March 19, 2017
I connected with the Finger Lakes chapter of the National Women Outdoors group and attended a day hike with these very nice ladies in Rochester NY. Admittedly I was not sure what to expect. I haven't hiked in some time, and the weather had been so snowy and cold lately, I was concerned it may be a real mess. Add on that I had not met any of these women and it was a little anxiety provoking.
I met up with two very nice women to car pool. Michele an d Carol. Carol had been a member for some time, but it was Michele's first participating event as well.
We met in. Liverpool off the thruway and did a 11/2 hour drive to Rochester, NY. This was not my first trip to Rochester, but it became one of my first trips to some areas I had never been to and I was very glad I went.
There were 12 women in the days group that day. I found that they all seemed very nice and welcoming. I was soon informed all about The Women Outdoors groups. Apparently this national organization has been around since the 70's. The Finger Lakes is just a chapter of the organization. Although welcomed to come on the events as many times as one would like there is a $30- annual fee to become a member. The hope is that you will join after a few events. Apparently members have insight into planning events, trips and a few member only privleges such as being invited to any group chapters nation wide. Sue reported that it always means you have a place to stay and a fellow women friend if your planning to engage in a event outside of your local chapter.
There was no pressure to join, so I thought I would just see how the day went before I pulled out my pockets.
Leslie was todays guide. She resides in Rochester. She came to Rochester in the late 70's where she worked as a photographer through Kodak. She currently teaches English to foreign speaking individuals. Kodak was once Rochester's largest industry and perhaps what put the area on the map. Leslie was well informed about the area and she appeared to enjoy the opportunity to share about her city.
The Genesee River runs through the heart of Rochester and this was the "theme" of todays event. We were going to hike along the river as it leads North instead of South (Apparently this is not the "normal" flow of a river.). First stop was the lower Falls.
Most of this trail was covered with deep white snow and the incline was pretty steep, but I made it down grateful for my boots, silly but warm hat and camera ready to catch nature at its best.
The waterfall was pretty. Leslie spoke about the industry that surrounded the falls. Mills that once stood, companies that were once powered by the every running flow of water history of production long gone. Some of these "ghost" clung to the hillside.
An odd statue featured faces and hands welcoming a place to sit and reflect. Leslie had made mention of its symbolism, she reported that the faces were those in the surrounding area, a memory of these people forever in stone. (Although it did not sound as if they were deceased.) Maybe I missed something. I thought it was plain odd and these faces looked more ghostly and trapped then provoking a sense of calm and reflection.
We hike a bit more into the lower falls park before we made our way back up the very steep incline of snow. I made it to the top. I was impressed with myself I must say.
Next up we headed to a small historical grave yard, where Leslie told us of young Sam Patch "The Yankee Leaper". Apparently this young gent was seen as a historical dare devil. He would jump off into the waterfalls for show. (Some included Niagara Falls area)
His last jump proved fatal. He and is pet bear took the plunge. His bear went first (Cause bears are not that smart-) He actually threw the bear over.
At any rate, the bear made the jump just fine but poor Sam was lost in the river somewhere and never resurfaced. He was found washed up in the ice some months later dead. It was quite a story.
Our next stop was the bridge.There was lots of history plaques along the walkway stop. I thought the whole thing was pretty cool. The draw bridge and the ferry boats that once would transport people to Canada. History is overall pretty cool.
Our next stop was at Lake Ontario Park. I am betting this place is amazing during the summer. I am thinking I will have to make a day trip, but today was also pretty incredible. We took a walk along the pier and it was as if we were walking in some Science Fiction novel. The ice and snow along the water was so foreign.
Here there is still ice floating along the waterway.
Our next and final stop was at the Upper Falls (High Falls) where Sam took his final jump and Genesee Brewing Company.
We got there just as the sun was really beginning to shine. Thank you SUN!!!
What an incredible day! I met some very nice people, had a great outdoor experience and learned some things. Rochester was a pleasant opportunity. I cannot wait for the next Finger Lakes Women Outdoor adventure. I may even have to pay my dues and become a full fledged National Women Outdoor member.