Wednesday January 25
Lime Hollow Nature Center, Cortland
Hike report and photo by Jim
Five hikers met on a snowy morning at the Gracie Road parking lot for a hike of the Lime Hollow Nature Center trail system. For a good portion of the hike, we were getting fresh supplies of the white stuff delivered to us from above–not in such great quantities as to make the hike dangerous, but enough that it slowed us down and forced me to modify our normal route to stay within our usual two hours.
We started the hike by walking west on the Lehigh Valley trail, from which we completed a circuit of the High Vista loop. We then crossed the Lehigh Valley trail to jump onto Hermits Way. This section was nice in that it was much more sheltered from the falling snow. There was less accumulation on parts of Hermits Way than we found on other trails within the preserve.
Along the way, we discussed amending future hiking route options to include the Wilderness Way trail, which is usually closed for hunting when we hike here.
From Hermits Way we crossed onto Fen Way, which prompted a conversation about the various associations we had for other “Fen Ways,” “Fenways,” etc., that we have encountered in our lives.
Back on the Lehigh Valley trail, we returned to Gracie Rd., crossing that and continuing on the Lehigh Valley trail to the Maple Run trail. We took Maple Run to the Chicago Bog. Because time was running short, we opted to curtail the normal loop we do near the bog to a simple out-and-back hike that returned us to our cars at nearly the two-hour time.
This was an enjoyable hike despite the change to my original plan, and I look forward to developing some other routes at Lime Hollow in the next few months!
Saturday January 28
Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve, Dryden
Hike report by Mary W.
On Saturday morning the sky was mostly clear. It was 31 degrees and unusually sunny, considering the recent Ithaca weather. Sixteen hikers and one dog took to the snowy trails of the Ellis Hollow preserve off Ellis Hollow Creek Road. This is a 111-acre preserve located in the town of Dryden that was donated to the Finger Lakes Land Trust by Barbara Keeton and her family.
We started out heading north, going uphill on the yellow trail until we reached the red trail, which we took to the left and to circumnavigate the preserve. The red trail traces the perimeter of the preserve and intersects with the yellow and blue trails, giving hikers several stream crossings and lively ups and downs.
We covered all of the available trail areas in our hike that went out, up, and around once, and then again in the other direction. The hike plan was such that hikers may not realize they’d been turned around; perhaps that was true for some.
Welcome to Liz on her first hike with us!
Photos by Mary W.
Sunday January 29
Monkey Run Natural Area, Ithaca
Hike report by Jim
Twenty hikers and three dogs met at the corner of Hanshaw and Lower Creek roads for a hike of the Cayuga trail system on the north side of the Monkey Run area.
It was a cool, clear, wintry day. I arrived early at the trailhead and did an exploratory hike of the first stretch of trail, which was icy. So I warned everyone that foot traction was needed due to the extensive ice.
We completed a loop of the red-blazed trails, stopping along the way for a group photo. Other than a couple of other individual dog walkers encountered in the parking lot before the hike, we had the trails to ourselves.
We emerged from the red-blazed trails into the area around the Cornell pavilion, circled around the open fields, and took the orange-blazed trail. The downhill stretches of the footpath were definitely slippery on the outbound leg of the hike, but I noticed on our return that the ice covering the trail had been fairly well broken up by the passage of 20 sets of hikers’ feet.
There was a little more mud on the trail than I expected for January, but it didn’t seem to slow us down too badly. The orange-blazed portion of the trail is an out-and-back section, and after a short pause at our turnaround point we reversed our course.
Back at the Cornell pavilion we left the woods and circled the pavilion to take the service road back to our cars, arriving there with five minutes to spare.