Love is Orange

Back at the intersection, the sign for “Trailhead” appears up ahead. Before long, we’re back to the parking lot. Feet and legs ache, skin is sweaty, and mouths are dry. After 1.7 miles, our courtship must resume another day. 

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OT - Burlesque view of trees and vines

Remember when you first started dating someone and instantly felt the pangs of love? Every text message, every phone call, every touch brings back those feelings. You want to know everything about them, and you feel like you won’t be whole until you do.

As you may know from previous posts, I’m in love with Whiting Road Nature Preserve. Since my first visit, I’ve been obsessed with seeing every inch of it—memorizing every detail.

Jeff and I returned with Magnus a few days ago. The Real Feel in Rochester has been approaching Hell, so we arrived early. As we parked, we noticed how busy it was. We’re both introverts. Regardless, we were already committed.

We randomly chose the Orange trail, eeny meeny-miny-moe-style and soon discovered we were virtually alone—not a soul in sight. Oh, and when I said the Yellow trail was my favorite… Well, that was until I met Orange.

OT - Orange flowers 2

The trail snakes through trees, fields, and heavy forest areas. In many a bend, berries turn the path into shades of blue and purple. Monarch butterflies float along. Trees, young and old, seem to reach out with their roots. Dragonflies zip by to play in the lovely golden fields, which are dotted with bright orange flowers and trimmed with green thorny bushes.

Three plaques are scattered throughout the fields, created by Webster Girl Scout Troop 455. They are hand-illustrated and teach about the various birds, butterflies, and plants. It’s difficult not to smile at the talent and work required to produce such a project.

Around a corner, a large metal wagon wheel catches the eye. A “Private Residence” sign commands attention to the intersection. Who lives there? Why does the residence have its own trail? So many questions, not enough answers.

OT - Private Residence sign (Burlesque)

Further ahead, a fork splits the road. Forks are always intriguing. Which way should we go? The current trail is interesting and beautiful, but what if the other trail is more interesting or more beautiful? Decisions, decisions.

A steeply sloping hill ascends toward more orange blazes—up we go. The forest is welcoming, as is its shade. A strategically-placed bench sits around a corner to the left, set back from the rest of the trail. Clear indentations from mountain bike tires mark the dirt in every direction. It makes sense—this spot with major elevation changes, bridges up ahead, and plenty of dirt to kick up, makes for a great hot-spot for mountain bikers.

Several bridges pass through the remainder of the forest until the trail clears. We can practically feel the end up the trail coming up. Back at the intersection, the sign for “Trailhead” appears up ahead. Before long, we’re back to the parking lot. Feet and legs ache, skin is sweaty, and mouths are dry. After 1.7 miles, our courtship must resume another day.

The Return to Whiting Road

Brown trail begins - mapLast week, Jeff and I visited Whiting Road Nature Preserve and completed the Blue trail.  This week, after battling rain showers and thunderstorms, we finally returned and to scout out the brown trail.

The Brown trail is 0.40 miles long and branches off early on from the Blue trail’s north entrance.  Brown’s footpath is wide and clearly suitable for horseback riding as well.  In fact, we encountered some horse plops along the way.

The trail has a completely different feel from the Blue trail.  The beginning of this trail is still wooded, but soon the trees clear, and fields of greens and golds begin to be seen in the distance. The trail forks–the right fork leading toward Whiting Road and the left fork toward the rest of the Brown trail, spotting monarch butterflies, dragonflies, caterpillars, and more.

Nearing the end of the Brown trail, Green could be seen sloping downward into a more darkened woods.  Immediately we felt excitement and wanted to turn in that direction.  However, puppies are made for short journeys, not long ones, and we decided to use this as a reason to return later.

We did have time for one more trail, however.  The Yellow trail seemed to fit into our time budget, and Magnus was having a good time.

This turned into my favorite experience at Whiting Road thus far.  There aren’t exactly hills to climb, but a dramatic view of a drop-off around a sharp bend in the trail gave the impression of a change in elevation.  Some of the most interesting plant-life can be appreciated from the Yellow trail, including mushrooms, vine-covered trees, and Ramariopsisa white stalked fungus resembling coral.

We stood awhile at the top of a hill where an unmarked trail branched off.  There, we inspected an old metal gate that could have blocked the trail long ago.  It looked so out-of-place sitting there with tree branches growing through and around it, like nature knows it just doesn’t belong.

Yellow trail old gate

Finally, back on the Blue trail, and back to the car we realized we had just completed 1.4 miles, and it felt like nothing.  The beauty and serenity of Whiting Road Nature Preserve rivals that of other local favorites, especially considering the location.  We look forward to seeing you here someday when you come for your visit!

Next week, we have an interesting story to tell about Irondequoit Bay Park West.