Sweedler Preserve

Log date: 7/12/06

This is my first post so please bear with me as I work out how best to format things and what size and shape the photos should be.

Big FallSweedler Preserve is just south of Ithaca, NY in Tompkins county. Ithaca is two and a half hours or better from my home so I came down the day before, stayed in town, and got an early start.

The preserve is not very big and the loop trail is only about a mile and half. The trail starts with a steep downhill right off the bat so of course to make this a loop means that at some point you have to haul your butt back up the hill. So it is short, but requires a bit of puffing.

Last night it rained cats and dogs. It was so bad that I had the wipers running full speed and still had trouble seeing the road signs to the motel. This morning is still overcast, but not raining and it might clear up later in the day.

The trail runs downhill through a tall open woods alongside the Lick Brook gorge.  Normally I would climb around right in the gorge, but it was pretty treacherous and signs requested that hikers stay on the trails so I did.

Upper FallI’m often frustrated when trails run along streams and other water features, but then stay just far enough away so that you can only hear the rushing water and never see it. This trail was pretty good. There are several nice waterfall overlooks and at the bottom of the hill you can step into the stream at the foot of a very big fall.

The high summer humidity and all the rain last night created a steam room effect even early in the morning. The pages of my journal are all damp and wrinkly. Every time I use the camera, the viewfinder fogs up from the sweat on my brow. I got soaked when a part of the trail went through a fallow field filled with tall grasses.

Red EftThe trail is covered with red efts. Red efts are the immature stage of the Red Spotted Newt. These little guys are pretty cute and are happy to lay around without moving and let you photograph them. The problem is that they are tiny and they like to be out when it is dark and damp. I didn’t really bring the right gear for it, but I took some pics anyway. They are pretty poor, but you get the idea.

The bottom loop of the trail circles a field and then goes along a railroad track. I spotted a doe and a fawn wandering along the tracks. The loop comes back to the bottom of the hill. I followed another trail from here that went up the hill along a small stream that looked like it might not always have water in it. Today it was gurgling along pretty good.

Small FallIn all the trip took me about two and a half hours. A steady walk would have taken a lot less time, but I fiddled around with taking pictures, watching the deer, and just sitting next to the water as it cascaded over the jagged black rocks listening to the roar and feeling the spray on my face.

It is still only about eight-thirty so I’m off to another spot. There is an unnamed splotch of green on my map a few miles away to the south that I’m going to check out. More on that later.

MDW

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3 Responses to “Sweedler Preserve”

  1. Mario Says:

    Beautiful greens!

  2. forestrat Says:

    Thanks Mario!

  3. Sweedler Preserve & Lick Brook « AFRAID OF AMERICANS? Says:

    […] jäätä ja sohjoa, mutta kesällä se on taatusti viehättävä piknikpaikka. Luin eräästä blogista jutun, joka sai minut iloiseksi. Polulla voi kuulema nähdä kesällä punatäpläsalamantereita, […]

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