Dogwood Festival and Orienteering

This past weekend was our local city Dansville’s spring festival. Unlike the larger cities the local festivals are more children and family oriented. Most events for the Dogwood festival centered around children’s performances, magic shows, choir or choral performances, and city softball or baseball games. There was also a small carnival being held at a local park. For more on Dansville’s Dogwood Days click the link: Dansville Dogwood Days


We were not interested in much of this but did get out of the house early to explore the many yard sales happening around town. Some of the sales were posted in the local penny savers. After driving and walking around many yards we came home with a kitchen table for only 5$. It needs a little TLC  some children’s paint and stains removed but it works perfectly as extra work space in the kitchen or as a kitchen eating area.


We also went to our second ever Orienteering event (it was a busy weekend) at Powder Mills Park in Pittsford outside of Henrietta. We decided this time to do the yellow course and jogged parts of the trail. The park was beautiful, green and shaded.



Trails winded around and through the trees and a creek. This course was a more hilly and we had to make decisions on navigation making short cuts or taking the longer less strenuous routes.

We finished in 42 minutes and as of the time we finished we were in first place for our course.


It was just as much fun if not more so then last month’s course. The park is more spread out, and diverse but had just as well kept shelters, bathrooms, and meeting lodges.

For more on Powder Mills Park Click here: powder mills park

Black Creek Park: Orienteering 101

This past weekend we went to our first Rochester Orienteering Club event at Black Creek Park in North Chili West of Rochester.


We decided to join the Orienteering Club after attending the Winter Festival at Mendon Pond Park back in January. For more on this see the link below:

Luke and I thought it would be a good chance for us to explore the parks/trails where we live and get to know others who enjoy getting out in nature.


In case you do not know what orienteering is think of a combination of cross country running and an adult scavenger hunt. All participants are given a topiary map of the park with course markers on it and a compass. The goal is to find flag course markers then insert a GPS key to show you have oriented yourself to find that location.


Along the way you have to make decisions about what terrain you want to cover to get to the next marker quickly. Competitive orienteers will run 6 miles of course trying to beat their best time with at least 20 flag markers from start to finish.


We are far from prepared for that but arrived in time to do a beginner instruction and the white (easy) orienteering course. Luke was in charge of the map/compass and I had the GPS key.


It was a beautiful day with a light breeze. The course took us about 30-40 minutes quickly walking  about 1.5 miles with 10 markers. Because of the time of year, the toughest terrain decision we had to make was where to step to avoid being ankle deep in mud. Also finding flags was easier because the trees have not produced leaves yet.


We learned on the way that we need to bring: sunglasses, hats, shoes that can get muddy, towels, and a change of shoes when we are done.


Overall it was a great first time learning experience. Now we know we can do the yellow 3-4 mile course. We enjoyed exploring a new park; Black Creek Park has many trails, great facilities, a children’s playground, open meadows, a pond, creek, and allows dogs on leashes.

What are your favorite spring outdoor activities?


It’s always hard to find outdoor activities and festivals in the winter season around here. So when I saw there was an outdoor winter festival in Rochester I thought Luke and I could check it out.

Luke and I decided to go to Mendon Ponds Winterfest near Rochester. Winterfest is an outdoor festival put on by several Rochester organizations. It is a very popular event that has more than 5, 000 guests that has been happening for the last 10 years.

The schedule for the festival included snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing races, sled dog races, a fly-in from Mercy Flight Helicopter, and skate-sailing on the pond and more. The events were spread out among the different hills and areas of the park.


So we parked at the northern entrance bundled up and set out to walk around. We first saw the snow-shoeing club who was lending out snowshoes to people for short walks around and talking to them about their planned hikes for the day. Around the corner was also horse drawn carriages for people to get a tour of the park.


We turned to the left and saw the smaller sledding hill and an indoor facility where there were children’s activities including face painting, petting zoo/animal education, puzzles, games, and crafts such as pinecone bird feeders. They were also selling warm food including chili and mac and cheese to the adults as they watched their kids slide down the hill.


We got a map of the park along with the activities lists and decided to walk to the pond. It was not very windy so the skate-sailing demos were over for the day. But people were still invited out onto the frozen pond and the sails brought bright color to the grey sky. There at a covered picnic area was also  information about local fishing and hunting in the area.


We went over to the field where the snow-shoe races had just finished and went inside a meeting room. There we found information about many winter outdoor clubs and organizations in the area. We talked with the Nordic Ski group who hosted the cross-country skiing races earlier in the day and the local orienteering group who also gave a sample course that we wish we had known about earlier in the day. We decided we may be interested in orienteering and signed up to get information. We picked up a few outdoor organization’s newsletters and got a cup of coco.


As we shared our coco we watched the older kids come down the larger hill by the field. We also waited for the mercy flight helicopter to fly-in and land on the field. We enjoyed watching everyone walk their dogs who were also enjoying exploring the snow. After this we decided to take the long walk back to the car as activites were wrapping up for the day and we were getting hungry.


We enjoyed getting out on our winter walk, learning more about ways to get exercise and get outside in the winter, and watching families enjoying the cold season.