Wed Dec 30
Hike report and three photos by Jim
Carter Creek Road, Connecticut Hill WMA
Fifteen hikers met at the junction of Carter Creek RD and Rowell Hill Rd in Newfield for a hike of the seasonal portion of Carter Creek RD. My expectation of the route was that it would be a level tamped-down snow surface due to its normal use as a snowmobile trail in the winter months. This was the condition the road had been in last winter when we last road-walked the route in colder months. My initial observations of the trailhead on this hike day didn’t cause me to have any concern that conditions would be otherwise.
Once the group set off, we found that there was minimal snowpack on the road. Multiple vehicles at some point had driven down the road, causing deep ruts and an uneven road surface that had to be picked carefully through as you walked along the route. This was severe enough that some of our hikers choose to turn around and end their hike prematurely.
The main body continued on until reaching the hour turn-around point. The route, which travels primarily through state land, was in such a state that hikers couldn’t really appreciate the surroundings but instead had to watch their feet to avoid catastrophically crashing to the ground.
On the return leg of the hike the sun, which had stayed behind cover on the outbound leg, finally appeared and seemed to push us further down the trail as it shone down on our backs from behind us. The wind, which had been intermittent on the outbound leg of the hike, died down and gave the group a much more pleasant return trip to our vehicles.
And here are four shots I got before Tiger and I turned around because we found the snow too choppy:
Sat Jan 2
This report was written by Jim
East Hill Rec Way
On Saturday January 2nd, 18 people and four dogs met at the parking lot near the bottom of Snyder Hill Rd for a stitched-together hike of several of the urban multi-use trails in the area. The weather initially was extremely windy, with patches of rain. I carried an umbrella during the hike, and at least some of the group came equipped with rain gear. This surely contributed to us NOT having rain during the hike……
The group left the parking lot onto the Vincent and Hannah Pew Trail, but almost immediately jumped off that paved walkway for the Wilderness Trail that runs alongside the Pew Trail for a significant portion of that trails distance. Trail conditions on the Wilderness Trail were intermittent areas of standing water covering patches of ice. This caused some issues for some members of the group, who opted to return to the Pew Trail and walk the paved trail surface there. They were joined by some late arrivals.
The main body of the group pressed forward until the Wilderness Trail rejoined the Pew Walkway near Tudor RD. We then returned to Pine Tree Rd.
Arriving at Pine Tree RD the group crossed the intersection there and walked along Honness Lane to the junction with the East Hill Rec Way.
Walking Northwesterly on the East Hill Rec Way, it was my intention to jump off the paved Rec Way and walk the Hawthorn Thicket Loop that is just before the Rec Way crosses Mitchell Street. Reaching that trailhead however, we found notices posted by Cornell University that the Hawthorn Thicket Trail was closed until April due to extended periods of deer hunting the University was allowing on the property.
The group continued on the Rec Way, crossing Mitchell Street and eventually arriving at Maple Ave. Not being familiar with the trail route beyond that intersection and my original plans having not included such an extensive hike of that stretch of the trail, I opted to turn the group around and returned us to Mitchell Street. From there we walked to Pine Tree Rd and the sidewalk to the East Hill Rec Way leg that crosses over Pine Tree RD on its way to Game Farm Rd. The group walked that portion of the trail as far as the McDaniels Nut Grove before turning around and re-tracing our steps back to our cars on Snyder Hill Rd.
The hike, despite the last minute route changes and the spills that some people had early in the hike, seemed to go well. There were some stretches’ of the Rec Way where we were encountering multiple joggers, dog walkers and other users of the trail, but most of those interactions went well.
Cian brought a new pole for his camera equipment, but prevailing winds kept him from deploying the pole during the hike. I’m sure that we’ll see some fantastic pictures from Cian using this equipment in the future.
Sun Jan 3
Road walk — Fisher Settlement Road, South Danby
Nice cloudy morning, just below freezing — a bit breezy at the meet-up, otherwise very pleasant
The snow was mostly gone on the ride out, but quite deep at the trail head, elevation 1400′. This is the entry to the FLT from Fisher Settlement Road
Cian has a new very long pole for his panoramic camera. He discovered on Saturday that it can be hard to use in the woods, but there was room to really extend the pole on this walk.
Clare demonstrating the snow depth at the snowmobile trail. I wonder who threw the tire there ….
I love the patterns created by the various types of trees we walk past on this road in particular. Couple of very dark and gloomy woods looks below.
Our hard-charging hikers made it quite a long way down the road before they had to turn around. I was dawdling along in the back, talking to someone about the prospects of living to a very old age. I love the bleak quality of these woods on a dark winter day and it seemed like an appropriate topic. (I learned a few weeks ago that I probably have Viking ancestry — had my dad’s Y-DNA analyzed — haplogroup I1, SNP I-M253.)
There was ice on the road in scattered spots but in general it was clear. Because the road isn’t paved with asphalt, it’s comfortable enough to walk on even when you’re wearing moderately aggressive foot traction.
Only a few cars passed.
I’m a huge fan of dark brooding woods and this stretch is a great one.
Not everyone on the walk made it into the group shots. I urged those wearing masks to hold their breath and pull the mask down for a few seconds so everyone could see their faces. Not too many takers.
Here’s one of Cian’s shots using his new long pole — he can really get some elevation:
You can see the rest of Cian’s shots here,
Official head count: 20H, three D