Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Have You Ever Been to a "Unique Area"?

Tinker Falls

Well, sitting here at the keyboard trying to think of something different to write about, and at the same time trying to come up with something that may interest you, I thought I'd share with you some of my husband's photos he took last week while hiking a trail about 30 miles south of Syracuse, New York.

Up until this time, we didn't have any accumulated snowfall, and as I write this issue of my blog we still don't have any on the ground at our house, so when I saw these pictures I was really affected by them. They were so beautiful, peaceful and awe-inspiring. Just in their simplicity and their natural beauty. No words for them.

So often we don't take the time to just look at one simple thing: a blade of grass, a leaf, a tree, a flower, an icicle. We are so preoccupied with outside activities, situations, technology, family, and personal issues. And while we have to prioritize our life situations, we also should take the time to rejuvenate ourselves personally. Even if you can only spare 2 minutes. Shut the computer off and look out the window. Look at a bird, a tree, your cat. We are used to focusing on the "whole" picture. We've been trained to put things into "perspective". Sometimes we need to just take the time and step back to see and appreciate the things that are right before our eyes.

Now how does this pertain to gardening you ask. When we're thinking and planning our landscapes and gardens, it doesn't always have to be a complicated, detailed, perfect plan. Look at the natural features in the pictures. The perfection of rock outcrops, leaning trees, brush. There are no manicured lawns here, but yet there is beauty in it's starkness.

The birds love these areas. There is much understory that provides protection for them. There are nesting materials of mosses, leaves, twigs, weeds, and grasses. There is food in seeds, bugs, and berries. And running water. Water will attract birds to your yards. Birds need water, food and nesting areas.

These photos that my husband took are from a New York State area that's designated as a "Unique Area". It is called Labrador Hollow Unique Area.

This area is popular for hunting, fishing, hiking, trapping, bird watching, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and even hang gliding. There is almost five miles of marked trails.

There is a boardwalk that is almost 2,000 feet long that provides accessibility to a trail back to Labrador Pond. This boardwalk will take you over a wetland area and there is also a short accessible trail to Tinker Falls.

Here is a description of the History of Labrador Hollow Unique Area as posted on the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) webpage:


Labrador Hollow Unique Area was acquired with funds provided by the Environmental Quality Bond Act of 1972 as a means to protect areas of great natural beauty, wilderness, and/or historical, geological or ecological significance. This includes rare plant life and scarce animal habitats. Labrador Hollow's topography is responsible for its unique character. The area is located in the middle of a valley running north to south that was dug out by glacial movement that occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch. Massive ice sheets from the last glaciation episode (Wisconsinan glaciation episode) retreated from the area approximately ten thousand years ago. They left behind numerous sedimentary deposits and superficial features, some of which filled with water and are now called the Finger Lakes, while others became known as valleys. The floor of Labrador Hollow's valley is only about one-half mile wide, but its walls rise abruptly for several hundred feet. Today, this unique and attractive area provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for many New York residents and visitors alike.

Because this area is shaded most of the day from the surrounding forests, the plant life that you will find here will be similar to the plants you would find in the high, boggy areas of the Adirondack Mountains. Over 100 different bird species have been identified as inhabiting Labrador Hollow including the rare Kentucky Warbler which is also protected by the NY Natural Heritage Program.

Near the north end of the valley there is a steep hill which occasionally has conditions that are flyable for hang gliders. When there is a west wind that crosses the valley floor, thermals are carried up to the launch site of a 700 foot hill. All hang gliding conducted at this site is with a permit obtained from the state only, and only non-motorized hang gliders are permitted. Also, if you do get a permit, you will have to carry your hang glider up a fairly steep trail through the woods to the top.

Thanks for sharing your pictures with us Ted!

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On the way home from his hike he spotted this coyote about one mile from our house!

Link to Labrador Hollow Unique Area: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/37070.html

Feel free to leave a comment! 


  1. Amazing as always!! Thanks for the advice to take a few minutes to enjoy the world around us. The pictures are great and it sure does make us want to take a trip to see this great place when we return to NY. Love the blog. Linda and Mark

    1. Thanks Linda and Mark. It truly is unique. I've been there a few times and hiked up the high hill (a few years ago), too. And it's a very nice walk to the pond on the boardwalk as well. I think you would enjoy it!

  2. New York has some amazing natural spaces. Your husband captured really beautiful images of the area. I think natural space relates directly to gardening. As a designer, nature gives me many ideas, especially those that break design convention and rules. I agree, people should take more time looking at the things in nature often overlooked. Inspiration abounds...

    1. Yes, we are fortunate that New York State had the foresight to preserve the parks and wilderness areas that we have today. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Gorgeous photos, there are a lot of inspirational ideas in your photos.