Wed Mar 16
Hike report by Jim
Kingsbury Woods, Jersey Hill, Danby
Three hikers met on Jersey Hill Rd for a hike of the Kingsbury Woods Conservation Area.
The day had started out foggy; so foggy that some of us had had concerns while en route to the hike of the day lending itself to an enjoyable hike. Which, in the end, is exactly what we had
When I left my house, Freeville was nearly devoid of any meaningful amounts of remaining snow. Arriving at the parking area on Jersey Hill Rd I found a considerable amount of remaining snow, even if it was in a state of retreat during our hike on this warm day. This was not unexpected, and since I’d worn my summer hiking shoes with their less aggressive snow traction, I chose to wear nanospikes for probably the last time this winter hiking season.
Hikers crossed Jersey Hill Rd to climb the small flight of stairs to the kiosk, where we paused briefly to make a trail journal entry.
From there the trail follows Lick Brook for a while before deviating into what Leigh Ann referred to as our “flagpole hike”. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but the odd shape of this parcel does result in a single trail system that somewhat resembles a flag on its pole.
I was the only member of the group who had been here, and my sole previous winter hike had informed me that we wouldn’t be getting a two hour hike out of a single pass around the trail system.
During the hike the sun shone brightly, reflecting off the snow that remained in the woods and on the fields we passed near. The warming weather revealed frequent stones set in the muddy path that I had not seen in my previous winter visit; someone has gone to great effort to emplace stones in the muddier portions of the trail at this location.
Knowing that we wouldn’t get a complete hike out of a single circuit, I was in favor of stopping to explore along the way whenever the opportunity presented itself. So we struck off across Conservation land a time or two when old logging roads presented themselves.
Mud wasn’t too bad on the open portions of trail; a couple of stream crossings were required, but while the water was flowing well during the hike it was not at such a depth that it presented any great difficulties to passing hikers.
At one point in the hike the group encountered past Ithaca Hiker Scott, who was out with his new puppy. Scott passed along some information about the part of the conservation on the parking area side of the road that we were unaware of, before we parted ways.
Reaching a point in the trail leading back in the direction we had walked in from, the group turned around and revisited the trail going in the opposite direction. This brought us back to our cars with about twenty minutes to spare, so we crossed the road and explored the streambed as well as the high bluffs of the conservation area above the small parking lot.
Overall this was a great hike day and location. I encourage other Ithaca Hikers with an hour or two of available hiking time to give it a try.
Photos by Leigh Ann
Special report from the Ithaca Hikers Snowbird Division
These reports were written by Randy, who is spending time with Nancy L in the Southern California desert area
Tuesday, March 15, Hike up Black Mountain
We drove about half hour straight uphill to the trail head leading to Black Mountain. The hike was quite steep with an overall elevation gain of a little over 2600 feet. The summit at 7700 feet had a fire tower, but was locked. Most of the hike was on dry sandy granite, but at the top there was semi-crusty snow about 6 inches deep. It was a little slippery so we donned our one pair of yak tracks, mine on the right foot and Nancy’s on her left. We got up and down in 4.5 hours, a little over 8 miles.
Friday, March 18, Hike down Potrero Valley
After a large breakfast of homemade chili rellenos and tamales, we set off on an adventure close to home. We took the golf cart to the edge of our gated community and hiked south into an area we had not explored, but was practically in our backyard. We followed the dry creek bed until finding a way across to the other side. We then continued north following a faint trail. Overall hike time was about three hours and we covered about 7.5 miles.
Sat Mar 19
Hike report by Jim
Fisher Settlement Road west on the FLT, Danby SF
19 Hikers and 2 dogs met on Fisher Settlement Rd for a very muddy hike Westerly on the FLT At least half of the treadway covered by the group consisted of active run-off, mud, or remaining snowpack.
It was still an excellent hike despite the trail conditions.
Temperatures along most of the trail were in the 60F range at the beginning, and had gone up to around 65F by hikes end.
The water crossings were uneventful, and remaining snowpack created a cooler microclimate around the streams that had fog and noticeably cooler temps in the immediate vicinity. Nancy H likened it to walking into a walk-in freezer.
Other than dog walkers and some equestrians we encountered on Curtis Rd, we saw no other persons during the hike.
Welcome to new hikers Celine, Jennifer, Tom, Sally, Ivana, and Lisa, as well as K9 Charlie, on their first hike with the group.
Ticks are active this year; I know someone who found a tick on themselves following a local hike earlier this week.
Hikers should use whatever sprays they are personally comfortable with and should conduct tick checks after a hike to verify that they haven’t acquired any unwanted hitchhikers during the hike
For those tracking their FLT mileage for the year to qualify for this years FLT mileage patch through the CTC, Saturdays hike totaled 4.4 FLT miles
Link for those interested in the FLT mileage patch for 2022:
This is the 60th year since the FLT was created, and the FLTC’s cross-county hike series is hiking the FLT in Tompkins County this year, so hikers will be seeing a bit of local FLT promotional effort this year.
Photos by Leigh Ann
Sun Mar 20
Hike report by Jim
Roy H Park Preserve into Hammond Hill SF, Dryden
19 hikers and 2 dogs met at the Roy Park Preserve for a hike of the hill leading towards the Hammond Hill ski trails.
The day had already hit the projected high temperature of 42F by the time I arrived at the parking lot on Irish Settlement Rd. A stiff breeze foretold of the rain that was projected to arrive in the afternoon.
We set off across the boardwalk, crossed into the woods and quickly encountered the first muddy patches of several as well as blow-downs that we would find on the hike.
The climb up the hill towards Hammond Hill Rd was uneventful, as we were hiking on bare and relatively dry footpath at the higher elevations.
Approaching Hammond Hill Rd we were again encountering long stretches of boggy, muddy trail.
Pausing for a few brief photos on Hammond Hill Rd, we crossed the road and plunged onto the multi-use trails on Hammond Hill itself. We found a good amount of persistent ice pack still on the footpath, with more rotten ice concealed under the mud at various points. Reaching the blue trails we turned and hiked those for a few short minutes until it was time to turn around and descend the mountain back to our cars.
Our timing was more or less perfect, as it was only a few minutes later that the rain let loose for a few minutes, encouraging hikers to call an end to the hike day and head for home.
Reminder to hikers: Ticks are active again. Please check yourselves out after hikes. Before hikes use whatever sprays you are comfortable with before hikes to discourage them from going home with you. Dog owners don’t forget to check your four legged hiking partners.
Non-Hike report stuff:
In the interest of furthering social interactions among hikers, as the spring warms up I will be occasionally scheduling a Saturday hike near an outdoor location where we can meet post-hike and socialize a bit while we have a bring-your-own beverage or snacks. The occasional Hopshire post-hike meetings will also resume once its nice enough for them to return to their outdoor seating. When Jack leads his Finger Lakes Forest hikes we can expect to resume the Grist Iron post-hike gatherings.
Hope to see you all on the trail!
Photos by Leigh Ann