Wed Dec 8
Hike report by Jim
Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve
Hikers met on Ellis Hollow Creek Rd for a hike of the trail circuit within the Preserve there.
It was a cold morning with a fresh dusting of snow on the ground.
Several individual dog walkers arrived while I was waiting for the group to show up, so the last few arriving Ithaca Hikers found themselves having to park along the shoulder of the road. While I was assisting with that process the main group took off up the trail from the parking lot to the welcome kiosk. Jack and Mary took over leaingd the main body of the group as it moved along the trails
Hikers initially travelled in a clockwise direction; after passing the welcome kiosk the group made the first water crossing and took the blue and red trails in a loop. Coming down the slopes near the second stream crossing at the top of the loop proved to be a little tricky due to the snow covering the leaves.
There were a few patches of semi-solid mud near the top of the trail circuit that were hanging on despite the cool temperatures, but nothing that seemed too intolerable.
The sun shone down through the trees, creating an enjoyable patchwork of light and shadow throughout much of the hike.
Completing the first circuit the group temporarily reconvened. Those who wanted to complete a second circuit started hiking in a counter-clockwise direction, the group again breaking down into a couple of different sub-groups as hikers again found their own pace.
My sub-group of hikers, reaching the top of the loop, opted to re-trace our route back to the welcome kiosk. There we met the fast group as they reached the completion of their second time around the trail system.
There were a few late arrivals to the hike, but I am fairly certain that the total count for this hike was 18 hikers and 4 dogs.
Warm return welcome to Bud, who re-joined the group today for the first time in a long while!
Sat Dec 10
Hike report by Nancy L
Mulholland Wildflower Preserve to Potter’s Falls, Six Mile Creek
16 people and 2 dogs met on a warm early winter day at the Mulholland Preserve parking lot for the hike. Because of a storm the previous night Six Mile Creek was full and flowing fast affording picturesque falls and cascades. We started off along the creek and chose the creek hugging trails until we reached a trail heading diagonally up hill to higher ground. Most of us chose a path that followed the edge of the hill going upcreek until we reached the overlook above the “six mile creek” reservoir, the first reservoir you encounter going up the creek from Giles. Some of us, made our way down a steep muddy spot to a closer view of the reservoir and dam. Then we returned to the higher trail following the edge of the reservoir toward the upper six mile creek. After a ways the wide trail ended leaving only a billy goat trail up the hill to higher ground. Most of the group turned around at this point. Part of the group including me went up the billy goat trail, which once scaled allowed us to the follow the creek up further to Potter’s Falls. The falls is at the bottom of a narrow chute, flowing from the second dam that holds back Ithaca Reservoir. The hike from the lower reservoir was rough in places, involving an additional steep muddy hill climb but the views were worth it! We took a different route back which allowed us to avoid the steep hills but instead necessitated crossing over several side creeks with steep banks. Eventually we found a wide trail that brought us back to the high trail along the lower reservoir. Randy’s group returned from the base of the billy goat trail first along a wide trail high on the side of the hill. A new trail has been recently developed which took the hikers from this high trail down to the trails along the edge of the creek. This new trail follows a side creek. It has stone steps that ease the hikers down the hill. At the bottom we followed the well trodden trails back to the cars.
Note that there are some interesting links about the Six Mile Creek: http://toursixmilecreek.org/https://www.cityofithaca.org/301/Six-Mile-Creek-Watershed
Photos by Nancy L/Randy
You can see Randy and Nancy’s complete album here
Photos by Cian
You can see Cian’s complete photo album here
Sun Dec 12
Hike report by Jim
Jim Schug trail, Dryden
20 hikers and 6 dogs met at the Kenny Van Sickle ballfields in Dryden Village, for a hike of the Northern end of the Jim Schug Trail. This location was a change of pace from our normal meeting place on Lake Rd, prompted mainly by my concerns for possible winter weather and associated parking problems. Our recent hike on the Dryden Rail Trail has me considering the issue of parking when choosing where to hike.
The day was sunny and cool; for the outbound leg of the hike the group was walking into the sun almost the entire length of the hike, which had me happy for my sunglasses. The various water-filled potholes along the way had a minor layer of skim ice covering them on the out-bound leg of the hike, the ice having melted by the time we made the return trip.
Leaving the parking lot the group walked down Mill St then turned onto Main Street to reach the trail. Casey made a good point that we should have simply jumped onto the end of the Rail Trail on Elm Street to access the Schug Trail; we’ll certainly do that the next time we do this particular hike.
The northern end of the Schug Trail passes through several blocks in the heart of Dryden Village, the footpath weaving behind residences, the village DPW, and a few road crossings; it takes a little longer to get into the more rural parts of the Trail than the group is used to when hiking in from the Lake Rd end.
Once past the Village the Trail became more enjoyable, with the sorts of scenic stream views, beaver dams and that sort of thing which add to the charm of the hike.
The main body of the group surged past me to get much further South on the Trail than I did, as I was stopping fairly regularly to look at the view, talk to people, etc.
At the appointed hour the group turned around and re-traced its steps to the parking area and our cars.
Feedback from the group indicated that hiking the trail from a different starting point was a welcome change of pace.
Photos by Cian
You can see Cian’s complete album here