Wed Jan 6
Hike report and photos by Jim
The FLT from Bald Hill Road to Michigan Hollow Road, Danby SF
While I was en route to the hike, there was an observable shift in conditions; downtown was bare of snow. Lower Sandbank RD near Buttermilk, was similarly bare of snow.
Once I hit the junction with Townline RD, the first snow covering the ground appeared along the road
The closer I got to the meeting location, the deeper the snow I could see got
When I arrived at the parking area, I quickly checked the first few hundred yards of the trail., in case conditions were prohibitive for a hike.
Reassured that it was a good hike location, I returned to the parking lot to meet arriving hikers.
Thirteen hikers met at the junction of Bald Hill and Comfort Rds, for a hike of the FLT
Two additional hikers arrived late and basically hiked together along the FLT route that the main hiking body was taking.
An additional hiker arrived and chose to do a hike route unique to herself.
The ground and trees were covered by a fresh coating of clean, white snow. Snow on the trunks of trees appeared as if a clean white sweater was being worn by the tree for a special occasion.
The snow on the FLT itself was just deep enough to show a clear path that an unknown single hiker had made for us of our route previous to our arrival.
The wind swept through the trees, leaving branches groaning with each gust.
When passing close by a stream, the sound of the running water was inviting. On stretches where the stream was already iced over, hikers could still hear the faint sound of the water running underneath the cap of ice.
On the outbound leg I led the group, with hikers enthusiastically chattering away behind me about these various observations.
Upon reaching Michigan Hollow RD the group paused for a few minutes to allow stragglers to catch up, before striking out for the return leg of the hike.
On the return leg I asked Jack V to lead the group while I acted as sweep, giving me the opportunity to stop, look and listen at those things I was passing which I might have missed on the first leg of the hike.
All in all, this was an excellent hike, on an excellent day. I couldn’t ask much more of a winter hike than what we had today
Sat Jan 9
Hike report and two photos by Jim
Kennedy SF, Virgil
13 hikers and 3 four legged furry hiker companions met on Daisy Hollow RD for a hike of Kennedy Forest in Cortland County.
It should be noted that upon arrival at the trailhead, I was surprised to find active logging occurring.
The roadway to the parking area has been smoothed out from its prior rutted and center-humped condition, and the road to the parking are has been extended for use by logging vehicles.
Hikers had to contend with the noise of tree felling and vehicle movement of logging vehicles over the course of the hike. Only one logging road has been cut through the section of trail we travelled over. I’m sure that given the passage of time those fresh gouges through the trees will offer us additional hiking opportunities…..
Hikers set off over a trail that was in very good condition for hiking; there had been some trail use by others, but not so much that the trail was reduced to a slippery mess of ice and risky surfaces. Foot traction was a good idea mainly because of the many uneven surfaces found on this hike.
The sun was out, creating a good contrast of shadows cast from surrounding trees and the glare of light off the clean white snow covered surfaces.
There was a single water crossing, with water levels high enough to cause hikers to choose their foot placement carefully before crossing the running water. There was more than one rock in the streambed that offered less of a secure footing than initially assumed, due to a crust of ice on the stream rocks
The group quickly made its way up the FLT before taking a turn onto the blue blazed Swedish loop. Here was a path less travelled compared to the FLT, with at most one person having travelled that route ahead of our group.
Upon reaching the yellow blazed short-cut back to the FLT, the group was now breaking trail through untouched snow. The snow depth was not an impediment to our hike on any way through that area.
After reaching the FLT the group turned back down the trail towards our cars. It was here that we started to encounter small groups of people who were similarly out for a hike on the FLT.
We arrived back at our cars a full thirty minutes earlier than normal. I guess that we really had walked the trail at a faster pace than I had thought. With that much time left to hike, I suggested to the group that we cross the road and continue on the FLT over a section that the group ( to my knowledge ) has never hiked. Several hikers took me up on that offer, and so we made a bit of a road walk to the FLT om the opposite side of the road. Almost immediately after entering the trail we were faced with options of following either the Spanish loop or the FLT; the latter would have involved a significant water crossing that I think will limit us to hiking this section of trail only when water levels are low in the summer. The group then chose to examine the signage for the Spanish Loop, with individual hikers taking pictures of the sign for later reference. So many did this that I opted to take a picture of hikers taking a picture of the sign ( see attached )
All in all, it was a good hike.
A nod of recognition goes out to the unnamed hiker I met at the trailhead while I was waiting for the group to arrive. He emerged from the trail as I waited by my car, and we had a long talk as he re-arranged his pack from night hiking to day hiking configurations. He is/ was training for the “Saranac Six”, which is apparently a 24 hour event next month in which participants summit six peaks in the Saranac region in winter conditions. This man has been training in the area of Kennedy Forest on a daily basis in preparation for the event.
Three cellphone photos by Mary
And finally, a cellphone photo by Roger
Sun Jan 10
Hike report by Jim
Roy H Park Preserve to Hammond Hill SF
Fifteen hikers and four dogs met in the North parking lot of the Park Preserve on Irish Settlement Rd
An additional hiker arrived late and opted to hike with the sweep element once she encountered them.
Today was a much more overcast day than Saturdays hike, with more of a noticeable wind to deal with during the hike.
I always enjoy the lower flat areas of this hike where the group passes through the monoculture of tall evergreens, and today was no exception.
On the upward hilly portion of the outbound leg of the hike it seemed like we would be under the green canopy with a gloomy ambiance to the hike, and then we would walk into an area that lacked overhead cover and find ourselves on a much brighter section of trail for a few short feet.
Soon enough we found ourselves on the last flat stretch approaching Hammond Hill Rd. That area is always a relief to me after the uphill portions.
Once across Hammond Hill Rd and onto the yellow trail network the larger group broke down into smaller elements. Some hikers chose to forge ahead at a fast clip, eventually reaching Canaan Rd before turning around. Some chose to hold back and admire the terrain they were passing through, but not going as far as the faster element. Soon enough everyone turned around to return to the cars
Trail conditions were not bad overall. The trail was well worn by previous hikers over the past several days. Some areas that are normally boggy in the warmer summer months had a thin crust of ice that a passing hiker would break through as they walked along. All in all there was minimal ice, and nearly everyone came prepared with adequate traction for the terrain conditions. There was minimal trail use by others while we were there. A couple of solitary dog walkers and young families with small children bundled up against the cold wind did pass by us at various times during the hike.
Nine photos by Tiger
Cian’s full album is here