Wednesday April 20
Finger Lakes Trail from Woodard Rd into Robert Treman State Park
Hike report by Jim
Sixteen hikers and one dog met on Woodard R.d for a hike of the FLT into upper Robert Treman State Park. All but three people hiked the FLT into the park, while those three hikers opted to meet the group later while initially hiking in from another direction.
It was a warm sunny day, a great hiking day after the recent colder and overcast days we’ve been having. Various flowers and new undergrowth were visibly springing to life along the trail.
The main group set off toward Fishkill Creek, taking the short grassy downhill footpath and passing the CCC trail that we would later emerge from toward the end of the hike.
After crossing Fishkill Creek via the footbridge, the group took Butternut Creek Rd. towards Van Ostrand Rd. Van Ostrand Rd. was having some minor re-gravelling done by the town, which didn’t affect our passage at all.
As we turned onto Thomas Rd., a cool breeze was blowing across the fields. The views in the distance across the open fields and through the far trees was a great visual. Some minor shoulder work on Thomas Rd. hints at possible future development, so we may be losing another part of the rural feel to this hike that we’ve already lost by the recent residential development on Van Ostrand Rd.
Rather than continue to the end of Thomas Rd as we usually have done, I opted to return the group to the seasonal end of Butternut Creek Rd., where we caught the FLT where it enters the woodline. We followed that back to the end of the maintained portion of Thomas Rd. where it enters the park via a service road. I had the group try this route for both the visual aspects along the edge of the ravine here and recalling that we always end up back at the cars early, I wanted to see if this would extend our hike time. It did not, but I think that the visuals along the ravine make this slight modification to the hike worth the change in route.
The group reached the Rim Trail via the Thomas Rd. service road, and it was here at the first overlook that we reunited with our three independent hikers.
The group continued on the Rim Trail to the main Lucifer Falls overlook, paused for a quick photo, and then returned on the Rim Trail to the Upper Treman parking area.
The CCC trail was quickly navigated and the group soon found ourselves back at our cars on Thomas Rd. a full 30 minutes early. We opted to cross the road and continue towards Hines Rd on a quick out-and-back on that portion of the FLT to complete the two-hour hike time .
Hikers attempting to earn their FLT60 patch should consider todays hike to include 2.5 miles of the FLT.
Saturday April 23
Connecticut Hill/South Carter Creek Rd.
Hike report by Randy
Sixteen hikers and three dogs met on South Carter Creek Road near the closed bridge for a hike with a lot of bells and whistles.
It was a bright, sunny day…not too cold, not too hot. One intrepid hiker even wore shorts! (Guess who.) It was excellent hiking weather, and even with the recent rains the trails were mostly dry.
We set off a little after 9:30 due to some late arrivals, and walked up the road, crossed the closed bridge, and shortly thereafter began the uphill climb. We soon had to peel off layers of clothes. When we got to the top, we took a straw vote and elected to spend 10 minutes checking out the ruins of an old homesite, complete with foundations and maybe a well. We then headed north on a section of trail that is dry, flat and new. Crossing a small creek, we then proceeded east on another section of the loop which is also quite new…and wet in a few places. We crossed Cabin Road and followed a steep gorge down to Carter Creek, using a rope to steady ourselves on a particularly steep section at the bottom. Crossing the creek was slow, but everyone was able to navigate it in their own way. After checking out the waterfalls, we sped down the east side of Carter Creek. Once back on the road we made two brief stops to check out another former homesite and the remnants of an impressive stone dam.
We got back to the cars a little before noon, having hiked about five miles.
One hiker wants to hike this loop annually, if not more. It’s definitely a keeper.
Sunday April 24
Finger Lakes Trail from Level Green Rd toward Blackman Hill Rd and Beyond
Hike report by Jim
Sixteen hikers and two dogs met on Level Green Rd. for a hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill Rd and beyond.
Weather conditions were a bit cool at the trailhead, with a light breeze. The sun hadn’t fully come out, and with temps hoovering around 60F I chose to add another wind layer for the morning’s hike before the rest of the group had even arrived.
Trail conditions at the start were a little muddy; nothing terribly surprising about that, as this section of trail is historically wet even during the driest times of the year.
The gradual climb away from Level Green Rd found us dodging numerous wet and muddy spots along the way. There were many points where the group had some great visuals across the forest floor, as the undergrowth was not obscuring views and the leaves were still more of a halo of barely visible green encompassing the trees.
A few minor blowdowns along the trail from recent wind storms gave minimal trouble to the group; en route to the trailhead, I passed multiple areas along Level Green Rd. where road crews in recent days had had to clear trees from the road, so this aspect of the trail conditions was not unexpected.
I particularly liked the stretches of trail that go through the evergreens, as the forest floor covered with layers of needles are always one of my favorite forest environments to hike through.
Reaching Blackman Hill Rd., we encountered a good number of hikers doing this stretch of the FLT for the Cross County Hike Series that’s crossing the FLT in Tompkins County this summer.
After crossing Blackman Hill Rd., we were soon in the meadows at the crest of the field located there, with excellent views in all directions. By now the day had warmed up, the skies were clear — a perfect day to be hiking! The group paused at the memorial bench at the field, posed for some pictures for Leigh Ann, and enjoyed the surroundings before pressing on.
After leaving the open fields, we soon were descending through the woods; around us were a carpet of flowers across the ground. A pretty scene, for sure. The sun was shining through the leafless trees and the forest floor was bright and inviting as we worked our way down the hill.
Since the return trip to Level Green Rd. is mostly a downhill grade, I walked the group a few minutes farther than normal for the outbound leg of the hike, especially since the area we were walking through was so attractive.
Eventually, though, we had to make the inevitable return to our cars. The downhill stretch return leg of the FLT passed quickly and without incident, and the group found itself back on Level Green Rd at exactly the two hour mark.
Today’s hike was 4.31 FLT miles for those trying to earn their FLT60 patch.
After returning to Freeville I stopped over to Toads Too ice cream stand for some ice cream on what by now was a hot summer day and happened to encounter the trail maintainer for the stretch of trail we hiked today. I gave her a report of the conditions we found on the hike. When you run into our local trail maintainers, be sure to thank them for their efforts in keeping the FLT in the excellent conditions we find on so many of our hikes!
Welcome to Eleanor on her first hike with the group!