Wednesday March 22
Black Diamond Trail from Kraft Road
Hike report and photo by Jim
Ten hikers met on Kraft Road in the town of Ulysses for an out-and-back hike of the Black Diamond Trail. It was a pleasant hike, with nice weather and glimpses of distant fields and homes through the leafless trees. We shared the trail with a handful of bicyclists, but otherwise the midweek volume was fairly light.
The group set off heading south, everyone doing their own pace. From my point of view, it seemed that the larger group had quickly broken down into subgroups of two or three hikers, and each smaller group was a microcosm of hikers engrossed in conversation as we all made our way down the footpath.
At turnaround time, I personally had gotten as far as the bison farm (no bison observed today), and the faster hikers had made it a considerable distance farther than I did.
Welcome to Lee Ann W. on her first hike with the group!
Saturday March 25
Finger Lakes Trail south and east from the corner of Townline and Layen Rds.
Hike report by Jim
Saturday’s weather started out with a rather intimidating rainstorm, which I suspect deterred some people from joining the hike. But seven hardy hikers met on Townline Road in Danby for a hike of the FLT. Thankfully, the downpour abated as we set off.
The first section of the FLT we traversed was as muddy as we’d expected. By the time we entered the open fields, the wind was whipping enough that I found myself pausing periodically to brace myself against the gusts. Because most of us knew what conditions can be like in this section, hikers had worn enough layers that I don’t think the weather caused much discomfort for anyone in the group.
Inspired by David Priester of Cayuga Trails Club, I recently acquired a Kestrel handheld weather meter, and this hike was my first real opportunity to put the gizmo through its paces. I found myself trailing the group as I measured wind speed, checked the temperature of water at stream crossings, etc. (Wind speeds in the open field hit 19 MPH on the hike’s outbound leg, while the water temperature at the first major stream crossing was barely above freezing).
The other hikers eventually made it to our usual turnaround point at the far side of the open fields, and they scooped me up on the way back.
For those working to earn their 2023 FLT50 patch, Casey gave an FLT mileage of 4.5 miles.
Sunday March 26
Finger Lakes Trail through Finger Lakes National Forest, Burdett
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-two hikers and two dogs met on Logan Road in Schuyler County for a hike on the FLT. It was a sunny, clear day, the weather a vast improvement over Saturday’s hike.
We started with a quick group picture, followed by a hike briefing as everyone clustered around the rebuilt map kiosk (there were actually maps available in the map boxes today!). Then the group was off and climbing the hill, with Casey and Joe leading the charge. The immediate climb provided a quick warm-up for those who had gotten chilled waiting for the hike to start.
Because of the recent rain, a decent amount of water flowed over the cascades in the ravine that the trail follows for the first mile or so. Roger and I brought up the rear, and we found ourselves stopping often along the way to admire the forest around us.
The trail crosses the stream and begins a wandering path through the woods, making a second, much smaller stream crossing before finally arriving at Burnt Hill Road. Because I knew that the other hikers had gone far ahead, I opted to road walk to where the FLT comes out on a lower section of the road, rather than try to race ahead to catch up.
This worked out pretty well. Because the fastest hikers found themselves with some extra time on their hands, they opted to do a quick detour down Wyckoff Road to burn up some minutes until all of the hikers emerged onto Burnt Hill Road. When everyone was accounted for, we hiked back to the FLT and descended the hill to our cars.
After the hike, a few of us gathered at Grist Iron Brewing Company for lunch and conversation. A warm welcome to Beth and her canine hiking companion, Stout, on their first hike with us!
Today’s hike, per Casey, counted as 4.9 FLT miles for those working toward their 2023 FLT50 patch.