Wednesday November 2
Bob Cameron Loop, Connecticut Hill, Newfield
Hike report by Jim
Six hikers met by the radio tower on Connecticut Hill for a hike of the Bob Cameron Loop.
En route to the parking area the morning fog had been dense, and it didn’t disappear until I reached Black Oak Rd.
Hike conditions were good; it hadn’t rained that I was aware of, but the leaves underfoot were still wet from some recent precipitation. Trail conditions were good, much less muddy than I have seen them in the past.
We encountered only a couple of other people along the way but otherwise had the trail to ourselves.
After completing the loop, the group jumped onto the Finger Lakes Trail to use up our remaining hike time. We crossed Cayutaville Rd. and reached Griffin Rd. before turning around to retrace our steps back to the parking area.
For anyone tracking their FLT miles toward an FLT60 patch, I would say that we hiked about 2.25 FLT miles today, based on the mileage on the back of the FLT map sheet.
Saturday November 5
Tuller Hill State Forest, Cortland County
Hike report by Jim
Saturday’s hike was an unusual one, as the Ithaca Hikers had been invited by Wendy and Gary Wakula (who often join our group when we’re hiking in or near Cortland County) to do a joint hike with the Triple Cities Hiking Club. Triple Cities was planning an all-day figure-8 hike in Tuller Hill State Forest, but would stop for lunch at the parking area midway. Their lunch stop was an opportunity for us to end our hike at about our normal two-hour mark.
In all, I counted 24 Ithaca Hikers, who met approximately 11 Triple Cities hikers in the equestrian parking area on Clute Rd.
The day was moderately warm, certainly warm enough that a hiker would heat up considerably during the hike. Lots of layers were being shed at the pauses along the route. It was overcast, although around the time the group came to the upper part of our route arc the sun briefly broke free of the clouds long enough to light up the foliage and cast a few brief shadows before once again disappearing.
We started from the parking area and completed a loop route in the western portion of Tuller Hill Forest, using a combination of red-, yellow-, and blue-blazed trails.
There was only a small amount of mud along the way. Stream crossings had a slight amount of water flowing but were easily traversed. The fallen leaf cover was thick underfoot, the leaves already having lost their golden hue and reverted to a dull tan. The terrain was enjoyable, both visually and in the amount of hill climbing involved. There were some decent views along the utility lines we followed for a brief time, although there was some haze in the far distance.
Thanks to Gary and Wendy for the hike invitation, and the Triple Cities hikers we shared the trail with. A special thanks to Triple Cities member Larry Blumberg, who stepped in to lead the hike on short notice when Wendy sustained an injury before hike day. Hoping that you make a full recovery, Wendy!
Welcome to Maureen, Stephen, Barbara, and Lisa on their first hike with the group!
Sunday November 6
Comfort Rd. and Bald Hill Rd., Danby
Hike report by Jim
Eighteen hikers and two dogs met in the parking lot at the corner of Comfort and Bald Hill Roads in Danby for a loop hike. The weather was enjoyable, around the mid-60s with intermittent sunshine throughout the hike. Very pleasant for the first week of November!
The hike started with a quick and steeply descending road walk down Bald Hill Rd. At the Dove trail, near the junction with Station Rd., we quickly ascended the hillside, following the older pale pink blazes.
In a few minutes we reached the junction of the older Dove Trail and the new loop portion of the Dove Trail, identifiable by the newer, more pink blazes. We stopped for a quick entry in the almost-new trail journal found there.
In the past I’ve found that the new Dove Trail section is a nice bypass of the muddy portion of the Abbott Loop, with the benefit of going through some very nice scenery along its route.
The path underfoot was concealed by a blanket of leaves, but the newer blazing helped us navigate the hillside.
Eventually we reached the Abbott Loop, where we hiked an enjoyable section of that loop that leads to Diane’s Crossing.
We paused for a group photo and then plunged forward on the Finger Lakes Trail, climbing gradually upward as the trail wound through old roads, along dried-up swamps, and past old foundations along its route back to Bald Hill Road.
We stopped briefly to make a visit to the lean-to so that I could explain to the newer hikers about our tradition of a mid-winter party at that location, but the lean-to was occupied so we didn’t spend much time there before moving on.
When we reached Bald Hill Rd., we found that we still had 20 minutes of hiking time, so we crossed the road and continued toward Comfort Rd. A quick road walk on Comfort Rd. got us back to our cars about five minutes past our normal deadline.
Based on my FLT map sheet and the Dove Trail miles of the loop, I come up with 2.25 FLT miles for Sunday’s hike.