Report to Hikers: Sat-Sun Dec 29-30

Sat Dec 29

Gorge Trail, Mark Smith Road, Finger Lakes National Forest

Part of the fun of hiking out in the country is you get the chance to drive through some wonderful rural scenery on the way to the trail head. I’ve loved this farm house along Mark Smith Road since the first time we came here, years ago. The terrain and the massing of the forest behind create a setting of great appeal and charm, the kind of spot you can spin out an idyllic fantasy about. I grabbed this photo hastily — I need to spend a bit more time next time and see if I can capture the scene better.

That’s the road in the background — gives you an idea of how steeply the trail ascends right off the bat
All the ponds were frozen. The ice looked quite thick and I asked for a volunteer to test it out. No takers.
It was horribly muddy on the trails on the broad level top of the forest preserve, so we shifted to Burnt Hill Road
We took a detour to check out this gorgeous pond — there’s a trail that heads through the pine woods in the background, but it’s muddy even in dry weather ….
We saw a couple of parked cars — this was the only one in motion
This was a great road for a walk on a gloomy damp mild morning

Official head count: 17H, two D

More photos:

Jack V


Sun Dec 30

Treman SP onn the FLT from Route 13

Another hike morning with a beautiful coat of fresh snow draped over everything.
A small group of hikers decided to start early and race well beyond the point we normally turn around — they wanted to see Lucifer Falls. They got back to the cars 20 minutes late.
The main group maintained their discipline and didn’t try to start ahead of time
The snow cover was a bit thin, but deep enough to create a lovely effect
This is one of a handful of spots where everyone is required to pose for an official group photo. The advance group was long gone, of course — four other hikers were also missing from this shot. The Certified Head Count is listed at the end of this report.
I managed to squeeze under this fallen log myself — wondered if I’d make it. Most hikers walked around rather than crawl under.
The snow was melting fast by the time we got back to the cars

Official head count: 29H, seven D

More photos:

Jack V was with the fast-moving advance group. You can see his shots here


Want to see a short video of our Christmas get-together?

It turned out Norm made 1:45 video by wandering around and documenting the scene. Good chance to see what our get-togethers are like. Technical note: The video would not open for us in Windows 10, but it worked fine on a tablet computer running Android. The video is here.