Report to Hikers June 17-June 23

Wednesday, June 19

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve, Ithaca

Hike report by Mary W.

At 8:30 a.m. this Juneteenth 2024 twenty Ithaca Hikers and one dog met in the small parking area of the Ellis Hollow Preserve to take an earlier than usual start-time walk through the area. Thanks to all for adjusting to the earlier start. 

Today, we welcomed two new hikers:  Nina and Andy; a visitor, James and a long ago hiker, Kiera. 

As hikers stepped into the preserve it was about 78 degrees F, moist and nicely shaded throughout the woodland trails. Not surprising, no see-um flies were also present, but hikers moved at a consistent pace and the group managed just fine.

Generally, this hike takes only one hour and covers about 1.9 miles when hikers walk each of the red, blue and yellow trails just once. On this particular hike we usually have the option to walk zig zag up and around once, or twice. Twice around is the usual hike plan in order to cover 4 miles and to be on the trails for about two hours. 

This morning, after only once around, the air temperature had climbed nearly nine degrees, so several hikers chose to end their walk after once around. The other hikers (nearly half) chose to continue hiking the preserve a second time, in the opposite direction! Hikers’ often agree that this second time offers a pleasant and opposite perspective. It can be noted however, that even one time around Ellis Hollow preserve gives hikers a moderate amount of lively ups, downs and stream crossings. This morning the trails were a tad warm but no less of a really nice woodland walk! Thanks to all!

Photo by Mary W.
Photos by Leigh Ann

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Saturday, June 22

FLT west from Burnt Hill Rd. to Satterly Rd., Finger Lakes National Forest

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-one hikers and two dogs met at the Finger Lakes Trailhead on Burnt Hill Road and hiked west. Just east of Logan Road, we picked up a twenty-second hiker, Jim Rolfe, who had parked on Logan to catch anyone who might have gone there by accident (no one did). 

It was a steamy, hot day, so we kept a steady but not overly fast pace for the weather. In the last bit of shade before the open fields heading up to Satterly Hill Road, we hit the one-hour mark and turned around, arriving back at the cars exactly two hours and 4.2 miles later.

This section of trail is rewarding to hike but could use a little TLC from folks with a weed whacker. The verge encroached on the trail from the junction with South Slope Trail to where it begins parallelling fields on the slope up to Satterly Hill Rd.

We were drenched by the end of the hike. So, thirteen hikers and one hiker fan converged on Grist Iron for lots of water, some beer, and good food. We sat inside to enjoy the air conditioning, and had a nice, relaxed time.

Photos by Leigh Ann

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Sunday, June 23

FLT from Carson Rd to Woodchuck Hollow Lean-To, Cortland County

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers and four dogs met on Carson Rd in Cortland County for a hike of the FLT and the unnamed blue blazed trail in Tuller Hill State Forest. This is hike #60-6 on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-60.

The morning was warm and sunny, although not as bad as the Saturday hike temperatures had been. Just a few degrees cooler, accompanies by a breeze on much of the hike, made a big difference in my enjoyment of the hike and probably for other members of the group as well. The entire hike was under the forest canopy, which was much appreciated.

The groups initial climb from Carson Rd was slowed due to a number of blow downs encountered along the way, several locations along the trail being the site of several blowdowns interlocked or laying in a shattered state together. The previous evening had seen some significant windstorms accompanied by hail in the area, with multiple fallen trees observed on the drive to the trailhead. See a few attached pictures showing what the group encountered. A separate trail conditions report has been made regarding these blowdowns.

Photos by Jim

Beyond the first few blowdowns there were individual trees that will need to be cut up, the group encountering these single downed trees all the way to beyond the lean-to.

Other than the downed trees, trail conditions were mostly good, although there were spots of ankle-deep mud and slippery roots or leaves that made a couple descents a little precarious.

The group paused for a group photo at the lean-to before continuing on; a short distance beyond the lean-to the group jumped onto the unnamed blue blazed trail that returned the group to an earlier portion of the FLT that we had passed through.

Leigh Ann V led the group on the return leg of the hike, which was accomplished without incident.

We saw exactly one other hiker on the trail with us during our hike.

Warm welcome to Beata P on her first hike with the group!

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers Jun 10-June 16

Wednesday, June 12

Black Diamond Trail from upper Taughannock SP

Hike report by Jim

Thirteen hikers and one dog met on Jacksonville Rd in the Town of Ulysses for an out-and-back hike of the Black Diamond Trail:  https://parks.ny.gov/parks/blackdiamond/details.aspx.

This is hike # 58-2 on our regular hike locations:  https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-58

Wednesday morning continued the recent trend of cooler temperatures, and while the sky was overcast it was still a great hiking day.

The hikers set out from the parking lot after a quick group photo, and soon broke down into sub-groups, each hiker doing their own pace before turning around at the one-hour time and re-tracing their steps back to the parking lot.

Casey C reported that his faster group had a total mileage of a little over six miles for the hike

We encountered a few bicyclists, dog walkers and joggers during our hike.

The Black Diamond Trail itself was in great shape; there was some water flowing in the creeks and streams the trail crossed over, but the water volume was moderate at best.

Photo by Jim

Saturday, June 15

Finger Lakes Trail from Comfort Road through Danby State Forest

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-three hikers and three dogs met in the Town of Danby for an out-and-back hike of the FLT through Danby State Forest between Comfort Rd and Dianes Crossing: https://dec.ny.gov/sites/default/files/danbysf.pdf. This is hike # 18 on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-18

Before starting the hike, the group observed a short moment of silence for Ithaca Hikers Roger Becks brother Bob Beck, who recently passed away.

A moment for a quick photo, and the group was soon on its way walking down Bald Hill Rd towards the FLT crossing.

The day was quite warm and sunny throughout the hike, and it was an enjoyable day to be in the woods. Parts of this route can sometimes be quite muddy; without any recent rain the trails were in great shape, with just the usual summer undergrowth along the footpath to contend with.

Other than a couple of day hikers we had the trail to ourselves today

Some recent sawyer work on blow-down trees across the footpath was observed; thanks to the CTC sawyer volunteers for all you do to keep the FLT open for hikers!

The group broke down into a couple of speed-based ability groups very early in the hike, with Casey C leading the fast hikers well ahead of the rest of the hikers. Reaching Dianes Crossing the main body of hikers turned around and re-traced our route, stopping briefly at the Chestnut Lean-To in order to acquaint newer hikers with that structure.

Jack V took over leading the group after the lean-to stop; the group soon reached Bald Hill Rd. Crossing that road, the hikers continued a short way on the FLT until reaching Comfort Rd, which the group road-walked back to their cars.

Welcome to new hikers Grace, Ward, Joel, and Joels canine hiking partner “Jiselle” on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Sunday, June 16

Kennedy State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-two hikers met for a loop hike of the FLT and Swedish loop in James Kennedy State Forest. This is hike # 40-4 on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-40

This is our traditional Kennedy Forest hike, starting from the FLT parking lot on Daisy Hollow Rd: https://dec.ny.gov/sites/default/files/jameskennedysf.pdf. It was a nice day for a hike, being very sunny and warm. The sun filtered down through the forest canopy, leaving the ground underfoot a mix of light and shadow as the group navigated the root-covered forest floor,

The footpath was dry, with only a slight amount of mud encountered at stream crossings. Water levels in the streams were flowing but minimal.

By-passing the first Swedish Loop and Ukraine Loop intersections we continued on the FLT a while until we used a connector trail to jump on the Swedish Loop, which we took back to the FLT and then back to our cars.

We always seem to finish this hike ahead of schedule, and today is no different. In the past I’ve tried to extend the hike time by spending additional time on the Swedish Loop, the Ukraine Loop, or the FLT itself. Today we were back at the cars a full 30 minutes faster than desired. I’ll continue to keep tweaking our route on this hike to reach a normal hike duration.

Welcome to Caleb on his first hike wth the group!

Photo by Jim

Report to Hikers June 3-June 9

Wednesday, June 5

 Lower Buttermilk Toward Yaple Road

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Fifteen hikers met in the parking lot for Lower Buttermilk Falls for this hike on a beautiful, warm morning. This is a good hike for a Wednesday because everyone 62 years of age or older gets in for free, and this isn’t true on the weekends. 

We hiked up the Gorge Trail, over King Road to the Bear Trail, up past Treman Lake. The weather has been dry enough recently that crossing the creek just below the damaged footbridge was easy – good to remember because lots of other times of the year, an easy (or any) crossing at that location isn’t possible.

Then we headed down the hiker roller coaster of eskers on the eastern side of Treman Lake, back down the Bear Trail, and over King Road. Some hikers chose to take the Gorge Trail down to the parking lot, and the rest chose to take the Rim Trail down. From the start of the hike to the end, this one took two hours – about five miles and close to 1000 feet of elevation gain!

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, June 8

The Gulf from Swan Hill Road and over Swan Hill

Hike report by Nancy Lorr

It was cool and partly sunny when 22 people gathered for the hike from Swan Hill Rd.

It was about a quarter mile up bumpy Swan Hill Rd to where we took off to the left into the woods up a steep old road cut that started the trail.  The first quarter of the hike was along this woodsy up and down trail which followed the Henderson Gulf creek which originates as the outlet of Cayuta lake well known from the Van Lone loop hike. This trail intersects with the FLT where we turned right to start an uphill trek.  Our route departed thr FLT to climb and old eroded carriage road up to the top of Swan hill. The road continued east where large old maples lining the road were  evidently planted by old settlers.  We reached the dirt roads maintained in summer by DEC and made fast time going east on Alpine rd and then taking a right in Swan Hill from to return to our cars.

Photos by Randy

View Nancy Lorr and Randy’s photo album.

Sunday, June 9

 Lower Treman Park Trails

No report was submitted for this hike.

Report to Hikers May 27-Jun 2

Wednesday, May 29

 Hosenfeld Road and Carley Road, Schuyler County

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Fifteen hikers met at the eastern end of Hosenfeld Road south of Mecklenburg for a 5.5-mile hike. This road hike is magnificent at this time of year. The foliage is lush, the views are expansive, and the weather tends not to be hot. Elevation gain (appx. 700 feet) is front-loaded on the hike up Hosenfeld Road to where it dead ends at Carley Road. We followed Carley Road north to the tree line, then went south on Carley Road to where the FLT turns west up the hill, did a little lollipop shaped hike past the FLT shelter and returned to Hosenfeld. Then we went down Hosenfeld to Lisk Road, which we took north about 15 minutes and then returned to the cars. This is a hike worth putting back on the normal rotation, and it would be great in the fall to see foliage. It also would be a good mid-winter hike because the footing is easy.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, Jun 1

Hanshaw Rd. and Lower Creek Rd

Hike report by Jim

Twelve hikers met at the junction of Hanshaw and Lower Creek Rds for National Trail Days to do some maintenance on our adopted section of the Cayuga Trail between Route 13 and Freese Rd. https://ithacatrails.org/site/Cayuga%20Trail. There is no listing on our hikes page for this detail.

After a quick group photo we broke down into three sub-groups, each group starting on the trail from a different location on our adopted section. Casey C started his group at Route 13; Jack V walked his group in from the parking lot, and I started another group of volunteers from Freese Rd.

The day was warm and sunny, so being under the green canopy was particularly welcome today

Several blow down trees were encountered along the way; those will be referred to the CTC sawyer for clearing.

Between the three groups we covered the entirety of our trail section before ending the work detail.

Afterwards the group relocated to Hopshire brewery for a send off of hikers Gerald, Leah and Sydney, who will soon be returning to Canada after spending a year here in Ithaca with us.

Photos by Jim

Sunday, Jun 2

Jenksville State Forest, Newark Valley

Hike report by Jim

Fifteen hikers and one dog met on Allison Hill RD in Tioga county for a hike of the yellow and blue trails in Jenksville State Forest . This is hike #60-4 on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-60.

The day was warm and dry, with no prospect of rain during our hike time. Lots of bugs though, as the day progressed. A head net would have been nice by the end of the morning.

The trails were dry; what little mud we encountered was more of a semi-solid doughy consistency than mud. A very few sections of footpath were weedy and overgrown, but the vast majority of trail was unobstructed and clear of any overgrowth.

The group shared the trails with a couple of bicyclists we encountered repeatedly as we all circled around the various loop trails within the forest, but for the most part we had the forest to ourselves.

Thanks to everyone who came out today for a great hike!

Warm welcome to Todd on his first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Report to Hikers May 20-May 26

Wednesday, May 22

Taughannock Falls SP

Hike report by Mark Sussman

On Wednesday, May 22, eighteen hikers and one dog met up on Rice road at the parking area for the Taughannock Sledding Hill. The weather at the start of the hike was perfect, but it definitely was a little too warm by the time we finished.

The group descended through the grassy trails to the bottom of the hill. Although I had told the Taughannock staff the previous week of the need to mow these trails they did not mow them. The grass was quite long, but I did not hear any complaints.

The group re-entered the woods at the bottom of the hill and walked to the outlet at Rice Road. We then walked down the road for a short distance, and crossed over NYS 89 and into the Cabin area of Taughannock. We wound our way through the cabins, and followed the walkway to the north shore beach area. The group really seemed to enjoy being by the lake.

After walking further along the lakefront, we crossed back over 89 and climbed to the camping area. We then followed the north rim trail all the way to the old railroad bridge, where we turned around and reentered the woods that are on the northside of Taughannock creek, and followed the trail back to our cars. The group enjoyed the views of the waterfalls and gorge.

A small group fell behind early in the hike and did their own version of the hike. Two hikers also left a little early at the return trail.

This hike is not listed on the Ithaca Hikers trail list.

Photos by Mark Sussman
Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, May 25

 Stewart Park, Ithaca

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers and a dog met in Stewart Park for a hike of the area paths and trails to and from the Farmers Market. This is hike # 53-2 on our list of regular hikes: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-53. I wish that I could say that this hike was “normal”, but we managed to have a number of unforeseen problems along the way.

The day was cool, the skies were clear, and the sun was out when the group met in Stewart Park near the boat house. The views down the lake were fantastic. I picked this hike as an easy location for new hikers who might want to join us for their first hike on a holiday weekend.

The hike started with a short loop around the old swan pond; this is a chance to see some views of the lake in a shaded area; the trail surface here is mostly comfortable wood chips. After the swan pond the group moved towards the bird sanctuary, stopping along the way at Norms request to observe a martin house along the path for a quick minute.

The bird sanctuary was likewise a pleasant, if much larger, wood chip surface loop, and gives late arrivals a chance to catch up with the main group before moving on to more distant areas.

Crossing the second bridge we entered a section of our route that passes through the city golf course, and in my time with the group we’ve never encountered a problem, as we hug the edge of the course on our way towards lighthouse point. Today we ran into a group of golfers who took exception to hikers being anywhere on the course, so we reversed course and took the various paved roads around the course perimeter to reach Lighthouse Point.

Arriving at Lighthouse Point we found access to the lighthouse restricted due to bird nesting. The walk to the Lighthouse is normally a very popular part of this particular hike, but the closure is understandable. We scratched that part of the hike off our list and continued on towards the Farmers Market. By now a good percentage of the original group had left because the changes to our route had used up more time than originally planned.

A much-diminished group of hikers arrived at the Farmers Market and split up with the understanding that it was up to each hiker to find their own way back to the cars.

The various paths to and from Stewart Park to the Farmers Market were heavily populated with a mix of bicyclists and pedestrians.

A warm welcome to Sal, Stu, Ari and Virginia on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Sunday, May 26

Yellow Barn State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-two hikers met to hike a lollipop route in Yellow Barn State Forest. This is hike # 33 on our list of regular hike locations: 

https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-33.

I had hoped to take the group on a different loop within the forest today, but opted for our regular route after pre-hiking the area on both Friday and Saturday.

The day was cool and a little overcast as the group gathered before the hike, but as the day progressed the sun came out and temperatures and the humidity levels rose.

The forest road was its usual mix of standing pools of water and occasional mud, but not as bad as I expected given recent rainfall. With everything leafed out we were hiking through a green tunnel. Flowers were in full bloom, there were a ton of efts scurrying around the forest floor, and hikers were regularly stopping to more closely enjoy some aspect of nature that they were passing by.

The open fields were overgrown, but there was a more recently mowed strip around the field perimeter that made walking easier. By the time we hit the fields the sun was out and it was obvious that it was a beautiful morning, with some good views across the open fields of tall grass with patches of wildflowers spread across the fields.

The ski loop…well, time has eased my view of that and things are starting to grow back, but the churned-up surface and the masses of piled up trees from the logging operation from two years ago are still in my view a real detriment to how much I used to enjoy that loop.

The group completed the ski trail loop and returned the way we’d come

Welcome to Julie on her first hike with the group!

Note about next week: Saturday is National Trail Days and we’re going to be maintaining our adopted section of the Cayuga Trail. After the trail work we’ll be stopping in at Hopshire. Gerald and Leah and Sydney will be leaving town in a week or two to go back to Canada, so this is a chance for any hikers who might want to say goodbye to them to have a chance to do so.

Photo by Jim
Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.