Two great walks this past weekend! On Friday, to celebrate the end of the week, we went for a three-mile walk at my current favorite spot, Indian Creek Nature Center. The weather was cloudy and damp, but we didn’t get actually rained on. We walked through a wide variety of landscapes: huge old maples, dark cedar groves, shrubby grassy areas, and overgrown apple orchards. We saw a lot of fungus of every shape, size and color. We saw winterberry shrubs and wild cherry, branches drooping with bright red and blue-black berries. We scared up a grouse, and were accompanied by chickadees and northern flickers and blue jays. We went at the end of the day, starting at 4:50, and enjoyed the dusky, quiet atmosphere. We had the place to ourselves. At the end of the walk we wandered over to an apple tree still covered with big golden fruit, and ate about three apples each. We saw a lot of vines with yellow berries, and tentatively identified them as American bittersweet. So that was an old familiar place, and on Saturday we explored the Whalen Park Trail in Massena. To find this one we used the brand new website put together by the St Lawrence County chamber of commerce and some other organizations. It is called STLC Trails: St Lawrence County Trails and so far I am finding it very helpful. We had to drive for 45 minutes to get to the first trailhead at the Massena country club golf course. This trail is a bike path, 100% paved and smooth as can be.
The wide grassy verge was recently mowed, and was nicely landscaped with side paths to the river, several benches, and some decorative boulders here and there.
The river was full of Canada geese, various ducks, and cormorants. It sprinkled a bit but not enough to deter us. It is an out-and-back path that ended at a park/playground with covered picnic tables and a handicapped-accessible canoe/kayak launch. So we walked a respectable 3.2 miles but it took us a while because we were walking slowly, for reasons I explain below. At many places we could take a few steps and get right to the shore. I even tried my hand at stone-skipping.
The path stayed close to the river, winding through tall grasses/wildflowers, mowed hay fields, and beautiful towering oak, hickory, willow, basswood and other trees. After this walk we drove a few miles down the highway to the trailhead of Richard’s Landing Bike Trail, and walked just a little way out of curiosity.
This trail is gravel rather than paved, but still could be biked, which is what we plan to do next time. We sat on some big rocks along this trail to sip coffee from thermoses we brought with us. We took a short side trail through dense woods to the river and surprised a large flock of geese. After that it was time for lunch so we went to the co-op in Potsdam and grabbed some healthy “fast food”.
So, the confession: the reason we didn’t go on the second trail very far and the reason I walk with hiking poles is that for the last six months I’ve had plantar fasciitis (hashtag!). It is sometimes not that bad and sometimes that bad. Yesterday was a really painful day, possibly made worse by walking on the paved path. It doesn’t stop me walking but I have to be careful. Woodsy trails with softer ground and frequent stops to admire this or that seem better than paved or concrete. #walkingwithplantarfasciitis