Report to Hikers — week of Sept 27 – Oct 3

Hello Hikers!

Wed Sept 29

Hike report by Jim

Durfee Hill Road to the Tamarack Lean-to on the FLT, Danby

Thirteen hikers and one dog met at the parking area at the end of Durfee Hill Rd, for a hike of the FLT to the Tamarack lean-to and beyond. This is the last hike for the group before the onset of hunting season denies us safe access to many of our trails for the next three to four months ( depending on whether NYS DEC extends the hunting season in Tompkins County into January, as they did in early 2021 ).

After crossing State Route 96B the trail plunges into the wood line, for a while travelling through a stretch of nearly denuded evergreens. Someone in the group asked about possible parasitic damage to the trees causing the observed loss of the majority of needles on the trees in the area, a question for which I had no answer. Perhaps a reader can supply the correct information to the question. The various mosses and grasses in this level stretch of trail always seem to have a vibrant glowing contrast to the forest floor around them to my eye at least, and today was no different.

Too soon the trail starts to climb the hillside, and with the exception of a couple of short level stretches its pretty much a straight shot up the hill to the Tamarack lean-to. This results in a decent work-out for me, and Lincoln took the lead for the remainder of the hilly outbound leg.

The group stopped for a while at the lean-to, made a quick journal entry and then continued on the FLT.

Beyond the lean-to this part of the FLT has only modest elevation changes compared to the beginning of the hike. With the exception of a couple of recently ( as in a few years ago ) clear-cut areas we encountered no mud at all anywhere along the trail.

It was a sunny but cool day, and while en route to the hike I had worried that the sky foretold of inclement weather. Thankfully that threat passed unfulfilled. After the lean-to the forest floor was alive with the mottled mixture of sunlight and shadow. At one point on the return leg we passed through a very somber, dusky-type near-darkness, but that soon passed and we again had sunny conditions to hike with.

The return leg was uneventful for the group, and we arrived at our cars having completed another successful hike.


Sat Oct 2

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Ekroos Road, Tioga County

15 hikers and 3 dogs met in Tioga county on a dirt road that goes by several names according to Google maps; the road sign at the junction with Honeypot Rd says Ekroos Rd, so we’ll use that name here.

It was a pleasant morning, warming up nicely after the cool overnight temperatures of the previous evening.

Hikers set off on Ekroos Rd after meeting up slightly late over an initial confusion over the correct parking location.

There are only two houses on this road ( a third was in an early construction stage on this hike date ), so traffic is minimal.

Leaves on trees along the route were in a variety of states of change; some were stubbornly green, while others were already in a full stage of vibrant red. It seemed to me that the trees with sheltering trees along the opposite side of the road were still greener, while the trees with breaks in the treeline on the opposite side of the road were further along their transition.

Parts of the early stages of the hike lend to a sense of being in a green tunnel; occasionally a break in the treeline on the southern side of the road offers a glimpse into the meadows there and the hills in the far distance

Passing the last residence the road transitions to a seasonally maintained road with much more of a broken up and rocky surface. Here the road runs along a small ravine which still had small amounts of water running along its course.

At the bottom of the hill the group turned around, having reached the hour turnaround point, and made its way back up the hill.

The return trip to the vehicles was uneventful.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Oct 3

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Potomac Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler County

13 hikers and 0 dogs met on a rainy Sunday morning on Potomac Road, for a hike of part of the Interloken Trail and surrounding areas of the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Jack V was our guide for this hike.

Almost immediately the group ran into an obstacle of sorts, as the recent flooding caused by beaver activity was apparent within five minutes of starting the hike. This forced Jack to find an alternate route, which he did quickly.

The trails were running streams or standing water through much of the hike, so there wasn’t a dry hiker in the line that I knew of. About half the group brought umbrellas along, which were successful in deflecting the worst of the downpour.

We ran into only a small handful of other brave souls on the trail.

The group agreed to cut the hike short at around the 90 minute mark.

We can’t enjoy days like yesterday without the occasional hike on a day like today, so no complaints from me.

After returning to our cars about half of the group travelled to the near-by Grist Iron Brewery. While Grist Iron had a much reduced menu from what I recall on my last visit there , the group was able to draw together several tables under cover and partake of  several types of pizza, nachos and a variety of adult beverages to everyone’s satisfaction.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Leigh Ann

Some years back, we would regularly have a number of college professors all charging along the trail with our group, which seemed fitting to me for a major college town. But recently our active-professor contingent among the regulars has dwindled to just one academic, Leigh Ann. The others have all retired from active teaching, gotten hurt and had to stop hiking, or just drifted away. Luckily, our last professor is still relatively young and in good shape, so she’ll probably be around for a while. But with the disappearance of all our other professors, the rest of us no longer get the old academic shop talk, gossip, news and chit chat it was easy to overhear on the trail. To bring us all up to speed, here’s some of the latest news about Leigh Ann, by way of IC News.