Report to Hikers — week of Feb 28 — Mar 6

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 2

Hike report by Jim

Curtis Road, South Danby

Six hikers met at the junction of Hill and Curtis Rd, for a planned hike of the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd.

A seventh hiker went to the wrong intersection and ended up hiking their own hike to Curtis RD via the FLT.

It was a pleasant hiking day, and the wind that so often plagues this hike location was absent on this hike.

Passing Karenville we paused briefly to interact with Tangles the pony, before continuing onwards.

We soon found that beyond the last inhabited residence on Curtis Rd, the road surface turned into a messy slick and hazardous walking surface. Arriving at the FLT crossing point I suggested to the group that we deviate from the planned hike and turn onto the FLT. The trail surface was shown to be crusty but walkable, without the slippery nature of Curtis Rd.

The group hiked Westerly in the FLT, eventually reaching the Abbott Loop. The hikers turned onto the Abbott Loop, walking Southerly until we reached the hour mark, at which time we turned around and re-traced our steps back to Curtis Rd and from there back to our cars.

Overall it was a good hike day, and in view of the season, not entirely unexpected that we encountered the icy conditions.


Sat Mar 5

Hike report by Jim

Virgil Mountain

Ten Hikers and 2 dogs met in Cortland County at the junction of Odell and Baldwin Rds, for a hike of Virgil Mountain. Two additional hikers arrived late and did their own separate and much longer hike of the Virgil Mountain Loop.

We’ve previously hiked this route only in the summer, and our normal pace is normally sufficient to get us to the peak of the mountain and back to the cars in two hours.

Arriving at the parking area early, I spoke to several day hikers, snowshoers, etc who were there ahead of me. Based on their reports of trail conditions I gave our group the option of hiking an alternative to the planned route, but everyone was enthusiastic for hiking the mountain regardless of trail conditions.

The group walked up Odell Rd and plunged into the woodline. The FLT footpath along this section of trail had seen a minimal level of foot traffic, so it was somewhat compacted; but not to the degree  that the FLT in the opposite direction towards Bleck Rd had been observed to be.

The group proceeded slowly up the mountain, crossing a small number of streams along the way, while passing through stands of evergreens that lent a certain muted ambiance to the hike.

Reaching Van Donsel Rd at the hour mark I discussed with the group that our pace was slowed enough that we could not reach the peak and return to the cars within the allotted hike time. Several of us had afternoon commitments, so the group split into two sub-groups, with half continuing up the hill and my half of the group returning to the cars within the two hour hike time.

Cian reported to me the following day that the subgroup that had summited had hiked an additional hour in order to do so.

Warm welcome to Kris, Louie and Miles on their first hike with the group.

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete album here

Two photos by Casey, who arrived late and did his own walk


Sun Mar 6

Hike report and photo by Jim

South Danby Road east, Danby

18 hikers and 2 dogs met on South Danby Rd for a hike of the FLT Easterly.

It was the warmest hike day we’ve had in a  while, with highs in the 50s. Turn-out reflected the excellent hiking weather.

As we set off from the parking area, it was obvious that the higher temperatures  were already having an impact, as the streams were flowing with a lot of run-off, and the icy lower sections of the trail were already weakening and collapsing in on themselves.

In a very short time I realized that the FLT itself was an inferior hiking surface to the snowmobile trail that follows alongside the FLT. The surfaces of both trails  were melting, but the snowmobile trail had started as a compacted surface and still easier to hike on. So most of our hike East of South Danby Road was over the snowmobile trail. Cian opted to stay on the FLT and reported later that it had been a long process of post-holing his way along the trail.

Periodically we would meet the FLT as it crossed over the snowmobile trail, and I opted to remain on the snowmobile trail.

The trail climbed the hill, the sun and snow combining to create a mix of light and shadow. In places the needles under the evergreens lay exposed, the surface of snow in those places already melted away. Portions of the path that I recall being muddy in warmwer months were still thankfully quite frozen.

The group chattered behind me, while Casey kept me company at the front of the line.

Eventually the path ended its long climb and we found ourselves descending towards Peter Rd.

Reaching Peter Rd the group turned Westerly and followed Peter Rd to South Danby Rd.

It was here that the group encountered the only other person we saw the entire hike, as  a local resident passed us on his Gator.

Reaching South Danby Rd the group turned around and re-traced our path back to the snowmobile trail. The sun was beating down on us, and the snow underfoot was always beginning to turn into a melting slush. The wind was picking up, causing me to be thankful that we were not conducting this hike later in the day when the melt might have progressed further.

Once back on the snowmobile trail it was mostly a descent back to the cars, and so we found ourselves standing at the parking area with half an hour to spare.

The group opted to jump on the FLT on the opposite side of the road and walk to Fisher Settlement Rd to bring us closer to our normal hike duration.

This was done without incident.

Welcome to Val and Al on their first hike with the group!

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete album here