Report to Hikers: week of Jan 28-Feb 3

Hello Hikers!

Wed Jan 30

Cornell arboretum and adjacent natural areas

We hoped to go across the Stevens suspension bridge into the woods — but the trail was so rough we had to fall back to Plan B and head into the arboretu
It was quite cold — 9 at the meet-up — but it didn’t feel cold and it actually seemed very nice out
Like so many other places we hike, the arboretum’s at its best on a snowy morning, IMO
Half way through the hike, Dave announced it was his 70th birthday
Started to snow — we headed east into the natural areas maintained by money left by the late media mogul Roy H Park — here’s the commemorative photo for Dave’s birthday
Another morning of great winter atmospherics

Official head count: eightH


Sat Feb 2

Road walk in Danby: Comfort Road from Bald Hill Road to Gunderman Road

Not our most appealing morning for a walk — at 8 am it was still just 4 degrees, and I suspect some hikers decided to skip this one — though it did warm up to 13 by 9 a
The real action was with the work crew that walked in to the Chestnut Lean-to to get ready for Sunday’s cook-out — Tiger worked on packing down the access trail with snowshoes; Gopi brought her splitting maul. Jack V was part of this group — you can see his photos by following the link below
There’s a lot of nice scenery along Comfort Road but it’s a bit subtle, and I didn’t feel like trying to make the effort to capture it in photos. I especially like the open areas
Our hiking group is often weighted toward people with higher education, but I think this hike may have taken the prize — there were six of us …. one MD, three PhDs and two masters degrees — but you shouldn’t assume we talk about egg-head topics as a result
I love this bleak look. It hit 20 degrees as we wrapped up, but the wind was blowing a little briskly right in our faces.

Official head count for the road walk: 6H

Official head count for the work group: 8H, three D

Jack V’s work group photos are here


Sun Feb 3

Cookout at Chestnut Lean-to, Danby SF

The weather forecast got it exactly right this time — the long cold wave ended abruptly Saturday and we had a lovely mild morning for our cookout
We didn’t have a whole lot of time to get this ready, since no one was willing to walk in and handle all the prep even as late as Friday, because of the horrible cold. But everything worked out great despite the last-minute rush
We were able to collect enough wood in a rush for probably three cookouts
The people in the work crew felt the wood looked decent when they gathered it in freezing weather the day before, but it had thawed by the time they started to light the fires, and they realized the wood was actually very wet
It was such a pleasure to stand around in 40-degree temperature
This was our sixth winter cookout. For the last few times, we had a very successful second fire going in the rear of the lean-to, and a number of people sat around on the log benches and sipped drinks. This time the fire wouldn’t really get going, apparently because of the wet wood, and the hikers stayed up in the front area. I helped smash the iron-like ice coating off the benches, and I was a little disappointed no one sat on them
The sun came out after a while and it was really lovely — 45 when Tiger and I got back to the car
One of the hikers arrived late and tried to save time by parking right at the trail head, but she didn’t realize there was a very deep ditch and her car slid into it
We tried repeatedly pushing from the front and the back — no luck — AAA came out and pulled the car right out in less than a minute

I was happy to see we were able to have such a good time even with such a short lead time. For the last four years attendance has been steady in the low 30s, which I think is pretty decent given the somewhat rugged setting. This time it was 32H and seven D

More photos:

Jack V