Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stone Quarry Art Park and Chittenango Falls.

We enjoyed a fun filled day full of art, hiking and waterfalls, with Mindy and her family. All three of my boys were with me and the two dogs too. Pictured below are all my boys minus my hubby and including the dogs.
First stop was the Stone Quarry Art Park in Cazenovia. Neither Mindy or I had been there before and were excited to see what the park would bring, we took the 45 minute drive in to Cazenovia, and were soon upon Stone Quarry Road and at the Park location. We made our way to the secret Garden to find a walk way of recycled items made into flowers. It was pretty neat, I took a few pictures as each of them looked a little different.
Here are a few of the flowers along the path. There were about 15-20 in all and they lined all along the pathway to a small pond.

This one had tiny plastic fish in the cups. can you see them?
This piece of art made of sticks was in the center of the pond. The boys discussed in depth what constituted art. Ben announced that he could make this himself, and wasn't quite sure this could be called art. Further along we walked and found some more pieces scattered along the several trails throughout the 104 acres park.
Walking along the trails and stopping for a seat on stumps that looked very much to me like wine corks.
 We continued up the hill to the main part of the park and found some more pieces of art.
Like this....which Mindy and I agreed looked like The thorned crown Jesus wore. 
and this....Maddy felt was much like a giant birdcage.
and this, which none of us could decide what it looked like
We all agreed that this looked like the Lorax trees from Dr. Seuss. Ben thought for sure this was not art.
We all liked this piece made of wood.
and this is the piece that I had all my boys on in the first shot, it is called Earth.
Gavin was thrilled with this cabin like sculpture.
and we all liked this "heavy reader" made of tree limbs and wood.
We also liked the Garden of Reading

But no one liked these little guys enjoying the many wildflowers.
And no one could figure out WHAT THE HECK was this one??
and everyone knew what this was.
First thing everyone noticed about this one was......I DONT think that hornets nest is a part of the artwork...OR is it?
Nick took some nature shots and got these little guys.

The closer to the main art building the more sculptures we found. How's this for some FLOWER power.
the art flowers....

...the real ones.

 The boys couldn't stop giggling about this piece.
 And we couldn't really decide what was happening in this piece.

I could clearly see the couple dancing in this piece.
They were all awesome!
I had to get this guy looking out over the valley.
I got this last shot of the Art Park as we were heading to the car, these windsocks were everywhere along the road. Nick looks great leaned up against the poles awaiting our arrival to note..the dog poop to watch for.
An interesting fact about the ArtPark....
it is the 2nd of the top 10 National Geographic Sculpture Parks and Trails, and most of the sculptures were donated or made of recyclable objects.
We totally enjoyed our time at the park. The walk was long, but never seemed to become difficult and we were kept entertained by the number of sculptures along the way. There are several things to do at the park throughout the year and last weekend they had a build a fairy house for people. We found one sitting by the pond, looking all ready for a fairy to take ownership.
If you like Art and you want to be in nature and not a museum, I highly recommend it. I am pretty sure all of the people (and dogs) in this band of characters had fun, but the day was far from over because just 9 short miles away is Chittenango Falls State Park in Chittenango, NY. We were ready for some more hikes and some great falls!
 When we arrived at the Park we were surprised that there was no guard at the gate, but there was a pay to park. My eldest argued with me to pay and I insisted that we were FREE with the park pass. We finally asked a state park fella, who did not seemed to understand or care if we paid or not, and finally decided we were not going to pay! We had a nice picnic lunch and the kids were off to the on site playground and climbing trees.
Nick was the King of Climbing! I reminded him several times of his back problems by the way.
Lunch was good and healthy, and we ran into one of my fathers friend Dave while we were packing up the lunch after. What we had really come for was the falls, so it was off to the trails we went.
First we got a look at the falls from the top, but..... most hikes to waterfalls we first had to descended. Here we go.
The trail was a little more difficult to navigate then we all expected, and Mindy was wearing flip flops, which turned out in her favor once we were at the bottom and near the creek, but going down was tough. We stopped at a small landing about 1/4 of the way down and get a view of this.
 we also get some great info about the falls.
Just below was the creek bed and both kids and dogs (well except for Peanut, he was NOT having anything to do with the water what so ever) were ready to get right in the water.

Only thing with wading...those rocks are sharp and the water cold. Several complaints were tossed about, and Gavin was immobilized right in this spot the entire time. Silly boy, forgot to wear socks so his feet were hurting on the hike even after his Mom asked at least 5 times before we left the house...he was not at all interested in walking on rocks when his feet hurt already. Mindy lucked out with the flip flops and her son Luke really lucked out because he got to wear them in the creek.
Still standing right there. The rest of the boys long gone across and down the creek.
 The boys decide and discuss which rock looks less sharp to walk on.
even without shoes, Nick is so in his element.
 even Maddy gets her feet wet and examines the rocks.
 Riley was right in the water and when he first set out he went right in. He stopped when he realized it went a little deeper then he expected.
Come on Gavin...lets get wet.
We continued to play in the creek for awhile, for most of the party....they were truly having a great time. I spent most of the creek time holding both dogs and attempting to take pictures...It's not an easy task and Nick kept changing the settings on my quick aim and shoot camera, so often my pictures were looking a little less then perfect....very blurry in some cases.
Both Ben and Luke actually took a seat in the h2o, but my camera was on manual focus so I deleted them as they were so blurred. They didn't stay seated but a second as it was cold. Not long enough for me to get my bearings, juggle the dogs, stand on slippery wet rocks and adjust the focus quick enough to get the pic.

I so need a photography lesson. I tried really hard, to get some of those great nature shots you seen in the magazines...
How's this for an epic FAIL? or this....
Although I doubt that the professionals have two dog leases wrapped around their arm and dogs attached at the same time they take their shot and to make the juggle more difficult try one of those dogs being a puppy, who was off in every direction standing still was a miracle.
I wont give you the failed waterfall pictures, but try and give you just the beautiful ones.
well...maybe the beautiful one. It's hard to capture the true beauty of any waterfall unless you are right there.
After creek time we observed the waterfall for a bit and decided to head back up to the van. Which was UPHILL.
I still had both dogs and initially I was doing fine with them, it wasn't until Gavin reminded me that Riley does not go upstairs (he doesn't in our house) that I started to panic. (This pup weighs some 45-50 pounds...I'll never be able to carry him and my own fat butt up these stairs). We got to the first step and he was gone....right up he went and I had to suffer the climb at an even quicker pace just to keep up. Poor Peanut was jumping with each step with his little legs. Thank the stars above when we reached the first landing there was a chipmunk that stopped Riley in his tracks. (thank the even luckier stars that he is not yet aware that these are critters most dogs chase and Peanut was still jumping to the landing and did not see) because I would have been pulled across the small trail and into a wooded post for sure as he and Peanut went after him as he scurried into the forest. Perhaps I could have got a picture of this little guy if I had been dog free....well...I was huffen and puffin so bad coming up that hill, I would have scared him off anyways.
WOW! I realized exactly just how incredibly out of shape I really am when we all finally get to the top....and there are MORE stairs. But we all make it. YEah! and it was ton's of fun.
We all had a great time at the Falls, and the number one censes among the children in the van was the water fun in the creek...only had one child who claimed it was not his favorite. The moms on this ride voted an A+ for beauty in nature and the falls had to be our favorite. Both dogs gave the walk and exploration in the wood two paws up for good doggy fun. Although there was no water fountains and the restrooms were closed so Mommy (me) had to give up her personal water bottle for some cool drinks. No cool drinks means at least a cool off to Burger King for a 50 cent ice cream cones in the village of Chittenango. (Also the birthplace or home or something of Frank Baum who wrote the Wizard of Oz and where they hold the annual Oz Fest each spring).  For $3.50 the humans in the van each had their own vanilla ice cream.....and hey I splurged and treated us all....yep that's right Ms. Big BUCKS! I even joked with the teller about the big money I was spending....we all laughed and simply enjoyed our afternoon treat.
Once back in Liverpool the kids took some time in the pool and the dogs slept....HARD.

 What a wonderful fun filled day we had with our friends. Cannot wait for our next adventure.