Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Houston - Urban Hike and Bike

A business trip took me to Houston Texas for four days (May 15th thru 18th).  I got a chance to hike and bike around town. It was hot (in the 90s!) the whole week.

1- Parks

On Tuesday evening, I checked out the downtown parks and a bit of the Buffalo Bayou.
Sam Houston Park
Buffalo Bayou

Metro Tracks on Main Street (streetcar)
Market Square
Discovery Park

2 - Union Station

On Wednesday, I decided to check out the old Union Station. I have posted that quick visit on my railroad blog.  LINK >

3 -  Buffalo Bayou Biking

Thursday evening was still freaking hot (94 degrees at 6:20 pm!). I walked up to the Bike Barn (just north of the Bayou) but found they were closed- BUMMER! Fortunately right nearby was a spot to rent a "City bike" - kind of clunker but still fun to ride. All the trails were paved and super easy.

I rode all the way to the Lost Pond end and then circled back all the way to the College where I rode into downtown on the Main Street Bridge.

I have some one-handed video footage of the bike ride -- I will add it here at a later date...

Going Home

Friday night - late! Flying into LaGuardia Airport - there's Manhattan!
Can you see the Williamsburg Bridge?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Pine Mountain - Future Ledges Trail

On Sat. we scoped out the basic route of a new trail in Pine Mountain. This was by request from the Ridgefield Conservation Commission (RCC) and Dave Cronin accompanied us. It will be pretty spectacular with at least 4 overlooks. The map is a only a rough draft.

Flying Squirrel Overlook

#2 - This will be accessible from a Spur
(panorama -sweeping right to left)

Added attraction (near the proposed trail)

#3 - The Spot where we saw the Fireplace

After our trek, I went to check out the Leon Levy Preserve in Lewisboro, NY. Link >

Leon Levy Preserve - Flute

After a hike up at Pine Mountain plotting a new overlook trail [Link >] and another great lunch and IPA at The Hideaway in Ridgefied, the weather was so beautiful I decided to stop and check out the Leon Levy Preserve in Lewisboro.

Sadly, no bikes are allowed but its a great park with rugged scenery and a few historical ruins.

Trail south to Gorge

I first headed south to the Gorge Overlook. The trails are primarily old carriage roads but the offshoots are single track.

 Trail sign for Gorge Loop

At the trail sign, I veered off to hike the Gorge Loop...

Outcroppings overlooking the Gorge

...  and found a nice spot on mammoth rocks to play my Native American flute.
A nice bunch of hikers took my photo
Always enamored with the many shapes of trees
After my peaceful time by the Gorge Overlook playing the flute, I finished hiking the Gorge side loop and headed north on the main trail to visit the historical ruins.

At the Cottage Ruins

First stop was the Cottage Ruins that were located on a side trail.
"Rhino "Tree near the cottage Ruins

Black Mansion

Next I visited the Black Mansion. This was built in 1905 by Dr James Mason Crafts, former president of MIT on more than 100 acres. Abandoned in the 1920s, it burned in early 1979. All that remains are a few stone walls and structures.  It appears it is being restored.
Methinks this was an old road leading up to the mansion

Before Restoration 

These photos indicated its condition before restoration began...

Chimney Ruins

Finally, I circled back down the main trail and passed by the chimney ruins.

Near the front of the park - this would make a setting for a mini concert :-)


This is a great park, I will be returning to hike more of the trails  -- and of course bring my Native American Flute. :-)   

Further Info 

According to Town Historian Maureen Koehl, the mansion was developed along with many of the other structures on the property by an organic chemist and president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. James Mason Crafts, after he bought the property around 1890.

Among the structures built were a laboratory, ice house, coach house, and garage with six bays and a grease pit. A history of the mansion is included in Ms. Koehl’s book: Lewisboro Ghosts: Strange Tales and Scary Sightings.

A couple of great B&W shots of the Black Mansion ruins

(Wildlife, Trail, Ruins, etc.)