Wednesday October 19
Six Mile Creek and Mulholland Wildflower Preserve
Hike report by Jim
Eleven hikers meet at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve in Ithaca. The day was cool and overcast, but I was still hopeful for a good hike of the trails.
We made our way along the trail as it snaked alongside the creek, which seemed to have a decent amount of water flowing on this hike day. We climbed the hillside and soon reached the second dam access road, which we followed to the overlook area above second dam. We paused for a few quick photos on a cool day, we soon started back the way we’d come.
On our return hike, we diverted to the blue-blazed trail that follows the upper water supply pipe as it runs along the hillside.
Back at the parking lot, some hikers opted to end their hike there; the rest of the group crossed Giles Street and descended the blazed trail to Wells Falls, AKA Businessman’s Lunch. The pause there was also a brief one.
As we returned to Giles Street, part of the group wanted to check out the Giles Street pedestrian bridge, as we still had a considerable amount of time left.
A couple of us opted to check out a blue-blazed trail that snakes up the hillside above Wells Falls, a blazed trail that the group had never followed before. This trail comes out above the falls and winds around the hill, coming out just below the current bridge above the falls.
A wait of a few minutes found the main group returning from the pedestrian bridge, and we ended the hike with a short walk back to the parking area.
Saturday October 22
Lime Hollow Nature Preserve, Cortland
Hike report by Steve S.
Twenty hikers enjoyed splendid fall weather for a hike including three loops at Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland, NY. We followed the Lehigh Valley Rail Trail west from Gracie Rd. to the High Vista Trail that circles remote-seeming Baldwin Pond.
After returning to the Rail Trail, we did the Hermit’s Way connecting to the Fenway and back to the Rail Trail. We returned via the Rail Trail to the parking lot on Gracie Rd. at one hour and 15 minutes, where hikers gratefully dropped off their jackets and sweaters at our cars.
We then continued east on the Rail Trail to Maple Run and the stunning Esker Connecter with its dramatic drop-offs on both sides. We tried to pin down exactly what an esker is, but we know it was deposited by glaciers almost 12,000 years ago.
Vicky showed us how much the area is browsed by deer. They make for lovely open forest but are ecologically damaging.
We proceeded to the Chicago cranberry bog and enjoyed the peaceful views before returning to Gracie Rd.
The Lehigh Valley Rail Trail is the backbone of your hiking in the Lime Hollow area. It is easy to put together a hike or gentle walk following loops off the Rail Trail. The elevations are moderate, the trails are mostly well marked, although some were tricky given that the ground was covered with brightly colored leaves, and most of the trails are smooth and wide. There are many water views. Baldwin Pond and Chicago Bog are particularly charming.
- Distance: 4.4 miles
- Time: 2:05 hrs
- Elev gain: 276′
- Number of hikers: 20
- Number of dogs: 0 (not allowed at Lime Hollow)
Sunday October 23
Hinchcliff Family Preserve, Spafford, Onondaga County
Hike report by Jim
While en route to Sunday’s hike, I noticed an early morning frost on the field grasses and trees of the farms I was passing. As I drew closer to my destination the sun came out, the frost-dulled leaves quickly losing their sheath of frost. As I turned onto Vincent Hill Rd., the forested hills across the valley shone in full fall brilliance; while we’re now a week past peak colors, this gave me hope that Sunday’s hike of the Hinchcliff Family Preserve would still be enjoyable.
Ten hikers and two dogs set out from the parking area, finding our way through the forest along the red-blazed connector trail between Vincent Hill Rd. and the main yellow-blazed loop within the preserve. The trail was covered in a freshly fallen carpet of ankle-deep leaves; other than the random blazes there wasn’t much to show the way for the group. A few of us had come here on a Tuesday hike this summer when the trail was much clearer to hikers. Jeff, who lives in the area, remarked that he had just hiked this preserve the week prior and it had looked nothing like it did on our hike day.
The connector trail snakes through the woods for a little over a mile, with a few minor elevation changes and some water crossings with barely any water flowing in them along the way. Casey, who was here for the first time, remarked on the various gullies we were travelling through, and the general lack of mud that we find on many of our hikes.
Soon we reached the junction with the yellow-blazed loop trail, where we started a downhill hike. When we reached the ruins of the former Wickwire “cottage,” the group paused for some picture taking and general speculating about the history of the area.
Past the ruins, we began our uphill climb, finally stopping at the derelict hulk of a former CCC 1930s era pickup that lies in a moldering state of slow decomposition near the trail. From there, we entered the field portion of the loop, stopping to admire the lake below us as it came into view.
Beyond that viewing area the loop rejoins the connector trail, and we made our way back to the cars.
Casey would like to revisit this hike in the winter, when he believes that the leafless trees would give us even better views of the surrounding area.