Report to Hikers — week of May 10 – May 16

Hello Hikers!

Wed May 12

Hike report and group photo by Jim

Virgil Mountain, Cortland County

Ten hikers and four dogs met on O’Dell Rd for  a hike of  the FLT  on Virgil Mountain

The day started out a bit overcast, although the temps were cool and comfortable; pretty much perfect hiking weather.

When first stepping off O’Dell Rd onto the FLT, the hiker passes by a large stand of the CCC-planted pines that we see on so much of the state land we hike through. On days like today those stands of trees, standing in their uniform rows, impart a little bit of the “atmospherics” onto a hike, to use Stephens word.

The first quarter mile or so of trail is a mix of gradual rolling ups and downs, with a fair amount of muddy spots, many with  sections of corduroy filler to get  hikers through the muddy parts.

By the first and second stream crossing our hikers found themselves walking on some thick layers of pine needles interspersed with the usual roots and rocks. All in all, not a bad walking surface.

Hikers pass through and along at least three distinct streams on this hike; the sounds of the flowing water was a great companion on this particular hike today

The incline is a gradual and continuous climb throughout this hike.

Soon enough our hikers found themselves at the only crossing of an improved road on this section of trail, at Van Donsel Rd. The group paused to allow the dispersed end of the hiker line to catch up with the main body; everyone rested a bit and then turned to the task of charging up the second half of the outbound leg of the hike

Once on the other side of Van Donsel the elevation gain begins in earnest. Soon hikers found themselves passing the chair lift apparatus for Greek Peak ski resort; here the FLT turns to parallel the ski trails for a while.

Pausing to make an FLT trail journal entry, the group then summited the mountain peak, stopping to admire the summit marker and then continue on to the near-by observation point that looked over the valley. By now the sun was out, and with the clear atmospheric conditions the group could see ridgelines and peaks many miles distant.

After a quick group photo, we turned around and hiked our way back down the trail, stopping only at one point to catch a view of the valley from the top of the ski lift area of Greek Peak.

All in all it was an excellent hike.


Sat May 15

Hike report and group photo by Jim. Six photos by Cian

Finger Lakes National Forest — Logan Road west to Satterly Hill Road, Burdett

8 hikers and 2 dogs met on Logan Rd near Burdett , for  a Westerly walk of the FLT in that area I was very interested in this particular hike, as I don’t recall ever being with the group when the Hikers have walked this section in the past.

A 9th hiker caught up to the main group shortly after we set off.

A 10th hiker with 3 dogs arrived late and walked the trail as a solo hike, but never met up with the main group until we had completed the outbound leg of the hike and were back at the cars.

The day was sunny and warm, and clearly the better weather lately has caused the undergrowth to really take off.

Shortly after leaving Logan Rd the Trail takes hikers through a lush field. Throughout this hike the Trail is generally very narrow and closed in by the undergrowth along the footpath. As we pushed our way through the undergrowth I was glad that we checked out this section of the Trail when the trail-side greenery was not at its full summer growth stage.

After getting through the fields, hikers enter a very nice section of woods, with the Trail wandering through nicely spaced mature trees.

Eventually the Trail brings hikers to a well built bridge of recent vintage; clearly a lot of effort went into making sure that this bridge would stay in its place. The group paused here for  a group photo before moving onwards

There were  a few muddy spots along the lower lying areas of the Trail, but nothing too difficult to deal with.

Before long the Trail begins a gradual long steady climb up a hillside.

It was on this hilly part that we had our only real issue; the FLT in this area is criss-crossed with a myriad of horse or other type trails and footpaths, with little in the way of blazing to send a hiker in the correct direction.. At one point the FLT takes a right turn; the group followed those blazes, but by the time we reached Satterly Hill RD it was clear that the trail we were following was not in fact the FLT. The panoramic view of the surrounding area from that location more than made up for any error in trail use.

A short roadwalk brought us to the current FLT footpath where it crosses the road, but we found that further progress forward was halted due to the Trail in the area being closed due to hunting. As it was nearly time to turn around, the group followed the correct Trail, noting on our descent where we had made the directional error on our upwards climb.

The return trip to the cars was uneventful, although we did eventually encounter the last Ithaca Hiker to arrive.


You can see Cian’s fill photo album here


Sun May 16

Hike report by Leigh Ann. Six photos by Tiger

Woodard Road NE into upper Treman SP, Enfield

Hi, everyone.

This was a great spring morning for an atmospheric road/woods hike that hinted at impending storms for the afternoon. At 9:30, nine hikers and two dogs set out east from Woodard Road on the FLT to the junction with the CCC Trail. From there, we took the CCC trail south over Fishkill Creek to Butternut Creek Road. The Road was mostly dry, but the creek was full, and we paralleled it on the road until we reached the hard left turn onto Van Ostrand Road.

From there, we took Van Ostrand Road up over the hill to where the panoramic view opens out to the north. The mackerel sky had briefly opened out to blue by then. When we reached Thomas Road, we headed north on that into the state park, through lovely fields growing up with young pines and white-blooming autumn olive trees.

From the end of Thomas Road, we hiked to the South Rim Trail and down to Lucifer Falls, which were bright white and had a nice deep bass tone. We saw numerous other people and dogs on the South Rim Trail. But from the Lucifer Falls overlook, it was clear that the North Rim Trail is not open yet – at least where it goes up beside Lucifer Falls. 

At that point, another hiker and three more dogs happily joined the main group. We hiked down the South Rim Trail to the mill. From there we took the CCC trail and FLT back to the cars, arriving about 25 minutes early.

We stood around the cars visiting with each other for a while. Then we farewelled Jim Rolfe, who used this as his starting point for a week of hiking west on the FLT. Thank you, Jim, for planning this beautiful hike!

Best wishes,

Leigh Ann