Wed April 7
Hike report by Jim
Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve
Seven Hikers met in the parking lot of the Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve on Ellis Hollow Creek Rd
The group had the trail mostly to ourselves, although a couple of other dog walking people were present in the parking lot or made appearances as we were leaving the hike.
It was a sunny and warm day, and partially as a result the water levels on the stream crossings was fairly low.
While it was warm it was not oppressively so, being so early in the year, nor did the flying bug population make an appearance to lessen our enjoyment of the trail. I can’t say the same about the ground crawling bug population which has been a factor in our hikes since the snow melted.
Within a few minutes of starting our hike the group fractured into a couple of distinct smaller elements; with the main body of hikers charging ahead and completing their first circuit of the trails well ahead of the second group. Turning around, the lead element soon met the second group of hikers, who continued on to complete their circuit and begin their second lap on the trails travelling in their original clockwise direction of travel.
The lead element of hikers soon rounded the top of the trail loop in a counter-clockwise direction, and met the second element near the stream crossings. Turning around, the second group rejoined the lead element and everyone walked back to the parking lot together.
It was a great day to be on the trail.
Sat April 10
Hike report by Leigh Ann. Photos by Nanct L and Cian
Bald Hill Nature Preserve and Bald Hill — Caroline
At 9:30 yesterday morning, ten hikers met up at the corner of Leonard Road and Bald Hill School Road. There were no dogs, which is good because we saw what we think was a deer carcass on the trail – the dogs might have lost their minds.
We hiked south from the cars about 1000 feet on Bald Hill School Road to the green iron gate that leads into the Cornell Botanic Gardens Bald Hill Natural Area. The trail into this area leads uphill to a boarded-up house or nature center. It looks like it has been boarded up for quite some time, and the structure itself is impressive: stone chimney, beautiful stone all around the outside with a strange, flat concrete roof. It is now a green roof, according to Cian, whose long stick for his camera let him see up there.
The trail leads from that structure down the west side of Bald Hill and makes a sharp right turn to go more steeply down a wet, rocky gully. This gully comes out at a beautiful field. By this point in the hike, the sky was still overcast but it was getting lighter. We turned west to follow the trail/two-track down along a burbling stream and came upon an idyllic-looking cabin and farm up to the south in the woods. The owner of the cabin asked us about the trail/two-track conditions, and we had a friendly conversation with him.
By then, the trail/two-track was heading steeply down. It came out at White Church Road, about 100 feet north of Ridgeway Road. Amodei, who was hiking with Cian and had been racing down the hill, realized that their house was nearby! Going uphill was much harder than coming down for Amadou who is six. So, on the way back up, the group agreed to spread out and head back a slightly different way that would give us a different view.
The sun was casting shadows and the day was getting warm by the time we returned to the beautiful field and turned south to follow the gully. Instead of turning off the gully to go back to the hilltop structure, we continued south out of the gully a few more hundred feet and followed Bald Hill Trail to where it curved east. This part of the trail, near Bald Hill School Road, goes through what used to be a farm. At this time of year, with no foliage, magnificent views opened to the south-southeast and there were big clusters of daffodils. Vinca minor were everywhere and were starting to bloom. The sky was milky blue, and the sun was warm. We exited the trail between two concrete obelisks and headed back to the cars on Bald Hill School Road
You can see Cian’s complete photo album here
Sun April 11
Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian
Shindagin Hollow SF rim trail
10 hikers, including late arrivals, met at the parking area at the end of the maintained portion of Shindagin Hollow RD
There was a light rain falling, but nothing so severe that it would prevent the group from hiking.
Walking a short distance down the seasonal portion of Shindagin Hollow Rd, the group cut off into the woods on the multi-use rim trail that is popular with both hikers and bicyclists.
Once under cover of the trees the rain became even less noticeable than on the roadway.
Due to the rain the root network on the forest floor was noticeably slippery, although there was minimal mud on the trail and what mud there was was easily navigated around.
The group was alone on the trail; absolutely noone else was out hiking.
Returning to Shindagin Hollow Rd near the Jeep trail, the group found its way a short distance down the road and walked the plunging bike path that leads down to the creek crossing. Water levels were a little higher than the last time we were on this path, requiring the addition of a few well placed rocks in the stream in an effort to get people across the water with dry feet.
The group found its way down the trail towards Gulf Creek Rd.
I’m the unfortunate reporter of the single high heeled shoe on the stump being missing when we passed its former location.
The group came out onto Gulf Creek RD and returned to the cars via a road walk of Shindagin Hollow RD
The portion of Shindagin Hollow Rd that’s often flooded in the spring was dry today, although water levels in the surrounding stream was fairly high.
A couple of members of the group shortened the woods portion of the walk in favor of more of an overall roadwalk, due to short legs.
Due to the rain it was a fairly dull day visually; lacking the vibrant colors that we often see in the hills on this hike.
Overall it was still an enjoyable hike.
You can see Cian’s complete photo album here