Clark Gully is another beautiful area for hiking, enjoying the scenery and observing wildlife. Clark Gully is part of the DEC Hi Tor West River Wild Life Management Area. You can access the area from below at Sunnyside Road and from above at South Hill Road. The trip up the hill from Sunnyside is challenging but doable. If you are not into climbing, you can use the upper access and work your way around through the Hemlock and deciduous forests along the banks of the main gully and its tributaries.
On my trip up there this weekend, I saw white-tailed deer, woodpeckers, blue jays, turkey vultures and chipmunks. The turkey vultures were circling in the gully itself trying to pick up thermals. When they found a rising thermal they would shoot right up and glide high above me. Sometimes when they are soaring high overhead it is difficult to identify the turkey vultures, but as soon as they turn tail to you or head to you, you can see the telltale V of the wings and the “wobbling” as they fly that are characteristic of this bird.
The little chipmunk that you see in the photo was sitting on the edge of his food storage cache hoping that I wouldn’t notice him. He stayed ever so still for a minute or two and then ducked into his hiding place. He peeked out once to see if I was still there and then disappeared again.
I then made my way over to a spot known as the Overlook that has a beautiful view of the Valley and West River. The Seneca Indians consider Clark Gully and South Hill to be Sacred Ground. One look at this view from the Overlook is more than enough to see why they felt this way.