Snow moving over Bare Hill

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  1. This was taken heading up to Council Rock at Bare Hill Unique Area, which sits 865 feet up overlooking the eastern side of Canadaigua Lake. Though it is now owned and managed by the DEC, it is an area sacred to the Seneca Indian Nation. At one time, the Seneca village of Genundowa was located nearby, and the village participated in the festival of lights through a ceremony that originated at council rock. A fire was lit atop the hill by the elders in thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, and that fire was echoed throughout various encampments scattered across the shores of the nearby lakes.

    There are various stories pertaining to how the hill got its name, the following is the one that I am most familiar with. One day while canoeing out on the lake, young boy from the village found a multicolored snake and brought it home to keep as a pet. At first he fed it small things, insects and small creatures, but as time went on, the snake grew more and more ravenous. The boy asked his village for assistance in feeding the snake, but it soon ate all of their food supplies, and in one quick movement, encircled the village and devoured all that were there. Only a young boy and his sister escaped the carnage, and in a dream, a spirit guide came to the boy and told him that if he shot the enormous serpent in a scale behind its eye, it would be killed. The boy did as his vision led him, only the snake did not die instantly, rather it thrashed and rolled about the hill, knocking down all of the trees and flattening the vegetation, thus giving the hill its “Bare” name. Finally, before the snake died, it disgorged the heads of the villagers it had eaten, which all immediately turned to stone and can be seen scattered across the hill to this day.