We’ve been having some great hikes, but we’ve restricted who can hike out of concern about Covid. No more — the Covid situation seems under control. So if you want to hike with us, contact our coordinator, Jim (email@example.com). He’ll add you to the mailing list he uses to announce upcoming hikes, so you’ll know where we’re meeting up.
Black Diamond Trail from Kraft Road south, town of Ulysses
Ten hikers ( I believe my count is correct; there were some late arrivals as always ) and four dogs met on Kraft Rd where the Black Diamond Trail crosses. The day was a beautiful, warm and truly fall day for a hike.
The group set off in a Southwesterly direction towards Ithaca, and almost immediately the lead element outpaced the late arrivals.
Everyone quickly set their own pace within their splinter groups, and from where I was in the rear of the group I could see small clusters of our hikers walking and talking as they progressed down the trail.
‘The trail was in heavy use by others, primarily other walkers and bicyclists.
The undergrowth along the path shoulders hasn’t yet lost its leaves, so there wasn’t the clear views that we see of the side fields when the group walks this path in the winter. Still, the thinning shrubbery still offered many glimpses of fields, houses and other signs of development along the path. In many places there was still a solid canopy of golden leaves overhead that the group was walking under.
Three scenic shots taken from the edge of the trail:
The ground underfoot was still wet from the previous nights rain, and the streams we passed over were all sending a good amount of water towards the lake. This was a welcome change from the almost universal dry streambeds that we’ve seen on so many recent hikes.
Eventually the lead element reached a good turn-around point, and everyone returned to their cars at their own pace.
All in all, this was a good hike. It may not have the challenging elevation changes that we see elsewhere, but its a good locale for the groups members to share an appealing hike experience with each other.
Sat Oct 24
Hike rained out
Sun Oct 25
This report and the embedded photos are all by Randy
Carter Creek Loop, Connecticut Hill WMA
Twenty hikers and six dogs met at the junction of Lloyd Stark and Boylan Roads. The day was generally clear and quite cool, the trails had only modest mud from the recent rains, and the forest was free of hunters. We didn’t see any hikers either…at least I didn’t.
Nancy led the eager-to-get-moving group up Boylan, and made a left (south) to follow the slightly-uphill contours of the hill overlooking the creek below, with magnificent views of richly-colored Rowell Hill.
We then regrouped on Carter Creek Road, and met Steve and Tiger who hiked the road…good timing!
After a short hike down the road we found the Vinca-lined trail down to the creek, which was easy to cross thanks to some well-placed rocks.
After a short uphill, we headed north along the western flanks of Doll Hill, then after crossing the road again, Rowell Hill. This part of the trail was previously a road, so the going was easy until we came to a narrow spot where there was a steep drop-off on the left.
Soon we could see a large pond through the trees, and we approached it on the east side…the water level was at its highest…a beautiful finish to the hike
And just to avoid a short muddy section of the trail we made a short detour over to Lloyd Stark Road from where we could see the cars and some of the first hikers in our group.
All in all, it was a good hike. We stayed safe, had fun, met some new friends, and got a little exercise.
Meanwhile, here’s another set of photos, taken with a bigger camera
Finally …. here’s a link to Cian’s photos … he was using a new panoramic camera
Eleven hikers and four dogs met in the parking area near the junction of State Routes 13 and 34/96, for a hike of the Finger Lakes Trail in the area of lower Robert Treman State Park.
The day had started out noticeably cool, but by the time the hike started things had warmed up to a comfortable level.
The walk through lower Treman was uneventful, the freshly fallen leaves crunching underfoot as the group climbed the hills and progressed towards upper Treman.
The sun filtered through the leaves that were still on the trees, but at no point did it seem that the light intensity was uncomfortable. On the climb from lower Treman the group encountered only one other hiker/ trail runner on the FLT.
The majority of our group turned around after an hour and headed back to their cars. Two hikers continued on to the Rim Trail, taking that to Upper Treman and then hiking the length of the Gorge Trail back to lower Treman. Both the portion of the Rim Trail that we hiked as well as the Gorge Trail saw a moderate level of other park patrons on the trails for being a mid-week hike.
The water in the stream in many spots we saw was quite clear, with the leaves floating on the surface creating some interesting shadows on the creek bed as everything moved with the current.
The two hikers arrived back at their cars about an hour later than normal compared to our normal hikes. The parking area we use beyond the bridge was still fairly full of other peoples vehicles, so we were clearly not the only group deciding to hike that area that day
I’m pretty happy with this hike over all. I was glad to see that the park system has been investing in a good amount of trail maintenance in recent years, with many areas of broken stonework that I recall on the Gorge trail in past years having been repaired.
If anyone else chooses to hike this area before the state closes the trails for the season, be aware that the water fountains have already been turned off for the year, so you should bring your own water supply with you.
Sat Oct 17
This report was written by Jim
Shindagin Hollow SF — Shindagin Hollow Road east toward South Road and beyond on the FLT
The route I took on my drive to the trailhead passed over Irish Settlement Rd, where the fields were covered with the seasons first hard frost. Other hikers reported that their drive from Ithaca a little later in the morning on Slaterville RD had them passing through fields of mist.
I was standing at the trailhead waiting for the rest of the hikers to arrive , when the sun came over the hilltop and started warming the frosty leaf canopy in the trees around me. Soon the forest around me was filled with the sound of thawed frost falling to the ground as a sort of rainfall within the treeline. These are the sorts of sounds that get obscured when the larger group begins to assemble and the volume of hiker chatter obscures the background noises.
Other people were getting in some last minute outdoor recreation in the area; there were tent campers set up near our parking area, and the lean-to was occupied when we got there on the out-bound leg of our hike.
Streams near the trailhead and during the hike were still bone dry, although the stream water source at the lean-to had more water running than it did a month ago.
Seventeen hikers and six dogs met on Shindagin Hollow RD to hike to and beyond South RD. Of that number a couple of late arrivals never met up with the lead group of hikers, so from the start of the hike the group was fractured into two distinct clusters of hikers who had little interaction with each other. Trail conditions on some of the up-hills were a little treacherous due to the slick leaf cover and roots, but there were no falls or other ill effects from these conditions.
The early morning lighting made picking out some of the more worn blazes a little bit of an adventure in places, particularly when the fresh leaf covered caused the trail to disappear somewhat into the surrounding terrain. . A small trail re-route was enjoyed by the group on the outbound leg.
Upon reaching South Rd, the first group of hikers continued on, through a straight, mostly flat, section of trail that skirts along near-by fields. As the trail took a couple of 90 degree turns the group hit its turn-around time and re-traced its steps back down the trail without incident.
It’s my understanding that the second group of hikers turned around upon reaching South RD.
Monkey Run Natural Area, south side of Fall Creek, Varna
18 hikers and 5 dogs met on Monkey Run Rd for a hike on the South side of Fall Creek through the Monkey Run Natural Area.
We were lucky to have several relatively new hikers and some long-absent Ithaca Hikers re-join us on the hike today.
This proved to be a popular destination today for others as well. Our group encountered multiple other trail users before during and after our hike.
Things started out a little cool temperature wise, but it was a comfortable hike throughout. We haven’t done this hike in some time now; I had delayed in choosing this for one of our hikes because of reports over the summer of a possibly rabid animal in the area. No animal encounters were made on the hike day.
This was a really comfortable hike terrain-wise; none of the hills are particularly strenuous, the forest surface covered with needles and fallen leaves is always pleasing to walk on, and the portions of the hike where the group crosses open fields near Rte 366 can be visually stunning as well on clear crisp days like today was.
The portions of the hike that travel alongside the steep precipices next to Fall Creek are always of particular interest to me, and todays hike was no exception.
The group paused as we always do alongside the streambed at one point before plunging back into the brush and tree cover to continue with the hike.
There was a little confusion on my part over one of the yellow blazed side trails towards the end that resulted in us doing a small extra circle, but ultimately we wound up back at the cars only a couple of minutes past our normal end time.
Six hikers met at the Lime Hollow Nature Center parking area on Gracie RD in Cortland County. The day was generally overcast, much more so than on Tuesday when I had done an exploratory hike of the trails in anticipation of Wednesday’s hike.
Hikers started out by walking Easterly on the Lehigh Valley trail. Eventually the group met an intersecting blue trail that loops to the North; this trail is fairly new and doesn’t appear on the maps of the trail system that we had.
The trail is a bit rough in spots, particularly around one area where it skirts a solar farm that’s under construction.
We completed this loop in just under an hour.
By this time the group was getting the first threatening drops of rain accompanied by wind, but nothing that would cause too much concern.
We returned to the cars and continued Westerly across Gracie Rd to continue the hike on the other half of the Lehigh Valley Trail. Upon reaching the Fen Way loop the group took that in a southerly direction.
By the time the group reached the Fen Connector near the bottom of the loop, the rain had started to fall much more severely, The group completed the loop, returning to the Lehigh Valley Trail and from there back to the cars.
Despite the rain, it was a good hike.
Sat Oct 10
This report was written by Jim
Bock Harvey Forest Preserve and Riemen Woods, Enfield
Sixteen hikers and three dogs met at the Bock Harvey Preserve on Rockwell RD in the Town of Enfield
The day was predicted to be warm and sunny, and the weather people actually got it right this time.
There were some other users of the preserve, including a bow hunter and some overnight guests at the lean-to; these users were all leaving as the Ithaca Hikers arrived. A solitary dog walker was encountered late in the hike.
Trail conditions were about as perfect as I have seen them on this hike in the past; no mud whatsoever, no water to wade through. Freshly fallen leaves somewhat obscured the trail from time to time, but the well-maintained blazes kept the hikers on the right path.
Hikers started by quickly climbing the hill to the lean-to on the blue blazed trail; beyond that we jumped onto the FLT and headed towards Porter Hill Rd. After crossing Porter Hill Rd hikers took the broad loop that brings trail users back to Porter Hill RD. Rather than re-trace our steps back up the hill on the FLT hikers walked up Porter Hill Rd to reconnect with the trail.
Hikers took the FLT back onto Bock Harvey Preserve land, following the trails to Rockwell Rd, where the group turned around and made our way back to the blue trail via the yellow blazed trail.
Hikers found ourselves with extra time to burn, so an extra lap around the blue and yellow blazed trails brought hikers back to our cars more or less exactly on time.
One item of note on this hike was that within a short span of distance the group observed some trees well into their color shift, while only a short distance down the trail trees were encountered whose leaves were still fully green with no hint of color change whatsoever.
Danby SF — Loop trail from Bald Hill Road to Diane’s Crossing and back
Beautiful cool morning — lovely muted sun shining through the colored leaves
Such a pleasure not to have another day of intense sunshine like we had so often all summer. We could appreciate the subtleties of the woods, rather than constantly having to squint in overly dark areas and then overly bright ones
There was a fantastic sweet smell of pine needles in the air along this first leg of the walk, down Bald Hill Road
This hike is not a super ass-breaker like some we do, but it’s definitely pretty strenuous, and definitely easier to do on a cool day
A lot of the leaves were down — makes a great carpet on the forest floor
The way we do this walk, this segment on the Abbott Loop is supposed to be heading downhill, but there’s actually a surprising number of uphills too
This is the very brushy area next to Michigan Creek, at the low point of the loop
It barely warmed up during the hike — just 51 when we got back to the cars — but it felt very balmy at Diane’s Crossing. This is a great place to just stare into the bushes — extremely satisfying.
We saw a fair number of other hikers as we came down the Abbott Loop — just a few on our way back to the cars along the FLT past the Chestnut Lean-to.
Shindagin Hollow SF — rim trail along Shindagin Gorge
16 hikers and 6 dogs met on Shindagin Hollow Rd where the blacktop ends and the seasonal road continues into the valley.
Temperatures at the start of the hike were cool, although layers for many group members were shed as the hike progressed. Rain threatened us at the very beginning of the hike, but never materialized as a serious impediment to the group.
Hikers walked to the Shindagin Rim Trail and walked the length of that trail, to where it comes out at the lower parking area opposite the Jeep trail marked by the yellow metal gate.
Trail conditions were generally dry, although some lower areas later in the hike were soft mud.
Leaves on the majority of trees along the rim trail were still green, although many trees along the way were clearly in a state of transition.
Once the group emerged back onto the seasonal portion of Shindagin Hollow Rd the majority of the group walked a short distance down the road and onto the bike trail that leads down the hill to the streambed. We followed that trail to its road crossing on Gulf Creek Rd.
The majority of the group then roadwalked Shindagin Hollow Rd back to the cars. Some people chose to jump back onto the rim trail, but the majority walked the length of Shindagin Hollow RD back to the parking area. This portion of the hike really became a “hike your own hike” experience, where individuals chose to pick the route that worked the best for them. I walked the road all the way up the hill, this portion of the hike was especially pleasing for me despite being a roadwalk, which I often find somewhat monotonous.
There were some fine views along the road as the group would come around some of the bends in the road; the hillsides in these areas were awash with an impressive variety of colors for a considerable viewing distance. On the S bends while climbing the road the overcast diffused lighting, combined with the darker colors of the shale cliff faces and earth tones of trees, rock, and earth all made for some interesting color combinations.