Bob Muller End to End Hike

Bob MullerI began at Elmwood Ave. following the cinder and crushed stone path of the Pennsylvania RR along the Genesee Valley Canal ditch, in its aged condition then overgrown with some trees, bushes and some water in the bottom.

Soon, I came to the Pennsylvania RR bridge where I walked through an opening in a chain link fence across the Erie Canal below me. The Genesee River and a footbridge on my left. Passing the Erie Canal Trailway (to Lockport, NY).

I continued under the (390) Expressway bridge choosing to follow along a blacktop path, no overgrown, and along the Genesee River nearby.  Came to a 10’ high chain link fence, where I was able to crawl through, and passed the City of Rochester Police and Fire Dept. complex on my right.  After about a mile the trail led right (at a dead end) up an incline to the railroad path and westerly again, along the overgrown canal ditch, which came to 383 Scottsville Rd. at a restaurant.

Across Scottsville, Rd., the old RR bed and canal ditch continued, passing a settlement (on the right) of trailer homes known as Little Black Creek Park. Soon, on my right, I saw several long steel RR tracks discarded in the bushes. Passing over, soon, a stone culvert over Little Black Creek I continued straight through a scrap metal yard with a RR track (spur) on the track, was an open top box car filled with metal scraps. Soon, I passed a sand and gravel yard and crossed the CRX railroad tracks (heading East to West) after crossing Scottsville Rd. and the Genesee River.

Next I came to Black Creek, where I walked across the double arched stone bridge with the canal ditch in its center (which I walked down into to explore.)  Onward, I continued the trail, southerly, to crossing Ballantyne Rd.

Past Ballantyne Rd. the RR and canal ditch (on the right) were interesting to see, on passing, some old RR ties tossed in the trailside brush and an occasional telephone line pole. On the right the old canal ditch, very interesting now, with a stone lock hidden in the overgrowth.

Onward, southerly, the trail came to open fields on the eastside and the impressive Dumpling Hill Canal Lock #2.  At this time, I observed some trees growing in the 90-ft long canal lock bottom.  The locks 15-ft wide walls were covered with poison ivy vines. In later years, when I returned to the lock site, I found that work parties had done a remarkable job to clear all the growth. One could see the stone blocks very clearly now.

After crossing Brook Rd. and Morgan Rd., then under Route 90 (NYS Thruway), came a climb up embankment to Rt. 383 Scottsville Rd. On the west side of 383 is a small graveyard with a gravestone of Joseph Morgan, a Revolutionary War Captain. He is credited with being the first settler in Chili, in 1792.

Once across 383, I continued south passing a shopping plaza (then had a Wegman’s supermarket.)  Across Rt. 253 soon came to Pennsylvania RR bridge crossing Oatka Creek. Locally known as “GEORGE” bridge.  Into Canawaugus Park still undeveloped at the time.

From the parking lot at Canawaugus Park, looking across to the north side of Oatka Creek, is the stone blocks old feeder gate for the Genesee Valley Canal.

Some years after my End-to-End hikes on the Greenway Trail, I attended the official dedication ceremony of Canawaugus Park, Governor George Pataki, with his NY State police escort, made a dedication speech. Then followed by Fran Gotcsik and others. Present with me were Howard Beye  (of  FLTC), Irene Szabo, and a crowd of over a hundred people.  After the governor’s speech, he led a small group on a short hike across “GEORGE” bridge, on the trail.

Continuing south from Scottsville, across Rt 251 and South Rd., I passed the old Lehigh Valley railroad trestle crossing the Genesee river.  The bridge deck noticeably had been removed. At the time, plans were still in progress to route  the  Lehigh Valley Trail from Avon west across the Genesee River and the GVG. 

Soon I passed an abandoned gravel pit on my rights, and then came the trestle of the abandoned Peanut Branch of the New York Central RR. Continuing south, I passed between the stone trestle of the abandoned Erie Railroad. Soon came a steep climb to Route 5, and steel guardrail. Once across Route 5, the trail headed east, then south, past an abandoned quarry. Soon, the trail reached Route 20.

Across Rt. 20, the old RR and canal ditch were a good site to observe, and soon came to a dirt road crossing the Canal Prism into a large cultivated field. Continuing southward the trail along Batzing Rd came close to the long gentle turn, along the banks of the Genesee River.

Continuting south from Fowlerville Rd., the trail passed a canal turning basin, on the west side. And York Landing with an old mill foundation. Here I observed a “partying parking area” with much litter scattered about. I did clean up much of it on a loater date as I used this as parking to continue my hike on the trail southward.

The GVG trail soon passed the Trappist monks wheat fields, grown by the Abbey of the Genesee monks.

Soon after crossing Genesee St. (Rt 63) at the Yard of Ale restaurant and parking lot. I walked south, through the abandoned salt mines property.  A large lake on the east side of the trail had a flock of Canada Geese resting on the lake.

Across Rt 20A, in Cuylerville, passing a residential area, I recall that I soon came to a creek. The bridge was long gone but the stone abutments still stood on both sides of the creek. I chose the road walk on River Rd. to Jones Bridge Rd and then north to the bridge and creek through much overgrown RR an canal ditch.

Then I walked continuing south crossing Perry Rd. to follow again the RR and Canal ditch on the east side of the road. The trail came to a RR tracks going from east to west and a RR bridge on my right crossing the road. I found the prism path too overgrown to the south here across the RR so I scrambled down to the road and walked the road to the south. Coming soon to the RG&E power generating station on the Genesee River, I crossed the Rt 36 bridge to N Main St., (Rt 36) in Mt Morris.

Turning right onto Sicles Ave and soon left onto the trail leading south behind residential are on my left. Soon I crossed Main St and followed the RR and canal south to cross State St. (Rt 408) and into a parking area. From here the RR and canal ditch were well defined, easy to follow, along the east side of Rt 36.  Passing MOTEL Country Inn & Suites across the road (on the west side). Further on, the RR and canal ditch (on the east side of 36) came to open grassy path, eventually crossing Rt 36 into SONYEA (Groveland Correctional Facility.)

On my next trip, I drove my VW Beetle into and parked at the Groveland Correctional Facility Got out and walked in to the “post office” building. Asked the clerk if he had any knowledge of an abandoned RR and canal ditch that passed here. “Not to my recall.”  Was his answer. I then went out and looked westerly toward a wooded area, and I could see an open lane looking like a trail.

Right then, a very tall officer, dressed in a prison guard uniform and hat, stopped me and asked what I was doing there. He said –“Don’t you know that this is restricted prison property?”  “You’d better leave!”  So I explained my mission to him and proceeded to drive my VW right out of there.

After the above encounter at Groveland Facility, I decided to visit Fran Gotcsik, at the FOGVG office in Mt. Morris As always, she was very pleasant and helpful.  With maps, she told me how to continue to find the GVG prism from Groveland (SONYEA) southward toward Tuscarora.  As Fran directed, I walked south on Ridge Rd., past former Shaker Village, and past a cemetery with all smaller gravestones. Walked on Moyer Rd and south. 

I recalled that, in earlier FOGVG News, a picture of Fran Gotcsik, with some officials on a tour down into the Keshequa Creek valley with high gray shale stone walls, some 100 ft high.

As Fran directed, I drove Union Corners Rd. and parked in Sonyea State Forest.  I found a trail leading down into the Keshequa creek valley. I could walk the creek bank east till I came to a falls from above. I continued west now, and walked along rather high creek banks till there was not way fo me to cross the creek. I returned to my car and drive back to the town of Tuscarora.

I walked north in Tuscarora on Main St and found the creek. Where I could bushwhack along the north bank, now to the east along Gulley Rd. After high power lines passing high overhead, I was stopped at the Keshequa creek banks. No way to cross here!  It was about 100’ across to the east side. I then walked via Gulley Rd. back to Main St and stopped in a general store to ask the local citizens about the railroad and canal prism.  After that, I found that a RR trail was behind houses and turned westerly, across Main St (Rt 258?)  Keshequa Creek passed under the road at a bridge, flowing westerly.

Across Main St., in Tuscarora, I walked the RR path westerly, through residential property (and a home).  Soon I came to the edge of Keshequa Creek and an abutment of large gray cut stone blocks.  I managed to bushwhack around to the west side of the creek and again found a RR path to cross Dudley Rd.  Continuing west, I came to a “TRAIL CLOSED” sign on Creek Rd. and walked around to Pentergass Rd. (“Till property ownership issues are resolved” )

Soon after Pentergass Rd. at Triple Creek Golf Course the canal ditch and RR prism divides – comes to a lock and continues along the south edge of the fairway – crossing Rt 408 the GVG heads west towards Oakland Rd.

I walked along Rt. 408 into town of Nunda. At stoplight I walked west on Rt. 436.  Passed a NYS (Blue & gold) historic marker sign on my right. Soon I came to a long line of canal locks (54-60).  I climbed into one to study its large cut grey stone blocks. At Oakland Rd. parking lot the canal locks continued along the overgrown vegetation (at the time) a most interesting study as I walked, through the “Deep Cut”.  Soon, across Short Tract Rd., and westerly near Williams Rd. the trail entered Letchworth State Park.  Trail followed along the scenic east side of the Genesee River gorge (under RR bridge), and soon comes to an exit onto the bridge across river, passing the Genesee Falls Inn in the town of Portageville.

The trails comes to an abandoned RR path out of town, and soon down the embankment at Whiskey Bridge.  The canal ditch on the east side of Rt. 19A still undeveloped at the time. At a parking area I followed the existing Finger Lake trail (white 2” x 6” blazes painted on trees.)  The FLT was well maintained and I followed south along the RR and canal ditch for about a mile.  Leaving the FLT the GVG continued south on the prism.

From here, I could follow an overgrown path southward along the east side of Rt. 19A.  Much bushwhacking followed for me to continue, but I was still excited to explore the GVG prism.  The Genesee River wasn’t far on my left.

Into the town of Fillmore, then into college town of Houghton where the trail on the east side of the road behind residential and business places. Just south of town, the trail cones to an RG&E power transmission station fence in by 10’ high chain link fencing.

Trail (I followed) continued alongside Rt 19 with a long bend of the Gnenesee River within a stone’s throw of me.  Soon the trail crossed the road to the west side. Soon into Caneadea and the Oramel the trail passed behind a residential area.  Here, a lady and I enjoyed talke as I admired her garden and she offered me some of her rhubarb crop. I declined but enjoyed a short visit with her.

Soon, the trail (GVG) became easy to follow into Belfast across Hughes Rd and longside the canal ditch.  I was excited to see the historic warehouse. I walked around it to the south side to find a large millstone (5’ – 6 in diameter) laying in the grass beside the warehouse wall.  It was in good condition. As I studied it, thinking of its historic value. The warehouse building was in well preserved state and its siding still weathered and sound. I was pleased in later times to know it is being historically recorded by FOGVG in pictured publications.

Continuing south after Belfast , crossing Gleason Hill Rd., soon I came to a very interesting area. The trail crossed a bridge over a small creek from the Rockville Lake that feeds water into the canal ditch. I paused to study this interesting feeder gate part of the GVG prism.  I continued south past cottages on my left and the RR and canal ditch on my right, into overgrown path I had to bushwhack some, and came to a water ditch and RR bridge that had been removed some time ago.

I retraced my walk from there back to my car and drove south to Rt. 305, parked my car on the north side. I walked down an incline and bagn following the RR north again. Soon I came to the removed bridge site where a water ditch flows by.  Then I walked back to cross R.t 305 and continued south along the RR until I came to yet another missing bridge and water below was toodeep for me to cross here.

Back again to my car and drove south to where the RR crossed Tibbetts Hill Rd. Plenty of room there to park my car. I walked north on the RR path of crushed, large grey stones. Soon, again, I cam to the missing bridge I’d seen before. Back to my car attain I found the RR path continued south across Rt 305.  But I couldn’t walk from there, because the RR was blocked off by a fence and I could see it was a grazing area for several horses that I was in a distance. A house was there also.

Drove on Rt. 305 southerly and onto Hyde Flats Rd.  Soon I could find the RR again and parked. I walked north to the fence-in area and back to my car. Across Hyde Flats Rd., I could walk south again on the RR prism. Back to my car and drove to South Rd where I found the RR crossing and parked. I walked north till I could not continue due to blocked paths by ages-old growth. From South Rd. I could only follow the RR a short way south due to a grand flooded area (possibly beavers?) Next to park on Jackson Rd. and walk north until the RR path became a problem to follow any further.

The I drove to Rt. 305 again and south to turn onto N Branch Rd. Soon I could park my car at the Cuba Coachlight Motel.  I could easily see the old RR path there on the right which I walked north, soon came in sigh of a school buildings site along the distant Rt 305, to the west of me. Very soon I couldn’t continue to follow the RR further due to growth of all sorts and water to cross again. Back to my car then.

From the motel I drove to Rt 305 and south under the Southern Tier Expressway (I-86) and into Cuba. I found the RR again on the south side of I-86 embankment.  There were some residential home sites to pass and I could follow the RR path again. Passed a small park, and came to Main St in Cuba, and stopped there. The Cuba famous Cheese factory retail store was nearly on Main St. Also a McDonald’s and a welcome ice cream store. Soon I passed a school building complex and found the RR path once again heading west out of town.

Soon, I found a running creek on my left as I walked a service road passing a truck maintenance garage. The RR path soon came very easy to walk westerly into a wooded trail that had been well cared for by the town.

I parked my car there and walked the RR south past some homes and buildings on my right I could see Rt 86 in the distance too.

Soon, out of Cuba, the FOGVG prism was on elevated lands, following RR. Walking on old treated RR ties, stones and between still in place, steel RR tracks I headed west. I observed old telephone lines; poles with wires still dangling from glass insulators, Some poles tipping some toward falling. An overgrown ditch was alongside the RR prism.  Soon I passed a concrete two storied RR switching building (long abandoned). Not far to my right I could see I-86.

After a long hike from Cuba, I came to where the RR crossed Wagner Hill Rd. From there I chose to walk back to my car, in Cuba, via the shoulder of Expressway 86.

Next time, I parked on Wagner Hill Rd. at the RR crossing. I talked with a resident of a nearby home to ask where the old canal ditch was located. She was very friendly and helpful as I explained my mission, and she showed me to where the old overgrown canal ditch was, there, behind her property.

Soon I encountered a large collecting year for old, well used trucks, and much outdated construction equipment which someone long ago had discarded A real scrap yard indeed.

After finding, again, the old RR and canal ditch prism, I could continue west. Soon, however, I cam to the well flooded canal ditch which was an awesome disgustful site shocking to see, where thousands of old truck tires had been discarded (how many had been submerged?) 

N.B. Recently, in the FOGVG News, I was so pleased to read that trail crews in that vicinity had removed the tired and had them property disposed of.

On my next trip back to Hinsdale, I parked my car at the north and east roadside of town where I found a trail path. From that point I hiked east and came to where I’d hiked previously from east. I’d finally come to my end-to-end hike of the Genesee Valley Greenway – the first person to do so!  As I recall – it was fall of 1991.

Special Note: at times it was necessary for me to stop in Mt Morris, at the FOGVG office where Fran Gotcsik would give me detailed information (showing maps) that I used to continue and find the Greenway Trail southward to Hinsdale.

It wa Fran Gotscik, also Irene Szabo, who were my “TWO SPARKPLUGS” that always gave me the hope that I could really do it. They were both, always excited to learn my progress. Thank you both!  Thank you Fran! Thank you, Irene!

Soon after reaching Hinsdale, I decided to hike north, in Rochester, from Elmwood Ave.  This would extend the RR and Genesee Valley canal ditch trail. I hiked north across Brooks Ave and behind the high rise apartment building across Plymouth Ave. with a footbridge over the nearby Genesee River I could see the University of Rochester.  I continued north on a blacktop path where a 4’ high old concrete wall continue on the right. I tough it was to separate the old canal ditch from the Genesee River nearby in case of flood times.

The trail took a dip down into the canal ditch and up the other side, continuing north. Soon passed a couple of old tall red brick warehouses one the left. Residential home sites were along the west side of the trail now, as I continued eventually crossing the road the Troup Howell Bridge over the Genesee Rover was a short distance to my right here.

From here north, the old RR and canal ditch had been long ago filled in as Ford St. I walked the sidewalks, passing residential home sites on my right and factory complex to my left. Meeting a fork in the road, I continued left and across West Main St. in Rochester, at the famous old red stone building and Nick Tahoes Restaurant (where I ate the “Garbage Plate Special” breakfast. After breakfast, I walked behind the building on a cobblestone parking lot, once the RR station of trains that took people north to Turning Point Park on the Genesee River.  There, the Coburg Boat, with coal cars, and passengers sailed across Lake Ontario.

Wild Animals I saw:  Bobcat – 26”-36 “  Along the trail, near Sicles Ave. where the FLT comes from north toward Rt. 36 (Main St in Mt Morris.) A woodlands area. Bobcats are the commonest wild animal in North America.  Adapts well to the presence of man. Is increasing in numbers in some areas. A 5” spotted tail with a black tip only. Body tan and spotted.

Red Fox: Along a stream, sunning itself, taking a nap, as I passed it in the distance. A bushy tail with white tip.  Tail about 16” long. Just south of Rickville.

Wildflowers:

Along the trail:  May Apples, Bee Balm, Cardinal Flowers, Columbine, Deptford Pinks, Coltsfoot, Trout Lilies, Blood Root, Crown Vetch, Butterfly Weed, Mullein.

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