Split Rock Quarry, NY

Whenever I visit my mother in the western suburbs of Syracuse, I mountain bike a couple hours a day in an extensive network of trails that was originally part of the limestone Split Rock quarry, which had been in existence since the early 1800s. The only thing left is a large stone crusher that went into operation in 1903.

Split Rock Quarry NY stone crusher.
The Stone Crusher

To transport the crushed limestone from the quarry to a soda ash plant in a neighboring village, a 3.25-mile elevated tramway, somewhat similar to a modern ski lift and considered an “engineering marvel” back then, was built. According to the Town of Onondaga Historical Society, loaded buckets coming down full to the plant helped carry the empty buckets back.

Over the years, I’ve always stumbled upon building foundations, railroad spikes, old metal fences, and other industrial detritus, and wondered why they were in the middle of a “mature” forest.

Continue reading

Lake Minnewaska, NY: 6/27/10

Since moving to the NYC area in 1997, I’ve made several dozen trips to Lake Minnewaska NY near New Paltz, and it never disappoints.

Awosting Falls

Directly south of the Catskills, but a completely different kettle of fish topographically, it’s the outdoor equivalent of a high-end department store with mountain biking, hiking, climbing, swimming, berry picking, and gazing at wild flowers, incredible rock formations, and stunning vistas.

Continue reading

Upper Hudson Rail Trail

Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail is a group that formed late last year to promote the conversion of the old National Lead rail line in the Adirondacks, into a bike trail.

The trail would follow the line that was used to transport iron from the Tahawas mining operation during World War II. The right-of-way begins in North Creek and makes its way along the Hudson and Boreas River valleys, until it reaches the old mine in the southern High Peaks.

My love affair with Adirondacks started in the 1970s when I began cycle touring the mountains. I loved the views and the water everywhere. But I soon tired of the sections of road without shoulders, and the interaction with traffic in some of the busier parts of the park. This bike trail could provide a 29-mile stretch of beautiful, peaceful Adirondack bike riding.

Continue reading