Report to Hikers — week of Sept 6 – Sept 12

Hello Hikers!

Wed Sept 8

Hike report by Jim

Comfort Road toward Bruce Hill Road on the FLT, Danby

Six hikers met on Comfort Rd for a hike of the FLT from Comfort Rd towards Bruce Hill Rd. This hike continues the month-long September focus of hiking area trails that we will lose access to once hunting season begins in October.
Our group, to my understanding, has not hiked this section of the FLT since around 2006.

The day was cool, with little in the way of swarming bugs to distract hikers.
There was a short section of trail immediately off Comfort Rd bordering a near-by field that was relatively muddy, but the group quickly got through that area and onto firmer ground.

On the outbound leg the trail was largely a gentle downward sloping footpath that wandered through some nice stands of pine trees alternating with hardwoods. 

A few streambed crossings were relatively easy due to the low water levels, but I assume that some of those would be much more challenging if this hike was being attempted during  the spring thaw. One crossing in particular was more difficult than the others due to the trail dropping down into the streambed, but hikers navigated the crossing safely.

Eventually the trail arrives at the first of several small fields and meadows. We hiked along the edge of the first meadow, after which the trail plunges back into the woods.

There are a series of old logging roads or grown-up farm lanes that the footpath crosses in this part of the Trail. Unfortunately the surrounding area is entirely posted for no trespassing, so we were unable to explore any near-by paths or woods beyond the trail footpath. There is one three way split in the trail at which hikers will need to pay attention to blazes so as to not unwittingly stray from the Trail.

Soon we arrived at a series of larger meadows, which we quickly crossed in rapid succession. By now the sun was out, and temperatures and humidity were rising. Birds screeched at the group from the cover of near-by brush and trees. There was enough wind to keep the hike pleasant despite the rising temperatures.

Once the group returned to the woods beyond the meadows I estimated that it was time to turn around. In fact we had gone too far on our out-bound leg, as the return portion of the hike by comparison was almost all uphill and slower going. The group ended up arriving back at our cars a full 30 minutes past our normal hike time.


Sat Sept 11

Hike report by Jim.

Lake Road east into Cortland County on the FLT, Dryden

18 hikers and 2 dogs met on Lake Rd at the crossing of the Jim Schug Trail in the Town of Dryden for a hike of the FLT towards Cortland County

While I had intended to have the entire group do the FLT route, most of the group opted to hike the Jim Schug Trail as an alternative to climbing Havington Hill.. I can’t provide a hike report for that group.

The hike route my subset of the group hiked is on AllTrails at the following link, for those who may want to do this route on their own:

As with most of our hikes in September, this route will be unavailable to the group over the winter due to hunting season-related trail  closures.

The weather was sunny and warm, but with a decent breeze that made the hike tolerable.

The group walked up Lake Rd from the Schug Trail, turning into the field that leads to the bottom of the mountain that always looks so impressive when viewed from Lake Road.

Five people chose to take the FLT route; that group climbed Havington Hill with relative ease and descended the other side of the mountain to where it opens up with abroad vista overlooking the valley and surrounding farmlands. This is always one of the favorite parts of this hike for me.

The group followed the FLT to where it continued in a broad arc that brought us out to another observation point for the same vista.

After reaching the second overlook area the group turned around and re-traced our steps up the mountain and back to the vehicles without incident.


Photos by Tiger

At this point, the trail entered the very dark woods. Too dark for Tiger’s camera


A former infant hiker returns to the trail nine years later

It’s very rare for us to get a hiker with an infant strapped on her back — with one notable exception. In 2012 two Canadian professors were working at Cornell and they hiked a number of times carrying their infant son Sydney. It seemed pretty exhausting to me but they would take turns carrying, and they always managed to keep up. Sydney ended up seeing a lot of our trail system.

Here they were in Kennedy SF, a very vigorous hike thas’s tricky to handle even without a kid on your back.

I was sorry to see them head back to Toronto because I liked the novelty of having such a junior hiker. Then I got a note saying they were back for another visit at Cornell.

Leah and Gerald w/Sydney


Cian’s photos

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Sept 12

Hike report by Jim

Spur trail from upper Lick Brook to upper Buttermilk Falls SP, Danby

Sixteen hikers and three dogs met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Sweedler Preserve red and blue trails as well as the FLT spur trail to Buttermilk Falls State Park.Two additional hikers and four dogs arrived late and did their own hike route in the same general area.

As with many of our September hikes, portions of this route will become unavailable to the group from October to January due to hunting season related trail closures.

The entirety of the locale for this hike may be viewed at the following All Trails link, for those who may want to attempt all or portions of our route on their own:

The group left Townline Road a couple of minutes late due to the later arrival of a couple of hikers.

Taking the red blazed trail we followed the stream until it turned away from the water to climb the hill back towards Sandbank Rd.

From there the trail follows the ridgeline towards West King Rd, popping out into a field before returning to the woods.

Arriving at a utility pole right of way the trail make a final turn towards West King Rd.

After arriving at West King Rd the FLT jogs slightly on the road before the spur trail returns to the woods in the general direction of Yaple Road.

There were a couple of good field crossings en route to Yaple Road; the goldenrod was higher than I anticipated and there were portions of the trail where the footpath was almost consumed by the undergrowth around it.

Arriving at Yaple Rd I decided that the remaining time did not warrant having the group continue on the spur trail to BFSP; instead we turned around and re-traced our steps towards West King Rd and beyond.

Reaching the blue blazed trail within the Sweedler Preserve we took that route to the waterway, where we had one of the easiest water crossings I can recall at that location due to the greatly diminished levels of water in the streambed.

The group took the blue blazed Toms Trail back to Townline Rd; from there we still had around twenty minutes of hike time remaining, so we took a short in and out into the Lick Brook gorge area to end the hike at the proper time.


Photos by Tiger/shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s full photo album here