Report to Hikers — week of Feb 21 — Feb 27

Hello Hikers!

Wed Feb 23

Hike report and two photos by Jim

Monkey Run Natural area, south side of Fall Creek

Nine hikers met on Monkey Run Rd for a hike of the trails on the South side  of Fall Creek.

When I first got to the parking lot I spoke to a woman who was just coming off the trail with her dog; we reviewed a trail map and she advised me of some areas that she had found to be impassible due to trail damage or significant ice that had covered the footpath.

As the group arrived I advised them that we might be forced to deviate from our normal hike route due to trail conditions

The group set off towards the west, the orange-blazed footpath underfoot still slick enough from a layer of ice that traction was a necessity for much of that section of trail. The group climbed upwards, then began a meandering section of trail that climbs and falls as it makes its way towards Varna.

The group emerged from the woods and began the section of road-walking that cuts across the open Cornell fields. Here we found the remaining ice on the road to be extremely fragile, with a significant amount of water flowing below the icey surface.

Soon we turned into the red blazed trail that runs along Fall Creek itself. Here we found the creeks shores to be lined with huge fractured slabs of ice. The accompanying photos depict Bud crossing a pile of such slabs, along with a group photo. The amount of water flowing in the creek today was significant

It was here we encountered  a tenth Ithaca hiker, who had arrived late and opted to hike our usual  route in reverse to meet us.

The group continued onwards, stopping occasionally to view the creek below from the high bluffs, until we arrived at one of the final downhill slopes that was covered with a significant amount of ice. The group conferred on our course of action, with most preferring to backtrack a bit and take the less iced-over yellow blazed side trail back to the cars. One hardy hiker opted to continue on alone over the ice-covered red blazed trail.

The remainder of the group re-traced our steps to the yellow blazed trail, taking that back to the cars with a few minutes to spare.

Despite the trail conditions it was a good hike, with relatively warm temperatures. The group had the trail to ourselves in the time we were there.

Photo by Nancy H

Three shots of the icy conditions by Bud:


Sat Feb 26

Hike report by Jim

Woodard Road west on the FLT to Rockwell Road, Enfield

13 hikers met on Woodard Rd for a hike Westerly on the FLT.

Two late arrivals chose to do their own hike Easterly on the FLT and will be reporting separately.

It was a sunny day, and after the warm temperatures earlier in the week most of the existing snowpack had melted off the trail. The very recent snows had formed a thin layer of hard crunchy snow that gave no difficulties except on the steepest of hillsides.

The group made its way Westerly on the FLT quickly, the route well-marked for the most part along this popular section of trail. Other than a few glimpses of park road through the bare trees there is little to hint of surrounding civilization until you approach the Treman Conference Center on Hines Rd.

The group passed over Hines and continued on the FLT, stopping just before reaching Rockwell Rd. Here the majority of the group opted to turn around rather than road walk back to the cars. I opted to continue on to Rockwell and road walk the entirety of the return leg.

I met up with the group as they exited the woods on Hines Rd. Here the group split again, with most of the group opting for an out-and-back on the FLT, while some of us opted for a road walk back to Woodard Rd.

Arriving back at the cars I walked into the woods until I met the hikers returning to Woodard via the FLT.

Three photos by Leigh Ann

You can see Leigh Ann’s complete album here


Sun Feb 27

Hike report by Jim

FLT into Hammond Hill State Forest from Route 38 South of Dryden

15 hikers and 4 dogs met on Star Stanton Hill Rd for a hike of the FLT.

The morning was sunny and clear, although somewhat windy at the meeting location.

The view up and down the valley from Star Stanton Hill Rd was great.

The group started up the hill, a steep climb through snow that was compacted by snowmobiles in recent days. Star Stanton Hill Rd in this area is abandoned, although the road surface is in very good condition due to some logging operations that occurred in recent years.

Soon the FLT turns into the woodline and heads towards the yellow blazed trails on Hammond Hill. The snowpack here was not as compacted as it had been on the roadway, but thanks to recent warm temperatures wwith the ensuing snow melt, the snow depth was not intolerable. The sun shone off the fresh white snow in the woods we passed through.  Here the Trail passes through some stands of evergreen trees and young forest growth; for much of the hike here the view of the valley beyond the forest is visible through the leafless trees.

Eventually the FLT takes a sharp turn and climbs the hillside to join the Hammond Hill trail system. The group passed a couple of snowshoers and skiers, but otherwise had the trail to ourselves. The Hammond Hill trail was very much compacted due to the amount of use its had, so the group managed to move at a fairly good pace for the remainder of the hike.

Eventually the group reached the Hammond Hill radio tower and turned around to retrace our route back to the cars. The return leg, much of it now downhill, passed much quicker than the outbound leg of the journey had.

Photos by Leigh Ann:

You can see Leigh Ann’s complete album here