My husband and I, sans children, were looking forward to trying out this park down in Springwater, NY- the Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation area. To be honest, we had never heard of it before, but we must have been the only ones, because it is one of the few places we have hiked where we have run into other hikers (and in this case mountain bikers). We were surprised because the entrance was on a rather secluded road but as soon as we pulled onto the main entrance road into the park, it was apparent why it is so popular! The view alone would be enough for me to visit this park.
As we got out of the car to enjoy this amazing view of Honeoye Lake, a biker appeared on the trail below us, and told us if we looked carefully we could see the tiny tops of buildings in Rochester, NY which is about 40 miles away! I can only imagine how spectacular this view will be when the foliage is at peak and hopefully I can make it back to share some photos of it.
When you pull into the park, there is nice area with picnic tables and a bathroom (no running water and noted as a comfort station on the trail map) and plenty of parking space to start your hike. As you look at the trail map, we parked and started our hike just past the abandoned shed on C4 (Corridor 4). I was just hiking along, enjoying the forest view, when I suddenly rolled my ankle on the uneven ground. Disclaimer… the trails here are not smooth.. they are uneven and rocky.. but they aren’t difficult to navigate. I tend to be on the clumsy side especially when I’m not paying attention to the terrain.
Luckily, there was a bench right in front of me, so I hobbled over to it and sat, trying to breathe through the pain for a few minutes while my husband hovered around me, saying we needed to pack it up and go home. Well, in what may have been not one of my smarter moves, but definitely one of my stubborn ones, I insisted that we were going to hike the trail with the help of a walking stick my husband found that was perfectly formed for the job.
So for three miles we hiked along one of the wider trails, C4, to eventually Upper and Lower Sidewinder Trails. It would help to take a map.. while the trails are marked at intersections, there aren’t many markers along the trails themselves and with so many interconnecting mountain biking trails, it was often hard to tell which trail we were actually on. There are points when the trail is wider and then narrows, there are some long inclines and declines and the trails themselves are by no means manicured. Be prepared to hike through mud, rocks,and uneven terrain with dips and holes (!) but also be ready to enjoy some beautiful wooded views, wildlife and the peace and quiet of the deep woods. If you are a biker, this is a popular spot with many trails… as well as cross-country skiing. snow-shoeing and snowmobiling trails.
Would I take children? I probably wouldn’t navigate far into the woods with younger children, but older children would be able to handle the hike.. and a comfort station at the beginning and end of the trail is an added perk! Also… something to consider… hunting is allowed in this management area, so I’d use common sense when hiking during hunting season.
As for my ankle.. I ended up finishing the hike, going for x-rays and finding out that I had an avulsion fraction, where the ligament tears away from the ankle bone and takes some bone chip with it. Needless to say, my hiking days are on hold for awhile!