Report to Hikers: week of Jan 7-Jan 13

Hello Hikers!

Wed Jan 9

Shindagin Hollow SF, bike trails in the northern sector

I don’t like to be too cautious about scheduling hikes just because the weather might be messy — so we headed up into Shindagin Hollow SF while a weather advisory for snow and ice was in effect — it was smooth sailing until we reached the edge of the forest — the access road, Braley Hill Road, hadn’t been sanded yet and it was a sheet of ice — the car was sliding around as we crept up the hill, and Tiger, who was driving, was afraid it would slide into the huge ditch along the edge. I thought it was great fun

The trail was a mixture of snow, ice and standing water — the footing was a bit tricky but some people managed to proceed without foot traction
The early part of the trail has some fabulous pine forest action
We were almost back to the cars when we realized two hikers weren’t with us any more. Turned out they missed a turn and kept going in the wrong direction. Luckily they both had smart phones with Verizon service so we were able to speak to them (there was no AT&T reception). But they didn’t have a map and they couldn’t figure out the extremely confusing trail situation without one, despite our coaching. They finally emerged from the woods 90 minutes late, after one of the hikers went home and then e-mailed them a map.

Official head count: 11H, one D


Sat Jan 12

Buttermilk Falls SP, rim trail and Bear Trail

You get a great view of Buttermilk Creek from this lookout when the leaves are down
We saw only a few other hikers — and this hunter — it was the first day of the special Tompkins County hunting season, and bow hunting is always permitted in season in the state parks — we don’t usually get such a vivid reminder
Just enough snow to illuminate the terrain, but thin enough that walking was really easy — except where it was icy
We came upon two deer while we were walking down this stretch — they raced away — wonder if they knew who was looking for them ….?

Official head count: 24H, three D

More photos:

Jack V


Sun Jan 13

Two hikes SE of Dryden — FLT east into Cortland County (hilly) and the Jim Schug Trail (flat) — followed by a stop at Hopshire Brewery

It was 6 degrees at the meet-up but there was no wind and the sun was lovely — so it was actually wasn’t bad at all standing around
You have to walk steadily uphill more or less steeply for the first one-third of the hike — great way to warm up
The snow was powdery but slippery — your foot slid backwards a little on every step — quite tiring
This is the start of the steep climb over the hill — always strenuous but it was much harder with the slippery footing
Even our most rugged hikers found the going tough this time
The trail ascends the front side of the hill on a series of switchbacks that seem to go on and on, though the straight-line distance from the bottom to the top isn’t all that great
We’re now on the other side of the hill, looking into Cortland County — I find this such a serene and beautiful spot
We weren’t able to proceed much beyond this point because the slow going ate up the time
Coming back down the switchbacks was extremely challenging in its own way — your feet skidded uncontrollably as you made the switches
Back down at the start of the hill — good chance to appreciate the terrain and contours of the Dryden Lake valley
This marked the return to the trail of one of our most active and energetic hikers, Vicki, right front, who’s been out on disability since June — she suffered a sudden spinal problem that left her unable to sit or drive or walk more than a short while — surgery in the fall, finally recovering — she said she spent much of the time lying in bed — we were very happy to see her back — she could only handle the flat walk, though

Stop at Hopshire on the way home

A lot of hikers stopped off. The big room where we like to congregate was reserved for a brunch operation, so we had to squeeze into a small room next door — it’s a tight fit but it works and the small size of the room cuts down on the noise. It was a very cheerful mood — word leaked out that it was the birthday of one of the hikers, and that made it even more festive.

Total head count for both hikes: 29H, seven D

More photos:

Jack V