Report to Hikers: week of Feb 4-Feb 10

Hello Hikers!

Wed Feb 6

Two farm roads south of Mecklenburg — N Shuler Road and Morris Road

This is a very bucolic part of a beautiful valley that stretches from Mecklenburg south to Cayuta Lake and beyond. We were on the eastern flank of the valley, which was formed by the upper stretch of Taughannock Creek. There’s also a neighborhood on the other side of the valley that’s equally lovely where we hike.
The forecast wasn’t great — there was a good possibility of rain or freezing rain during the walk — and it was quite gloomy. But it didn’t rain after all until we got back home.
This is Morris Road looking east from N Shuler Road. I find this scene to be perfectly satisfying, and I feel like I could happily live out the rest of my days here, swimming in the ponds in the background, walking on the dirt roads, tramping through the fields and watching the seasons come and go. Of course I do realize it might actually be boring.
I love the way the evergreen windbreaks and field separations create a semi-abstract dark pattern against the fields — very nice pictorial composition
The southern end of N Shuler changes character from a dirt farm road to a paved casual semi-suburban road — interesting to look at the scattered houses but it doesn’t compare to the rolling fields.
We ran out of time and so we weren’t able to walk the full length of Morris Road, which disappointed me
This was maybe the most quiet road walk we’re ever done — there was either one or two cars that passed us, not sure which, but no more

Official head count: 13H and one D


Sat Feb 9

Bock Harvey Forest Preserve and Riemen Woods, Enfield

I love this view of the start of the walk, and I’d hoped I could get a photo like this of the whole line of hikers in miniature, but I couldn’t get out ahead of everyone and make it up to the top of the hill far enough in front. The people in the photo are four hikers who arrived late.
I thought there might be some ice but I was surprised at how much we encountered. Luckily it was covered by a light coat of snow and it was navigable without foot traction, which I left behind in the car.
I’m very glad we were able to squeeze our cookout in last weekend — it was 20 degrees colder this time and there was a strong wind — no one would ever want to hang around here for more than a few minutes in those conditions
We’ve reconfigured this walk so we now cross Porter Hill Road and walk through a relatively new preserve, the Riemen Woods
I don’t know the background of these woods but they have a different character than the other woods that make up this walk — I really like the feeling of this preserve
My only complaint is that the time in this woods doesn’t last long enough
We also hit mud and water as well as ice, but it was manageable

Official head count: 24H, three D

More photos:

Jack V


Sun Feb 10

Willseyville Creek, Caroline

The hiker in the scarf waiting to climb down the side of the ditch is regular hiker Vicki, who was making her first serious hike since last June, when she suffered a major spinal problem. It was great to have her back on the trail with us.
This is the abandoned railroad right of way — there’s swamp on both sides but the scrubby growth obscures the view. The swamp was pretty much frozen solid.
We hit a fair amount of ice but almost no mud and very little water.
For the second time in a row, the huge pond on the other side of Ridgeway Road was flooded (this time it was also frozen) so we couldn’t get near it. From now on we’ll check the water level before we start the hike so we don’t waste time walking there only to be disappointed.
The flooded pond is just to the left where the car is stopped. The photo was taken about half way up to the cars.

Official head count: 26H, four D

More photos:

Jack V