Wednesday June 15
Logan Rd. west toward Satterly Hill Rd., Schuyler County
Hike report by Jim
Twelve hikers and one dog met on Logan Rd. to hike west on the FLT to Satterly Hill Rd. and beyond.
It was a warm, sunny day with clear skies as the group set out. We plunged into the tall grass concealing the footpath along the roadside and were soon crossing the first open field, its uneven surface hidden beneath the scraggly grasses. The trees concealed the blazes along the route, but soon we located the turn into the cooler forest.
We made our way through the woods, the undergrowth doing its best to hide the footpath but never succeeding too well. We reached the wooden bridge, which never fails to elicit comments from someone in the group about the construction. Wednesday was no different.
Soon we were climbing the hills. By the time we reached the old vineyards the trail was nicely mowed, making the climb much more enjoyable.
Coming out onto Satterly Hill Rd., the group discovered that we were easily 20 minutes ahead of our turnaround time. After stopping to admire the views across the valley, we returned to the FLT and continued westward until we literally ran out of maintained footpath.
Turning around, we found our way back to Satterly Hill Rd., crossed over that road and began the long descent back to our cars. Along the way we stopped to check out some additional views from that slope that we had missed on the outbound uphill climb. We arrived back at our cars at the two-hour mark.
Other than some other day hikers we met on Satterly Hill Rd., we had the trail to ourselves the entire time.
A warm welcome to Lee, on his first hike with the group!
For those earning their FLT60 patch , today’s hike counted as 3.8 FLT miles toward that goal.
Photos by Nancy H.
Saturday June 18
Hammond Hill State Forest from Star Stanton Rd., Dryden
Hike report by Jim
Seventeen hikers and two dogs met on Star Stanton Rd. for a hike of the green and yellow trails on Hammond Hill, primarily located on the north side of Star Stanton Rd.
Ithaca Hikers hadn’t recently hiked the green trails, and never in combination with the yellow-blazed trails, since I have been leading the group. With that in mind, I had a rough idea of the first half of the hike but left the route for the second half incomplete, so we’d have several route options, depending on our overall hiking speed.
The weather loomed somewhat ominously, and some arriving hikers reported driving through mist and rain en route to the hike. The wind was whipping through the trees and a light rain was intermittently failing. Overall, a much different type of weather than what we had experienced this week up through the previous day. I was quite happy at the turnout we had despite the weather!
We headed down Star Stanton Rd, turning into the woods at the green-blazed trailhead. We haven’t hiked this section of the state forest in a long while, and the change of scenery was welcome. There aren’t many overly long uphill portions, and the trail in general travels through some nice wooded sections of the state forest. Despite the somewhat gloomy conditions, it was a visually enjoyable section of forest.
As we hiked the winding green trails the rain volume picked up. I hardly noticed the rain; it seemed that the forest canopy provided shelter.
Other than a single runner and a couple of bicyclists along our route, we had the forest to ourselves.
Eventually the green-blazed trails terminated at some yellow-blazed trails, which we took in a long loop back to Times Square on Star Stanton Rd. Eventually we made another arc back to the seasonal portion of Canaan Rd. After crossing there, we found ourselves passing through the stands of large evergreens that represent one of my favorite portions of the state forest.
We completed another large arc of the westerly yellow trails and came back out on Star Stanton Rd. near Times Square again. From here, we road-walked back to our cars, completing the hike a full 30 minutes over our normal time. No one seemed particularly concerned about the hike’s length. I plan to tweak the route the next time we hike this area in order to cut down on our time.
A warm welcome to Joe and Kristen on their first hike with the group!
For hikers working toward their FLT60 patch, today’s hike represented just 1 FLT mile.
Sunday June 19
Hurd Hill Road into Shindagin Hollow State Forest, Caroline
Hike report by Jim
This hike ended up being nothing like what I envisioned when I scheduled the week’s hikes. Early weather forecasts predicted that Sunday would be rainy, so I planned an out-and-back road walk on Hurd Hill and Pleasant Valley roads in the Town of Caroline. We had hiked this route only once before, toward the end of last winter. On the day of this hike, though, it was sunny, breezy, and cool.
Seventeen hikers and five dogs, including late arrivals, participated in this hike.
The outbound leg of Hurd Hill Rd. is a continuous, moderate downhill that we completed much faster today than on our previous hike in winter. At the bottom of Hurd Hill Rd., we turned right onto Pleasant Valley Rd., walking along the lower areas of the Shindagin Hollow basin that we don’t normally get to see on our other Shindagin hikes. This section we also did in much faster time; we arrived at the FLT and the Shindagin bridge 50 minutes after setting out.
Because we were so much farther along than I had expected in my hike planning, I gave the group the option of doing either the return hike back up Hurd Hill Rd., or crossing the bridge and walking the FLT to South Rd., a trail section that normally takes us 50 minutes to complete on other Shindagin hikes. After arriving at South Rd,, we’d walk the mile or so back to Hurd Hill Rd. and our cars.
Most of the group opted to make the improvised loop hike, while a few hikers preferred the planned out-and-back hike.
The loop hikers climbed the FLT from Shindagin Hollow Rd. Before long we were at the Shindagin lean-to. With its wooded setting amidst the pine trees and the nearby stream, this is my personal favorite FLT lean-to in the county. Several members of the group were visiting this particular lean-to for the first time.
A small group of overnight campers was just clearing from the lean-to at our arrival, so we quickly continued toward South Rd. This section of trail, normally quite muddy, was mostly mud-free and has had some trail work done consisting of flagstones and a corduroy footpath surface laid down since my last time through this area.
Soon we reached South Rd. and set out on a leisurely road walk. We arrived back at our cars only 10 minutes over the projected hike time; the out-and-back hikers were just leaving as we arrived back at Hurd Hill Rd.
For those attempting the FLT60 patch this year, today’s hike counted as 1.5 FLT miles.