Wednesday April 6
South Hill Rec Way/Six Mile Creek, south side, rim trail
Hike report by Jim
Fifteen hikers and one dog met on Crescent Place for a hike of the South Hill Rec Way and Rim Trails.
The forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning proved to be entirely inaccurate, so we did not have to deal the rain or its after-effects that I’d expected would be an issue during the hike. Temperatures were cool and there was little sun, but there was also very little mud on the trail. Streams had a decent amount of water flowing, but nothing that was too difficult to deal with.
The group set a good pace today – so good that we finished the hike a good 15 minutes earlier than normal.
Hikers started on the Rec Way before turning onto the blue-blazed rim trail. It was an enjoyable hike; we could look down the slope at the passing waterways and reservoirs through the leafless trees.
We had a few dog walkers , trail runners, and other hikers to contend with throughout the hike.
Back on the Rec Way, we walked toward Burns Rd and then back for about 20 minutes total to finish the outbound leg of the hike. Then we set off on the Rec Way in the direction of Hudson Street. Arriving back at the cars early, most of the group opted to continue toward Hudson Street and return to Crescent in an effort to hike a bit longer. In the end we still finished significantly early, but no one was complaining.
Anyone planning on using the Rec Way from Crescent in the next week or two should be aware that, effective April 7, there will be no on-street parking due to street work.
Welcome to Jan on her first hike with the group!
Saturday April 9
Hike report by Jim
Twenty hikers and one dog met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Sweedler Preserve and Lick Brook, with additional hike time on part of the Thayer Preserve’s “ Tom’s Trail” to round out the hike to a full two hours.
A light rain was falling as hikers arrived at the parking area, but as soon as the hike started the rain stopped for a time.
The descent to the forest floor was uneventful, the group winding its way down the hill, the chatter of hiker conversations behind me the dominant sound I could hear from the front of the line. The leafless trees offered no obstruction to views and let us see a great distance across the flatlands below as we approached the bottom of the slope.
As always, it was nice to walk along the upper parts of the trail immediately off Townline Rd, where the treadway closely follows the stream coursing below us. The water flow was in great quantity today, and I enjoyed watching the stream as it coursed toward the valley floor below.
At the valley floor, the group quickly made its way to the waterfall there.
After a quick pause we continued on our way, following the FLT footpath as far as the railroad trestle before turning around.
Nancy L led the group up the hill. We threaded our way through the various switchbacks until we again reached Townline Rd. As we climbed back up the hill the rain returned, slightly harder than at the beginning of the hike but not in quantities or in such force as to be detrimental to the hike.
Once back at the cars, some hikers opted to call it a day and head for home. The remainder of the group crossed the road and jumped onto the Thayer Preserve Toms Trail for a quick circuit of that trail loop.
After the hike a small group of hikers met in Ithaca for a post-hike lunch at Thai Basil.
Warm welcome to hikers Ruthie, Nancy S, and Frances on their first hike with the group!
Today we also had long-time Ithaca Hiker Eckhart and his hiking partner Sophie join us after along absence from the group.
For those hikers counting their FLT miles towards the FLT60 patch, I would count today’s FLT mileage as 1 mile toward your goal.
Sunday April 10
Special Hike with Other Area Hiking Groups, Abbott Loop, Danby State Forest
Hike report by Jim
Forty hikers and five dogs met at Station and Bald Hill Rds for a hike of the Abbott Loop. I tried my best to get an accurate head count of both people and dogs but that’s the closest I could come.
In addition to Ithaca Hikers, we had representation from the American Pilgrims on the Camino from Meetup, the Cayuga Trails Club, Ithaca Dog Hikers, and the Ithaca Outdoor Adventure Club, as well as hikers’ friends who don’t belong to any local group.
At the start of the hike, we saw some steady snow flurries, a last cold blast of winter to greet hikers as we headed for the hills (literally).
The group made its way up the seasonal portion of Bald Hill Rd to the first turn onto the Abbott Loop that sends hikers in a counterclockwise direction on the Loop. After a brief pause at the Pinnacles, the group made its way down the southwesterly side of the slope to the far connection with the seasonal portion of Bald Hill Rd.
Once there, hikers could choose to continue on the full loop or take a shortcut and return to their cars. About half of the group opted to do the full loop, while the others took one of two routes back to their cars.
The loop hikers pressed onward, making several successful water crossings before reaching Michigan Hollow Rd. After Michigan Hollow Rd, the snow returned but did not persist for long; instead, the wind was soon whipping through the treetops, encouraging hikers to hasten their pace.
The stretch of trail between Michigan Hollow Rd and Hill Rd had some of the muddiest stretches of the trail today, although the mud and running streams on the trail were constant companions.
Turning northward, the loop soon meets the FLT, and hikers were heading west toward Hill Rd. Crossing Hill Rd and descending towards Michigan Hollow Rd, we encountered the only other people on the trail that we were to meet all day.
After crossing Michigan Hollow Rd we were soon back on the Abbott Loop itself, a last climb and descent, one last stream crossing, before the end of the Loop came in the form of the seasonal portion of Bald Hill Rd appearing in the distance.
I acted as sweep for a good portion of the hike and my time, for my first complete circuit of the Loop, came in at exactly 5 ½ hours.
I want to thank everyone from the various hiking groups who participated in today’s hike. I hope that we can repeat these joint hikes again in the future and build some enduring connections between the various local hiking groups.
For those hikers who competed the loop and are tracking your FLT miles toward the FLT60 patch, your FLT mileage for today was 1.6 FLT miles.