Wednesday May 17
Fischer Old Growth Natural Area, Newfield
Hike report by Jack V.
Twelve hikers plus one dog hiked the Fischer Old Growth Natural Area. It was a cool but pleasant day. The trails have changed since we last hiked there, and they were in great condition!
We hiked the red loop trail twice, once in each direction, and all of the other trails once. There was much elevation gained and lost in the almost four-mile hike.
A warm welcome to new hiker Shufang!
Saturday May 20
Dryden Rail Trail
Hike report and photo by Jim
Twenty-five hikers and a single dog met on the solar farm service road off Stephenson Road for a hike of the Dryden Rail Trail and nearby Rabbit Run trail.
The first part of the rail trail has had some recent work done to it, likely in preparation for today’s ceremony officially marking the connecting of the East Hill Rec Way and the Dryden Rail Trail. The section we hiked today has recently had gravel dust laid down and compacted between the trailhead and Mount Pleasant Road. There’s also been some tree cutting and other trail maintenance performed. Despite the scheduled trail opening ceremony, we ran into relatively few others in the area.
The group passed over the FX Fox bridge, the crusher run rocks there crunching under our feet. We reached some residential development along the rail trail and detoured into the woods, where we joined the orange-blazed Rabbit Run trails. We hiked through the woods to the Rabbit Run Road parking area, finding little in the way of mud or blowdowns along the way. The line of hikers had become fairly spread out, so a quick stop for photos on this stretch was a good chance for us to regroup.
Once past Rabbit Run Road, we rejoined the trail system and hiked along the creekside. We had done this hike relatively recently, but today the undergrowth was fully leafed out, creating more of a sense of hiking through a green tunnel than we’d had before. It wasn’t until the very end of this trail system that we encountered any mud, in a short section of trail well known for its muddy conditions.
After we returned to the rail trail, we hiked it directly back to the parking area. The hike ended about five minutes later than expected. Per Casey’s hike tracker, today’s hike was 4.99 miles, for those who are tracking their mileage.
Sunday May 21
Hurd Hill Road into Shindagin Hollow State Forest
Hike report and photo by Jim
If there has been any doubt about what season we are in, it is clearly flying gnat season. Fifteen hikers met on Hurd Hill Road for a loop hike utilizing several public roads and a portion of the FLT. Joining us at the trailhead were swarms of flying gnats who were eager to accompany us on the hike. For the near future, headnets will be a handy fashion accessory on hikes.
The day was sunny but cool, with occasional breezes that cleared the air of our winged companions for short periods of time.
The steady downhill trek along Hurd Hill Road passed quickly. We encountered a few day hikers at various points along our route, including on Hurd Hill Road.
Hurd Hill Road runs into Pleasant Valley Road, which turns into the lower end of Shindagin Hollow Road as it proceeds north into Tompkins County. Other than some turkey hunters leaving the area, we were by ourselves as we hiked into Shindagin Hollow.
At the FLT footbridge, the entire group opted to do the loop hike route back to South Road via the FLT rather than the quicker out-and-back option. Casey set a good pace along the FLT, and I didn’t see the beginning of the hiker conga line again until the end of the hike. The trail was relatively dry, with no mud in any of the normal places along this section .
Casey reported a total hike mileage of around 5 miles. For those trying to get their FLT 50 patch this year, about 1.6 of those were FLT miles.