Report to Hikers — week of Nov 15 — Nov 21

Hello Hikers!

Wed Nov 17

Hike report by Jim

Hammond Hill SF

14 hikers and 1 dog met in the parking lot on Hammond Hill Rd, for a walk of various yellow trails on Hammond Hill State lands.

The parking lot was cold and brisk with early morning winds, cold enough that one late arrival who never found the group turned around and left shortly after arriving.

The winds encouraged the group to not dawdle in the parking lot, and soon we were churning our way up the first trail section.

Reaching the first trail  intersection the group made a quick right turn and continued our climb.

Soon we were passing through the stands of evergreens that represent my favorite part of this particular forest.

There were still some muddy parts in a semi-solid state, not yet completely solidified into the frozen state they will maintain until next spring.

Reaching the seasonal part of Canaan Rd, and after a quick consult with Susan, we crossed over Canaan Rd and plunged into the forest on the opposite side of the road.

It was my intention to hike the more traditional route that Stephen and Susan take when they lead this particular hike.

Travelling in a large loop, the group soon found itself on the seasonal portion of Star Stanton RD, which we road-walked back towards its maintained portion.

Returning to the woods, the group completed the circuit on the yellow trails and returned to the parking lot and our cars much warmer than we were when we initially set out on the days hike.

Photos by shesse


Sat Nov 20

Hike report by Jim

Taughannock Falls SP

Including one or two late arrivals, a total of 19 hikers and 3 dogs gathered at the parking lot of lower Taughannock Falls State Park for a walk around the parks Rim and Gorge trails.

It was a brisk, cool frosty morning; winter is certainly closer to us ahead than summer is behind, at this point.

The group started our morning by walking to the falls viewing area at the base of the falls. Patches of frozen ice dotted the pathway, and there were enough other dogs out taking their owners for a walk that the group did not feel alone while on our pilgrimage. The skies were clear and the sun played across the upper cliff faces while ground level remained in subdued lighting.

The more enthusiastic members of the group were off like a shot from the parking lot, setting a rapid pace far ahead of the more casual hikers.

After a short observation period the group turned around and returned to the parking lot, and then crossed over the bridge to get to the Rim Trail. The enthusiastic hikers ,who had built up a head of steam on our foray to the falls viewing area, now took the direct route up the stairs which have not yet been closed for the season. The more casual group took to the road that curves up through the camping area before re-joining the Rim Trail.

The walk along the Rim Trail, past the falls overlook area and shuttered visitor center, was enjoyable.

Reaching the pedestrian bridge linking the Rim and Gorge Trails, the casual hikers reunited with the rapid group, and everyone descended as a group along the Gorge Trail back to the parking area and our cars.

Photos by shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Nov 21

Hike report by Jim

Dryden Rail Trail, Dryden to Freeville

30 people and 8 dogs met on Springhouse Rd for a walk of the more easterly parts of the Dryden Rail Trail.

Being early on a Sunday morning, we avoided much of the road noise that for me is the biggest detractor for walking this particular trail.

Temperatures were in the 40s, but with the sunny conditions, a bit of exercise while hiking and good conversations going on throughout the hike, I don’t believe that many people noticed the temperatures.

It was great to see so many people today; one of the largest groups we’ve had since the start of the pandemic.

I’ll be thinking about starting this hike in the future in the Village of Dryden where  there is more parking, plus we would have more access to the Jim Schug Trail there.

Today the group started the hike by walking towards the village of Dryden; we’ve tried to cut out this section in the past, but it cuts the hike short on time. Once we reached the area near the Dryden sewer plant the group turned around and returned to Springhouse Rd. We picked up a late arrival as we crossed over Springhouse Rd and continued towards the village of Freeville.

The  portion of the Trail West of Springhouse Rd runs through a marshy, overgrown  section of streambed. This time of year is the best time for this hike, as the weeds and leafy brush have died back, allowing hikers to see beyond the immediate footpath in more places than is possible during the summer months.

As the group progressed Westerly, the stream became more defined, confined within its banks and following alongside the footpath. Viewing areas with benches to allow walkers to sit and admire the surroundings were common.

As the Trail approached George Rd it leaves the old railbed temporarily. Once over George Rd the footpath runs through William George Agency property for an extended distance. I had hoped to see an owl near George Rd whose presence was put out over the Dryden Rail Trail listserv, but we had no luck today in that regard.

Continuing through William George land hiker find a  stretch of trail where walkers are crossing a bed of old pine needles; a comfortable walking surface compared to some of the other portions of trail. A turn to the North towards Freeville Village soon has walkers passing by open fields on both sides of the footpath; it would be interesting to explore some of those side trails at some point, but much of the Trail is fairly well posted so I can only assume that curious explorers are not welcomed by property owners.

The trail surface turns to asphalt as the group draws closer to Freeville. As we approached Railroad Street the group turned around and re-traced their path back to Springhouse Rd

Photos by shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here