Wednesday December 21
Kingsbury Woods Conservation Area
Hike report by Jim
Nine hikers met in Danby for a hike in the Kingsbury Woods Conservation Area. Overall it was a pleasant day, and I found it necessary at points to have some eye protection against the sun’s glare off the fresh snow. The snowpack wasn’t deep, but foot traction was still a good idea on the uneven inclines along the way.
The trail starts out following a ravine in the upper reaches of the Lick Brook waterway. The trail winds through the woods with only gradual elevation changes; then, the path makes a turn and crosses over a streambed before running along the preserve property line and an open field on the opposite side of the property line. The trail here is a large loop that follows a nice route through evergreens before returning to an earlier point in the trail.
Completing the loop in one direction takes only about 40 minutes, so we turned around to retrace our route. On the return leg we left the trail, being careful to stay within the property line posted signs, and bushwhacked along what appeared to be an old logging road in another loop back to the blazed trail.
When we to the parking area with a few minutes remaining in our hike time, some of the group opted to leave early; others chose to walk along the road to use up the remaining hike time.
The rest of the group crossed the road and climbed the ridge there, which is still preserve property. We followed the ridgeline a short distance with open fields and preserve boundary markers on one side and the ridgeline on the other. We eventually reached a point where we scrambled down the hill, crossed the streambed, and bushwhacked our way up that hillside back to the parking area.
Saturday December 24
Vincent and Hannah Pew Trail, East Hill Recreation Way
Hike report by Jim
The weather forecast kept a good number of people away from this hike. Thankfully, the forecast for the most part was wrong, and those who came out had a decent hike.
Three hikers (plus a late arrival who ended up doing her own route) met in the Snyder Hill Road parking lot for the East Hill Recreation Way. It was sunny, and while temperatures were in the single digits with wind gusts, it was an enjoyable day to be outside. The rain and sleet of previous days had given way to snow, but foot traction made for a safe hike.
As we left the parking lot, the small group almost immediately veered from the paved Rec Way onto the small, winding hiking trail that runs along it. This footpath was narrow, with uneven and icy surfaces underfoot. Portions of the footpath were still wet with runoff from what I assume are area springs.
The footpath winds through low undergrowth and smaller trees along the forests edge, never going deep into the woods, where windy conditions sending limbs to the ground might have been a concern.
After crossing several crosspaths, we continued until we reached smaller open meadows, which we quickly crossed to return to the woods.
Eventually the wooded path rejoins the paved Rec Way, just before it terminates in a residential neighborhood. Here we turned around, retracing our steps and checking out some of the side paths and a small gazebo along the way.
Unfortunately most of the side paths ended up being posted trails that presumably lead to residences further down the hillside. We did follow one such path to Honness Lane, which we walked to the paved continuation of the East Hill Rec Way.
We took this path to the Hawthorne Thicket, a semi-circular loop through the underbrush that returns to the Rec Way. Unfortunately, we lost the foot path about halfway through the loop and ended up bushwhacking our way across a stream and back to the Rec Way, which we took back to the cars with a few minutes to spare.
Along the way we saw a solitary dog walker on the unpaved trail and some joggers on the paved Rec Way portion.
The cold drained my camera battery, so we have no photos of this hike.
Sunday December 25
Rural road walks and FLT, starting from Compton Road
Hike report by Hank
Seven brave hikers and two dogs showed up for the Christmas morning hike, ready to endure the still-frigid temps.
We originally set out to follow the previously hiked and mapped out route as described in the event’s Meetup page; however, some hikers suggested that we may want to be less exposed to the biting windchill factor. After we discussed the issue, we decided to stick to lower ground rather than taking the original route, which would have been higher and more exposed to the elements.
After waiting for one texted-in latecomer, to ensure that all hikers understood that we were altering the route, we set out at 10 bells.
After a short jaunt down Comfort Road, enjoying waves from passersby in cars who were most likely on their way to Christmas celebrations, we turned into Buttermilk Park toward Treman Mud Puddle with the intention of hiking up to the where the Treman trail turns right, then continuing on up through Firelight’s glamping area and ultimately passing La Tourelle, up to 96, then the short jaunt back to the house.
We later discovered that that idea wasn’t going to happen due to encountering a trail closed barrier well before reaching the steps, so we turned back and went into Buttermilk via the Finger Lakes Trail off Yaple Road.
With the new plan of continuing past the west end of Treman and hiking to West King road, turning around and heading back the way we came. No loop hike on this day.
When we finally made it back to the house, it was 1:00 and our distance came out to be six miles! That was according to one hiker’s mileage app on her iPhone.
After the hike, we gathered inside 112 Compton to warm up by the wood stove and enjoy snacks to pass and hot beverages.
Some stayed until 9:00. We even had an experienced blues guitarist perform live for us. Thanks to Andrew G. It was a rocking good time!