Report to Hikers — week of Aug 3 – Aug 9

Hello Hikers!

Wed Aug 5

This report was written by Leigh Ann V

Potato Hill SF, Caroline — Level Green Road east to Blackman Hill Road and beyond

Six hikers met this morning at the junction of Level Green Road and the FLT to hike east to Blackman Hill and back. Just to the east of Level Green Road is a section of woods that the DEC has been working on, so there are a lot of trees down – but not in an especially unattractive way. It opens up some view. This section of the trail has been rerouted since the last time I was on it, and it is noticeably less steep. It also has a new, CCC-quality set of stone steps right on the western side of Blackman Hill Road.

Most of Hurricane Isaias passed to the east of us yesterday, and the area around the hike felt washed clean. The air was cooler at this time of day than it has been in months, and the trail, woods, and field were surprisingly not muddy. Fair-weather cumulus clouds became more numerous as the hike went on. Most of this hike is in forest, and when a cloud passed over the sun, the woods became dark and delightfully moody. East of Blackman Hill Road, the trail comes out in a field that used to have a sun dial at the top. On a clear enough day, you can see to Pennsylvania from there. We could. It was a “Hills are Alive,” Sound-of-Music experience to walk along the well-mowed trail through tall, August-blonde grass. We made it to a logging road somewhere east of the field and turned around, so we got all of this awesomeness twice.


Sat Aug 8

This report was written by Leigh Ann

Bald Hill Road to The Pinnacles look-out, Danby SF

This morning, thirteen hikers and six dogs met up at the corner of Station Road and Bald Hill Road for a hike up to Thatcher’s Pinnacles on the Abbot Loop. We hiked south on Bald Hill Road until we got to the northern crossing point of the Abbot Loop, then turned east on the Abbot Loop. This part of the trail ascends fairly steeply to the Pinnacles, and today the climb was nice.

The weather changed a lot through the hike, but it was always cool and humid. At the start of the hike, the woods were slightly foggy with lighter patches here and there as the sun started to come through. The Pinnacles and woods around it looked like a temperate rain forest. All of the leaves were wet and silvery with overcast sunlight. About 45 minutes into the hike, the sun broke through and the silvery leaves on the trees and ferns turned bright, saturated green. Compared to earlier in the hike, everything took on a golden color. Sun fell in spotlights on the forest floor, and it was so humid that my glasses stayed foggy.

As usual, we spread way out on this well-known trail. By the time we reached the southern crossing point of the Abbot Loop on Bald Hill Road, we were everywhere. Some of us walked back the way we came, and others went back on the road. This was a great choice of trail for the day.

Best wishes,

Leigh Ann

More photos:



Sun Aug 9

This report was written by Jim

Circuit around Lake Treman, Upper Buttermilk Falls SP

15 hikers

6 dogs

The group met on Yaple Rd and set off on the FLT spur into Buttermilk Falls State Park. Once on the circuit trail around the lake the group split into two distinct groups of about equal size. Even within my subset of the group there was a good amount of social distancing going on.

It was  a beautiful sunny day for a hike, with moderate temps, slight breezes at appropriate intervals, good humidity and not too many other people or dogs on the trail.

Hikers proceeded to the dam crossing and once up the hill on the opposite bank hit the spur trail to La Tourelle. After reaching the terminus of that spur we re-traced our steps to the lake trail and continued on that. The groups pace was fairly quick, so before we knew it we were back at the cars. Three of us opted to continue on the FLT spur to round out our two hour time , with Leigh Ann continuing on solo even beyond that as it was such a nice day to hike.

This is the upstream end of Lake Treman, where the water flows in. That’s the lead hikers crossing the little bridge. Very parched look.
That little wet area at Tiger’s left is Buttermilk Creek, about 18″ wide and two inches deep before it disappears into the piled rocks.

More photos:


Report to Hikers — week of July 27 – Aug 2

Hello Hikers! This report chronicles last week’s activity by the hikers in our core group who have been hiking three times a week since April

Wed July 29

This report was written by Mary W

Modified Hikers Summer Picnic July 29, 2020

A group of nineteen hikers including Cian’s family (brother, Lachlan; sister-in-law, Mari, and his five year old nephew, Amandou) met at the Marshal Case Haggard Pavilion in Lower Treman Park, west of the Rim Trail. Other hikers wanted to be there, but arrived only in spirit. Although a picnic is a challenging idea in our Covid-19 climate, everyone had masks (some very cute masks) and generally kept a six foot distance. 

The day was a typical summer day . . . a fine day for a picnic. At 9:30, when many hikers arrived, it was sunny and 73 degrees F.  By noon it was 80 degrees and still sunny. At 4 the temperature dropped and it began raining, though only one Hiker stayed after 3 o’clock. 

People arrived at different times and found relief in the shade and space the pavilion provided. 

Early in the day, small groups dispersed in different directions to hike the trails. Others had fun running and playing cards with Armondo (five year old nephew of Cian). Many enjoyed conversations and food under the pavilion. A few hikers brought dishes of picnic foods to share. Others had delicious meals they enjoyed individually. And some, came for the pleasure of the day without desire for food. The swimming area was too crowded, so no one opted to swim.

The was a relaxed and enjoyable picnic though it’s challenging to feel comfortable in groups even when practicing Covid-19 protocols. One cell phone was forgotten and successfully reunited with its owner.


Thursday July 30

This report was written by Jim R

Trail maintenance project, Ridgeway Road, Caroline

Ten members of Ithaca Hikers met at the FLT trailhead on Ridgeway Rd, for the purpose of trail maintenance. While we didn’t get the entire section from Ridgeway to the 90 degree turn towards White Church done, anyone walking that section after this morning will easily see the difference in trail conditions. Thanks to each and every one of you who pitched in today

Honorable mention to Hiker Cian. Cian could not join us today due to his work schedule, but did go to the trail last evening for the purpose of engaging in single combat with a nest of flying stinging nasties who could have made life miserable for us today. I understand that Cian introduced the nasties to a can of Raid, with good effect. We had no issues in that regards today. Thanks for your efforts, Cian

Katharine advised me that in the area she was working today there was a significant quantity of poison ivy lying in wait

This project will require a second days work at some point in the future.

Here’s what the trail looked like before the work began

Here’s the after shot


Sat Aug 1

This report was written by Leigh Ann V

Potomac Road area, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector

Ten hikers and four dogs met up at the parking lot just north of the Potomac Group Campground for a hike in Finger Lakes National Forest. Jack V. led the hike. It felt like full-on August, and the hemisphere has noticeably tipped toward fall. The intense humidity of the past couple of days had broken, but already the trails were drier than Jack had ever seen. Sunlight was sharply defined in and out of the woods. We hiked north on Potomac Road to the blue trail and headed east then south past the Potomac Ponds. Then we got onto the Potomac Trail, crossed over Potomac Road, and turned north on the Interloken Trail. We passed Foster Pond, which was down by a foot and was a great place to look at the streaky horse tails of clouds. Past the pond, we kept heading north until we hit a good turnaround time, then returned south to the blue trail, which we took east to Potomac Road where we started.

Photo by Jack V

Five hikers headed over to Grist Iron Brewery after the hike, and it was a good, socially-distanced time! My husband John met us there, and afterward, John and I did some of the hike the group had done.

More photos:

Jack V



Sun Aug 2

This report was written by Jim

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

11 Hikers

3 dogs

Hikers met on Ellis Hollow Creek Rd at the nature preserve

I (Jim ) had been concerned about the weather causing a cancellation of this hike, and in fact as I pulled into the Preserve parking lot the sky was a dark color that threatened rain

I found the parking lot already about half full of cars, and as I waited for the group a steady stream of other dog walkers arrived or departed from the parking lot.

Clearly the Small Hiking Group would not be on the trail alone today.

By the time the remainder of the group had arrived, the sky was a more pleasing shade of blue and the group was not threatened with any foul weather for the duration of our hike.

Hikers and dogs did a counterclockwise loop around the trail system. It was pleasantly warm, and the sun was out for much of the hike. Since the last time I’ve been on this trail it appears that someone has put some effort into installing stone steps and earth retaining boards at one water crossing. This trail improvement was much appreciated

At the conclusion of the first circuit of the trail the majority of the group opted to do a second, reverse lap around the same route, led by Jack V.

I left the hike and went to Ridgeway Rd to get some photos of the portion of the FLT that the group was clearing last week for Stephens weekly hike summary.




The members of the small group have decided not to add people to the group unless they’re already known to at least several of the current hikers. If you don’t know any of them but you still want to join them, write to Jim at “” and he’ll put you on the waiting list.

Hello Hikers! hope you’re all doing OK

The county’s starting to open up, and we’re allowed to hike with as many as 50 people now. But not many of those in our active hikers group are ready to start mingling widely yet, so we’re going to hold off opening our hikes to the public for now. We’re concerned the arrival of the college students could lead to new Covid cases, so we want to wait and see.

That’s not to say we’ve just been sitting around waiting for the pandemic to end. Some of our active hikers have been hiking three times a week since April, and now I’m going to start posting a weekly report on those hikes. This will give you some idea of what we’re up to.

Meanwhile, I want to mention a change in our group. After coordinating the group’s activities for 16 years, Tiger and I have stepped down. Four of our most active regular hikers have stepped up to take over coordinating, and we’re hoping several other people will get involved too. Tiger and I have faded into the deep background. I’ll continue to put hike-related material up on this web site but I’ll just be functioning as a data-entry person. The new coordinators will be preparing all the material.

Tiger and I have loved coordinating this group since 2004. We’ve met a large number of interesting people we never would have met otherwise, and we’ve gotten familiar with the beautiful rural countryside outside of town. But I’ve been having problems with my balance and eyesight ever since I fell down onto my head two years ago and got a concussion. I’ve been recovering slowly, but I can’t keep up with the group any more much of the time. Our group’s new coordinators are all full of enthusiasm and energy. I’m confident they’ll be running some very exciting hikes for you.

Report to Hikers — week of Mar 9-Mar 15

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 11

Six Mile Creek, from Mulholland Wildflower Preserve to Potter’s Falls

This is a great walk, and we used to do it much more often, but the city drastically reduced the space in the parking lot some years ago, and now we can’t do the hike on weekends because there’s not enough room to park for everyone.

This is Potter’s Falls

When we got back to the cars, we realized one of the hikers was missing. Luckily someone had her phone number. It turned out she’d stopped to take a phone call and then couldn’t find the trail. She ended up in Commonland and headed up to Route 79 and walked back along the highway.

Official head count: 23H, three D

More photos:

Jack V


Sat Mar 14

Willseyville Creek south of Ridgeway Road, Caroline

This big pond runs along the east side of the old railroad right-of-way

Official head count: 22H, two D

More photos:

Jack V



Sun Mar 15

Danby SF loop trail — Bald Hill Road, Dove’s Trail, Abbott Loop north leg, and Chestnut lean-to trail

Official head count: 29H, five D

More photos:

Jack V