Wed Feb 9
Hike report and photo by Jim
16 hikers met for a hike of the Sapsucker Woods trails at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
This was a first-time hike location for the group, so it was a bit of an experiment for me in terms of route planning. I much appreciated the advice of Joel and Jane, area members of the group who joined us on this hike and gave suggestions on the route to hike.
The day was relatively warm in comparison to the weekend temps. The trails were well compacted by previous walkers as well as skiers. There were a few other day walkers or joggers on the trail but for the most part we had the trail to ourselves.
We started from the parking lot area and made our way through a long loop that travelled through the woods behind the visitor’s center. The trail eventually came out onto Sapsucker Woods Rd and we crossed over to do a loop of the trail system on the Eastern side of the roadway.
Returning to Sapsucker Woods Rd we re-traced our steps for the most part, although at one point I veered off the path to take us on an alternate loop that took the group further away from one of the local apartment complexes that is adjacent to the Sanctuary.
We came back to our cars and the parking lot a few minutes early; I’ll have to revise the route on future visits to get us closer to our normal hike duration.
I brought binoculars to this hike thinking that we might get a look at some wildlife, but other than some squirrels we didn’t get the opportunity to see any living wildlife today/
A warm welcome to Norm’s friend Mary who hiked with the group today for the first time!
Sat Feb 12
Hike report and two photos by Jim
Ekroos Road, Tioga County
When I first arrived at the parking area there was a significant amount of cloud cover and the upper branches on the trees around me were alive with the sound of the wind blowing through them. The ground at the parking area was a sheet of ice, so most of the group hiked with some form of foot traction.
As the hike progressed the ice underfoot soon gave way to mud, making the traction unnecessary.
Within the first thirty minutes or so of the hike the wind had died down and the sun had come out. By this time the group was emerging from a section of the road that is well-lined with trees on both sides, to a part of the hike where the southerly side of the road opens up in broad vistas of the fields and hills in that direction. The sun made this particular stretch of the hike very inviting.
Arriving at the two residences about a mile down the road, the group found that the seasonal portion of the road where plowing normally ceases was in fact plowed today. This section of the road is most notable for the deep gully ( I can’t really get away with calling it a gorge ) that runs alongside the road The group pressed onward, hiking down the hill and crossing Boyer Creek as the road approached 76 Road inside of Tompkins County. The group turned around and crawled its way back up the hill for the return leg of the hike.
Passing the two residences at the crest of the first hill, the group found weather conditions changing again. The previous cloud cover returned with a vengeance, the sunny and clear portions of sky still visible to the south but quickly scuttling away from us. Soon a steady drumbeat of granular snow started to fall, quickly enveloping the group in what gave the appearance of hiking in a life-sized snow globe. By the time we made it back to the cars the ground was covered by a fine layer of fresh snow.
Overall, a very good day to hike this particular stretch of road.
Five photos by Leigh Ann
Ypu can see Leigh Ann’s complete photo album here.
Sun Feb 13
Hike report by Jim
Lloyd Stark and Carter Creek roads, Connecticut Hill
7 hikers and 2 dogs met at the junction of Connecticut Hill Rd and Lloyd Starks Rd for a hike of the seasonal roads in the area. An additional 2 hikers also arrived but chose to ski the area roads together rather than hike with the rest of the group.
The snow on Lloyd Starks was well-compacted from snowmobiles, so the going was not terribly difficult despite recent warm days which I had thought might have softened up the snowpack.
It was a pleasant hike up to the crest of Lloyd Starks Rd; from there it was a gentle downhill to the junction with the seasonal portion of Carter Creek Rd, which had likewise been compacted by snowmobile traffic. Compared to the last winter hike where we hiked this area, when unknown persons had churned up Carter Creek Rd by driving through it repeatedly with 4 wheel drive vehicles, the surface today was an excellent hiking surface. I also found that the logged area along Lloyd Stark was much less of an eyesore thanks to the snowcover.
As the group moved along Carter Creek Rd a small amount of snow started falling, not enough to create any sort of hazard but enough to give the hike a nice wintery feel.
The group reached Hulford Rd before turning around and re-tracing our steps back to the cars.
The hiking group ran into a couple of dog walkers along the way, as well as a porcupine that had earlier lost a battle with some other wildlife, but otherwise we had the trail to ourselves.
The skiers reported to me later that they had relocated to Tower Rd. They advised me that they had skied until 1230 or so, as they found surface conditions in that area to be better.
Photos by Leigh Ann
Two more hikers, Randy and Nancy L, decided to ski the roads. You can see Nancy’s photo album here.