Wednesday September 28
Havington Hill into Cortland County
Hike report and photo by Jim
Approaching Wednesday’s parking area, I observed that the hill we would soon be climbing was swathed in fog around much of its peak. There was a steady rain as I arrived at the trailhead; I was not expecting many hikers to brave the rain.
I was pleasantly surprised that by the time everyone arrived the group had grown to seven hikers. By this time the rain had abated, and it didn’t return until after the hike was completed.
We set off walking up Lake Rd. until the trail veered into an open field in the direction of Havington Hill. At the base of the hill we began the steady climb, winding our way back and forth over the switchbacks as we steadily ascended the hillside. We had to navigate around one blowdown, but otherwise the trail was in good condition.
At the crest of the hill, the trail traverses the hilltop fairly quickly before beginning its descent. We reached the open field on the far side of the hill; normally we would continue to an observation point at another corner of the field, but we’d proceeded slowly enough that we simply turned around here and retraced our path over the hill and down the other side, arriving at our cars just as the rain began again in earnest.
I would estimate 3.5 FT miles for those attempting to earn their FT60 patch.
Saturday October 1
FLT east from Logan Rd. toward Burnt Hill Rd., Finger Lakes National Forest, Burdett
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-five hikers and two dogs met on Logan Rd. in Burdett for an eastbound hike of the FLT.
The weather forecast had indicated that we’d have rain halfway into the hike, but this prediction proved to be wrong. Although skies were overcast, the group enjoyed a rain-free hike.
This hike starts with a gradual climb away from Logan Rd. Here the trail follows the bank of a stream bed, which had a small amount of water flowing on hike day. At the crest of the hill the trail levels out, crosses the stream, and begins a much more moderate winding and gradually ascending path through the trees. It should be noted that the Forest Service has installed new/ refurbished information kiosks with maps at Logan Rd. and Burnt Hill Rd.
The trail crosses the stream one more time before finally arriving at Burnt Hill Rd. The footpath in this section has recently been rerouted to cross Burnt Hill Rd. directly, as opposed to the previous slight jog down the road.
By now the larger group had split into different subgroups.
The FLT continues through the woods for a while, a section of trail that has no particularly unique aspect to it other than a nice walk in the woods. At the Dunham lean-to, my group paused to take a look at the only ADA-compliant privy on the FLT that I am aware of. Hopefully the vandalized well pump at this lean-to will eventually be repaired, as drinking water on this section of the trail is lacking.
Beyond the lean-to the FLT begins a gradual decent, passing over some tricky stone-filled sections of footpath and through some stands of evergreens before emerging onto a lower section of Burnt Hill Rd. Here my group opted for a small lollipop hike route; rather than returning directly back up the FLT, we took a short loop up Burnt Hill Rd. before returning to the FLT for the descent back to Logan Rd. and the cars.
The total mileage for today’s hike was 4.6 miles; subtracting the short road walk, this hike still amounts to 4 FLT miles for those trying to get their FLT60 patch this year.
Welcome to Rose Marie for her first hike with the group!
After the hike some of the hikers went to the nearby Grist Iron brewery for some excellent food and adult beverages. By now the sun had fully come out, and the views across Seneca Lake were an excellent conclusion to a wonderful hike!
Sunday October 2
Hill Road and Curtis Road, South Danby
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-four hikers and six dogs met at the junction of Hill & Curtis roads in the town of Danby. Some trees at the parking area already had some excellent color change underway, so I was very hopeful for some picturesque foliage on this hike.
It was a cool day overall, and the winds coming across the open fields as we walked Curtis Rd were chilly. The sun was out, but we couldn’t really feel its warming effects.
At Karenville we noticed that Tangles the pony was not visible and the field was overgrown, and we feared the worst: that Tangles had died since our last hike of the area. (I talked with the owners on my return; they told me they’d sold Tangles, who now resides in Brooktondale.)
At the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd., we started to encounter quite a few muddy, water-filled ruts, so at the FLT trail crossing we opted to turn onto that trail. Travelling west on the FLT, we enjoyed a gradual descent on a bed of pine needles and freshly fallen, golden-hued leaves.
Soon we came to the junction with the Abbott Loop, where we headed south and west. A quick poll of the hikers showed that many in the group had never been on the Abbott Loop. Although there was some mud on the loop’s footpath, it was not particularly bad for those hiking it for the first time.
When we reached what I had expected to be the turnaround point, the group convinced me to change plans and continue on the loop until we reached Hill Rd. In retrospect this was a better option than my original plan; thanks for the input, hikers!
On Hill Rd., we did a short road walk north to the FLT crossing on that road. There we turned back onto the FLT and took it east until we were back on Curtis Rd and then back to our cars.
Some hikers opted to stay on Curtis Rd. for a strict road walk as originally intended; they reported good hiking conditions beyond the FLT crossing.
For those FLT hikers in the group, I would estimate 3 FLT miles toward the FLT60 patch.