People have started to write in asking where our hike announcements are, and how they can join our active group. If you’ve formerly hiked with us, you can join us now — contact me . If you’ve never hiked with us before, you’ll need to wait until our active hikers feel OK about mingling with strangers. In this case, you should just keep watching this web site — when the Covid situation settles down, we’ll announce that we’re fully reopening the hikes to everyone again.
Wed Sept 9
This report was written by Jim
Bob Cameron Loop, Connecticut Hill WMA
On Wednesday September 9th six hikers and one dog met at the radio tower on Tower Rd Town of Newfield for a hike of the Bob Cameron Loop. An additional hiker arrived late, but was unable to catch up to the group and did a solo hike of the same route.
Temps were warm but not unreasonably so. Trail conditions were dry, and had none of the slippery surfaces that resulted in my early departure in May. The group completed the Loop in fairly quick time.
Hikers found not only the trail to be dry, but all water crossings as well.
After completing the Loop, hikers opted to round out the two hour hike time by following the FLT on the same side of Tower Rd instead of crossing to the opposite side as the group often does.
Upon reaching the more Northerly FLT crossing on Tower RD, half of the group opted to re-trace their steps on the FLT, while the other half of the group chose to road-walk up Tower Rd back to the radio tower parking area.
This was a great end-of-summer hike.
Sat Sept 12
This report was written by Jim
Curtis Road in South Danby south into Danby SF
On Saturday September 12, a total of 18 hikers and four dogs met at the intersection of Hill and Curtis Rds in the Town of Danby
These hikers were then joined by two additional hikers during the course of the hike.
This makes this the largest hiking group that the Ithaca Hikers have enjoyed on a single hike since the Covid pandemic started. Thanks to everyone for sticking around. It wouldn’t have been the same 2020 without you.
Hikers proceeded down Curtis Rd, propelled by a slightly chilly and blustery wind.
Despite the wind, I heard no complaints from anyone in the group. If anything, the weather seemed to be perfect hiking weather. I actually heard comments from some people that they for once weren’t having to shed or add layers to remain comfortable
After the usual stop along the fenceline of the Karenville B & B to admire and feed the pony there, the group continued South on Curtis Rd.
At the FLT crossing the group split into roughly halves, with one half proceeding down the FLT, and the reminder continuing the roadwalk on Curtis Rd.
I hiked with the roadwalk group but spoke to the FLT group at the end of their hike; they reported several group members sustaining bee stings on their hike near the new bridge.
The roadwalk group did an out-and-back hike, finding a small amount of mud and puddles along Curtis RD but nothing to slow us down or detract from what was a great day hike in Danby. The trees are really starting to show some color change, although nothing of any brilliance yet.
Sun Sept 13
This report is by Jim
Lindsay Parsons Preserve, West Danby
Thirteen hikers and 5 dogs met in the parking lot of Lindsey Parsons preserve on the Town of Danby. The group was fairly dispersed throughout the hike, with a few of the dogs and a couple of the hikers who had opted to hike in the normal route rejoining the group only at the end of the hike.
A highlight of this hike this time of the year is the goldenrod that thrives in the first field or two we generally walk through, if it hasn’t been mowed down yet. I had originally planned on doing this hike a month ago; Leigh Ann had checked out the Preserve for me in anticipation of an earlier hike. At that time the goldenrod was not fully grown, and so we delayed the hike until the middle of September.
Hikers who arrived early today scouted the fields for me and reported back that the fields of goldenrod had been mowed. To compensate for this loss, I led the group initially around an observation loop for Coleman Lake that starts at the southerly end of the parking lot. The group hasn’t done this loop in the past, but I scouted it out briefly this morning and found that the goldenrod was NOT mowed in that area.
After doing that very brief loop, I led the group to the trailhead we normally launch our hikes from, but opted to reverse our normal hiking direction as a way to vary the hike.
First we stopped by an observation point for the beaver ponds that we haven’t regularly stopped at in the past. This provided a very pastoral overview of the mown fields, the beaver ponds and near-by forested areas. After that we bushwhacked across the mown fields and commenced our reverse loops of trails. We hiked red, yellow, orange, blue and purple trails over the course of the hike.
There are a number of fairly newer looking signs indicating various observation or other points of interest within the preserve or also private property lines, and it seems that part of the path is a re-route around private land that we hadn’t seen previously.
Towards the end of the hike we stopped at the end of Coleman Lake, something we normally do in the beginning of our hikes in the Preserve. We found that a considerable amount of work has been done filling in around the end of the lake and improving access roads to the lake. Water levels seemed lower than normal, and the array of tree trunks in the lake were visible.
The weather held out for us today; there was supposed to be rain, but that didn’t start until after the hike had concluded. Temperatures during the hike were warm enough that many hikers were shedding layers very early in the hike.
There were a few other hikers encountered along the route, but overall contact with other people was extremely minimal.
This was a great hiking day and location.
Wed Sept 2
This report was written by Jim
Rural roads in east Danby — Marsh, Deputron Hollow and Olsefsky roads
On September 02 2020, ten hikers and four dogs met at the corner of East Miller and Marsh Roads for a hike of the seasonal portion of Deputron Hollow Rd.
The weather overall was cool; the outbound leg of the hike saw steady periods of sunshine which was particularly appealing as it created alternating pools of sunlit road and stretches of relative dimness . We also saw the first fal leaves of the season.
Having grown up on the edge of one of Ithaca’s gorges, I always find hike locations that proceed along the edges of plunging gorges to be particularly appealing; this hike is one such example of that.
The past damage to the surrounding hillsides and road surface from logging operations is largely corrected or minimized from what I had observed in past summer hikes of the area. Many of the fallen trees have been cleared out, although some trees and limbs remain. The road surface is no longer the maze of churned mud and pools of water that it was at its worst
The group continued along the seasonal portion of Deputron Hollow Rd, turning around shortly after reaching the maintained paved portion of the road.
While re-ascending the hill, part of the group chose to take a side road to extend their hike time. Sporadic rainfall that was starting at around this time convinced a smaller portion of the group to make a beeline directly back to our cars .
Sat Sept 5
West Hill walk on lands belonging to the YMCA, Cornell (Coy Glen) and EcoVillage
Fantastic morning, cool, relatively dry and intensely sunny
The first half of the walk is in deep shade, starting even before you get out of the parking lot on Route 79
There’s pretty much no shade at all on the second part of the walk — miserable when it’s hot out, but perfect on a mild morning with the goldenrod blooming
Much of the walk here is on a maze of branching and forking trails, completely baffling the first few times you try to find your way
This trail is a genuine loop with no overlaps. There’s a brief last leg in the YMCA woods.
Sun Sept 6
We have two reports for this hike, because of confusion about where the group was supposed to meet up
South Danby — FLT east to the Tamarack Lean-to
Report #1, by Leigh Ann
Sixteen hikers and five dogs met up on the Finger Lakes Trail between Fisher Settlement Road and Tamarack Lean-to. Three hikers parked on Fisher Settlement Road, where a recent group hike toward the west started two weeks ago, and the rest parked on South Danby Road, where the Google pin for the hike description was. After some texting back and forth to figure out what was happening, everyone agreed to head east.
By the time we got to the lean-to, we had all met up.
Amazingly, there were people camping at the lean-to. They must have been surprised at their campsite being invaded, but they were good-natured about it. We might have woken them up, because they were stretching, but we were talking loudly enough that they would have heard us when we were several minutes away.
The morning was softly cloudy. It had rained the night before, and the temperature never rose out of the high 60s all through the hike. So, although it was humid, it was never oppressive. The trail was springy rather than muddy. Sunlight started coming in about halfway through the hike, and it cast fuzzy, leopard-print shadows on the trees and forest floor. The air looked peach-colored, but this may have been because I was craving a peach.
Here’s report #2, written by Jim
On Sunday September 6th three members of the Ithaca Hikers met on Fisher Settlement Rd where the FLT crosses.
The group had recently hiked West on the FLT from this road crossing, and I’ve wanted to get a good hike in an Easterly direction while we have good fall weather.
It had rained the previous evening, and hikers found that temps were cool but enjoyable once we got moving.
This section of the FLT, to South Danby Rd and beyond is notable for the distance of pine forest that the trail traverses. The damp ground and pine needles combined with the modest terrain elevation changes over the length of the route made for a pleasant hike today; the recent rain and changes in sunlight and shadows really caused the colors of the undergrowth to visually “pop” as we progressed through the forest.
The trail traversed through some interesting sections of both open areas and green tunnel effect.
Our small group crossed South Danby Rd and continued on the FLT, eventually catching up to the larger group of Ithaca Hikers who had set out from the South Danby Rd FLT crossing. That group was already on its way back from the shelter the group normally uses as a turn-around point. The return trip to the cars was uneventful.
More photos by Cian
Wed Aug 26
This report was written by Jim
Snowmobile and ski trails, Yellow Barn SF, Dryden
8 hikers and 1 dog met on Signal Tower Rd for a walk through the Yellow Barn Forest area.
The walk through the seasonal road/ snowmobile trail part of the walk was uneventful. Conditions have been so dry for such an extended time that water levels and muddy conditions normally encountered on this area of the hike were greatly reduced or non-existent.
Evidence of yesterdays recent wind and storm activity, in the form of freshly broken tree limbs, were often encountered.
Hikers entered the equestrian fields we normally cross on this hike and found the grass to be around ankle height.
Weather conditions were sunny with a slight breeze throughout most of the open field portion of the hike.
By the time hikers reached the cross country ski loop on the southerly end of the equestrian fields, about half the group decided to turn around and head for their cars. The remainder chose to forge ahead, completing a circuit of the ski trail and getting back to their cars only a few minutes later than normal.
Sat Aug 29
Hike cancelled because of predicted rain and thunderstorms
Sun Aug 30
This report was written by Jim
Roy H Park Preserve into Hammond Hill SF, Dryden
Nine hikers and six dogs met at the North parking lot of the Roy park preserve. A tenth hiker arrived later.
Upon arrival at the trailhead the first hikers were met with darkening skies and cooler temperatures than in recent days,
As the remainder of the group arrived, winds pushed the dark clouds from overhead, bringing with them bluer skies and the promise of good hiking weather.
The group set off across the wooden boardwalk; within minutes of entering the forest we were feeling the first misty drops of water falling from the skies through the forest canopy. As we climbed the hills towards Hammond Hill Rd, the level of precipitation grew, never to a level of great discomfort or inundation thanks in part to the overhead leafy cover.
The usual muddy spots on the climb were found to be bone dry today, although the roots and rocks on the trail were increasingly slick from rain.
The group, which had splintered during the quick thirty minute climb, reconvened on Hammond Hill Rd to assess our next steps. The Hammond Hill parking lot was found to be about half full, and the group could see a mix of equestrians, bicyclists and hikers flowing from the Hammond Hill multi-use trailhead. Our small group of hikers opted to risk running into more trail users and began the climb up the Hammond Hill yellow trail system. Luck held with us and we did not encounter a single user of the trail not associated with our group.
Notable for this section of trail were the many recent felled trees, so freshly fallen that they still bore their full compliment of green leaves. Some of these trees had fallen across the trail and been pushed back. None appeared to have been cleared through normal trail maintenance efforts. I can only assume that these were fatalities of high winds in the last day or two.
Hikers turned around at the first trail intersection and began our descent back towards the Hammond Hill parking lot. As we were running ahead of schedule, we opted to explore a side trail the group normally doesn’t take. That trail led us to the area opposite Camp Earth Connections. Returning to the parking area via the seasonal portion of Hammond Hill RD, Ithaca Hikers began a quick descent and return to the Roy Park Preserve North parking lot.
…. Three more of our super-regulars were out on the Abbott Loop in Danby as part of another event. This hike was organized by the Finger Lakes Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino for people interested in the Camino de Santiago to get together.. One of our regulars, Jana, was simultaneously training for an upcoming FLT hike. Some Ithaca Hikers will be repeating this hike next week to help Jana prepare for her September hike. (Info provided by Nancy H)
Wed Aug 19
This report was written by Jim
Rail trail between Freeville and Dryden
12 hikers and 5 dogs met on Springhouse Rd on the Dryden Village line, at the parking area for the Dryden Rail Trail
Hikers first walked towards the village of Dryden on a mowed, well-maintained and almost civilized section of trail. Upon reaching the first buildings inside Dryden Village and the end of the trail, hikers turned and retraced our steps to Springhouse Rd.
Continuing towards the Village of Freeville, in this section of the walk hikers were often inside a “green tunnel” which concealed the surrounding fields from our view. This was a big change from the last time we’d walked this trail in the spring, when the trees had not yet leafed out.
Despite the surrounding greenery there were still several breaks in the foliage which gave us views of the fields and waterways we were walking past.
This was particularly true at the road crossing at George RD, which offered a stunning sun-lit Easterly view across the fields near the William George Agency.
Upon reaching the paved roadway in Freeville near the village sewer treatment plant, hikers again turned around and retraced their steps to their vehicles on Springhouse RD.
While this trail is not a favorite of mine due to the almost omnipresent sound of vehicle traffic from near-by state route 38 and heavy use of the trail by others, these were not noticeable problems for the group today.
Sat Aug 22
This report was written by Leigh Ann
Woodard Road south into Upper Treman SP, Enfield
Thirteen hikers and six dogs met up at the spot where the FLT crosses Woodard Road on the western side of Treman State Park. This woods hike was a good choice (thanks, Steve and Susan), because the day quickly became hot and the air was still. It was very dry and sunny.
We headed east on the FLT to the CCC trail, past the mill at the Upper Treman parking lot, and east on the rim trail.
The plan was to bop down to the Lucifer Falls overlook and then back west to pick up the FLT where it comes close to the rim trail and take the FLT back west to Woodard Road.
We followed that plan but discovered – when found and advised of this by a State Park employee – that the state park trails are one way. He didn’t make us turn around, because we were only going about 0.2 mile the wrong way.
At Treman, the Rim Trail (the one on the south side of the creek) is for going up and the Gorge Trail (on the north side of the creek) is for going down. This is good to know, and here is an update on the state park site.
Sun Aug 23
This report was written by Jim
Dabes Diversion Loop trail, Virgil, Cortland County
Hikers and their dogs met in Cortland County at the Dabes Diversion Loop trailhead at the junction of Bleck and Hauck Hill RDs.
It was a great day for a hike. I was glad to finally be able to do this loop with the group, after my hike on this trail earlier this year had to be handed off to Nancy L after my leg injury.
Temperatures were definitely felt by some members of the group on some of the up-hills, and the occasional breeze was greatly appreciated. The sunlight as it filtered through the trees, creating a mix of shadow and light on the forest floor, was observed and commented on often within the group.
Hikers proceeded through the mix of hard and softwoods found in that section of forest, cresting the hill and finally descending down towards the overview of the farmers fields at the junction with the FLT.
Hikers took a long minute to enjoy the view over the valley; on the suggestion of one hiker the group made a short detour to the near-by shelter on the FLT. None of us in Sundays group had seen it recently, or at all. We found the shelter to be occupied by some section hikers from Rochester, so we quickly returned to our regularly scheduled hike.
Descending on the FLT towards Bleck Rd hikers found water levels in the streams to be minimal depth. Crossing over Bleck Rd, hikers continued on the FLT to the Kuzia cutoff. The Kuzia cutoff runs through a section of woods that the DEC has recently cut back, but it was not intrusive to our enjoyment of the hike.
Upon reaching the seasonal portion of Hauck Hill RD, the group returned to our vehicles.