Wed Dec 2
This report was written by Jim
Lick Brook and the Thayer Preserve, Danby
On December 2nd, 14 hikers and 1 dog met on Townline Rd at the corner with Sandbank Rd, for a hike of the Lick Brook ravine area. Snow was freshly fallen in the area, although the snow on the actual trail was fairly minimal. The biggest snow-related issue that I could see over the course of the hike were the wet roots on the trail. There was a decent amount of water flowing over the various cascades and waterfalls, much more so than the last couple of times I’ve hiked this trail.
The group started down the trails on the Sweedler Nature Preserve side of Townline Rd; at the junction of the blue and white trails most hikers chose the white trail that winds down the hill and over the ridgelines before coming out on the valley floor near the waterfalls. A couple of hikers chose the more direct blue trail route to the valley floor.
Others within the group chose to take their time as they hiked the area trails. These last hikers chose to spend the bulk of their time in the valley admiring their immediate area there, rather than climb the hill to continue hiking with the main group of hikers.
After meeting on the valley floor and checking out the falls, the main body of hikers returned to Townline Rd via the Blue trail.
The group lost a couple of hikers to other responsibilities upon reaching the road, but the main body of hikers pressed on across Townline Rd to the orange blazed trails on the Thayer Preserve. Within a few minutes the group had reached the open fields facing Northeasterly towards Sandbank Rd.
After stopping to admire the vista in front of us, the group turned around so as to avoid that part of the Preserve in which hunting is allowed.
We returned to the blue blazed trail which leads down to the streambed.
Hikers found that despite water levels being higher than in the past, fording the stream was not particularly difficult this day. The group crossed the stream and continued along the blue trail back to Townline RD and our vehicles.
This was very much a “hike your own hike” for much of the group, with various hikers taking their time and choosing which path to take, the amount of time spent in a particular area of the hike, etc. We had one new hiker, Barbara, on this particular hike. Welcome to the group Barbara, and I hope that you will continue hiking with the Ithaca Hikers.
Sat Dec 5
This report was written by Randy
Embedded photos by Randy/Nancy L
Watkins Glen SP — upper South entrance
Nine intrepid trekkers and three leashed and sweatered dogs met in the Park near the swimming pool, which was strangely still full of water. The day was overcast and chilly, and truly perfect day for a hike. Although there was sleet on the drive over, we encountered no precipitation during our hike…it waited until we were safely in our cars and on the way home!
We hiked west along the FLT, passing a picnic area full of stone tables covered with clever cairns.
Nancy L was the “leader”, but the trail was so easy to follow others took turns.
Soon the trail climbed steeply uphill allowing us to warm up. The hike along the south side of the gorge had some precipitous drop-offs, some of which were protected with fencing, some exposed to serious trouble if you weren’t careful. We passed a lean-to overlooking the trail; no firepit, but otherwise suitable for an emergency bivouac.
The trail passed under a massive train trestle that spans the gorge.
We regrouped before continuing to a large pavilion located on the shore of a pond. Everyone agreed it might be a nice spot to hold a group gathering, like a late-May picnic coinciding with the flowering of the nearby rhododendrons.
We then continued west, some of us going out to Rt. 329 to check out the potential parking/access situation about a 1/2 mile away, while others waited a while before deciding to head back along an old park road. Nancy led the first group back, and Randy guided the others along the same route. Everyone eventually reunited in the Six Nations campground area. From there it was a short downhill to our cars.
Sun Dec 6
This report was written by Jim
Jim Schug Trail, Dryden
Fifteen hikers and three dogs met at the parking area for the Jim Schug Trail on Lake Rd.
The morning weather front had put a layer of frost and ice over everything, so several regular hikers and their pets were delayed in getting to the hike.
Setting off on the Schug Trail towards the village of Dryden, hikers were met by a stiff wind that chilled a person if they stopped to admire the views along the trail. Other than a group photo at Dryden Lake Park early in the morning there wasn’t a whole lot of stopping on this hike.
Despite the temperatures there was a decent amount of other people using the trail this day.
The wind whipping across the lake was observed to be creating a good amount of wave action. The greens and browns in the shallow, still ponds were particularly vibrantly colored under their thin crust of ice. This was in particular contrast to the white of the frost and ice covered areas.
The group pretty quickly broke up into about three distinct groups, not counting the late arrivals. The fastest group reported at the end of the hike that they had reached South Street before turning around, for a total distance of a little over five miles for that group.
Some of us were content to progress at a much slower pace than the lead element.
The return trip to the cars had only occasional periods of wind, unlike the outbound leg of the hike.
Three scenic shots from the trail