Report To Hikers September 7th – September 11th

Wednesday September 07th

Finger Lakes Trail, west from junction of Durfee Hill Rd with 96B

Report by Jim

Seven hikers met on a wet morning that alternated between moderate rain and light mist, for a hike of the FLT westerly from State Rte. 96B in the Town of Danby.

From the parking area on Durfee Hill Rd we crossed a field thick with mature golden rod, the unkempt grass under our feet wet from the days rain.

Crossing 96B the group plunged into the shadowed woods on the other side. The ground was thick with old pine needles, the path appearing almost illuminated by the vibrant green ferns and moss that populated the trail shoulders in that section.

Soon enough the trail turns uphill, following the property line in a nearly straight ascent for a good stretch. There is the temporary relief of a couple of flat spots and a short length of level trail that follows an old logging road, but otherwise it’s a climb until nearly reaching the Tamarack Lean-To

After pausing at the lean-to for a few minutes the group continued onwards. The FLT began to pass through much more level terrain with much improved access to sunlight from overhead.

The group continued on until reaching an area that would have required passing through more overgrown grassy portions of trail. Believing that this was as good a turn-around point as any other, I reversed course for the group and we began the downhill descent back to our parking area. The return leg of the hike was uneventful other than for its relative ease in comparison to the earlier uphill climb.

Welcome to Peter on his first hike with the group!

Photo By Jim

Saturday September 10th

Kennedy State Forest

Report by Jim

This hike was a last minute location change from the Dabes Diversion Loop, due to a well-attended foot race event that included the Dabes Loop and the FLT that I was advised of only a few days ahead of the hike.

Seventeen hikers and two dogs met on Daisy Hollow Rd in Cortland county for  a hike of the English Loop.

It was a decent hiking day, with cooler temps; while the sun was out the breezes and temps proved to make for an enjoyable hike.

Setting off from Daisy Hollow Rd the group made its way up the nearly dry creek bed, following the yellow and blue blazed trails as they see sawed their way up the hillside

Reaching the near-crest of the hill and after a quick pause for a trail journal entry, we followed the blue, red and orange trails up to and over the crest of the hillside until we reached the Spanish Loop trail. This trail we followed until our turn-around point, a small vernal pond that proved to be nearly empty after the long dry summer.

Returning to the Spanish Loop we made our way back to the English Loop trails, taking a different route back down the hillside.

Having hiked this location only a couple of times, I still don’t have our hike pace down exactly to come up with a proper hike distance for the two hour hike duration, and so we found ourselves back at the cars a full thirty minutes early. The group opted to use up the remaining hike time by walking to the near-by FLT and hiking westerly, a direction on the trail that few in the group had ever hiked ( mainly due to the barrier of the stream during high water months ). The group crossed the mostly dry streambed and hiked up the hill on the other side until we reached  a time to turn around. The return trip to our cars was uneventful.

Photos by Jim

Photos By Leigh Ann

Album By Leigh Ann

Photos by Cian

Sunday September 11th

Hammond Hill State Forest, from Star Stanton Rd

Report By Jim

Twenty hikers and two dogs met for a hike of the FLT from Star Stanton Rd

The weather report for Sunday had forecast rain throughout the day, and I was less than optimistic when I woke up to continuing rainfall. By the time I arrived at the trailhead the rain had stopped, and the outbound leg of the hike was rain-free, although the skies were overcast

I had the group try something new by parking further up Star Stanton, beyond the end of the asphalt where we normally park. My goal was to eliminate some of the road walk at both ends of the hike and give the group a longer trail hike. This proved to be popular with many in the group.

The outbound leg of the hike had much less “uphill” than on our past hikes here, and soon we were turning from the seasonal road the FLT follows from the paved road onto the FLT footpath. This portion of the Trail is always among my favorite Trail sections in the winter, and while this day was much more atmospheric than what I would have preferred, it was still a good day to walk in the woods.

Soon enough the trail turns and climbs up to a Hammond Hill multi-use trail where hikers share the Trail with horses, skiers and other recreationalists. Other than some motocross bikers at the beginning of our hike we saw no other people on the trail this hike day

The Trail is a steady upward climb in this section, before the Hammond Hill trails part way with the FLT near the radio tower. The group continued on the FLT until reaching a turn-around point. Pausing for a group picture or two, we were soon on our way again.

The return leg of the hike proved to be somewhat wetter than the outbound eg; although the rain proved to be sporadic enough that not much of it made its way through the forest canopy to the ground.

Welcome to Gloria and Tatia on their first hike with the group

I would like to take  a minute and observe that the group has just passed the one year anniversary since Nancy H created the Ithaca Hikers Meetup page ( Ithaca Hikers (Ithaca, NY) | Meetup ) in an effort to attract new hikers to the group. Nancy’s on-going work in posting multiple hikes to the Meetup site every week has proven to be a success; many new  people have joined our hikes through Meetup over the past year, with many  becoming regular members of the Ithaca Hiker family. Thank you, Nancy, for what you do to improve the groups hikes!