Report to Hikers — week of Jan 10 — Jan 16

Hello Hikers!

Wed Jan 12

Hike report by Jim

FLT starting at Connecticut Hill Road, CHWMA

Four hikers met on Connecticut Hill Rd for a hike of the FLT

An additional two hikers met us on the trail.

Two MORE hikers were unable to arrive at the trailhead in time but did their own roadwalk on Connecticut Hill Rd.

There was a minimal amount of snow cover on the trail today. The bigger problem for hikers was that the trail had recently obviously been quite muddy, and with  temperature drops over the past several days  had frozen into a solidified uneven mass that was not always enjoyable to walk across. Only an occasional animal or two had walked the footpath recently, so our group found itself having to “break trail” across the uneven snow surface as we progressed along the trail.

Despite the single digit temperatures of the previous day, the hike day temperatures were in the more manageable 20s ( F ). The sun was hidden behind clouds for the most part, but it was still a clear, well-lit day to enjoy the sights and sounds around the group.

The initial descent from Connecticut Hill Rd was uneventful. The first stream crossings were a careful affair, with hikers unsure of the ice would hold our weight. Once across the streams we found ourselves laboring up the slope on the opposite side, a section of trail that seemed to go straight up for a very long time. This particular section of trail also has a significant amount of exposed root network which requires careful navigation over and around.

Eventually we found ourselves on level ground and walking a section of the trail that cuts through large stands of Evergreens.

Reaching Boylan Rd the trail jogs slightly to the Southwest before again leaving the road and plunging into the meadows and woods on the opposite side of the road.

The group travelled through  section of woods that in its winter dormancy was less interesting than I recall the same section being during its full summer bloom. At exactly the hour mark we found ourselves entering a small meadow. Knowing that recently clear-cut sections of forest lay shortly ahead, I turned the group around so as to not repeat our recent Yellow Barn State Forest experience with recently harvested woodlots.

The return trip to our cars was uneventful; the now-downhill sections of trail being greatly appreciated by all.

Special auxiliary hike report by Leigh Ann

Hi Jim.  Claire and I had quite an enjoyable adventure Wednesday, once we let you know that we’d missed the meet-up point. We stopped and had a discussion on Connecticut Hill Rd. south of Connecticut Hill Cemetery and just south of where another Connecticut Hill Road heads off to the west. These are all seasonal roads. We figured that we were so far away from the rest of the group that we’d do our own hike. Once we called and let you know about that, we headed south on Connecticut Hill Road because we knew that it would eventually come out at 13. This was also because the hill just behind us was too steep for our cars to get back to the cemetery. The bottom of Connecticut Hill right before it gets to open fields and Rt. 13 seems about 22 degrees steep with deep culverts on either side, and it was very exciting to creep down at 4-5 mph.

After a big laugh parked by the side of Connecticut Hill Rd. in the nice, safe field before it got to 13, we agreed to head south toward Ithaca. We chose to pull off at Fisher Old Growth Preserve and did a vaguely swimmer-shaped hike that included legs and arms of the red trail (with the steepest part of the loop cut off) and the whole blue/red loop near the top of the hill. That took about an hour, and we ended our adventure at 11:15.
Best wishes,Leigh Ann

Photos by Nancy L


Sat Jan 15

Jim cancelled the scheduled hike because of cold and wind — but then ….

Special small-group hike report by Nancy L — the Ithaca Huikers find a missing child!

Barb, Cian and I gathered  where the South Rec Way ends on Burns Rd.  The weather was frigid and it was hard to take our hands out of our mittens for pics.  We had the goal of approaching Powell Falls from a side trail off the Rec Way.  Trails to the reservoir show on the Gaia map.  When we got to a spot where several trails intersected, we encountered a couple looking for their 7 year old daughter who had run ahead.  We exchanged names and he tried calling my number though I never did receive the call perhaps a number was incorrect.  Barb and I had explored these trails recently so we headed for the trail we hadn’t tried before which indeed was taking us to the reservoir.  Luckily Barb remembered the names of the girl and her dog who were both lost so we  started calling them.   At a certain point we almost turned back because of the no trespassing signs protecting the reservoir.  I reasoned that no one would care and went ahead as much to see the reservoir as in the hope that the girl would be out there.  Sure enough we began to hear the girl  calling and the dog was barking too .  At first she didn’t want to come with us and said she would get back on her own.  But we said we had met her parents so she came.  She was quite upset at first and tripped after which she said her knee hurt a lot.  But her hobble soon resolved.  At first the dog kept vigil but as we got back closer to where the parents had been the dog ran ahead and I was relieved to think the dog must have found them.  Sure enough we soon encountered them .  By this time a large number of emergency responders had arrived.  I am so relieved that we all escaped from the cold woods unharmed Here are photos from Nancy and Cian 

You can see the complete photo album here


Sun Jan 17

Hike report by Jim

Jim Schug Trail, Dryden

15 hikers and 1 dog met on Lake Rd in the Town of Dryden , for a hike of the Jim Schug Trail.

I had re-scheduled this days hike to the Schug Trail from a more rural location because of the extended forecast that had predicted snow throughout Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. The snow had not arrived as predicted, but the cold didn’t let us forget that we are now truly into winter months.

Ambient temperatures were definitely on the low side at the start of the hike. A cold wind blowing at the start of the hike had hikers thoroughly wrapped up in balaclavas, gloves and layers of other winter wear at a barrier against the cold. As the hike progressed the wind lessened, and peoples gradually shed layers.

The walking surface of the trail was extremely icy due to the heavy use the trail is getting, making some form of foot traction a necessity and trekking poles a welcome accessory.

Despite the cool temps there were a number of other people sharing the trail with us on this day.

The group moved down the trail at a good pace, by-passing the usual side-trip to Dryden Lake in favor of continuing directly onwards towards Dryden Village.

The sun was out, and the sky was clear. This resulted in some wonderful views across the various frozen water surfaces, with the trees reflecting off the surface of the ice and the sun gleaming through the various stands of dormant undergrowth along the trail.

The group made it all the way to Dryden Village before turning around and re-tracing our steps back to our cars. Arriving back at our cars we found the wind was now resumed, making our retreat into our respective cars for the journey home a welcome end to the days hike.

A warm welcome to Souma, Sanchita and Khoi on their first hike with the group!