As we head into winter, some experts are warning Covid is going to get worse in the county. So we’re going to keep a close eye on the local health data. But we’ll continue to welcome new hikers into the group for now. So if you want to hike with us, contact our coordinator, Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org). He’ll add you to the mailing list he uses to announce upcoming hikes, so you’ll know where we’re meeting up.
Fourteen hikers and three dogs met in the parking lot at Lower Buttermilk Falls State Park
The main trails in the park are still one way, with the Rim Trail allowing for foot traffic towards the upper end of the park, and the Gorge Trail bringing one way traffic back to lower Buttermilk.
Leaving the parking lot, the group climbed the paved service road towards the camping area until we reached the turn onto the Owl Creek Trail.
The group quickly churned its way up that trail until reaching the summit at the cemetery. This trail always provides a good amount of exercise despite its relative shortness compared to many trails we’ve hiked as a group.
After catching our respective breath we returned to the Owl Creek Trail, most of us preferring for the downward leg of the hike to take a slight jog onto a side section of trail that skirts more directly along the rim of the gorge as we proceeded down the slope.
Eventually the group found its way back to the paved service road; from there we took an unimproved service road to a junction with the Rim Trail. The group followed the Rim Trail until reaching a bridge that crossed over to the gorge trail. We returned to the lower park and our vehicles without incident.
A common comment from many hikers following this hike is that the persons who chose which direction to funnel foot traffic on both the Rim and Gorge Trails got their directions wrong, and that the Gorge Trail should have had foot traffic ascending from the lower park. While the views of the Gorge Trail were certainly nice enough going down the trail, the hikers are probably correct in that the hike would have been better going up the Gorge Trail. Hopefully by the next time we do this hike this sort of one-way traffic on the main park trails will no longer bee an issue.
Sat Nov 28
This report was written by Jim
Upper Treman SP, Enfield — rural roads and park trails
18 hikers and 6 dogs assembled on Woodard Rd on the fringes of Robert H Treman State Park
Upon arrival the group found that the Germ-o-phobic Ithaca Hikers were already in the area; it was good to see those of you from that group.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to talk to the individual hikers from the Germ-o-phobic hiking group.
It was a cool but clear morning when our group set off down the path towards the wooden bridge that crosses Fishkill Creek towards Butternut Creek Rd.
For me the short stretch along Butternut Creek Rd is usually a pretty nice area to walk, and today was no exception.
By the time the group got to Van Ostrand Rd the group was pretty well strung out, with some hikers not catching up to the main body of hikers until we got to the Rim Trail.
While on Van Ostrand, the wind picked up for a short while, as did the rain, as if to test our resolve to be out and about at that time. A passing motorist actually stopped at one point to inquire as to whether the group needed assistance. I’m not sure if that was motivated by simple country hospitatility or whether the group looked that down-trodden at that point in the hike.
By the time we got to the end of Thomas Rd and re-entered park property the rain and wind had stopped, and were unnoticed for the remainder of the hike.
The group walked to the junction of the Rim Trail and Thomas RD, and from there went a short distance along the Rim Trail to the overlook. Part of the group chose to break off from the main body and hike a short distance on the FLT rather than hike to the overlook
The entire group reconvened on the FLT when the overlook group followed the FLT hikers onto the FLT and met us there.
The reunited group returned to the Rim Trail and hiked that to Upper Robert Treman.
Once at the upper Treman parking lot the group took the side path to the CCC trail which runs through the former Upper Treman campground area; that trail eventually led us back to the original path from the trailhead, and from there back to our cars.
Fifteen hikers and five dogs drove to Fillmore Glen State park on a frost-covered morning to hike the north and south rim trails. The gorge trail remains closed to hikers.
The main body set off from the parking lot, soon met by a late arrival who had arrived a little late and chased the group down.
It was a great day for a hike, with the temperatures climbing from their early freezing levels yet always cool enough to not make the hike unbearable for anyone.
The light coming down through the barren trees was fantastic, creating a crisp contrast between light and shadow that gave us some interesting views down into the gorge as we passed by on the trail. Being on the trail this late in the season, there was no effect of walking through a green tunnel that I recall from the last time we hiked I this park last summer.
There was a significant amount of water coming over the many waterfalls, and the group stopped multiple times along the way for photo opportunities of these cascades as well as the dam at the upper end of our hiking loop.
After passing over the dam there was a short road-walk to reach the south rim trail, which the group followed back to the lower end of the park.
After reaching the main park area the group diverted long enough to take in a view of the Cowpens, and then returned to our cars at just about a Stephen-perfect two hours and two minutes.
A couple of members of the group, including Cian, chose to make their own hiking route around the park, so his nature panoramas for the day may show different areas of the trails from what the main group saw.
Mulholland Wildflower Preserve to Potter’s Falls, Six Mile Creek
11 hikers met in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve on Giles Street in the City of Ithaca.
There had been a recent snowfall, and so the ground and trees were covered with a good amount of snow. In fact there was enough snow covering the recent leaf-fall that I was soon regretting not having worn my winter boots with their lugged soles. The footing underneath was in spots unsafe. Other than that, it was an enjoyable walk along the blue blazed trails along the waterway.
After pausing briefly to admire the flowing stream, the group soon climbed the hills to meet the access road to Second Dam.
We made progress along that path to the overlook area beyond Second Dam, at which time we were met by a 12th hiker and his dog who had arrived late to the parking area.
The group continued beyond the overlook area, eventually coming to the area where we normally scale a hillside to a goat path that takes the group closer to Potters Falls. Based on the snow-covered conditions I felt that it was unsafe to proceed further, and turned the group around.
Returning to the original blue blazed path we continued Easterly, to an observation area below second dam. When there is a decent amount of water coming over the dam this spot never fails to impress, and so it was on this hike.
Following that brief pause the group returned to the parking area and our cars.
Since the group had turned around early we had an additional thirty minutes of hike time.
Some of the group had already returned to the blue blazed trails in an effort to recover a lost item.
Many of the remaining hikers chose to cross Giles Street and take the blue blazed trail on that side of the street to the “Businessman’s Lunch” falls area. I had often heard of this falls, but despite many years of living here had never walked the path to this particular falls. It was quite impressive and worth the extra few minutes to take that side trail.
On Saturday November 21st approximately 18 hikers and 6 dogs met at the small parking area near the falls in Lower Taughannock Falls State Park. I say “approximate”, as there were hikers who continued to arrive after the group had started off towards the falls. As a result, I did not get a firm headcount on everyone.
The group did a quick trip the base of the falls, which had a decent amount of water flowing over it that day
Returning to the parking lot, the group crossed the near-by bridge in a Northerly direction.
Once across the bridge the group split into two sections, with one group taking the more direct stair route to the campground area and the North Rim Trail. The other half of the group took the more leisurely road approach to the area
Climbing the North Rim Trail while avoiding the significant number of other hikers and their own dog companions, the group stopped briefly at the overlook area before continuing on to the bridge that connects the North and South Rim Trails.
Both groups took the South Rim Trail back to the parking lot without incident.
A great day for a hike, but also a lot of other park patrons were out enjoying the scenery and weather.
14 hikers met in the parking lot to Lime Hollow Nature Center on Gracie Rd in Cortland Couty.
No companion animals were in attendance due to Nature Center rules.
It was a good hiking day, with cool temps and inclement weather that held off until nearly the end of the hike.
I had hiked other parts of the Nature Center a month or two ago with the group , and wanted to avoid parts of the Nature Center on this hike that I had found not so appealing the last time.
The group started Westerly on the Lehigh Valley trail. Once at the High Vista Loop we took that trail until we came around to a westerly leg that eventually took us South across Lehigh Valley to the Tundra ski trail loop. Our biggest issue of the hike was at this point, as the Nature Center map depicts some of the ski trails, but none of those trails are actually named.
We did most of the Tundra loop trail before cutting over to the Hermits Way trail over more ski trails.
I had done this part of the Nature Center trails on the last hike and found it much more appealing than the previous route I had taken.
The group hiked South on Hermits Way, before eventually turning North again on Fen Way.
Once the group was back on Lehigh Valley we turned Easterly, crossing over Gracie RD and continuing on Lehigh Valley until we reached Maple Run. Maple Run led to the Phillips Memorial Trail, which skirts the Chicago Bog. It was at this point that we had our only contact with other hikers over the entire time of our hike. I found it interesting that on a weekend the Nature Center had a fairly low attendance, which was good for our group.
A short detour to admire the bog, and then the group resumed our hike on the Memorial Trail. It was at this point that I had some concern for our route, as we were crossing paths that were not depicted on the map and had no signage. We reached a well-marked intersection of the Esker Connector, which in turn led us back to Maple Run. It was at around this time that precipitation in the form of sleet started raining down on us, although we were moving fairly quickly by that time and so the sleet was a minor annoyance at best.
Upon returning to Lehigh Valley Trail the group returned to our cars
Overall this was a good day for a hike, and an excellent bit of fall countryside to hike through. If others are going to hike any of these trails I would strongly recommend doing so with a map ( available on the Ithaca Hikers website at the hike description for this hike ) or smart phone app that will keep you on the correct trails.
The original hike location was supposed to be at Taughannock Falls State Park.
The day started out as a rainy day; I have previously decided to stop cancelling hikes solely because of rain, due to the number of rainy hike days that seemed to clear up as soon as I cancelled a hike.
I arrived at the lower parking area of Taughannock Falls State Park to find a couple dozen or more NYS Department of Corrections personnel and their vehicles entirely filling the parking lot we normally park in. It was reported to me that a prisoner had escaped, and the DOCS personnel could not advise that it was safe to visit the park that day.
I waited at the park entrance for any hikers and decided to relocate to Allan Treman State Marina as an alternate hike location.
Four hikers convened at the Treman marina; we walked around the perimeter pathway along the lake. This path has been paved since I last visited the area, and I’m not entirely sure if its an improvement or not. We left the path at one point and walked the shoreline until terrain prevented further forward progress, at which time we returned to the paved path. It was interesting to see some of the effects of tides and wave actions on the terrain along the shoreline, and entirely unfortunate that the area was ruined by a sizeable amount of trash that had been deposited along the shoreline. One of these days, if the weather cooperates, I may go down there with a trash bag or two….
We continued along the pathway, returning to the area of the parking lot. We walked to the area of the inlet and continued our hike there, leaving Treman Marina property and entering Cass Park and the area along the inlet. We walked as far as the Children’s Garden and walked through that, something I hadn’t previously done.
The group then re-traced our steps and returned to our vehicles at Treman Marina.
An unusual hike, not entirely unenjoyable due to the rain.
Thanks to those who came out despite the weather.
Sat Nov 14
This report was written by Jim
Dabes Diversion Loop, Virgil
14 hikers and 5 dogs met in Cortland County at the corner of Bleck and Hauck Hill RD for a hike of the Dabes Diversion Loop, part of the FLT and the Kuzia Cut-Off.
Weather at the start of the hike was definitely “brisk”, with a cold wind that cut through a person if they stood around too much.
The hike warmed people up pretty quickly as we climbed through the hills away from our cars.
The trail overall was in decent shape, and the single water crossing once we reached it had a lot more water flowing through it than the last couple of times we’ve done this hike.
The view from the overlook area at the junction of the Diversion Loop and the FLT was excellent, with no haze limiting the view of the further reaches of the valley in front of us.
A few hikers wandered down the FLT to the West to check out the Foxfire Lean-To. By the time they came back the last members of the hiking group had caught up to the main body, and so the group continued Easterly on the FLT.
After crossing Bleck Rd the group jumped onto the Kuzia Cut-off. As has been noted in previous hike reports of this area, a good portion of the Southerly end of the cut-off was recently logged, so the group was walking through a wide swath of forest destruction where felled trees were just left where they fell or piled up after being cut. On this hike I am always happy to get beyond that area of logging activity and reach more intact portions of the trail.
Ultimately the group reached the northerly end of the Cut-off, and followed the seasonal part of Hauck Hill Rd back to our cars.
We reached the cars a full thirty minutes early, as our pace on the hike had been fairly quick. To round out the hike time I chose to take a few willing people down a near-by snowmobile trail in an effort to determine if we can combine that trail with a part of the FLT to create another loop trail for future hikes.
The main group of hikers chose to do a major uphill climb by heading up the FLT at a very good pace. If you look at the topo map below you can see the dramatic elevation change as the red-colored FLT goes south. You can also see it in the cross section view below the topo map.
The group made it up to the third old logging road, if you’re familiar with the trail.
Meanwhile, one hiker, Leigh Ann, arrived at the trail head a few minutes late. Here is her report:
“I figured I might be doing a solo hike when I got there late. I saw everyone on the other side of the field where the lake was. When I got up into the woods, I had a 50/50 chance of taking the same trail everyone else did. I chose wrong, so I hiked the FLT up to Newtown Road and back (about 5.75 miles, 1200 feet of elevation change). While I was hiking, I came up with this haiku:
Under a slate sky,
Trees roar and snap in the wind.
I climb a steep slope.
I didn’t see any trees snap, but another hiker I encountered did.
I figured I’d see everyone back at the cars, and I did – we had a good laugh about how we had been on the same trail for a while, but not ever at the same place!
Interloken Trail from Parmenter Road south, Finger Lakes National Forest
On Wednesday November 4th a total of 10 hikers and 3 dogs met on Parmenter Rd in Seneca County for a South-bound hike on part of the Interloken Trail led by Mark S.
Soon after starting the hike a few of the hikers and the dogs opted to do an alternate road hike in the area. The remainder of the group pressed onwards.
Hiking through the woods, the group eventually reached open fields with a good view of Seneca Lake in the distance. With no cows in the fields to contend with, the group continued South, crossing into Schuyler County at Townline RD.
Shortly after that, the group reached Teeter Pond. After a brief observation period at the pond, the group turned North towards our vehicles, opting to hike the No-Tan-Takto trail that runs alongside that portion of the Interloken Trail. Upon reaching Wilkens Rd the group decided that a return to woods walking was a more desirable route of travel. We did a short road walk to the West, again jumping into the Interloken Trail for the last leg of the hike back to Parameter Rd
Weather conditions for the hike were good. Temperatures were pleasant. It was interesting seeing some of the fields and woods portions of this hike in their fall phase; I’ve previously seen this section of the Interloken during mush wetter summer months when the undergrowth was in full summer bloom, but never in the fall time period as during this hike.
Overall it was a very enjoyable hike, with terrain and elevation changes that are not too difficult for those who might just be starting to hike area trails.
Thanks to Mark S for leading the hike, and everyone who came to hike that day.
Sat Nov 7
This report was written by Jim
Ski trails, Hammond Hill SF, Dryden
Hikers met at the parking lot on Hammond Hill RD for one last hike of the trails there before winter closes in on us.
We were far from the only ones who made the decision to use the Hammond Hill area on Saturday, as the parking lot had many horse trailers, trucks and passenger vehicles when I arrived. We passed many dog walkers and bicyclists over the course of our hike, although I tried to steer clear of the more popular trails.
Todays Ithaca Hikers group included four entirely new people for this hike. Welcome to all of you, and hope to see you on future hikes!
The group initially set off with twenty hikers and two dogs..
An additional Ithaca Hiker and their dog arrived too late to find the group and did their own hike, later catching up to us after the hike at Hopshire
Just a reminder to everyone, unless we are hiking an entirely new area that the group is unfamiliar with, we start the hikes promptly.
The temperatures were higher than expected, and soon some of the hikers were down to short sleeves. Hard to believe that just a week ago we were enduring our first snow accumulation of the season.
As we walked the yellow trails to the seasonal portion of Canaan Rd, the trail behind me was alive with the shuffling of feet through the freshly fallen leaves and the buzz of voices. The leaf-fall was so new in many places today that had there been no markers on trees along the way, picking out the trail in some places would have been a bit of a task for someone new to the Hill. The tall stands of trees the trail passes through before reaching Canaan Rd are among my favorite locations on Hammond Hill, and today did not disappoint.
Upon reaching Canaan Rd the group crossed over that road , continuing along more yellow trails. We doubled back to Canaan RD on trails that offered a wonderful view down some steep slopes. The views of the downhill slopes along this section are often concealed by the leaves in summer, but there are no such problems this time of year
Upon returning to Canaan RD the group walked the road to near the intersection of Canaan and Red Man, where we walked the Rabbit Run snowmobile trail to its intersection with the blue hiking trails at the top of the hill. A short out and back towards the South to kill a few minutes, and we soon turned North again to walk back to the cars.
Overall it was an excellent day to hike, one of the best we’ve probably had in a month or so.
Logan Road, Finger Lakes National Forest — FLT east
Twelve hikers and one dog met on Logan Rd in Schuyler County, for a hike of the Finger Lakes Trail.
The weather wasn’t as pleasant as it had been the previous day, but still excellent for the second week of November.
Hikers struck out on the FLT in an Easterly direction, as trail use in the Westerly direction is shut down for hunting season.
The first 30 minutes was a steady climb alongside a pleasant ravine. At the top of the hill we encountered a junction with the Southside Trail, but continued on the FLT.
The next half mile was a steady, undulating series of small creek beds and gradual up-hill and down-hill portions for another thirty minutes, until we reached Burnt Hill RD.
After crossing Burnt Hill Rd we continued on a short section of the co-located FLT and Interloken Trail, until the FLT veered off to the South.
This section of the FLT was interesting to me because the air was thick with falling leaves, and the noise of the leaves hitting the forest floor around me was quite evident.
At the same time the low bushes around me were a mix of deep reds, yellows and some that were even a deep green, as of yet unaffected by the seasonal leaf changes.
Occasionally passing under a gauntlet of trees as the trail cut a path between the trunks was also visually pleasing.
Passing Dunham lean-to, the group managed to avoid twisting an ankles on the unsteady streambed rocks that lay in wait under the fresh leaf cover, as the trail followed a dry streambed.
As the FLT returned to Burnt Hill RD, some of our group opted to road-walk North on Burnt Hill, while others opted to walk entirely back to their cars from that turn-around point on the FLT. The group on Burnt Hill further split up as some chose to continue road-walking on Wycoff Rd for a more direct route back to their cars. Others chose to continue on Burnt Hill to the first FLT crossing, and return to Logan RD along our original route.
There was a moderate amount of other trail users today, but nothing like Hammond Hill was the previous day.
On Wednesday October 28th, 9 hikers and 3 dogs met at the southern end of Carter Creek Rd in the Town of Newfield.
The maintained road ends here after a local bridge washed out several years ago. The road surface beyond the closure is still in good condition, having not been declared abandoned by the town. The closed portion of road still services a privately owned hunting camp on one side of the washed-out bridge, while the road on the opposite side of the bridge provides access to a Cornell Natural Area.
The weather was less than optimal, with a fairly steady drizzle on-going as the hike started.
The hike followed Carter Creek Rd past the road closure and along Carter Creek itself. Upon reaching the closed bridge that crosses the creek the group opted to do a streambed crossing in the nearly-dry stream rather than risk crossing the mossy and slick canted bridge surface.
After crossing Carter Creek the road continues on with a modest incline.
The group turned onto Cabin RD and continued at a steady pace up the gradual incline. On Cabin Rd there is a spot or two with some decent vistas of the hills and ridgeline on the opposite side of Carter Creek. While we were past peak colors on hike day, the wild assortment of leaf colors and the misty air quality gave the group an excellent view of that area.
We passed a couple of small mowed fields and continued climbing Cabin Rd to near the terminus with Connecticut Hill Rd. Before reaching that intersection the group turned off Cabin Rd and entered a short section of the Finger Lakes Trail. This offered us the opportunity to do some hiking on an actual trail versus a pure road walk.
This short section led us through a very short meadow, but was otherwise a woods walk until it came out onto Connecticut Hill Rd.
By this time the rain had stopped and the air was clear of the mist and ambience that we had enjoyed on the outward leg of the hike.
Once the hikers reconvened as a single unit on Connecticut Hill RD w hiked to the intersection with Cabin Rd and returned to the cars.
Sat Nov 31
This report was written by Jim
Halloween walk — two urban cemeteries and other close-in sights
18 hikers and three dogs met in the Ithaca High School parking lot for a holiday-appropriate urban walk of the area cemeteries and other local properties.
It was a cool day but not uncomfortably so.
Several hikers had opted to hike in some form of alternate holiday themed garb from their normal hiking outfits.
The group quickly ascended the main road that runs through Lakeview Cemetery situated above the Ithaca High School
After emerging from the upper portion of that cemetery, a short detour to Sunset Park provided the group with a quick photo opportunity before continuing on to the Ithaca City Cemetery via Stewart Avenue.
The hikers entered the upper entrance to the Ithaca City Cemetery, passing through one of the tree-filled and shaded side roads to that property before arriving at the lower part of University Ave. Hikers walked to the bottom of University Avenue and climbed the stairs of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail.
Once on Eddy Street the group travelled a short distance along Highland Place and Williams Street to return to to Stewart Avenue.
Norm suggested a small detour from the planned route which again took the group through the Ithaca City Cemetery and back to University Avenue. Climbing University Avenue, the group turned onto Lake Street and returned to the high school parking lot.
It was good to have a couple of our city hikers join us again for this hike.
This was a hike that was a little out of the norm for the group, but everyone seemed to have a good time.
Willseyville Creek valley east of Ridgeway Road, Caroline
Very nice morning — not too cool, cloudy, a rain storm coming at us on the doppler radar ….
The regular trail downhill through the woods was closed so we had to do the first leg of the walk on Ridgeway Road — in fact that’s not really a hardship because the road is extremely quiet, and the scenery is good. The road walk down the hill takes 10 minutes.
This is part two of the walk, up the old railroad bed through the Willseyville Creek swamp. This leg of the hike was greatly improved recently by a brush clearing operation that our group helped with. But there is still a fringe of scrubby brush along the side of the railroad trail that obscures the view into the swamp, which looks like this:
About a half-hour into the walk, you leave the railroad bed and head north through a series of beautiful fields, on the way to the back edge of Shindagin Hollow SF
It started to rain at 11, exactly as the NWS had suggested it would. But it wasn’t hard, or unpleasant.
The rain created some really great atmospherics on the distant hills.