Oct 03

Added New Photo Album – WNY Wildflowers

View complete “WNY Wildflowers” album

This is a large and growing album of Wildflowers, Tree Blossoms, Vines, Ferns, Weeds and other plants of interest I encounter with my hiking throughout Western NY.  This Gallery is located in my Picasa Web Albums site. I will continually add to this album as I take new pictures.

View complete “WNY Wildflowers” album

or view “WNY Wildflowers”  as full screen slideshow

Oct 03

Added New Photo Album – WNY Wildlife

View complete “WNY Wildlife” album

This is a small but growing album of Birds, Bugs, Spiders, Snakes, and other animals I encounter with my hiking throughout Western NY. This Gallery is located in my Picasa Web Albums site. I will continually add to this album as I take new pictures.

View complete “WNY Wildlife” album

or view “WNY Wildlife” full screen slideshow

Aug 31

Took the family to Niagara Falls – Awesome!

090825-025.jpgSome who read this blog know that we are not able to get out as a family much. We have a handicapped son at home that needs 100% care. Carol really needed a break, so we placed Michael in OLV’s respite program for the week. We decided to get away to Niagara Falls. We were there on Tuesday and Thursday. We had a great time (BTW the we is me, Carol,  Lisa, Timothy, Hannah and Frankie – James joined us on Thursday). The weather was perfect. We purchased the Niagara US Discovery Pass which included the following attractions: Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, Niagara Aquarium, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, Niagara: Legends of Adventure Movie, and the Niagara Scenic Trolley transportation all day. I highly recommended this package.

I delayed taking some of my HCV treatment meds on Monday night and Tuesday morning. It helped, but I was still hurting. It took me all day Wednesday to recoup. After Thursday, well it is now Monday and I am still in bad shape. Only 16 weeks left of this treatment!090825-215.jpg

The first adventure we tackled was the Maid of the Mist boat ride. I have been on the Maid of the Mist before but every time is a great experience.  You can really feel and hear the power of the falls from this ride. Plan on getting wet even though they supply you with the famous blue rain jackets.

After the Maid of the Mist we viewed the falls from the Observation Tower and then went to Prospect Point. I was able to capture some good photos from both these locations. We then loaded up on the Scenic Trolley and took the complete three mile ride around Niagara Falls State Park. This park is the oldest State Park in the US.

Our next stop was on Goat Island to the Bridal Veil Falls area. This location is one of my favorites in the park. You can reach out and touch the water (do not do it). After taking some pictures and finding the information for the 090825-175.jpgEarth Geocache located there we decided to go below to the Cave of the Winds.

None of us have been to the Cave of the Winds before. What a mistake, living 45 minutes from here and never experiencing this – wow. It was great and was the highlight of the mini vacation. Carol and Hannah on Hurricane Deck on the picture to the right says it all. The Bridal Veil Falls behind them is POWERFUL! I took a ton of pictures from this area. It was mesmerizing! I shot a great video of the America Falls, I will post in another blog entry soon. Looking up and seeing the water rush down towards you is – well a rush! I was hesitant to leave this area, I enjoyed it very much.

Our next stop was Terrapin Point this is a short trolley ride or medium walk away. This is the location of the 090827-042.jpgfamous Horseshoe Falls. After acquiring the information for the Terrapin Point Earth Geocache we jumped back onto the Trolley for a ride to Three Sisters Islands. There is a regular geocache called “The Other Sister” located here and an Earth Cache called the Green Cascade. We found both of them. The Other Sister is a tough hide and we where glad to find it.

I was pretty much shot after all this. We decided it was time to find a restaurant for dinner. We drove around for a while and decided to head to River Road in Tonawanda to stop at Old Man River. I am glad we did, this is a nice hamburger type joint that sells seafood also.

Thursday lead us right back to Old Man River for lunch. 090825-120.jpgOur first stop at the Falls was to the Trolley for another ride around the park. Then it was off to The Niagara Falls Discovery Center. The center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area, it is a hands-on learning experience for all ages. A movie was shown to us here. It was kind of a disappointment. They can do better. We also experienced a virtual elevator ride into the gorge. Next up was the Niagara Aquarium. It is nowhere as nice as Marine Land on the Canadian side but it is worth going to. We enjoyed the seals, sea lions, electric eel and various other native and non native fish. It was nice and relaxing.

From here is was  Trolley ride back to Goat Island to Terrapin Point. We then decided to take the long walk back to Prospect Point to view the falls illuminated when darkness set in. It was a nice hike and worth it. I acquired many awesome night shots of the various areas. We had a great time and recommend everyone to make the trip to Niagara Falls!

See our full Picasa Web Album (143 pictures)

Aug 06

Franklin Gulf Conservation Park Photo Album

090718s-003.jpg Formerly known as Larkin Woods, Franklin Gulf Park is a 637-acre, Erie County-owned, undeveloped park in the Towns of Eden and North Collins.  It is primarily a wooded area that has impressive topography and scenic natural features, such as creeks, ravines, waterfalls and ledge outcroppings.  The topography is dominated by the “gulf,” a steep gorge which is practically inaccessible.  There are a couple of marked trails that take you to the best parts of the park.

Geocaching is a popular activity in the park. See our own series of geocaches we placed in this park.

This photo album is from a couple hikes Frank Jr and I took in the park this past winter and this summer.


Also see on our Picasa Web Album

or Picasa Web Album Full Screen Slideshow

Click on any image to see a larger view and navigation controls:

Jan 10

Tiff Nature Preserve Photo Album added to site

I added a new photo gallery to my Digital Photography site: Tiff Nature Preserve – the pictures are from a hike I took with some of my kids in October of 2004. At the time there was a wild bee hive on one of the paths. A week after I shot these photos it was destroyed by vandals.

-> Go to the full Tiff Nature Perserve Gallery

Here are a few sample shots:

Click on any image for a larger view

Tiff Nature Preserve

Tiff Nature Preserve

Aug 27

Interesting day today – from Instanbul, Turkey to Zoar Valley Hike

The day started out with a long distance call from two friends who just happened to be in Istanbul, Turkey. They are missionaries reaching the people of Bulgaria. They took a trip into Turkey to pass out Christian literature. Last year I was able to go to Istanbul and had the opportunity to speak to some Muslims about the Lord.

Went to work and got the office cleaned up, was out on vacation the last week. Saw that it was a beautiful day with blue sky and nice cumulus clouds and thought – “hmmm need to get the boys down to Zoar Valley one more time before summer is over.”

So we did just that. Hiked from Valentine’s Flat parking lot to Point Peter. This is a awe inspiring lookout point to the Saddle Back at valentine flats.

Looking from Point Peter to Saddleback Ridge & Valentine Flats

We then kept going left on the ridge to a nice lookout point where there is a memorial to Todd Shea, who must have fell there to his death. The date of his death is on my birthday – January 9th. There is a huge “old growth” grape vine near the place – it is has to be 12 inches in diameter. We then hiked back down the path and to one that leads to the creekside. We took the central path to the creek. It is a beautiful path with some excellent bird viewing. We saw a red tailed hawk within 50 yards perched on a tree. No picture as Frankie spooked it before I could get my camera up. I schooled him on how we need to be quiet when we get an opportunity like that.

Well, we made it down to the creek and I took a bunch of pictures upstream toward the Confluence and Saddleback Ridge. Also pictures downstream toward Point Peter, some came out great.

We then hiked toward the Confluence and turned right going upstream on the South Branch. Around the bend was an old favorite spot, “the Point.” It is around 200′ up. I have scaled down the side of the Point numerous times in the past. It is a very difficult climb down – and up, forget about it. Needless to say I was not going to try with my camera equipment and the boys in tow, even though Frankie at age 10 is an excellent climber. Tim is very good to at age 15. Took some good pictures of the Point and then we headed back downstream on the South Branch toward the Confluence.

The Point

We crossed over the Main Branch just past the Confluence and went into the wooded terrace to find Buff Falls. It is located on the north canyon wall in the woods about a third of the way downstream between Saddleback Ridge and Point Peter. It was flowing but not much. Took some nice shots and will have to get back after a good rain for better ones. Located some huge “old growth” trees in this terrace.

We crossed back over the creek and headed back up to the Valentine Flat parking lot for the trip home. We were rewarded by the good Lord with a beautiful sunset.

Pictures and write up asap on my Zoar Valley page and Photo Gallery. That reminds me I need to get some pictures up from my trip to Bulgaria and Turkey one of these days.

Yo, anyone out there? 😎