Wednesday April 19
Hammond Hill SF from Canaan Road, Brooktondale
Hike report by Jim
Eighteen hikers met on Canaan Road on a chilly morning for a hike of the Hammond Hill trails.
A short walk up the seasonal part of Canaan Road brought us to the Rabbit Run snowmobile trail, a gradual incline that terminates at the blue-blazed trails. The forest floor around us was covered in a dusting of snow, perhaps the last hike we’ll have in winter conditions this spring.
We hiked the Yellow 6 trail to reach the upper, seasonal portion of Canaan Road. This segment of Yellow 6 includes a nice walk through tall stands of evergreens – my favorite part of this state forest!
We crossed Canaan Road and continued on the yellow-blazed trails, making a loop out of the Yellow 5, 8, and 4 trails before returning to Yellow 5 to reach Yellow 7. That final trail is a nice downhill hike back to Canaan Road, which we reached at exactly the two-hour mark.
For those tracking their FLT mileage toward the FLT50 patch, today’s hike included about 0.5 FLT miles on the Yellow 4 trail.
Welcome to Alice on her first hike with the group!
Saturday April 22
Stevens Suspension Bridge & Cornell Natural Areas
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-five hikers and a dog hiked the Cornell Natural Areas. Our group filled up and overflowed the Forest Home Drive parking lot, with several cars parked on the side of the road. The morning started out with mostly clear skies and a cooling breeze.
We started out by crossing the recently rebuilt suspension bridge. Norm is of the opinion that the new bridge sways even more than the old one. I’m not sure about that – having 20-plus people crossing the bridge together was sure to get it moving.
On the other side of the bridge the group turned west, following the creek. After a quick photo stop, we continued on, soon finding where the bridge’s original deckboards are being repurposed in muddy areas of the trail.
We climbed the hill to the golf course. As it was a nice weekend day, the course was in heavy use. We navigated around the green’s perimeter, finally arriving at the road that leads to the horse barns. Here we ran into a major snag: The road is shut down entirely to pedestrian traffic, even though it was a weekend with no active construction work underway. The signage indicated open trails for hikers’ use, but there were no directions for finding the nearest one. After a quick exploratory walk into the barn area looking for an open route, we turned around.
Backtracking slightly, we walked along the woods’ edge on a service road we’d never checked out. I hoped that we’d find a trail into the woods, but there was none. After completing a big loop around an open meadow, we returned to the golf course, where we took a trail that skirted the other side of the fenced-in horse fields we normally cross. This got us back onto our normal route.
By now, about six hikers had peeled off to do their own route. We eventually ran into them at hike’s end, back at the cars.
My group continued on, taking the orange-blazed trail on the bluffs high above the streambed. The trail eventually turns and descends the bluff down to stream level, where we followed the trail back to the suspension bridge.
On the Forest Home Road side of the bridge, we did a quick loop of the blue- and red-blazed trails, which got us back to the cars only five minutes later than normal.
Sunday April 23
Finger Lakes Trail, Connecticut Hill, Newfield
Hike report by Jim
Including late arrivals, today we had 29 hikers and two dogs. We met at the junction of Boylan and Hulford Roads, where there’s a decent amount of parking for any number of vehicles. In the past, I’ve started this hike from Connecticut Hill Road near Tower Road, but the trail from that area passes through some muddy sections that I wanted to avoid today.
From the parking area, it was a short walk to where the FLT crosses the seasonal portion of Boylan Road. We crossed an open field; other than two small areas that were logged a couple of years ago, this was among the few portions of the hike route where the FLT didn’t pass through forested areas of Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area.
Overall, the FLT footpath was in excellent shape, and the blazing was very easy to follow in this section. Elevation gain and loss is fairly minimal over the duration of this hike. A couple of stream crossings were uneventful, and we didn’t encounter much in the way of muddy trail until we were almost at Cabin Road.
Continuing beyond Cabin Road, it was only a short trail section before hikers reached the seasonal portion of Connecticut Hill Road at an hour into the hike. So we turned around and retraced our route, with Casey leading the way.
Total FLT miles for this hike, for those working toward their 2023 FLT50 patch, were 4.49.
A warm welcome to Ranjita, Dan, Minnie, Andrew, and canine hiker Chestnut on their first hike with the group!
A note from Nancy H.:
At the end of the hike today, one of the hikers jokingly suggested to Jim that he should start using ChatGPT to write the hike reports. Jim did write his report for us, as usual, but after he sent it to me, I fed it into Chat GPT and told it to rewrite the report in a variety of authors’ styles, including Hemingway, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Emily Dickinson, and those you see below. Here are some highlights:
Oh, the hikers went out on a Sunday so bright, 29 strong with 2 dogs in sight. They met at the junction of Boylan and Hulford Rd, With plenty of parking for each hiker’s load.
The trail was new, not the usual hike, Avoiding the mud, it was a change they’d like. The group crossed an open field with much glee, Then entered a forest, oh what a sight to see!
The footpath was perfect, with blazes so clear, Easy terrain for all, with nothing to fear. They crossed a few streams, not a problem at all, And muddy sections were few, toward the end of the haul.
After an hour of hiking, they reached a seasonal road, Turning back now, following their same footsteps code. For those seeking FLT50 patch, they hiked 4.49 miles, With a warm welcome to new hikers and Chestnut, the canine with smiles.
So, the hikers had fun on this bright Sunday day, And vowed to return to hike again someday.
Upon a fair day, a fellowship of twenty-nine valiant hikers, accompanied by two trusty canines, gathered at the crossroads of Boylan and Hulford Rd. Their hearts beat with a longing for adventure as they began their journey.
Forsooth, this trail was a deviation from their usual path, leading them through an open field and the wilds of the Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area. Alas, the path was true and well-marked, with blazes as clear as the light of day.
The elevation was modest, the terrain serene. They crossed streams with ease and pressed on through the woods, their eyes taking in the beauty of their surroundings. But lo, as they approached Cabin Rd, the trail grew muddy, testing their mettle.
With fortitude, they pressed on until they came upon the seasonal portion of Connecticut Hill Rd, an hour hence, and began their homeward journey, led by the intrepid Casey.
For the FLT50 patch seekers, the hike spanned 4.49 miles, a feat of great courage and endurance. They welcomed new companions to their company, Ranjita, Dan, Minnie, Andrew, and Chestnut, the canine with a keen sense of smell.
Thus ended their journey, but their hearts remained aflame with the thrill of adventure, and their souls enriched by the majesty of nature.
It was a Sunday, like any other, when twenty-nine hikers and two canines convened at the junction of Boylan and Hulford Rd. The parking was ample, but the mood was restless. I watched from afar, noting the faces of the group, their intent unclear.
The trail, not their usual, veered away from Ct Hill Rd, and instead they walked through an open field. Two areas were logged, and the rest of the trail was shaded by the Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area.
The footpath was in impeccable condition, with the blazes leading them easily. The terrain was gentle, elevation gain and loss minimal. A few uneventful stream crossings and some mud towards the end, but nothing to perturb the most seasoned hiker.
At the hour mark, they turned around, following the same path back. Casey, their leader, led the way. The FLT50 patch seekers clocked in at 4.49 miles.
Ranjita, Dan, Minnie, Andrew, and Chestnut, the canine with a keen nose, were new to the group. They held their own, no questions asked.
I stood there, watching as the group dispersed. Their faces, unreadable, their intent unclear. What brought them together, I wondered, and what drove them forward? I guess I’ll never know.
I kinda loved ChatGPT’s imitation of Chandler’s hardboiled style, but I don’t think we’ll be sending out AI-generated hike reports any time soon!