Wednesday May 25
Six Mile Creek, Mulholland Wildflower Preserve and Businessman’s Lunch, Ithaca
Hike report by Jim
The Ithaca Hikers filled the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve on the morning of Wednesday May 25th.
This was our first hike of the preserve since construction wrapped up there earlier this year. Unfortunately, the planners didn’t include an expanded parking area, so we were once again forced to jockey car positions to make sure hikers could squeeze into the legal parking areas provided. Luckily for us, a couple of members of our group had hiked to the trailhead rather than drive, and there was only one other non-Ithaca Hiker at the preserve at hike’s start.
Once we got the parking situation sorted out, 19 hikers and one dog set off up the trail in the direction of Second Dam. Temperatures were mild at hike’s start, although the high for the day was predicted to be above 80. We encountered a few other people, mostly dog walkers. The trail was in great shape, with only one detour early in the hike due to an unsafe trail condition. With the lack of rain there was no mud on the trail, although the creek was still flowing well. Trees and undergrowth are now in full bloom, so we were sheltered from the heat of the day.
The group scaled the short hillside leading to the Second Dam access road, and from there it’s like a seasonal road walk to the overlook area for the reservoir. When we got to the second dam area, there was a lot of recovered trash along the road waiting to be picked up; probably the results of Ithaca College’s recent graduation parties.
At this point I had a brain cramp and led the group onto the blue-blazed trail that runs along the bluffs above the creek. This had been my intended return route after going to the reservoir overlook area. Hikers didn’t mind a few minutes spent rewalking some of the same trail, and soon we were at the overlook area. Once there, we reunited with some of our slower hikers who had skipped the blue-blazed trail in favor of the direct hike to the overlook area.
The reservoir itself wasn’t looking very impressive , and with the leaves out the view was not as good as it is some months of the year. After a quick group picture we turned around and started the return leg of the journey.
We returned to the parking area, where some finished the hike. Others crossed Giles Street and walked down into the stone amphitheater that is Businessman’s Lunch Falls (Wells Falls). After a few minutes spent there checking out the falls and the stone walls surrounding us, we returned to the wildflower preserve parking area.
A warm welcome to Jaime, on his first hike with the group!
Saturday May 28
Loop Hike: Dove Trail to Finger Lakes Trail, Danby State Forest
Hike report by Jim
Twelve hikers and two dogs met in Danby for a hike of area trails. Rain had fallen overnight, but there was no rain falling at the start of the hike.
The group walked down Bald Hill Rd. toward Station Rd., turning into the woods to climb the Dove Trail just before reaching the intersection.
Hiking the Dove Trail was mostly uneventful as the group made its way down the trail, the sounds of conversation behind me a constant companion.
The group soon reached a fork in the route; I opted to keep the group on higher ground as we continued on the Dove Trail. I knew from the recent Abbott Loop group hike that the Abbott Loop section ahead had been extremely muddy, and I wanted to avoid as much mud as possible.
The pink-blazed Dove Trail continued up the hillside, never getting particularly steep as it traversed the woods. A couple of minor stream crossings were easily dealt with. The undergrowth was in full bloom, and recent rains made the various shades of green we were passing through really “pop” visually.
Eventually we reached the farther junction with the Abbott Loop and continued toward the FLT. Here the terrain started a steep descent to the valley floor; with rain starting to fall intermittently I was worried that the roots underfoot would be hazardous on the steeper trail portions. There wre no falls on today’s hike despite the wet conditions
We came out at the FLT junction near Diane’s Crossing, and began the climb back up the hill via the FLT.
We stopped periodically for pictures, to point out the lean-to location to new hikers in the group, or just to allow the stretched-out line of hikers to regroup before moving forward.
Eventually we came out onto Bald Hill Rd. By now the rain was falling harder, although its true quantity had been concealed while we were under the forest canopy.
We crossed over Bald Hill Rd. and continued on the FLT to Comfort Rd. After we reached Comfort Rd., we road-walked back to our cars in what was now a steady, though tolerable rain. We arrived back at the cars at exactly the two-hour mark.
Warm welcome to Anthony and Matthew on their first hike with the group!
For those trying to qualify for the FLT60 patch, todays FLT miles were 2.3 miles.
Sunday May 29
Potomac Rd. Trails, Finger Lakes National Forest
Hike report by Nancy H.
Twelve hikers and three dogs met on Potomac Rd. near the campground on a beautiful, sunny morning. The day was pleasantly warm, with lots of sunshine and a few clouds scattered across the brilliant blue sky. The trees are now fully leafed out, so it was cool and shady in the woods. Jack V. led the hike.
We got on the Potomac Trail and visited a pond that normally we’d walk around, but Jack had determined it was too wet, so we continued toward the Interloken Trail. Trail conditions were muddy, and we made good use of the installed boardwalks throughout the hike. (Even so, I somehow managed to come out of the woods with mud up to my knees!) The weather was so perfect and the company so enjoyable, I don’t think anyone minded a little mud. The trails here are level, easy walking, so we covered a lot of ground.
Wildflowers were abundant throughout the hike. At Foster Pond, we saw large tadpoles and tiny fish along the shoreline. We met a family that was camping near the pond and another family farther along, but didn’t encounter any other hikers.
We took the Interloken Trail until it was time to turn around. We retraced our steps and then got on the Backbone Trail, which took us back to Potomac Road and the cars.
Thanks to Jack for leading a delightful hike!