Wednesday November 23
South Road & Hurd Hill Road, Caroline
Hike report by Jim
Thirteen hikers met on the seasonal Hurd Hill Road where it intersects with South Road. We started with a steady downhill walk of Hurd Hill Road, which for the most part was free of washouts and potholes that otherwise might have slowed us down.
Our route passed through mostly undeveloped state forest land. Not until we approached the intersection with Prospect Valley Road did we encounter any residences or other signs of human habitation.
Hikers turned right at that intersection and then continued on Prospect Valley Road until we reached the seasonal end of Shindagin Hollow Road. Because we’d maintained a good pace, we found ourselves at the FLT crossing on Shindagin Hollow Road exactly an hour into the hike. We turned onto the FLT, hiking to the Shindagin lean-to, where we paused briefly.
We pressed on, hiking to South Road and then walking on that road back to our cars.
For those still tracking their FLT miles toward the FLT60 patch, today’s hike included 1.5 FLT miles.
Thursday November 24
Thanksgiving Hike and Get-Together
Hike report by Hank
Eight hikers and one dog named Thor set out at approximately 9:40 from 112 Compton Road under clear skies and temps in the mid 50s.
We proceeded south on Compton Road, crossing NY-96, and got on Comfort Road. From there, we continued south until we picked up the trail that becomes the loop around Treman Lake.
At approximately the halfway point, where the road leads into upper Buttermilk SP, we turned right, walked about 100 yards, and then turned left and walked up a service road past a now-defunct water tank and onward, finally ending up at West King Road. There, we stopped to chat for a moment, then we turned around went back down to Buttermilk park and proceeded around the rest of the Treman lake loop. We picked up the Finger Lakes Trail to Yaple, walked Yaple to Comfort, then returned to 112 Compton.
Saturday November 26
Stevens Suspension Bridge, Cornell Natural Areas
Hike report by Jim
Twenty hikers and two dogs met on Forest Home Drive for a hike of the Cayuga Trails and surrounding environs. It was a sunny but cool day, perfect hiking weather.
After crossing the suspension bridge we turned west, weaving our way through the woods along the well-travelled trail system. Eventually we reached the golf course, where we carefully skirted the perimeter of the well-groomed greens.
We cut through the woodline to reach the equine barns via the service road. We didn’t see any horses at first; we were nearly past the barns when suddenly a dozen or more horses thundered to the fenceline as we passed by.
There is some construction in progress between the current pastures and the Pooh tree, but we were able to turn toward the woods and the trails along the forested bluffs above the stream.
We hiked the orange-blazed trails along the bluff until we reached the split between the orange- and red-blazed trails. Normally we turn downhill and follow the orange blazes, but today I’d hoped to take the red-blazed trails and return to our cars from another point in the trail system. However, the hikers within our group had by now become so dispersed that I was afraid that the trailing hikers wouldn’t find the main group. So part of the group continued on the red-blazed trail under Norm’s guidance, while I took another group of hikers to retrace our route back to the orange-blazed trails. We located the formerly trailing hikers near Stevens suspension bridge.
My group of hikers crossed the bridge and hiked the blue-blazed trails along the stream in a loop, returning to our cars at the two-hour mark. By now, the shoulders on both sides of the road in the parking area were lined with cars. Clearly, this trail system was a popular destination for hikers on this beautiful fall day!
Welcome to Pat K. on her first hike with the group!
Sunday November 27
Owl Creek Trail, lower Buttermilk SP, and Ithaca College Natural Lands
Hike report by Jim
Thirteen hikers and two dogs met in the lower Buttermilk Falls State Park parking lot for a hike of the Owl Creek Trail and surrounding areas. The morning was overcast, with the threat of rain in the forecast.
We set off up the paved service road before turning onto the Owl Creek Trail. The group paused for a quick group photo before resuming our upward trek. Much of the first section of this hike is a steady climb; we go some distance before reaching a level spot where we can catch our breath.
At the overlook area, we paused to take in the view. The forests across the gorge were shrouded in a watery haze.
We resumed our climb and eventually reached Kings Cemetery on to Stone Quarry Road. Here is where we felt the first raindrops.
The group returned to the woods and walked to the Owl Creek trailhead on Stone Quarry Road. Here we crossed the road and got on the red-blazed trails of the Ithaca College Western Natural Lands.
By now it was raining steadily. We completed several of the loops within that trail system before again crossing Stone Quarry Road and retracing our steps down the hill via the Owl Creek Trail back to our cars.
A warm welcome to Kristin on her first hike with the group!