Report to Hikers July 11 – July 17

Tuesday July 12

IBM Glen, Endwell

Hike report by Jim

For the summer’s first Tuesday “farther away hike, hikers explored IBM Glen, which is part of the Waterman Conservation Center, located in Endwell in the Town of Union, Broome County. This was the group’s first time here, and I hadn’t been able to prescout the hike location, so I had no formal plan for a hike route.

IBM Glen was built by the IBM corporation as part of their country club facility in the 1940s. They created paved paths, stone bridges and picnic facilities within the glen. In the early 2000s, the glen was turned over to the Waterman Center. The glen is over 200 acres in size and has some of the oldest trees in that county, as well as a waterfall that is claimed to be the largest in the county.

We set off from the small parking lot. The trail descends gradually into the glen, with a couple of options  for hikers within the first five minutes. (Hiker Norm struck off on his own from the parking lot, so I have asked him to provide a quick synopsis of his own adventures at this location as part of the hike report.)

The rest of the group opted to start with the more westerly red- and blue-blazed trails. While the trails here do have occasional colored blaze discs similar to what we see on trails in Tompkins County, for much of the trail system these blazes are scarce. They appear primarily at and around trail junctions.

The major trails have an older blacktop surface that has fairly eroded in some areas. We completed the first trail arc on “Maple Lane” and were happy to leave that blacktop path for the unimproved Switchback and Gray’s Creek trails that are more of the sort of hiking trail we’re used to navigating in our area. These trails led down into the glen, where we crossed Gray’s Creek. There are some old-growth trees around the creek area.

We eventually arrived at a nice older stone bridge. The waterflow in the area was minimal, so we couldn’t fully enjoy the nearby waterfall. After taking some photos there we continued on our way, eventually arriving at the paved White Pine Lane as part of our intended loop route.

By this time we were quickly running out of time, so we returned to the unpaved shelter trail which returned us to the Switchback Trail. While navigating back through the Grays Creek area, the group was treated to the sight of a  red-tailed hawk, which flew through the glen and perched on a nearby tree, seeming to pose for us while we photographed it.

The group returned to the paved Hemlock Lane, which ended at the Wildflower Lane. This in turn led us back to the parking lot.

Before the hike I was worried that we had barely enough trail to give us a two-hour hike. In fact, we had to cut a large swath of the more northerly trails within the glen from our route in order to end the hike on time.

This hike was unique enough that I have added it to our hike list.

Photos by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Norm’s take on IBM Glen

I grabbed a paper map from the interp stand and left the main group of hikers at the parking lot about 20 minutes before the start of the hike. The trails took me to about 50 yards from the big ravine, which was small compared to those of Ithaca. A quick bushwhack dropped me into the heart of the ravine.

Old-growth hemlocks here and there towered above the damp rock and shallow, sluggish or still water of Grays Creek, which is likely a lively creek each spring.

The rhododendrons were in bloom downstream from the 15-foot drop of the big falls.

The main interest of this ravine was the bryophytes (mosslike plants) that clung to the damp rock walls. The highlight was lots of jubula, a dark green liverwort found only on rocks in the deep shade of ravines.

Wednesday July 13

Kennedy State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Twelve hikers and five dogs hiked Kennedy SF. This was our traditional route along the FLT and Swedish Loop, not the more recent International Trail hike we’ve checked out. It was an enjoyable day, with pleasant temps and a dry footpath that added greatly to the hike experience.

Some of the dogs ran the outbound portion of the hike with cowbells clanging, which surely was enough to scare away any bear that may have been in the area.

In the past we’ve always completed the hike around 15 minutes early, sowe hiked a few extra minutes on the Swedish Loop before turning around and making our way to the FLT for the return leg of the hike.

Other than a couple of other hikers we encountered in the last few minutes of the hike, we had the trail to ourselves.

Hikers attempting to earn their FLT60 patch should consider this hike to count as 3.5 miles toward that goal.

Saturday July 16

Connecticut Hill History/Adventure Hike

Hike report by Dave B.

Comfortable temperatures and sunny skies greeted 16 hikers and 2 dogs for a glimpse of the 19th-century settlements that once dotted what is now the Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area.

Our first stop was a homestead featuring remnants of a stone foundation, a large hole that was likely a basement, and an impressive intact well. This the well into which longtime hiker Norm once descended to collect samples, now known (per Casey Creamer) as the Norman Rock Well.

Our route then split off from more well-established trails to descend into a deep ravine. The creek at the bottom had almost completely dried up, making for dry shoes as the trail crisscrossed it heading downhill. Unfortunately, that also meant that the two waterfalls (one of them flanked by stone steps laid up long ago) were also dry, leaving the full beauty of these sights to hikers’ imaginations.

Crossing Carter Creek at the bottom of the descent brought us to what’s left (a lot!) of the stone dam that once backed up quite a large reservoir. Several hikers climbed up the stone spillway to get atop the standing portion of the dam, at least 8 feet tall.

From there, a pretty roadwalk along the Carter Creek ravine brought us to an abandoned road leading back across the creek and uphill, past what’s left of an old stump fence to a well-preserved basement surrounded by a large blanket of myrtle. Continuing the climb, we again reached the first homesite to reconnect with the trail back to the cars. All told, the hike covered almost 5 miles in 2:40.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Sunday July 17

Carter Creek Road Walk, Newfield

Hike report by Jim

Five hikers and two dogs met at the junction of Rowell Hill and Carter Creek roads for a road walk of the seasonal Carter Creek Rd.

The day was warm, with slight breezes. No rain fell during the hike to ease the heat, although we had constant companions of flying insects of both the biting and nonbiting variety.

The hike was uneventful, mostly under the shade of surrounding trees, with periodic pools of intense light, which we tended to race across to get to the next area of welcome shade.

Along the way we encountered a sunning snake or two, but otherwisewe had the road to ourselves.

At the washed-out bridge we turned around and retraced our steps.

Welcome to Julia on her first hike with the group!

Alternative Hike: Abbott Loop

Hike report by Casey

Roz and I are going to Estes Park on the 26th to do some hiking in the Rockies. So, she decided we needed a bit of a tune up prior to that trip, and I would say that is what we got with this hike.

There were six hikers, no dogs and no cats. We did the entire Abbott Loop, starting from Diane’s Crossing and going in a clockwise direction. Partway through the hike I had to apologize to the group for failure to provide the usual mud encountered on many parts of this route. To make up for that lack of mud, I did manage to provide hot and humid, with more than our share of annoying bugs.

We managed the 8.34 mile hike in 2 hours and 41 minutes. That put us back at our cars at about the same time the big group should have been finishing their hike, although we started at 8:00. And for an added treat we ran into three regular Ithaca Hikers when we got back to our cars. They had apparently just hiked down from Bald Hill Road and were now on their way back.

Anyway, when you need a tune-up hike to get yourself ready for a hiking trip, I would recommend this one. It has everything you need in a hike, and by the time you get done you should definitely feel like you didn’t need to hike any farther. When we got home, just climbing up the steps inside our house felt like we were climbing yet another steep hill. I would recommend whenever you do the whole loop, you do it in the clockwise direction so that the treat of getting to the Pinnacles happens later in the hike instead of sooner.

Photos by Leigh Ann