. Newtown Creek. It is just beautiful, and no one ever sees it. What a shame that only people willing to trespass on private property and restricted municipal areas will ever get to visit. I keep my dog and my phone handy, in case I am attacked by a vagrant. It will probably never happen, but is a possibility, since I am very much out of sight here. More likely, I will be arrested for trespassing. But it kills me to know there are places waiting to be filmed and recorded.

Yeah, I know I'm taking a chance, but there is so much to do that no one bothers to try anymore. We did more as kids. My only fear is that whoever was killing the street people a couple years back are probably still around. These are definitely the sort of place known to the homeless.

Elmira has had many incarnations, beginning with canal town, then becoming a much-criss-crossed railway stop. This sort of sight is common to the area. There are trestles, bridges, and rail lines everywhere, mostly in ruins. It must have been easy to go anywhere anyone wanted to go back then. Elmira, New York was once Queen City, a bustling little center for commerce and the arts. It was called the Little Apple by those on the vaudeville circuit, and still boasts some significant theatres from the old days.

Husband RJ warned me about this. It is a sewage output, a five foot-in-diameter pipe for runoff during river emergencies. Essentially it is what prevented the County from putting in Gateway Park. Ellie and I investigated and found the very top of the pipe and a lovely drop way down into some very nasty-looking water. We decided not to climb down, because I was already sore from our little trip down Newtowne Creek.

Here is what we were hoping to find this morning. A clean-cut access to the Chemung. And it belongs to the EFD!

So why would the Fire Department need access to the Chemung? My best guess would be that they need a pumping area, for the tanker trucks. In the hills there would probably not be enough fire hydrants or water pressure otherwise. There's even a little turn-around area right behind me.

Downriver, it was just lousy with fishermen. Labor Day, you know. While I had hoped to walk along the banks, it wouldn't be worth the pain. It wouldn't be nice to interrupt the holiday fishermen, and my back was already hurting from my little trip down into the water hole. Some other day, maybe not until the next spring, when the knotweed will be gone, Ellie and I will return to explore the area around Newtowne Creek. If we have a mild spring, then we should go before April 1, Opening Day.

Looking north towards the city bridges, we saw one fisherman, so I steered Ellie away from him. There would be no place to walk if we were having a wet summer. I could see a little path, but no sign of the sort of trails left by children or dog owners.

I've hidden the fisherman behind some hanging branches, and the view of the city bridges is quite nice.

Compare that last shot with two days ago. Taken from the other bank. That morning was very warm, while this morning was a little cooler.

This is Ellie's reward. She will not swim down this end, as she does upriver. The water is quite shallow and she simply wants to lap it up and move on.
What's a trip to the Chemung River without some geese to chase? It would be as empty as the skies without the screaming seagulls.

The obligatory heron. There will probably be no more pictures of herons, because the river is full of them. They are especially numerous and untroubled down here, where nearly every human is confined to the land or otherwise just fishing. Same as the herons. I am saving future shots for those elusive eagles that constantly tease me out of the corner of my sight.

It's easy to see that this is a well-worn trail that has simply been overgrown with the knot-weed. All the vines are stripped clean and the ground is stamped flat.

Definitely time to go home and assess our minor injuries: got a pulled back and slight migraine from the sun on the water.

Ellie and I will need a nap this afternoon. In the meantime, I am posting this through Blogger. So many nice features! Can't wait to post some video. Mental note: will need a tripod and some time away from the HuggaMutt.

Now to Original Italian Pizzeria. Gotta try the Charcoal Grilled Chicken Wings. Ellie hasn't had any yet.

Little Pond