Report to Hikers — week of Oct 4 – Oct 10

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 6

Hike report by Jim

Black Diamond Trail heading south from Kraft Road, Ulysses

14 hikers and 3 dogs met on Kraft Rd in the Town of Ulysses, for a southerly-bound hike of the Black Diamond Trail.

It was a pleasant day, and while the leaf change had not progressed to the degree I had hoped for, it was still interesting to see the colors changes that were underway.

Trail use by others was minimal, with mainly a few casual bicyclists passing the group along the way.

This is one hike the group goes on during which I try to focus on maintaining as steady a pace throughout the hike as I can maintain. Other than conversation and our progress shown by the number of road crossings we made, for me this is a hike where typically I just hike steadily, and don’t stop to look around quite as much as I do when out on the FLT or other person-width footpath hikes. Not that there is nothing to look at. To the contrary there are many sights along either side of the trail. This time of year the brief glimpses of homes, fields, bits of lake and the like are quickly replaced by more foliage in the green tunnel.

Reaching the turnaround point the group observed a near-by herd of bison. While I had heard of these animals being along the trail on past hikes, I believe that this was the first time I had actually seen them grazing in the area of the Black Diamond Trail.


Photos by Tiger/shesse


Sat Oct 9

Hike report by Jim

Monkey Run Natural Area, north side of Fall Creek, Hanshaw Road

Twenty hikers and two dogs walked the red and orange trails on the North side of the Monkey Run trail complex. Meeting in the parking lot at the junction of Hanshaw and Lower Creek Rds, the skies were dark with an ominous hint of foul weather that never materialized during the hike.

The group set off from the parking lot on the red blazed trail, the sound of crunching fall leaves underfoot on the footpath sounding as loud as the voices of passing hikers.

There were a good number of blow down trees across the trail along the hike route today, and the group encountered the first of these within minutes of starting our hike.

Scrambling under the first tree, its leaves still green, the group continued onwards. Our first pause occurred at the old bridge site, allowing the tail end of the procession to catch up with the main body of hikers.

Proceeding forwards, the undergrowth along the trail often crowded inwards onto the trail, not quite obscuring the path ahead, and blocking much of the normal view of the nearby waterway.

Summiting the stairs on the first bluff, the group paused to admire the view across the water, then pressed forward. Soon we were passing from the red to orange blazed trails, and the footpath gave way from a mostly forest walk to alternating field and forest sections

On one such field section many in the group commented on some tall, person-sized purple hued grasses growing in the nearby field.

Once back in the woods the path wound its way ever closer to the waterway. In places the path had worn away, or the rootballs of falling trees had greatly narrowed the footpath, the bank in those areas slowly eroding into the creek. Eventually reaching a widening area in the woods the group paused before turning around to re-trace our steps.

Jack V led the return journey, the faster hikers quickly pulling ahead and away from  the main body of hikers.

Reaching the field with the purple grasses, many of us veered from the pathway to take a closer look at that crop of grasses in the field. After satisfying our curiosity and due to the quickly diminishing hike time, we opted to take a short cut across the fields to the near-by Cornell pavilion, and from there road walk back to the cars.

The lead element of hikers who had stayed on the trails arrived shortly thereafter, bringing a successful conclusion to another Ithaca Hikers hike event.

Photo by Leigh Ann


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Oct 10

Hike report by Jim

Lick Brook

22 Hikers and 3 dogs met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Lick Brook ravine and the Sweedler Preserve.

A 23rd hiker arrived a little later than the main body and completed their hike with Cian, who had remained in the Lick Brook gorge to photograph the ravine.

The Lick Brook side of the road was well-utilized on this day, with many couples and small hiking groups on the trail. I even saw at least one occasional Ithaca Hiker doing their own hike of the Lick Brook ravine with their family members. The reaction of many individual or small group hikers to a wagon train of 22 hikers and three dogs was interesting.

There were no terrain/ trail or weather issues with either part of todays hike, from what I saw. The skies were clear, and temperatures made for an enjoyable hike. The leaf change while underway, was nowhere near complete, with many trees still hanging onto their green leafy plumage.

The descent into the Lick Brook ravine area on the white blazed trail went well, and by the time the group reached the falls area it was  welcome break; there was plenty of water flowing downstream, and at least one dog wasted no time in getting belly deep in the cool water. No hikers that I am aware of took that cue and followed the dogs into the stream.

The climb back to Townline Rd on the blue trail was, as always, a bit of a long haul for me. By the time I got to the road the main body of hikers was already well on its way up the red blazed trail on the opposite side if the road.

I personally prefer the terrain and atmospherics of the blue blazed trail on the opposite side of the bridge, so rather than try to catch up with the main body of hikers I opted to meet them in mid-loop. I was successful at this, meeting them just as they were preparing to do the water crossing from the red to blue trail loops.

The hike back to the cars with the main body of hikers went well. Once at the cars we continued to meet many small groups of hikers who were just arriving at the trailhead. Clearly we were  not alone in our desire to hike the trails today.


Photos by shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here