Report to Hikers — week of Dec 20 — Dec 26

Hello Hikers!

Wed Dec 22

Hike report and three photos by Jim

Cayuga Nature Center, town of Ulysses

15 hikers met in the upper loop parking area of the Cayuga Nature Center on Houghton Rd, for a hike of the trail system there.

As the hikers arrived at the parking area, the visibility of the hills in the far distance was already dropping as a weather front moved in. Snow started to fall in a small but increasing quantity; by the time the hike started the wind was brisk and cold, encouraging the hikers to get underway.

Hikers walked the graveled path across the open meadows that connected the parking area to the rest of the nature center. We paused briefly to look at some of the animals in the enclosures behind the main lodge building, which is still closed to visitors. Some of the group diverted briefly to explore “ Tiny Town”, a short loop trail South of the lodge.

Rounding the main lodge building, hikers entered the woods and travelled in a counter-clockwise direction on the trail system, first on a blue blazed trail that ran along route 89, and then a complete loop of the ( mostly ) red blazed wilderness loop on the Northerly side of the CNC property. The group found this to be an easy hike surface; there were some areas which in warmer temps would have been quite muddy due to recent rains. Despite the current lower temperatures those areas had still not frozen over completely but didn’t prove to be difficult to navigate. 

This loop in turn led to the habitat loop, which ultimately returned the group back to the main lodge.

A minor water crossing was encountered along the way, prompting the group to leave the path and cross the stream directly out of a concern for safety due to a snow-covered footbridge that was quite a-kilter. Some blazing  is fairly worn or has not been updated to the current colors for the loop, so hikers attempting this hike on their own should pay attention along the route.

Returning to the rear of the lodge the group looked over the animal enclosures and their inhabitants again with a little more detail than during our first walk past the cages. Then the group walked to the near-by treehouse structure, climbing the various levels of its interior in the process.

Hikers returned to the parking area  via the meadow trail system; finding that we still had about twenty minutes of hike time, we jumped onto the Black Diamond Trail for a short out-and-back walk of that pathway. BY the time the weather had cleared and the distant hills were again visible/


Photos by Randy/Nancy L

Complete photo album here


Sat Dec 25

Hike report and two photos by Jim

Pinnacles Look-out and Dove Trail, Danby SF

For our Christmas Day hike 11 hikers and 2 dogs at at the junction of Station and Bald Hill Rds

Rain fell for about half of the hike duration, although not in such quantity as to deter the hikers.

The roadway at the parking area was largely a sheet of ice, making nano spikes a welcome footwear accessory

The iced-over road conditions continued up the seasonal portion of Bald Hill RD, to the turn-off to Abbot Loop and the Pinnacles overlook

Light levels were low, and visibility from the Pinnacles was bad due to cloud cover and fog. The descent from the Pinnacles to the seasonal part of Bald Hill Rd was being compared to a Harry Potter film according to hikers behind me.

Once back onto the seasonal portion of Bald Hill Rd it was a short walk up the road to the turn back onto the Abbot Loop. The descent to the stream there was enjoyable, even with the slippery roots. Despite the on-going rain the water volume in the stream didn’t appear to be excessive, and the group make quick use of a log or two and some rocks to perform a fast water crossing.

After the water crossing the Loop follows the stream for a while, which I always find enjoyable on hikes. This lower area around the stream was the only area that the group encountered any actual muddy trail conditions

The Loop footpath eventually turns up-hill and then meets the Dove Trail. A few minutes on the Dove Trail brought the group back onto Bald Hill Rd near where we parked.

We wrapped up the hike a few minutes early this time but I didn’t hear any complaints.


Photos by Randy/Nancy L


Sun Dec 26

Hike report by Jim

South Hill Rim Trail and Rec Trail

21 hikers and 3 dogs met on Crescent Place for a hike of the South Hill Rim and Rec Trails

Weather overall was much nicer than the previous days Christmas Day hike in Danby.

Temps were cool, but we did not have to contend with the ice that was present the previous day

The Rim Trail was a pleasant walk, with streams running vigorously and the footpath buried under a winter layer of last summers wet leaves. There was a little mud along the way, but nothing too horrible compared to many of our past hikes.

The group had the Rim Trail to ourselves, which is sometimes a good thing especially when dealing with other hikers who might not be as dog-friendly as our group is.

Hikers emerged back onto the Rec Trail at just about the hour mark; given the opportunity to decide on our return route the group resoundingly supported returning to the cars via the Rec Trail instead of an out-and-back return on the Rim Trail.

The return trip was made quickly, with the group arriving at our cars with 15 minutes to spare.

I should note that Gerald, Leah and Sydney hiked with us for the last time today; they literally packed their car, came to the hike, and then took off for Canada immediately after the hike concluded. Speaking for the group it has been a pleasure to have them hiing with the group again this past semester!

A warm welcome to Shiftrah and Ruth on their first hike with the group!

Photos by Randy/Nancy L

Complete photo album here