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First details about our summer 2021 cook-out

From Jim R

Jim is the coordinator of the Ithaca Hikers

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It is still many months away, but Rogers August  picnic event will be upon us before we know it.

I want to put out some basic information of where our planning is.

Covid: first of all, CDC and TC Health Dept guidance could change a lot between now and August; we will follow whatever guidance is in effect on the day of the event. This event is downsized intentionally from previous years; and attendees will be primarily past and current Ithaca Hikers, their immediate families etc. All attendees must be prepared to demonstrate vaccination status to ME; I am your point of contact on that issue upon your arrival. No proof of vaccination status means that you’ll be kindly asked to leave.

People power and work duties:

So far I have Randy volunteering to man the chicken detail.

I need someone who is willing to buy the chicken and pick it up ahead of the event.

I assume that bulk corn can be acquired day of the event from some place like Early Bird; if someone else had contrary advice on how that was handled in past years, let me know.

I believe that clams were popular in the past, so whoever handled getting that food item, let me know what your past practices were.

Katharine and Mary are the “general contractors” for event planning purposes.

Keep in mind that we will need a number of volunteers that day who are willing to skip any planned hike and do set-up of tables, cooking spaces, etc. Roger has a grill but I believe that extra grills, pots flatware, etc were at least partially donated to past events by attendees.

If you wish to bring hot dogs, hamburgers or other non-chicken meat products, you will have to bring your own dogs and burgers as well as the associated buns. You will have to prepare your own cooked meat products.

We’ll need the usual variety of salads, sides, pies, drinks both adult and non-alcoholic, etc. I’ll wait to start tabulating who will bring what out of those categories until we get closer to the event. If you have a particular dish that you historically have brought to this event in past years, by all means let me know if you wish to continue past practices.

I assume that as in past years Roger will have his pond open to swimmers, so suits, shoes etc would be useful to bring. I know that in the past Stephen and Susan always asked that people bring their own lawn chairs. Same would apply this year.

Clean-up: In the past, a small subset of hikers have stayed to clean up after the event, or even come back the next day to assist with scene clean-up. Please consider assisting in this regard. Many hands make for light work….

Finally, I know that this email goes out to a lot of past and present Ithaca Hikers who have chosen to sit our hikes for the past year. There are those who do not hike with us not because they do not want to, but because they cannot for one reason or another. You are still part of the Ithaca Hiker family, and your presence is still welcome at this event.

Report to Hikers — week of June 14 – June 20

Hello Hikers!

Mon June 14

Report by shesse. Photos by Tiger/shesse

Farm road walk — west of Mecklenburg in Schuyler County

We were up on a hilltop that looks west toward Burdett — checking out a large farm

I happily eat meat in all forms and eat cheese and cream. But it makes me sad to walk past a very large number of animal sheds where the animals all spend all their time indoors. On the other hand, I don’t want to pay Farmers Market prices for animals raised in old-fashioned conditions.

The operation here is very mechanized, with various big machines and vehicles scurrying around. This is a huge pile of old tires — holding down tarps with something unknown to me underneath

This is the main farmhourse and several old barns — it’s a lovely bucolic setting, and the beauty and tranquility helped me put the operation into perspective.

It was another gorgeous cool morning. Just a smattering of farm trucks passed.

Official head count: four walkers

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Wed June 16

Hike report by Jim

FLT from the Tioga County line up the hill to Blackman Hill Road

Five hikers met on state route 79 at the county line, for a hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill RD.

Passing through Mallow Marsh the group admired recent repairs done to the trail in that area by Cayuga Trails volunteers

Entering the forest temperatures dropped noticeably, making the ensuing climbs much more tolerable. Here the FLT is initially little more than a narrow path carved out of the hillside, forcing the hiker to carefully check their footing as they proceed along the trail.

Soon this gives way when the trail meets an old logging road; from there the Trail is a steady climb up the side of the mountain, a series of steep climbs with an occasional flatter area to catch your breath. Portions of the Trail along this area consist of loose gravel and scree from past rains. Once again, its best o take your time picking your way through this section in the interest of safety.

Towards the top of the hill the Trail assumes a nature more similar to other parts of Tompkins County; a gradual climb up the hill through stands of hard and softwood forests. Not so many root or rock hazards…

Near the top of the hill the Trail was recently re-directed due to land donations, and the Trail breaks into the open with a wonderful view across open fields.

The main body of hikers reached the top of the hill and turned around, re-tracing their footsteps back to their vehicles at the bottom of the hill.

Not a stretch of trail that is particularly remarkable, and the parking issues at the bottom of the hill make it difficult to use this area as a launching point for a group day hike of a larger size, but the views at the top make up for much of the effort to get there.

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Sat June 19

Hike report by Jim.

Lick Brook

13 hikers and 6 dogs met on Townline Rd for  hike of the Lick Brook gorge

A 14th hiker arrived late and hiked solo

For many people the on-going construction on Sandbank Rd made getting to todays hike particularly difficult; with the dual issues of hot muggy weather and difficult road conditions, thanks to all who hiked today with the group.

Hikers proceeded down the white blazed trail into Lick Brook. Immediately past the kiosk there is a slight re-route of the trail, I am guessing for the purpose of moving the trail away from the cliff edge.

The trail was in good condition today, a far cry from the previous hike of this gorge that was hampered by sheets of ice on the footpath.

The group made its way down into the valley floor, descending along the spine of the ridge and making a minor water crossing that was not impeded by water flow.

Arriving on the forest floor the group made its way to the falls area where the dogs made themselves comfortable with a quick dip into the streambed.

The group turned around and made its way up the hill along the blue blazed trail. There was little air movement around the group at this point, and several of us made frequent stops to rest from the climb.

Arriving back at the car several hikers opted to head for cooler pastures at home.

Once back on Townline Rd the breezes were in fact much more noticeable than they had been in the lower elevations. The breeze helped make the remaining hike much more enjoyable.

The small remaining hiking group crossed the bridge and jumped onto the blue blazed trail; I prefer this direction of travel through the Thayer Preserve over the red trails we have started out on in the past.

A couple of us had arrived back at Townline RD from the Lick Brook trail system behind the main body of hikers. As our small follow-on group hiked along the blue trail I became distracted by seeing what proved to be a small chicken house near the trail, something I hadn’t recalled seeing when hiking that trail in the past. I detoured to take a quick look at this structure, and by the time I returned to the trail the hikers had all pulled well ahead of me. Hiking up the trail I approached what I assumed to be a root across the footpath, a common sight on any of our local trails. This early assumption proved wrong, as it was in fact a 3-4 foot long snake with a girth about wrist-sized, something I’m not used to seeing when I’m out and about on local trails. The snake and I had about a teen minute stand-off, the snake coiled and watching me carefully. With a sharp drop-off on one side of the trail I opted to finally box my way around the snake on the opposite side of the trail and resume my hike. By this time I could hear the remainder of the group hiking along the opposite ridgeline and knew that I was unlikely to catch up to them. I opted to hike to the water crossing and turn around, re-tracing my steps on the blue trail back to Townline Rd. Once back on Townline Rd I hiked into the red trail long enough to verify with a couple of section hikers I met that our group of hikers was off the trail.

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Special photo report by our hike photographer Cian — another giant snake

Cian skipped Saturday’s hike to go fishing with his nephew Amadou at Jennings Pond for the opening of bass season. By a very odd coincidence, he encountered his own huge snake on the same day Jim was coping with a huge snake a few miles away.

Cian also brought along an underwater case and a 360-degree app for his camera, so now we can see what it looks like underwater at Jennings Pond too.

You can Cian’s complete fishing trip album here.

You can see his underwater portfolio here. Be sure to try the 360-degree feature

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Sun June 20

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger and Cian

Curtis Road to the FLT, South Danby

Ten hikers and three dogs met at Curtis and Hill Rd in the town of Danby for a hike to the FLT on the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd.

An eleventh hiker and three dogs arrived late and did their own hike.

As I approached the parking are on Curtis Rd I observed that the hills ahead of me seemed to be swathed in a layer of fog, which I took to be a good omen that the group would not be hiking in bad heat.

The group slowly filtered into the parking area as it so often does, and eventually we were ready to set off on our hike.

It was a pleasant day walking along Curtis Rd, with a nice breeze blowing across the open fields on the southerly side of the road.

Approaching Karenville the group paused long enough to feed the pony there before continuing onwards.

Reaching the end of the maintained portion of Curtis Rd, the group plunged into the green tunnel of the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd. Other than a few shallow puddles of water from the previous days rain there was nothing to detract from the hike in this area.

Approaching the area where the FLT crosses Curtis Rd the dogs at the neighboring residence set off a good amount of barking which faded into the distance once we made our turn onto the FLT and put those dogs behind us.

The group made its way through Danby State Forest, encountering a couple of small parties of hikers with dogs and trail runners. We encountered a couple of very minor muddy patches along this stretch, but nothing that made the hike undo-able.

Reaching the junction with the Westerly end of the Abbott Loop I opted to continue the group Westerly on the FLT.

Taking a small pause where the FLT crosses the seasonal portion of Hill Road, the group gathered itself together and pressed forward into the woods once again. Walking through a carpet of wet pine needles we slowly began a descent towards Michigan Creek, but turned around long before reaching the bottom of the hill once we reached the hour turn-around point.

Climbing back up the hill the group re-traced its steps back to Curtis Rd and then to Hill Rd and our cars. A second stop at the pony on the way back depleted me of the stockpile of carrots I’d brought for that occasion.

Overall this was a good hike, especially compared to some of the past hikes we’ve done along this same route that were not as pleasant for one reason or another.

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Leigh Ann
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This is a nice composition if you click and look at the high-res version

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You can see Cian’s complete photo album here.

Report to Hikers — week of June 7 – June 13

Hello Hikers!

Wed Jume 9

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Randy/Nancy

Black Diamond Trail, Ulysses

11 Hikers and 1 dog proceeded southbound on the Black Diamond Trail from Kraft Rd

A 12th hiker opted to proceed alone in a Northerly direction from Kraft RD

2 additional people arrived at the trailhead with a hiker and opted to jog the trail ahead on the main body.

This was certainly a case of “ hike your own hike” today.

The weather was hot and muggy; there was little in the way of a breeze to cut the heat until hikers had almost returned to their cars at the end of the hike.

Proceeding from the cars, the air was heavy, and it seemed that the fragrances along certain parts of the trail were heavier than normal in the hot, still air. One hiker observed that the berries along the trail are ripening nicely. I’m not sure if they’ll survive in a ripened state long enough for us to sample them on our next hike of the area.

As much as I enjoy the green tunnel effect we get on this trail in the summer, I miss the ability to look out over the adjacent parcels  that we have in other seasons.

There were a multitude of other trail users : bicyclists, joggers, dog walkers, etc

It was an enjoyable period to relax, let your feet move you along and engage in conversation with the people next to you.

After traversing several cross roads it struck me that we’d been moving at a decent pace and had covered much more ground on this trail than we often do; I’m not sure if others in the group would have agreed with me on this issue.

After reaching the hour time limit the group turned around and returned to our cars without incident.

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Sat June 12

Hike report by Nancy L/Randy. Photos by Randy/Nancy & Cian

Bob Cameron Loop, Connecticut Hill

A little after 9:30 Saturday morning, June 12, 17 hikers and 4 dogs met up at top of Tower Road, the highest point in the county. The google guidance to get to the hike start was faulty making it hard to find.  In future instructions I will describe a route or two as well as giving the link to the location.

We hiked southwest from the cars downhill through a cool, but muggy, forest.  It was cloudy, but no rain.  The trail was generally dry and easy to follow…if you knew where you were going.  Nancy used Gaia to pick the correct trails, and we found a large pond about an hour into the hike.  The pace of the hike was quite lively, without let-up.  Four of the hikers took an alternate route since they became detached from the group.  

One disturbing problem was the prevalence of the gypsy moth caterpillars literally hanging in the trail.  You could actually hear the detritus of the caterpillars falling from the canopy.  It sounded like a light rain.

After checking out the pond we headed north, still descending, until we got to Coal Mine Trail.  We then headed north and east on this somewhat wet and muddy section.  Once we reached the Bob Cameron Loop the trail widened.  However, it was now all uphill to the cars.  As we neared the cars we ran into two of the self-guided hikers.  But, there were two hikers still in the woods, so we used the phone to learn they were almost back.  Soon they emerged from the woods.   So, it turned out OK despite the group not staying together.  

Overall distance was nearly four miles.

Randy and Nancy

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You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun June 13

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Roy H Park Preserve, Dryden

Fifteen hikers and two dogs set out from the Roy Park Preserve parking lot on Irish Settlement Rd for a hike of the trail leading from the Preserve towards Hammond Hill Rd and beyond.

A sixteenth hiker arrived somewhat later and met us on the trail

It was a warm and sunny day, and entering the treeline after the initial crawl over the wooden boardwalk brought immediate relief from the heat of the day. Walking through the stands of pines in the lower part of the Preserve is my favorite part of this particular trail.

The climb up the hill went by without anything of particular interest; the usual muddy spots on this trail were mostly dried up this particular day, and the chattering group surged ahead the closer we got to Hammond Hill Rd.

Reaching Hammond Hill Rd the group found the multi-use trails there in somewhat heavier use than the Roy Park trails, with a mix of runners, dog walkers  and bicyclists  being our primary trail companions on this day

As a change of pace upon reaching the first fork in the trail the group turned left, towards Star Stanton Rd. The group walked out the first hiking hour and soon turned around, retracing our steps back to our cars

After the end of the hike a sizeable contingent of Ithaca Hikers made our way towards the Hopshire brewery and its supply of cold beverages and food products. We arrived there in time to claim an awning from a just-ended exercise class, and so had a nice amount of protection from the sun while we enjoyed the warm temperatures and nice surroundings.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Special report — Ithaca Hiker puts in four days on the Appalachian Trail

By Eva B

Eva has been hiking with our group for a number of years.

I just wanted to let everyone know I survived a four day section hike in Maine on the AT, southbound from the Kennebec River to Stratton Maine. It’s about 35 miles but in the 90° heat, and having not carried a backpack in over a year, it was brutal. The worst part was the terrain, it felt like 12 miles through the Bigelows were rock scramble straight up and straight down. There were many places I had to toss my pack down or lift it up and then climb up. My poor dog had to be lifted up or down countless times. She was NOT a happy camper. I think I set a world record for the slowest pace while backpacking, some parts of that took me an hour to cover less than half a mile.

Also there were very few other people out. I passed no more than four people on any given day.

Even the first 20 miles – before the Bigelows- were annoying because there were countless blowdowns and areas where it was hard to find the trail. Anyway, I have a few days off before starting the 100 mile wilderness on June 12. I’ve been reassured that the terrain is not as bad, although I have to climb  Mount Katahdin at the end. I hope I make it!

I guess the only good thing is it was so hot, that the black flies and mosquitoes were not bad. But the deer flies were starting to come out.

The canoe ferry across a Kennebec River was fun, even if it’s only about five minutes across.

Eva

Report to Hikers — week of May 31 – June 6

Hello Hikers!

Mon May 31

Report by shesse. Photos by Tiger/shesse

Rural road walk — Hosenfeld Road and Carley Road, Alpine, Schuyler County

Another gorgeous morning out in the country

This time we were up on a beautiful hilltop south of Mecklenburg, with greatr views to the south and east

There’s a lovely feeling of gently rolling terrain up on the hill — but getting up there is a diferent story

It’s a 450-foot climb up from Route 228, and some of the way is fairly steep

Here we see Connecticut Hill and Cayuta Lake in the background

Almost no traffic. Not dusty. Wonderful spring feeling.

Official head count: Eight walkers, eight dogs

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Wed June 2

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger

Robinson Hollow SF, Tioga County

18 hikers met on Robinson Hollow RD for a hike of the FLT in a Northerly direction from that trailhead.

It was a cool day with a forecast of rain later in the day; thankfully for this hike, the rain held off until the very last hikers emerged from the woods at their cars at the end of the hike.

Hikers set off up the very steep and continuous grade that presents itself to hikers when starting out from the small parking area at the base of the hill. The incline continues through a series of switchbacks and turns for around the first thirty minutes of hiking. Eventually the trail comes out onto what must have been at one time a logging road. All the hiker cares about at that point is that the trail is now FLAT, and continues to be so for a few minutes.

While the trail was steep in the beginning, it did benefit from following old forest logging roads for much of the uphill portion. This meant that hikers were able to not have to walk single file and could communicate with each other by means of other than hollering back over ones shoulder to someone further back in the column of hikers as we sometimes find our group when in motion.

The trail maintainer for this section is our own Lucy G, and the trail was in good shape as I expected it to be, having witnessed Lucy in previous years while she was tending to her trail maintainer activities….

Eventually the Trail takes a plunge over the embankment, leading more or less straight down to a stream near the Kimmie shelter.

Hikers took a slight detour to the new shelter before returning to the FLT and continuing Northerly through the woods. This stretch of the Trail is very pleasant, with a minimal amount of roots, mud and other stuff to detract from the hike. The surroundings were quite enjoyable throughout the hike, and I found hikers on numerous occasions stopping to admire one item or another of plant life growing on the forest floor.

After reaching the hour turn-around time, the group did an about face and returned in the direction we’d come.

Thankfully after the initial long climb up from the streambed, much of the remainder of the trail was downhill.

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Sat May 5

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger and Cian

Upper Buttermilk SP from Yaple Road, Danby

21 hikers and 6 dogs met on Yaple Rd near the junction with Comfort Rd, for a hike into upper Buttermilk Falls State Park

This route is part of the spur trail for the FLT that runs from West King Rd towards upper Buttermilk Falls State Park.

The weather was sunny and warm, and there was a fair number of other day hikers both with and without dogs sharing the trail system as we navigated through the park.

Some of our group commented that the trail from Yaple Rd into the park was previously unknown to them and a very nice section of trail for being relatively unknown.

The group reached the Treman Lake Trail and took a right turn, passing the small lean-to there and circling the lake and climbing the stairs as the trail continued around the Eastern side of the lake. I’m always happy to recognize the on-going trail maintenance that I see in our state parks when we hike any of them, and this section of trail always brings that issue to mind for me. Reaching the side trail to La Tourelle the group took this slight detour; while not an official trail within the park, it does cross over some very nice topography and gives the hiker a nice view of the forests in the area.

Turning around the group returned to the Treman Lake Trail and descended towards the portion of the trail that crosses over the CCC-era dam. I observed that the lake levels were probably the lowest levels I recall them being in recent memory.

I had originally considered having the group hike the actual spur trail to West Kind Rd after circling the lake, but the bright sunlight and warmer temperatures changed my mind and seek another route that would keep us in the shade under the trees. Upon reaching the opposite end of the dam, the group turned North and road walked to the picnic and pavilion area closer to West King Rd. Here we took the Bear Trail South; after completing that trail the group returned to the Treman Lake Trail and took it back to the FLT spur trail and our vehicles. This brought us back out to our vehicles at exactly the two hour time we try to meet for local hikes…

I was very happy to see the larger turn-out on Saturday;  the groups passage along the trails generated more than a few positive questions about the group to me as I followed behind everyone as sweep for the last leg of the journey…

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their day to join us for this hike.

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Cian at work
La Tourelle glamping area
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You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun June 6

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Jenksville SF, Tioga County

12 hikers and 2 dogs met in the Allison Hill Rd parking area for Jenksville State Forest in Tioga County.

The day was already beginning to be a hot one as hikers strode into the shade of the trailhead.

The trails in this forest are broken down into yellow , blue and red trail systems. For the novice first entering this trail system, a map is a necessity, as the general trail layout is not immediately obvious on the ground, particularly if you’re hiking the blue blazed trails. Last years hike had focused primarily on the centrally located blue trail system; this years hike was focused on the yellow trail system, including a very nice overlook area on the western edge of the yellow trails that I had wanted to get to in that previous hike but was unable to do so.

Overall, todays hike was marked by very gradual elevation gains and losses, a nice feature of a hike on such a warm day. There was a minimal amount of mud anywhere on the trail, although a couple of low-lying areas had clearly sopped up some of the recent rainfall and were something of a gooey slog to traverse. Most of the worst of the muddy areas had well-defined side trails that allowed the hikers to avoid the muddy depression entirely; not something I would advocate for normally, but a happy occurrence on Sunday.

Before setting off on the hike I passed out maps to everyone in case someone should get separated from the main group, and in fact within the first hour or so the group broke down into two or three distinct sub-groups due to trailing elements missing arrows set down on the forest floor for them, photo-taking,etc. Thankfully that section of the  trail consisted of a loop, and the main body soon encountered the trailing element coming from the opposite direction.

Everyone reunited and paused briefly at the overlook area that has a great vista overlooking the valley and the roads the group used to get to the trailhead. On both hikes in this forest, hikers have commented that the drive through the farmland and country roads to get to the hike is an enjoyable thing all by itself

Trying to avoid setting foot on the same sections of trail as much as possible, I had the group climb up the hill from the observation point before grabbing another side trail that had some short inclines and a fairly significant old house foundation. Out of curiosity the group paused long enough to find the old homes now filled-in well, and then we set off again through the forested trails

Before too long the group reached what I have come to think of as the Jenksville Forests version of the “Time Square” trail convergence that we all know from Hammond Hill State Forest. There we jumped onto a blue trail that took us back to our cars with just a few minutes over the two hour hike limit.

A very enjoyable day, overall

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of May 24 – May 30

Hello Hikers!

Monday May 24

Report by shesse. Photos by Tiger/shesse

Farm road walk — NW of Perry City, Schuyler County

Another wondferful morning out in farm country — mid 60s, birds twittering in the fields, sweet smell of spring blossoms in the air, a pale blue sky streaked with jet trails ….

We walked on Bower Road in the last stretch before it dead-ended into the Hector Forest

This is where the terrain rises to a high point between the two lakes. The horizon in the background here is on the other side of Cayuga Lake, miles to the east.

One country touch that’s not so great — the roads in this area are made of an unusually dry dirt and they can get very dusty. Luckily there’s almost no traffic

I’ve loved this walk for years, but I’m sorry to say I’ve now lost interest, because six large upscale houses have been built along the first part of the walk since we were here last. They’re widely spaced out and pleasant enough to look at, but they’ve completely destroyed the rural feelling for me. The scenery now seems fake.

There are still many great touches, of course

But it’s just not the same.

Official head count: three walkers

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Wed May 26

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger

Monkey Run Natural Area, north side of Fall Creek at Hanshaw Road

12 hikers and 1 dog met at the parking area for the Monkey Run Natural Area on Hanshaw Rd.

A 13th hiker arrived later and met the group on the trail in the area of the stairs that lead from stream level to the higher trails that skirt the edge of the cliffs above the streambed.

A few members of the group broke away early and made their ways back to their cars, so the final numbers of the group ending the hike was about half of those who had started the hike.

Hikers were not alone in the area; multiple other people were leaving and arriving throughout our time in the area.

Temperatures were warm but not unbearable, and we avoided the heavy rain that struck the area later in the day.

Susan had an alternate route to get the group to the “beach” area that we always visit on this particular hike.

Other than the alternate route to the “beach”, the route taken by the hikers was our normal one for this hike, although the exact trail route is difficult to actually describe. The group tried to stay under cover of the trees and out of the fields as much as possible due to the bright sunlight on hike day. The plant life undergrowth on the forest floor was well advanced but not an impediment to the hike.

There were  a very few areas the group crossed that had mud, and the water levels at stream crossings were low enough that the few water crossings were not too much of an impediment to the hike.

All things considered it was a good morning for a hike….

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Sat May 29

Hike report by Jim.

Six Mile Creek, south side trails

11 Ithaca Hikers and 2 dogs met on Crescent Place  in the city of Ithaca for a hike of the trail network around the South Hill Rec Way.

While it had been raining most of the previous evening, the start of the hike found the weather cleared up, if still overcast.

Hikers walked down the South Hill Rec Way to the turn onto the blue blazed trail that runs through the woods to the area of Second Dam and beyond.

Despite the rain the previous day the trail was in good condition. The various water crossings along the trail had a good amount of water flowing downstream, but none so much that it made the crossing difficult.

Temperatures were cool enough that the hike was enjoyable.

The group had a chance to see a little of the area wildlife, including a deer and wild turkey, over the course of the hike.

Reaching the hill overlooking Second Dam the group followed the sharp right turn that follows the ridgeline where it returns to the Rec Way

Arriving at the Rec Way most of the groups members opted to continue walking to the East for a few minutes to round out the hike time. The Rec Way was being well-used, so there were several other walkers and joggers on the Rec Way at the same time.

Upon returning to the junction with the blue blazed trail the group opted to remain on the Rec Way and walk back to Crescent Place.

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Sun May 30

Hike report by Leigh Ann. Photos by Cian

Connecticut Hill Cemetery area

Hi, everyone.

Eleven hikers and three dogs met to hike this afternoon on Connecticut Hill. The gathering time was 1:15 to avoid turkey hunters. Some of us arrived early to hike from the main parking spot by Connecticut Hill Cemetery, which is at the western junction of Boylan and Connecticut Hill Road. Others shuttled to the trailhead from the Cemetery.

This day never warmed up above the mid-50s, and it remained overcast and slightly drizzly. After several days of soaking rain, this was a hike of moss and ferns, black-wet trees, and pops of chartreuse foliage in rooms within the forest. Most of our route was over cushiony forest floor. 

This was a fun hike that only the leaders, Nancy Lorr and Randy Olson, had seen before. I wish I could describe the route in detail, but that’s something Nancy L. can do. We headed south from the western junction of Boylan and Connecticut Hill Road, until we turned west on another road, which I believe is also named Connecticut Hill Road. At the bottom of the hill on that new road, we took off southwesterly into the woods. We visited a lovely pond that had enormous, purple lady slippers still blooming by the shore. Then we continued southwesterly down and across several healthy streams and turned back east and uphill toward the road we came in on, using the FLT for a bit of the way.

Near the end of the hike, we turned off a trail to look for a very small cemetery that maybe 100 people have seen in the last 10 years. There are only eight headstones, and they are very old, from just one family. One is for Mary, wife of Jedediah Green, who died at age 79 on March 31, 1842. She would have remembered the beginning of the United States. Jedediah is buried nearby, near 14-year-old daughter and other family members. The day could not have been better for finding this cemetery. It is not something to explore on a bright, shiny day.

Thank you, Nancy and Randy, for leading this hike!

Best wishes,

Leigh Ann

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here.

Special report to Hikers — Part 2, A solo backpacking hike on the FLT

By Jim R

When Part 1 of this report ended yesterday, Jim had settled down at a campsite next to a rushing stream prepared for a good night’s sleep after a hot tiring day on the trail. Then he heard car doors slamming and music blaring nearby.

The people from the cars came down the trail, passing my campsite and  apologizing that they hadn’t seen my tent when they pulled in from the road. They set up a few feet further downstream and spent a good portion of the night partying. Thankfully the noise of the water behind me drowned out most of the partiers noise and music.

The next morning ( Tuesday )  dawned and I found myself alone, the partiers having departed at some unknown point during the night. Having had negative interactions with partiers at campsites two years in a row, I suspect that in the future I will do my best to avoid camping in shelters or bivouac sites close to roads.

I had breakfast, broke camp and walked to the near-by Todd Rd. I followed that back to where the FLT crosses Todd, and I continued my Westward trek on the FLT. It was here, as I got closer to Gulf Rd, that I found the most activity of anywhere on the Trail in my time hiking this section. I encountered two day-hiking gentlemen who were climbing the hills up from Gulf Rd; I stopped and had a great conversation with them about many topics. Reaching the part of the FLT where the other end of the Van Loane Hill Loop rejoins the trail, I encountered many day hikers, dog walkers, and even some other section hikers who were setting out on the first day of their own section hike towards Ithaca. I hope that they were successful in their journey. It was here that I saw the only wildlife I observed along the Trail.

Crossing the dilapidated bridge in that area, I stopped for lunch and refilled my water supplies. Reaching Gulf Rd, I turned left where the FLT makes a quick jog on Route 6 before it crosses a bridge and plunges back into the wood line in its Northerly journey.

This stretch of Trail is a bit odd compared to what we are used to traversing here in Tompkins County; its more like a walk through peoples grassy mowed back yards and lightly wooded lands. In some places I think that’s exactly what I was doing.

After a mile or so of this the trail pops out in Odessa at the Schuyler County Veterans Park, a nicely done public space with pavilions, a veteran’s memorial and a public water supply that on this day was not functioning.

Crossing over Route 228, a hiker is soon facing a section of the FLT that is all of a 500 foot elevation gain as the Trail follows a logging road straight up Rogers Hill. My goal was to reach Roger’s shelter, located near the summit of the hill. I’d been there in the past with Ithaca Hikers, but had come into the shelter from the other direction. As I climbed the hill I found myself second guessing my exact location on the map. There is some active logging going on around the road, with several trees right next to the road being cut down and the blazes in many places disappearing for long stretches or being poorly maintained. Despite the route being intuitive due to its straight-as-an-arrow nature, the longer I climbed and the long stretches of road with no discernable blazes eventually had me thinking that I’d somehow walked right past the shelter. The eventual appearance of private dwellings along the road reinforced this idea to me.

Eventually I found a grassy shaded area along the road. I stopped for a late lunch and refilled my water supply from the fast-racing water in the road-side ditch I was sitting next to. That’s not as bad as it sounds, as the water was collecting in some fairly large pools being refreshed with a large volume of water briskly flowing down from higher elevations along the steep grade.

Returning to climbing the hill, I soon found the side road that led to the lean-to. The shelter is a nice set-up, with a decently sized pond and near-by privies that don’t require the hiker to dig a cathole to do their business in the woods. Other than some near-by kids racing around on their ATVs, I found myself alone in the shelter for the evening.

I had dinner, set up my sleeping gear and went to sleep. I knew that the next day was supposed to be warm, and I wanted an early start.

Waking up early Wednesday I had breakfast, packed up and set off down the hill, away from the shelter and towards Carley Rd. I knew from driving this section just the previous weekend ( when the group hiked the FLT West from Logan Rd ) that this stretch of Carley Rd would be another uninteresting stretch of road walk. Crossing over Steam Mill Rd, I plunged into the Southerly portion of Texas Hollow State Forest. Crossing some well-flowing streams I started to soak a towel to keep it around my neck, as temperatures were starting to climb.

The Trail here is not particularly unique in my mind; I stopped to make a trail register entry, texted David Priester about a blow-down, and continued a slow uphill climb towards Newtown Rd. Reaching Newtown Rd I crossed over that road, and here began the long descent down into that portion of Texas Hollow that the group is most familiar with from previous hikes in the area.

As I drew closer to the bottom of the valley I was taking note of the condition of streams I was crossing; many could be seen flowing briskly downhill from further uphill, only to literally disappear into the ground, leaving only a dry streambed. The grassy areas around the pond as parts of it became visible in the far distance seemed to be in stark white sunlight compared to the forested area I was travelling through.

Coming to one of the last shaded streams with a strong water flow and pools of water to draw from, I stopped for a prolonged lunch, a resupply of my water, and a bit of a rest before continuing on.

Eventually I came to the flatlands and then to Texas Hollow Rd itself. By now the heat was fully evident, and I decided to do the road walk bypass on Texas Hollow Rd to Rte 79 rather than make the steep climb up the FLT on the Westerly side of Texas Hollow Rd. I began walking Texas Hollow Rd and soon found myself racing from one clump of shadowed roadside to the next.

Reaching the end of Texas Hollow Rd I dumped my gear, had a long rest and evaluated my position. I realized that much of the route I would have covered in my remaining planed trail time consisted of  Trail that I’d already been on at one time or another. I realized that much of it was dry with little or no water likely to be present, and I had failed to consider the need to pre-position water along this portion of the Trail. I knew that the next two days were supposed to be in the high 80s or low 90s in temperature. Given these facts, I decided that the wiser course of action would be to terminate the hike. I called Katharine and asked her for a ride from the area. And so ended what was a few short but interesting days on the FLT.

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