Report to Hikers — week of Feb 22 – Feb 28

Hello Hikers!

Wed Feb 24

Hike report and photo by Jim

Bike trails, Shindagin Hollow SF

4 hikers met on Braley Hill Rd for a walk in the area

Prior to arriving on the hike morning I was not entirely certain what trail conditions would be like. I was prepared to lead a road walk if trail conditions were entirely uncooperative to hiking on those.

I walked a short ways into the blue trails on the East side of the road and the yellow trails on the West side of Braley Hill Rd.

Due to recent bicycle and ski use I found the yellow trails to be somewhat more compacted and an easier walking surface, so when the group set out we reversed our normal direction of travel for this hike and set out on a Westerly direction.

It was a relatively warm day, feeling like the temperatures were hoovering somewhere around freezing. As we climbed the hill in the bright sunlight, which reflected well off the surface layer of fresh snow, we quickly warmed up.

My initial investigation of the trails had found that straying even a slight amount off the compacted trail surface had you up over your knees in soft snow. While the yellow trail surface itself was compacted, it was  a narrow track that had accommodated skiers and bicyclists but which forced the hikers to walk in a very narrow single file.

Forced to take the route previously used by other users and not one of our own choosing, we soon found ourselves hiking over a route that the group doesn’t normally take in the summer months. Even so, we were commenting on what an attractive section of woods we were travelling through.

The yellow trails soon turned into a red system of trails, which eventually led to a road lane-wide and well-used snowmobile trail. Able to finally spread out somewhat, the hikers followed the snowmobile trail down the hillside to Braley Hill Rd. Crossing Braley Hill Rd we continued on the snowmobile trail in an Easterly direction. A couple of times we passed blue hiking trails, but quick checks of the trail surface there had me nearly to my hips in snow on one such little-used footpath.

Reaching an apparent significant downhill section of the snowmobile trail I decided that it was a good time to turn around. We re-traced our path to Braley Hill Rd; a quick road walk brought us back to our cars with near-perfect timing.

Thee was minimal vehicle traffic and we sighted only a single dog walker and pedestrian on the road for the time we were there.


Sat Feb 27

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Fisher Settlement Road, snowmobile trail, Danby SF

Nine hikers and two dogs met on Fisher Settlement RD where the FLT crosses that road.

Since the group had a good experience hiking the snowmobile trails on Wednesday, I hoped that this location would give us a third option if the FLT and a road walk of Fisher Settlement Rd were not viable options. Hikers found Fisher Settlement RD to be a muddy mess, and the FLT in that area had a significant amount of snowpack still on the trail, making a hike there impossible.

By comparison, the snowmobile trail was well compacted and a good walking surface.

Hikers walked Westerly on the snowmobile trail, towards South Danby RD. Walking through the forests in this area was quite pleasing to the hiking group. Crossing South Danby RD hikers climbed the small hills in that area, travelling through forests of evergreens. Eventually the snowmobile trail came  out onto Travor RD, and I chose a direction on that seasonal road after a brief conference  with other hikers.. We soon found that Travor RD had a much less compacted snowpack surface, and as temperatures continued to rise during the hike, hikers soon began to posthole regularly as we proceeded on the Travor Rd snowpack.

Hikers reached Peter Rd at exactly the one hour mark. Turning around at Peter Rd, hikers retraced our steps to Fisher Settlement RD. Overall it was a very enjoyable hike, even with the posthole issues towards the end of the hike.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Feb 26

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Woods roads, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area

Twelve hikers met on Carter Creek Rd for a hike of the area seasonal roads.

Hikers set off, finding the initial portion of Carter Creek Rd to be fairly churned by a car or two that had driven through the area. Upon reaching Lloyd Stark Rd we found that Lloyd Starks RD was untouched by vehicles and had a well-packed snow base to walk on. Climbing Lloyd Starks RD  we soon came to the fairly extensive portion of that road that is being actively logged, with large piles of logs stacked by the road waiting for removal. The logged portion of Lloyd Starks extends all the way to Connecticut Hill Rd, or about a third of the length of the road

The group reached Connecticut Hill Rd and turned left to climb Boylan Rd in order to make a loop out of the days hike. About half of the group chose to turn around and re-trace their route on Lloyd Starks because the loop route would have taken longer than the usual two hours.

Soon enough those of us doing the loop reached Hulford Rd, which also had a well-compacted snow base. Multiple other people were in the area enjoying the beautiful day, including several dog walkers, skiers and even an equestrian who we stopped to talk to for a while.

Hulford RD led us back to Carter Creek RD which we took back to the cars. The loop hike, with the various delays and somewhat longer hike due to snow and ice conditions, came in at just under three hours.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here