Report to Hikers July 1-July 7

Wednesday, July 3

South Hill Rec Way/Six Mile Creek

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-one hikers and one dog met on Crescent Place in the city of Ithaca for a hike of the South Hill Rec Way and associate trails. This is hike # 2-1 on our list of regular hike locations:

The day was warm and sunny as we gathered on Crescent Place and took our group photo. Starting the hike on the actual Rec Way, we soon turned off into the woods and began a slow descent to join the many hiking trails that run along the Rec Way and towards the creek below.

There was no water running at the small water crossings, no mud at the usual locations along our route, and the footpath was in good shape.

The green tunnel blocked our view of second dam once we arrived at that vantage point.

Rejoining the Rec Way the hikers walked out and back towards Burns Rd to use up a few minutes of hike time, before taking the Rec Way directly back to our cars.

We encountered a few runners and bicyclists along the way today, but not as many as I expected.

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

Photo by Jim

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Thursday, July 4

Woodard Road northwest to Hines Road and beyond, Enfield

Hike report by Jim

Nineteen hikers and one dog met on Woodard Rd for a special holiday hike of the FLT towards Hines Rd and beyond. This is hike # 13 on our list of regular hike locations:

The morning was nice, with a hint of precipitation that never materialized except for a small amount of rain that some hikers reported encountering while they were en route to the hike.

The footpath on this hike is a mix of overgrown weedy plants (including a LOT of poison ivy!) and a forest floor devoid of anything other than a nice spongey layer of pine needles. The terrain is a mix of rolling ups and downs, with a couple of minor stream crossings that rarely give us any issues this time of year.

Before reaching Hines Rd the FLT leaves the woods and crosses the open fields at the Treman Center: A short jog up Hines Rd and the group hiked another five minutes towards Rockwell Rd before the group turned around for the return leg of the hike. Everyone got back to the cars fifteen minutes early, so I probably should have continued the hike to Rockwell Rd before turning around.

Temperatures were not excessively hot but by the time we turned around I was definitely experiencing the heat of the day, even under the cover of the forest canopy.

On the return portion of the hike usually the group is fairly well divided between those who want to make it a loop hike by road walking back to the cars, and those who want to do a return hike on the FLT. Today only a couple of us did the road walk, while Mark L and Randy O led the main group of hikers back on the FLT at a good pace, with both subgroups arriving back at the cars at the same time.

Thanks to all who came out for this special hike today!

Photo by Jim

Saturday, July 6

Connecticut Hill Bridges & Quarry Loop 

Hike report by Dave Bock

18 hikers met at the Connecticut Hill Cemetery on a warm morning for this forested 4-mile trek. Heading steadily downhill for the first mile, we passed the remains of what’s rumored to be a Depression-era moonshiner still: a rusty old metal sink with a nearby cistern. At the bottom of the hill a stream crossing and some rolling terrain brought us to the top of an old gravel bank, a chance to enjoy a bit of a view and take a brief breather. A short but steep downhill then led to a streamside trail and eventually another crossing alonside some old pilings marking the location of a long-gone bridge that once bore the trucks hauling out the gravel. And then the climb back to the trailhed began — a mile steadily (relentlessly?) uphill, now at a much warmer temperature, with higher humidity and an escort of gnats. We paused along the way for brief visit to an abandoned homestead marked by stone foundations of both a barn and house, with a deep stone well (with water). Most of the group returned to the cars by 11:45 as advertised (Thanks, Jack!) while leader Dave accompanied a few slower (and hotter!) hikers at a more forgiving pace. Everyone was on their home before noon, after some quality time in the woods (OK, that’s redundant…) and a good workout.

Photos by Leigh Ann

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Sunday, July 7

Shindagin Hollow State Forest

Hike report by Mary Weiz

Nineteen hikers, zero canine met at the FLT crossing on Braley Hill Road in Shindagin State Forest on Sunday morning. As planned, they hiked a pleasant and rigorous approximate 4 miles exclusively on the FLT starting at Braley Hill Road and proceeding westward to White Church Road. The sky was clear and the air temperature was about 70F at the start. The woodland was filtered with bright sunlight although the day warmed up quickly. Hikers made it to White Church road in no-time pacing at about 2.5mph! 

On the return trip, they traced their tracks uphill on the FLT eastward back to Braley Hill Road. Hikers ascended about 1600ft (or more) back into the forest still at a good pace, about 1 – 2 mph on the return thrip. Surprisingly, due to the temperature, now 75F, and the elevation rigor, hikers reached the cars with 10 minutes to spare . . . a fine bunch!

Throughout this hike there is a nice mix of hardwood forest, a fern glen, a small creek, meadow land, and when approaching White Church Road, distant views of forested hills. 

Photo by Mary Weiz
Photos by Leigh Ann

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Report to Hikers June 24-June 30

Wednesday, June 26th

Connecticut Hill Saddle & Pond Loop

Hike report by Dave Bock

17 hikers and a dog met at the Tower & Ridge trailhead on a nice day for hiking. The morning rains forecast earlier in the week got rescheduled for afternoon, so we were able to enjoy moderate temperatures, mixed sunshine and clouds, and an occasional cooling breeze. The 4 miles of trails were almost completely in the woods. Forests varied from mixed hardwoods to towering hemlocks, from younger trees to old growth, and in a couple of places were in various stages of recovery from DEC “habitant enhancement” cutting. In places the trails followed old roadbeds, while other sections were grassy, or cushioned by pine needles, or almost swallowed up by thick growths of ferns. The route was fairly level with only moderate changes in elevation, allowing the group to stick closely together (a necessary configuration where trails are not well-marked). A water break at the “saddle” (nickname apropos of the up-and-down curvature of hills there) and a brief side trip to a large woodland pond offered a couple of resting points before we wrapped up the hike at almost exactly the 2-hour mark. No falls + no blood + all 17 returning to their cars = a successful outing!

Photos by Jim

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, June 29th

Texas Hollow State Forest, Hector

Hike report by Leigh Ann

This may be the wettest and one of the most enjoyable hikes I’ve done with this group. When the sixteen hikers and two dogs arrived at the trailhead, it was raining heavily. It rained heavily all the way through the hike. 

The water table in Texas Hollow looks like it has risen over this rainy winter, spring, and summer because although the creek beds on the hillsides weren’t running, the water in the valley was very high. In some places it overtopped the boardwalk, with foot-deep water everywhere you could step. 

Once we decided that we were just going to get as wet as possible, it was glorious. We got as wet as possible and the weather was warm, so it was quite enjoyable. With that said, I’m sure several people removed as much clothing as they could before getting in their cars because, dang, that’s a lot of wet.

Photos by Jim

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, June 30th

Hulford road, Newfield

Hike report by Nancy Lorr

It was a beautiful clear and cool morning when 26 hikers and 4 dogs gathered at the corner of Boylan and Hulford roads in Connecticut Hill for a hike.  We started by hiking downhill along the blue blazed trail west of Hulford road.  The pine woods were shaded and cool and the hiking was easy on the pine needle laden trail surface. Emerging from the pines we spotted a few chanterelles. It didn’t take too long to arrive at a side trail sloping gently but quickly down to a picturesque series of small cascades along this branch of Carter Creek.  The showers a couple days ago provided some sorely needed water to the falls.  After a little stop at the falls we made our way over to Hulford road.  Some hikers used Hulford road to ascend back to the cars.  Others followed me on some paths through the woods on the east side of Hulford road.  Many of the paths followed old roadways.  Near the top we negotiated around a gully and up onto a series of trails along the edge of clear cuts.  Soon we went back into the woods until we reached the cars. Everyone was accounted for to make for a successful ending marked by a sudden but brief and cooling  rain burst.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

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

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

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:

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 June 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:

This is hike # 58-2 on our regular hike locations:

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: This is hike # 18 on our list of regular hike locations:

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:

This is our traditional Kennedy Forest hike, starting from the FLT parking lot on Daisy Hollow Rd: 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.