Report to Hikers — week of March 15 – March 21

Hello Hikers!

Wed March 17

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger

Curtis Road, Danby SF, South Danby

On Wednesday March 17th 11 hikers and 3 dogs met at the junction of Hill and Curtis Rds in the Town of Danby, for a walk of the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd

The first portion of the hike was fairly breezy, a stretch that a couple of late arriving hikers had to endure repeatedly as they hiked in and out from the cars several times as they met different hikers who were returning to their cars from the hike early.

The main body of hikers found Curtis Rd itself to be bare ground as far as the Karenville Bed and Breakfast. As is our usual practice, a quick stop at Karenville to visit the pony there was a popular pause to the hike. Beyond that area the seasonal portion of Curtis Road was still mostly covered with several inches of old snowpack, with patches and even short sections of bare ground. The snow was not particularly difficult to traverse; at one point the road becomes a snowmobile trail, and the snowpack in that section was still very compacted from past snowmobile use. The churning action of a handful of previous automobile through traffic was, as is so often the case on these sorts of seasonal roads, the biggest problem, as it creates an uneven and choppy walking surface.

One of my options for this hike was to have the group jump onto the FLT where it crosses Curtis Rd, but a quick exploratory walk down the trail from the crossing made it clear that remaining on the road was the wiser choice on this particular day.

The group opted to do a simple out-and-back hike, walking for the hour and then simply turning around and walking back to the cars.

While the road surface was not a perfect hiking surface, it shows the promise of better hiking days to come as our region warms up into Spring.



Sat March 20

Hike report by Jim. Widescreen photos by Tiger. Panoramic photos by Cian

Stevens Suspension Bridge, Cornell Golf Course, Cornell horse fields and Fall Creek gorge, Forest Home

Fifteen hikers and three dogs met in the parking lot near Stevens suspension bridge on Forest Home Drive ( Flat Rock area of Cascadilla Creek ).

It was a sunny day and it was pretty clear before we even left the parking lot that we would be sharing the trail system with many other people who were out doing the same hike we were enjoying. While we did encounter a number of trail runners, hikers and dog walkers on the trail it was not excessive. Some members of our group fairly quickly broke off from the main body as they encountered dogs and their owners who they were friends with….

One hiker opted to stay closer to their car and hike the Arboretum rather than traverse the trail system on the opposite side of the suspension bridge.

The remaining hikers crossed the suspension bridge and set off on the yellow and red blazed trails towards Robert Trent Jones golf course.

There were occasional patches of ice on the trail, most notably once we’d crossed the golf course and were returning to the trail system, a large patch deterred some members of the group, who opted to re-enter the trails from another access point. The mud was largely not a problem, as it was still in a semi-frozen state as we hiked the trails. The most dangerous patch of ice for me personally was the one I had parked on upon arriving for the hike, and which caused me to fall at the very end of the hike. The trail itself was otherwise exceptionally safe compared to recent hikes the group has been on.

Once past the golf course the now-fragmented group hiked separately on trails along the precipices above the stream until meeting again.  The recombined group left the higher elevations, preferring the trails immediately next to the waterway.

Returning to the suspension bridge and crossing over that, the group took the blue blazed trails East along the opposite bank, eventually crossing over Forest Home Drive in favor of finishing out our hike time with a quick visit to the overlook and bell area inside the arboretum.

From the arboretum overlook it was a quick trip back to the parking lot and the conclusion to another great Spring hike.



You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun March 21

Hike report by Jim. Three widescreen photos by Tiger. Panoramic photos by Cian

Buttermilk Falls SP, rim trail, Bear Trail and Lake Treman

By my count it was 16 hikers and 3 dogs that met for a hike of the Rim Trail and surrounding Buttermilk Falls trails on Sunday March 21. I’ll admit that my count may be off, as we had a couple of last minute arrivals today.

This report is more about my own hike experience today, as the larger group broke down into different sub-groups. Other hikers in other sub-groups may have had different observations than my own. If Stephen or others want to add their own interpretations of the hike they are more than welcome to do so.

The group started up the Rim Trail, quickly breaking down into about three different hiking speed groups.

The sun was out and I often stopped to enjoy the views across the ravine where the Gorge Trail ran down the opposite side. The mix of light and shadows through the trees and off the cliff faces on the opposite side of the gorge was really appreciated. Approaching the top end of the trail the view across towards the stone stairs of the Gorge Trail, still wholly encased in ice and reflecting back the brilliance towards me, was very enjoyable.

Others in our group  stopped to detour towards the closed-off gate at the bridge that spans the gorge between the Rim and Gorge Trails for a closer look at the ice and racing waters running through the stream.

Reaching the top of the Rim Trail I crossed into Upper Buttermilk proper and jumped onto the Bear Trail. Even though the group had just been here a month ago, the near-absence of snow and ice on the Bear Trail today almost seemed to make this an entirely new hike to me. There were still a few short stretches of ice covering the trail in shady areas, but nothing that seemed impassible or extremely hazardous.

Reaching the end of the Bear Trail I walked to the parking area for Lake Treman. Having hit the turn-around time and not seeing the hikers ahead of me, I turned around and chose to take the service road back to the park entrance rather than traverse the Bear Trail again.

On my downhill return hike on the Rim Trail there was  a noticeable increase in hikers using the trail system. Near the bottom of the hill I met Katharine H, and after stopping for a short conversation we were met by the majority of the remaining Ithaca Hikers who were now also coming down the Rim Trail behind me.

Returning to the parking lot we found it now to be entirely full of the vehicles of other park patrons.

Overall., a good hiking day. The onset of Spring and the closure of another winter hiking season is a welcome change to me. Seeing Ithaca Hikers on the trail this weekend who have been absent for many weeks and months was a welcome sight for me as well.

For those who were not with the group today but who may want to hike Buttermilk in the near future, park admissions fees will be re-imposed on April 1st

Here’s some additional info about how the hike unfolded. This is a shot of the frontrunners in the group after we got up to the top of the rim trail, heading over to the Bear Trail
At the upper end of the Bear Trail. Tiger and I turned back at this point. The others headed up along the Lake Treman trail to fill out the full hour outbound leg.
Tiger and I came back down the steep hill on the maintenance road to avoid all the people climbing uphill on the Rim Trail. When we reached the park road we came upon Bad Dennis and Katharine, who had just been up near the rental cabins.


You can see Cian’s complete photo album here