Report to Hikers — week of June 14 – June 20

Hello Hikers!

Mon June 14

Report by shesse. Photos by Tiger/shesse

Farm road walk — west of Mecklenburg in Schuyler County

We were up on a hilltop that looks west toward Burdett — checking out a large farm

I happily eat meat in all forms and eat cheese and cream. But it makes me sad to walk past a very large number of animal sheds where the animals all spend all their time indoors. On the other hand, I don’t want to pay Farmers Market prices for animals raised in old-fashioned conditions.

The operation here is very mechanized, with various big machines and vehicles scurrying around. This is a huge pile of old tires — holding down tarps with something unknown to me underneath

This is the main farmhourse and several old barns — it’s a lovely bucolic setting, and the beauty and tranquility helped me put the operation into perspective.

It was another gorgeous cool morning. Just a smattering of farm trucks passed.

Official head count: four walkers


Wed June 16

Hike report by Jim

FLT from the Tioga County line up the hill to Blackman Hill Road

Five hikers met on state route 79 at the county line, for a hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill RD.

Passing through Mallow Marsh the group admired recent repairs done to the trail in that area by Cayuga Trails volunteers

Entering the forest temperatures dropped noticeably, making the ensuing climbs much more tolerable. Here the FLT is initially little more than a narrow path carved out of the hillside, forcing the hiker to carefully check their footing as they proceed along the trail.

Soon this gives way when the trail meets an old logging road; from there the Trail is a steady climb up the side of the mountain, a series of steep climbs with an occasional flatter area to catch your breath. Portions of the Trail along this area consist of loose gravel and scree from past rains. Once again, its best o take your time picking your way through this section in the interest of safety.

Towards the top of the hill the Trail assumes a nature more similar to other parts of Tompkins County; a gradual climb up the hill through stands of hard and softwood forests. Not so many root or rock hazards…

Near the top of the hill the Trail was recently re-directed due to land donations, and the Trail breaks into the open with a wonderful view across open fields.

The main body of hikers reached the top of the hill and turned around, re-tracing their footsteps back to their vehicles at the bottom of the hill.

Not a stretch of trail that is particularly remarkable, and the parking issues at the bottom of the hill make it difficult to use this area as a launching point for a group day hike of a larger size, but the views at the top make up for much of the effort to get there.


Sat June 19

Hike report by Jim.

Lick Brook

13 hikers and 6 dogs met on Townline Rd for  hike of the Lick Brook gorge

A 14th hiker arrived late and hiked solo

For many people the on-going construction on Sandbank Rd made getting to todays hike particularly difficult; with the dual issues of hot muggy weather and difficult road conditions, thanks to all who hiked today with the group.

Hikers proceeded down the white blazed trail into Lick Brook. Immediately past the kiosk there is a slight re-route of the trail, I am guessing for the purpose of moving the trail away from the cliff edge.

The trail was in good condition today, a far cry from the previous hike of this gorge that was hampered by sheets of ice on the footpath.

The group made its way down into the valley floor, descending along the spine of the ridge and making a minor water crossing that was not impeded by water flow.

Arriving on the forest floor the group made its way to the falls area where the dogs made themselves comfortable with a quick dip into the streambed.

The group turned around and made its way up the hill along the blue blazed trail. There was little air movement around the group at this point, and several of us made frequent stops to rest from the climb.

Arriving back at the car several hikers opted to head for cooler pastures at home.

Once back on Townline Rd the breezes were in fact much more noticeable than they had been in the lower elevations. The breeze helped make the remaining hike much more enjoyable.

The small remaining hiking group crossed the bridge and jumped onto the blue blazed trail; I prefer this direction of travel through the Thayer Preserve over the red trails we have started out on in the past.

A couple of us had arrived back at Townline RD from the Lick Brook trail system behind the main body of hikers. As our small follow-on group hiked along the blue trail I became distracted by seeing what proved to be a small chicken house near the trail, something I hadn’t recalled seeing when hiking that trail in the past. I detoured to take a quick look at this structure, and by the time I returned to the trail the hikers had all pulled well ahead of me. Hiking up the trail I approached what I assumed to be a root across the footpath, a common sight on any of our local trails. This early assumption proved wrong, as it was in fact a 3-4 foot long snake with a girth about wrist-sized, something I’m not used to seeing when I’m out and about on local trails. The snake and I had about a teen minute stand-off, the snake coiled and watching me carefully. With a sharp drop-off on one side of the trail I opted to finally box my way around the snake on the opposite side of the trail and resume my hike. By this time I could hear the remainder of the group hiking along the opposite ridgeline and knew that I was unlikely to catch up to them. I opted to hike to the water crossing and turn around, re-tracing my steps on the blue trail back to Townline Rd. Once back on Townline Rd I hiked into the red trail long enough to verify with a couple of section hikers I met that our group of hikers was off the trail.


Special photo report by our hike photographer Cian — another giant snake

Cian skipped Saturday’s hike to go fishing with his nephew Amadou at Jennings Pond for the opening of bass season. By a very odd coincidence, he encountered his own huge snake on the same day Jim was coping with a huge snake a few miles away.

Cian also brought along an underwater case and a 360-degree app for his camera, so now we can see what it looks like underwater at Jennings Pond too.

You can Cian’s complete fishing trip album here.

You can see his underwater portfolio here. Be sure to try the 360-degree feature


Sun June 20

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger and Cian

Curtis Road to the FLT, South Danby

Ten hikers and three dogs met at Curtis and Hill Rd in the town of Danby for a hike to the FLT on the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd.

An eleventh hiker and three dogs arrived late and did their own hike.

As I approached the parking are on Curtis Rd I observed that the hills ahead of me seemed to be swathed in a layer of fog, which I took to be a good omen that the group would not be hiking in bad heat.

The group slowly filtered into the parking area as it so often does, and eventually we were ready to set off on our hike.

It was a pleasant day walking along Curtis Rd, with a nice breeze blowing across the open fields on the southerly side of the road.

Approaching Karenville the group paused long enough to feed the pony there before continuing onwards.

Reaching the end of the maintained portion of Curtis Rd, the group plunged into the green tunnel of the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd. Other than a few shallow puddles of water from the previous days rain there was nothing to detract from the hike in this area.

Approaching the area where the FLT crosses Curtis Rd the dogs at the neighboring residence set off a good amount of barking which faded into the distance once we made our turn onto the FLT and put those dogs behind us.

The group made its way through Danby State Forest, encountering a couple of small parties of hikers with dogs and trail runners. We encountered a couple of very minor muddy patches along this stretch, but nothing that made the hike undo-able.

Reaching the junction with the Westerly end of the Abbott Loop I opted to continue the group Westerly on the FLT.

Taking a small pause where the FLT crosses the seasonal portion of Hill Road, the group gathered itself together and pressed forward into the woods once again. Walking through a carpet of wet pine needles we slowly began a descent towards Michigan Creek, but turned around long before reaching the bottom of the hill once we reached the hour turn-around point.

Climbing back up the hill the group re-traced its steps back to Curtis Rd and then to Hill Rd and our cars. A second stop at the pony on the way back depleted me of the stockpile of carrots I’d brought for that occasion.

Overall this was a good hike, especially compared to some of the past hikes we’ve done along this same route that were not as pleasant for one reason or another.

Leigh Ann
This is a nice composition if you click and look at the high-res version


You can see Cian’s complete photo album here.