Report to Hikers June 26 – July 2

Wednesday June 28

Deputron Hollow Road and Olefski Road, Danby

Hike report by Jim

Twelve hikers met on  Marsh Road in Danby for a hike of the seasonal Deputron Hollow Road. There were intermittent breezes and a steady drizzle as the start of the hike approached and the line of cars along the shoulder of the road steadily grew.

Those in the group who donned their rain gear were such a disparate assortment of colors that it became an element of the group photo as everyone shuffled themselves in the order to replicate a rainbow….

The group set off at a good pace down Marsh Rd, quickly leaving the paved road before arriving at Deputron Hollow Rd.

The first section of Deputron Hollow Road passes by some abandoned fields and property owners summer campgrounds. The road underfoot was a patchwork of water filled holes, bare earth and patches of exposed rock. Much more enjoyable than the fractured surface of snow and ice that we encounter on this hike during winter months.

Soon enough the road makes a sharp turn and from there it’s a steady downhill all the way to Coddington Rd.

The middle seasonal part of the road travels through some nicely wooded sections of forest as it descends, on one side a ravine dropping sharply away from the road, the opposite shoulder a more gradual slope leading uphill away from the road. The trees are a mix of evergreens and a good number of dead ash trees still standing. The scars of the logging efforts from several years ago are largely removed, although traces still remain.

The rain became much less noticed in this section of the hike, the canopy overhead serving to catch much of the rain.

By the time the route returned to a paved and maintained road surface the lead hikers were long gone from the trailing hikers.

At the hour mark most everyone opted to turn around and re-trace their steps, collecting the slower hikers as they reclimbed the road on the return trip to Marsh Rd. Everyone was back at the cars with about five minutes of hike time to spare.

At the mornings conclusion the fastest hikers reported a total distance of 5 ½ miles hiked and that they had tapped out on Coddington Rd at just around the turn around time before making their return trip.

Photo by Mary Jo

Photos by Leigh Ann

Saturday July 1

On this weekend, we dedicated two hikes to the memory of longtime Ithaca Hikers co-leader Stephen Hesse, who passed away in May. These hikes were two of Steve’s favorites.

Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area, Newfield

Hike report by Dave G.

Eighteen people and one dog gathered at the Lloyd Starks/Boylan/Connecticut Hill Road intersection on Connecticut Hill WMA for a four-mile hike. After a week of intermittent rain and threat of thunderstorms and also a Red-level air quality index due to Canadian wildfires, we had a reasonably good day to hike. No threat of rain or thunderstorms, and the AQI dropped to the lower range of red.

The morning was on the muggy side and, with the wet of the week, some annoying insects were out. I led the hike, and am quite thankful for friends Dave Bock and Bud Norvell,  who swept for me and were my eyes within and at the end of the line of hikers. I’m also thankful that they walked the route with me on Tuesday to help with a prehike cleanup and placement of some bright survey tape markers to guide the group along, since these trails are for the most part unmarked.

We started the hike heading west from a small trailhead on Boylan Road. This begins a one-mile, 300-foot climb, a path never too far from Connecticut Hill Road which, for the most part, can’t be seen at this time of the year. Only occasionally did we hear a few cars go by.

The first half of this climb is a fairly easy grade through deciduous woods and one section of red pines. Early on we crossed the dike of a small pond, which showed evidence of recent beaver activity: a rounded dirt pathway from the pond and across the dike to an area south of the pond where I know they are working to make a new pond. Also there were beaver cut marks on some of the shrubs on the dike.

On the way up we crossed the FLT and then entered some nice old hemlock woods, where we start a steeper climb. There’s a stretch of trail where you get a nice view down to a stream that begins near the intersection we are heading toward, a spot I really love.

At the end of the mile, we are at the intersection of Connecticut Hill Road and Tower Road. One hiker was not feeling well, so Dave B. accompanied that person back down Connecticut Hill Road and met up with the group again later. The rest of the group enter the Seven Streams Trail on the other side of the road. Right away, we came to one of the old house locations where you can see the hole of the basement and tumbled-over rocks that formed the foundation. This location shows up on both the 1853 map (labeled with the name S. Congdon), and the 1866 map, labeled A.M. (probably A. Moot).

We continued on the Seven Streams Trail, where we cross at least seven, maybe eight, small streams -I always lose count. The section has both deciduous forest and several nice hemlock stands. The terrain is generally headed down hill but with some ups and downs. It ends at the Finger Lakes Trail, where we turned south.

This is a pretty section of the FLT, following a stream downhill, going past one of the campground sites, and crossing three streams, before we turned off the FLT and followed the third stream east towars the large Connecticut Hill Pond, near where we parked.

This streams is one of thee main inlet streams to the Big Pond. On the way, I pointed out a side trail where there is another 1853 foundation (G.H. Bishop), but we didn’t visit it – the trail here is somewhat grown in. We continued east until we wereon the west side of the the Big Pond (which can’t be seen at this time of the year), turned north and then east again, going around north end of this pond, which was still out of sight.

At the east side of the Big Pond we came to the old farm or DEC road that connects Connecticut Hill Road with Cayutaville Road. Here, we were about 2.7 miles into the hike, and this is a good  place for anyone to easily leave the hike and make a short walk to the cars. One hiker and her good dog opted to do this.

The rest of the group headed north on the old road-width  passage, one of the flattest sections of the hike. Before  coming in sight of Cayutaville Road, we turned east into red pine woods, and the trail takes us near the small Green Pond, covered, I believe, with duck weed.

From there we went downhill until we came to a stream heading south and followed that to where it merges with the outlet stream from the Big Pond, which we followed west and upstream until we were back at the Big Pond. We crossed the grassy dike and had nice views of the north end of that pond, with a goose family swimming along the far shore.

The finish was on a small trail to the east, passing by a small beaver pond trail (too small for a large group), and we popped out out of the woods onto Connecticut Hill Road, magically, right at the cars.

Toady’s group hiked a bit faster than on the last two times we hiked this route together, coming in at 2 hrs. and 15 minutes. Afterwards, some of us met for a beer at Ithaca Brewery. Hope everyone had as good a time as I did!

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday July 2

Lick Brook

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-five hikers and a dog met on Townline Road in Danby for the second Steve Hesse memorial hike. It was pleasant enough at the trailhead, as there had been some recent rainfall that moderated temperatures while not making things a soggy mess.

Hikers descended the FLT into the Sweedler Preserve, crossing a couple of minor streams along the way with minimal waterflow. We passed a couple of upward-bound hikers along the way, but for the most part we had the trail to ourselves. As we neared the forest floor, the humidity level noticeably increased until it was moderately uncomfortable.

After a stop at the falls, we continued to the rail trestle through the Tappan Mitra and Cornell natural area. We then turned around and retraced our route.

We climbed the blue-blazed trail back to Townline Road, and then we crossed over to the Thayer Preserve and took the orange- and blue-blazed Tom’s Trail to round out our time.

Welcome to Alice on her first hike with the group!

For hose trying to get their FLT50 patch, today’s hike included about 1 FLT mile.

Thanks to all who came out out for this weekend’s memorial hikes!

Photo by Jack V.

Photos by Mary W.

Photos by Cian

View Cian’s photo album.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.