Report to Hikers — week of Jan 11 – Jan 17

Hello Hikers!

Wed Jan 13

Report and two photos by Jim

Texas Hollow SF, Bennettsburg

Eleven hikers and one dog met on the parking lot for the Texas Hollow portion of the Finger Lakes Trail

It was an overcast day; the sun tried to make an appearance later in the hike, but that effort was not greatly successful.

The group struck off in a Southeasterly direction on the FLT. The initial portion of this trail runs more or less alongside Texas Hollow Rd for a short period of time. Eventually the trail comes out into some open meadow areas and the northerly end of a small lake that I don’t believe has an actual name. From there the trail swings away from the roadway and the real hike begins.

After that directional change the next quarter mile of trail runs through some gently rolling hills. Eventually the trail hits a portion where hikers are climbing the hillside through a ( thankfully empty )  streambed. A few flat areas along this part of the route give a hiker some  respite from the climb, but otherwise its more or less an almost seemingly straight climb upwards. It wasn’t long before the group passed me by and I was climbing the hill in the relative peace of my own labored breathing. Ironically, the hillside has in some recent time been logged, as the treetops and other remnants of the logging operation still littler some portions of the trail. Through those sections of the hillside have been cut some fairly appealing  looking ( to me anyways, as I ascended on the FLT ) switch-backed logging roads.

Thankfully there was no snowpack on the trail to impede our progress up the hill. At best there were some patchy areas of ice along the entire route, but everyone was equipped with foot traction that was up to the task.

The remainder of the group apparently made it to the top of the hillside before turning around to recover me. We descended the hill and started the return trip to our cars.

Upon coming upon the blue blazed trail that circles the smaller of the two lakes on the state forest, I made the spontaneous decision that we should explore that route over the more direct FLT. The blue blazed trail was a nice alternative to the FLT, although in some places I think they skimped on the blue paint…..we came out on an open area of the lake that gave us a nice vista of the surrounding area and me an opportunity to capture the moment with a couple of quick group pictures.

Because of our detour the group made it back to our cars a few minutes late, although I didn’t hear any complaints about that….


Sat Jan 16

This report was written by Randy

Van Lone Loop, Catherine

Perfect winter hiking conditions greeted 8 hikers, 2 dogs, and 1 owl at the Gulf Road parking area.  We started out going down the FLT along the creek, which had unusually high water.  The trail wasn’t too icy due to a light coating of fresh snow.  We saw no other hikers on this normally-busy section of the loop.  But we did see plenty of icicles!  We crossed the wooden bridge which someone said was on schedule to soon be replaced…good idea!  One by one we made it safely across and headed uphill, gradually shedding layers of clothing as we went.

After passing through a vast sunlit field with a view of frosted Swan Hill we stopped to check out the foundations at the old schoolhouse, the namesake for the road we just traversed.  Then it was back into the woods, and down to the creek, fording it with the help of some well-placed stones.  The clim​b uphill along the old road offered views of former homesteads.  We passed a festively decorated evergreen tree, and stopped briefly at the Chamberlain house to say “hi” (no one was home).  Then, it was a downhill, mud-covered road walk for a rendezvous with our cars.

Post hike note:  Two hikers, including new hiker Elizabeth, went to the cemetery at the junction of Routes 6 and 10 to visit the grave of Frankenstein… no kidding.  

Photo by Elizabeth A

You can see Randy and Nancy’s complete photo album here


Photos by Jack V

The owl is blind in one eye, so it couldn’t survive on its own in the wild. It lives with an avid hiker in Schuyler County, and it’s hiked with our group in the past, though not in a while

You can see Jack V’s complete photo album here


Sun Jan 17

This report was written by Jim

Star Stanton Road to Hammond Hill SF, Dryden

12 hikers met at the end of the maintained portion of the Eastern end of Star Stanton Rd in the Town of Dryden.

An additional two hikers and three dogs arrived late and essentially did their own hike.

When the group assembled along the road a fresh flurry of snow was coming down, lending a very seasonal and “winter atmospherics” feeling to the morning.

My intention was to walk the Finger Lakes Trail as an out and back, for as far as we could get in our two hour time.

The group set off up the seasonal part of Star Stanton Rd. While the snow was not deep, we found ourselves walking in the tire tracks of  a vehicle that had passed through that area at some recent time. While surface conditions were not terribly icy, using foot traction was a necessity today, and the group still had one hiker go down to the ground because of ice-covered road surfaces.

I knew from my previous section hike of this portion of the trail last summer that the FLT turn into the woods from Star Stanton Rd was easy to miss, and in fact the group did miss the turn. As a result, the group continued up Star Stanton RD, stopped at Time Square and came up with a plan to hike the yellow 4 trail until it met with the FLT.

Once we met that intersection we decided to continue on the FLT for another 15 minutes before turning around to take the FLT back to the cars, to account for the faster down-hill walk.

This in fact was what we did.

Once we turned back from the yellow 4 trail to the FLT, it was the best part of the hike. The group was passing through a canopy of fresh snow-covered trees that closed in around the single file of hikers for this portion of the hike. Walking through glades of evergreens that had a fresh mantle of snow , crossing small streams coursing their way down the hill, and the general atmosphere of this section of the trail made all of the earlier uphill hike well worth that effort

When we got back to the cars the earlier snow had stopped and the view down the valley was phenomenal.

We saw a total of two other hikers and two bicyclists on todays hike. There were no skiers encountered on our portion of trail

My intention is to re-do this hike during summer months. During that time of the year the group will be able to park further up Star Stanton Rd and have to do less road walking. It would mean that we lose our epic view down the valley at todays parking location, but I would rather woods-walk than road walk on any hike.

Photos by Cian

Cian’s complete album is here