Saturday, January 6, 2024

Adventure at Bond Lake

My friend Barbara and I rose to another hiking challenge today.

We were Bond Girls! We went to Bond Lake Park.

That is it up above. Well, that is not Bond Lake. That is just a big puddle. However it was all new to us! I had never been there before and neither had Barbara. Heck, neither of us had ever heard of it. 

Getting ready was like getting ready for a trip to the moon. The WNY Hiking site has a huge list of things you should bring and it can make me anxious. I mean, I am just going to Niagara County, a half an hour away, and yet suddenly I feel like Ponce de Leon.

My car must have internalized my stress. Half way there, I heard a "ping" and the dashboard flashed at me: "Tire Pressure Low." What to do? I texted Howard. Howard said to look at all the tires and see if one looked flat. I thought one of them sort of did -- 

... however then the others looked flat, too. The power of suggestion is strong!

Howard said it might be the cold. He said I could proceed. I was happy to hear that. I was really excited about this hike. I had new hiking boots. No more sneakers for me, no sirree. And I had packed cheese as a snack that I thought we could eat afterwards at the Warming Center. Yes, Bond Lake Park has a Warming Center! You picture a hut where they say, "Ladies, come in from the cold," and offer you hot cider.

When I arrived at the park, there was no mistaking it. A big sign identified the park. And there, sure enough, was the Warming Center. It was not the bucolic hut we had imagined. But it was there! That is it at the top of this post.

However the Warming Center gave us the cold shoulder. Note the rude sign. No apologies, nothing!

Bossy Bond! That was the name we came up with for this park. It was full of bossy signs!

What worried me about the Warming Center was that now there were no facilities.There were restrooms on the side of the building however they were locked. What if you needed to answer nature's call? That is what I would like to know.

The Buffalo area is hilarious for this. Notices are everywhere telling you to get out and exercise in the snow, enjoy the winter, and above all to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Yet no facilities, anywhere. It is like the old Soviet Union, zut alors and fie.

Still our day was full of fun and laughs.

The hike was only three miles or so but Barbara and I are always getting lost so we must have added another mile or so. We did that at Tifft too. It is our trademark!

This time we set a new record. Map in hand, we crossed Lower Mountain Road in front of the Warming Center, set out on the path, and got lost within two minutes. While we were still in sight of the road!

However eventually we found our way to the lake, which I assumed was Bond Lake. The lake was on the map, and the trail was marked along side it, so we figured as long as we were walking around that lake, we were OK. Which we were. We kept running into other hikers also on the challenge and they would reassure us.

We found time to admire the scenery!

That last masterful photo is important because if you look closely you can see the sign saying, "Lake Unsafe. KEEP OUT!" I told you Bond was bossy! There were other bossy signs too. Lots of them! However my fingers were too cold to remove from my mittens to take pictures.

Each hike has an item you have to photograph yourself with and in this case it was "Distinctive Tree." According to the map it was right past a Scenic Overlook. 

Sure enough, first came the Overlook...


... and then came the Distinctive Tree.


Ha, ha! Barbara is privy to the art of taking a good selfie however I am not. 

The tree was naturally photogenic. As Barbara and I agreed, it was a real Brothers Grimm tree. I saw other trees as well with that shape, off to the side and not as impressive, however still picturesque. They must all be the same kind of tree. I will have to come back in the summer when I can move my fingers and use my Seek app.

After taking our selfies with the tree, we got lost again and finally decided just to return to the chilly Warming Center and call it a day. Maybe that was just as well. Other hikers had warned us anyway that the final leg was a mess, that the trails were not labeled properly. Who needs that? Not us, was our conclusion. Besides which we had just gotten in a couple thousand extra steps because of getting lost. 

So, an exciting day, and a successful one.

We did it!


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