Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walking Chautauqua Creek/Gorge

At the Mouth of Chautauqua Creek, on Lake Erie

Prospecting for Gold, on Chautauqua Creek
Intrepid Explorer Ron Mc Clure

Swimming in the Creek
Enjoying the Sun after a Swim

Bridge Under New York Central Train Line

Walking the Chautauqua Creek

An amazing sunrise today, the day summer officially begins, the longest day of the year, and the planet earth is three million miles closer to the sun today than on the winter solstice in December.  Figure that out.  It's also the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, reminding me of my stay in Cape Town, South Africa, back in 1995.  It seems a long time ago.  Anyways, another hot and humid day, highs in the 80's, though it's 65 degrees at the moment.  I love sunrises like today, the sun blazing its way through the haze of the morning, a huge globe off to the northeast, the northerly most sunrise of the year.

Since Ron Mc Clure and I have decided to walk the Chautauqua creek, though the Chautauqua Gorge, from Lake Erie to Sherman, we started our first leg yesterday morning at 10:00.  We will take it one small bit at a time and yesterday, we walked from Lake Erie to Westfield, probably a little over two miles and it took us a leisurely two hours, with stops for water, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and a swim.  It was a very warm day, in the 80's easily, so we didn't push it and when I did swim, the water was amazing, cooling and clear.  Most of the way we stumbled along the rocky shoreline of the creek, with occasional forays across the water, to get to an easier path.  With my walking poles, it was easier to navigate the slippery areas, when we had to cross the creek bed.  Just as we began our hike, we saw a couple of men mining for gold.  They were passing the sand through a sieve, looking for nuggets.  They have had some success but it's more a hobby than a vocation.  We also ran into a couple of Amish fishermen along the way, but that was it.  As we moved closer to Westfield, the banks on either side of the creek got steeper, reminding me of areas around the Gorge, up near Hannum Road in Mayville.  The creek, for the most part, was relative low, mostly shallow water and the deepest spot I could find for a swim was probably four feet at the maximum.  We saw lots of  trout as we walked, minnows, herons, heard kingfishers, perhaps a hawk, and occasionally, a house or abandoned dwelling.  It was easier then we thought though we were cautious of the extreme heat.  Towards the end, our legs started to get tired, from the constant stepping on and over the rocks and stones so we were happy enough to stop where we did.  If we had gone any farther, it would have been less fun, more onerous, so we have decided to take it in small chunks.  We are getting a bit smarter as we get older.  After our hike, we went into Barcelona, to Jake's Drive In, for a hot dog for Ron, a perch sandwich and coleslaw for me.  A crowded place, right on the lake, it was a good way to end our hike. 

I forgot to mention that we started our walk by hiking through the private woods of Pat and Jim Mc Gill to Lake Eire.  Evie and I  met the couple a few weeks ago during a wildflower walk with the Chautauqua Conservancy and they said we were welcome to walk their acreage or visit the lake at any time.  I was a bit reluctant but drove to their yard, parked, and Pat came out, welcomed me my name, and walked us down to Lake Erie...a wonderful way to start our walk as the Lake appeared, magic like, out of the woods, a beautiful blue sky, white caps on a blue green lake.  I had forgotten how beautiful Lake Erie and its beaches can be.  
Lunch at Jake's in Barcelona, NY

While I hiked, Evie did lots of watering, relaxed on the dock, and worked on pictures of last summer for her album.  I spent the afternoon on the dock or in the cool house, reading, and did spent some time cutting weeds more weeds, an obsession for both of us, especially me as I enjoy pulling the tall ones out of the lake, filling a tub, knowing that a path has been cleared for our grand kids.  We had a chicken curry for dinner, chicken thighs with a Trader Joe red curry sauce, and it was quite good, making both of us wonder why we fuss with a sauce from scratch when this was so tasty.  We watched the first two hour episode of Foyle's War on Netflix, set in Great Britain during  WW II,  a recommendation of Kathy Leonard,  We went to bed in stifling heat, with fans, air conditioners till packed away in the attic.  

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