Hike with the Outdoor Adventure Club

This Saturday I went hiking at Letchworth State Park with members of the Outdoor Adventure Club. I have been going to Letchworth since I was a kid–not too long ago, but it’s starting to feel that way–and I try to take advantage of any opportunity to hike around Letchworth. Especially when it’s free! Seven of us went, including our guide, Pat Green.

With temperatures around 70 degrees and the rain holding off in the afternoon, it was a perfect day for hiking and exploring the woods. It was muddy in the lower parts of the trail, but there were few, if any, bugs. The hike lasted a few hours, and at such a leisurely pace, it was possible to observe plants and animals that I normally just pass by. And with an experienced guide with the group, I could finally have some of my questions answered.

Such as, what is the name of that bird making that annoying call? It sounded like a mewling cat, and it’s a call I’ve heard many, many times before when I’ve been walking in the woods. Pat pointed out that it was a Gray Catbird.

A cute little bird, but what an irritating chirp!

Earlier in the hike, Pat pointed to these low-lying, fern-like plants and asked us what we thought it was. I had no idea. It was dark green and its leaves drooped like an umbrella. The plants were growing together in a small stand. “Mayapple,” he finally said. He informed us that people use the fruit of the mayapple to make jams, jellies, and pies, but the rest of the plant is said to be poisonous.

I learned a lot about the flora and fauna of Letchworth State Park during the hike. One of the members also found a geocache. (If you want to know more about geocaching, contact Elizabeth Downie at OAC@genesee.edu.) There’s an upcoming whitewater rafting trip at Letchworth on June 11, so if you’re interested, contact the OAC! It will be a lot of fun.

~Tom Kinsey

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