Report to Hikers — Week of Aug 9 – Aug 15

Hello Hikers!

Tues Aug 10

Hike report by Jim

Eastman Hill, Caroline

Eight hikers met to walk a parcel of property that will eventually be a re-routed section of the FLT in the area of Eastman Hill, Town of Caroline. A ninth hiker arrived late and met the group as we were returning to our cars.

The weather was cooler than in recent days, with a touch of mugginess. Some small amount of rain sprinkle had accompanied us to the meeting location, but over the course of the hike there was no rain at all. Some sections of the Trail known to be consistently muddy lived up to their reputation on this hike.

The property is an acquisition of the Land Trust; the area we parked in might possibly eventually be a parking area for the parcel and act as an access point for the FLT as it passes through the area.

Leaving our vehicles on Coddington Rd, the group passed through some high weeds before starting up a long section of logging road. While not a particularly steep grade, the duration of the climb requires periodic pauses to rest. By comparison to some of the hill climbs on the current Eastman Hill FLT sections, this stretch of trail wasn’t too bad. The parcels previous owners had installed small benches periodically along the route; while I didn’t get a chance to test them out today, the benches appeared to be inviting. The previous owners of the parcel also named the various logging roads on the property and utilized a color coded route marking system that still remains.

Reaching the top of the hill the topography flattens out for a while before the future trail route leaves the logging road and plunges into the woodline. This results in a short period of bushwhacking that proved to be no problem

Eventually the route connects into the current FLT, and the group passed over the seasonal portion of Eastman Hill before arriving at Heisey Rd.

From there we did a short lollipop circle before returning along the route we had originally taken.

The benefit to hikers in the long run will be that a long section of the FLT will be preserved from loss, as sometimes happens with parts of the Trail that pass through private lands. I will miss some of the trail sections that this re-route will replace, but that is outweighed by the long term preservation of the Trail footpath. Some of the replaced sections of Trail might still be accessible to day hikers, with continued permission of the property owners. Only time will tell.

Photos by Cian

“I got the time wrong and showed up when everyone was returning – so only one picture with hikers , but I did the newly blazed trail until it intersected the old trail.”

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Wed Aug 11

Hike report by Jim

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

8 hikers met on Ellis Hollow Creek Rd for a hike of the Nature Preserve trails there. The skies had been growing darker after I arrived at the Preserve parking lot, and I was concerned that we’d be rained out of the hike entirely. The last weather reports I’d seen before leaving home indicated only a small chance of rain before Noon.

As the group set off, a small amount of rain was heard falling through the forest canopy, but other than a few random rain drops I never felt any of it. The rain ended quickly and the rest of the hike was uneventful.

The group took a clockwise direction along our usual trail route, first onto the yellow blazed trails, which transitioned to the blue blazed trail section. The first stream crossing has a newer blowdown since my last time on that trail  that fills the streambed and blocks the former stream crossing location. The trail footpath and been re-routed slightly upstream, with a sawyer cut through the fallen timber. The crossing was uneventful. The group rain into one or two other blowdowns that probably should be eventually cleaned up, but nothing that negatively impacted our hike this day.

Water levels in the streams were minimal at every crossing. Mud was also minimal

The group ran into a total of two other hikers or dog walkers on the first circuit around the Preserve.

Navigating the hills in the red blazed section went without incident, a section that sometimes can provide some unsure footing for hikers.

Temperatures were not particularly high, but the humidity soon had many of us sweating from the effort of hiking  the trail. Despite the humidity it was still a pleasing day to hike; the overcast skies I had seen before the hike started had cleared by the time we were well into the hike.

Completing the first loop I stopped to make a quick trail journal entry.

Several of us opted at that time to call an end to our hike for the day, while several others opted to do a second loop around the trail circuit in the opposite direction.


Sat Aug 14

Hike report and photos by shesse.

Hammond Hill SF ski trails
Lovely cool, dark and damp morning — such a welcome change from the oppressive heat and humidity
Eight dogs showed up, two named Chico. They provided a good bit of comic activity
We did the original, classic version of this hike that we’ve been doing for years. Luckily we have Tiger to lead the way — for all the times I’ve done it, I still don’t know the way myself
As soon as we got into the woods, it was too dark to take photos. In the shadier spots, it actually felt like night was coming on, it was so dark
Arrival at Canaan Road
Heading back toward the cars on Star Stanton Road. This walk involves a big lollipop. The sun came out near the very end, but as you can see, it was still cloudy pretty late in the game (no shadows)

Official head count: 14H, eight D


Sun Aug 15

Hike reports by shesse and Nancy L. Photos by shesse

Connecticut Hill — south from the radio tower on the FLT

Report by shesse

Jim was planning to lead this hike but then he decided at the last minute to take the day off to try and fight off a cold. I said I’d write the hike report.

It was another gorgeous morning, sunny and in the low 60s when we met up.

Randy and Nancy (left) have been doing a lot of independent hiking on Connecticut Hill and they’re really learning these obscure and poorly marked trails quite well. But today’s trail was one of the very few up here that are clearly marked for those not familiar with the area

The lighting was terrible for taking photos — dappled sun-and-shade and tremendous bright and dark contrasts

As you can see, the woods were a mishmash of sun and shade — very pretty but basically impossible to photograph in

As some of you know, I developed a balance disorder some years back, and then I suffered nerve damage when I took a big fall three years ago, and that worsened my balance even more. But I’ve recently bounced back to the point I can keep up with the group — in most circumstances.

This was a group of super-regulars and they tend to race along at top speed. I managed to keep up for the first 40 minutes — then the trail conditions got really hairy and I had to turn back. Nancy L filled in whatr happened after Tiger and I dropped out.

Report by Nancy L

We all took off together to hike South on the Finger Lakes trail from the radio tower at the top of tower road.  The trail was easy to follow and quite pleasant, woody and shady.  It went gently downhill for most of the hike South to the hump shaped part of Connecticut Hill Road.  The trail continued in a southerly direction from the road.   We worked our way  uphill until we had hiked most of the way up Hulford Hill (from the north this time).  In an attempt to provide a circuit I turned sharply north on an alternate trail a relatively short way  north of where we would have reached Boylan.  I led a group back on a rather mucky slog down hill and across a creek.    After a bit the group had tired of the crummy trail conditions and took a blazed remnant of what use to be the FLT back to the current FLT.  They returned to the cars in a timely fashion by retracing their steps on the FLT.   Meanwhile Randy and another hiker took a different and clearer alternate route back to the car.  Their trail went north first crossing Connecticut Hill Road.  They then followed a trail on the other (west) side of Tower Rd for a bit, before intersecting Tower Road, which they took back to the cars.  Meanwhile, I and one other were looking for Randy, since there was no phone reception.  Eventually we made contact with Randy who picked us up on Boylan Rd so that no one was left behind in the woods.



Official head count: 14H, three D