Wednesday July 5
Hill Road and Curtis Road, South Danby
Hike report by Jim
Fourteen hikers met at the junction of Hill and Curtis Roads in Danby for a hike toward the Finger Lakes Trail and the Abbott Loop. The day was a warm one, and I was happy to stand in the shade as I waited for the hikers to arrive.
We set off on Curtis Road, passing the open fields that border the road before reaching the small cluster of huts and campers known as Karenville, with good visibility across the fields to the distant hills.
Past Karenville, the dirt road becomes a seasonally maintained track, full of ruts and pools of standing water. The overhead forest canopy offered relief from the first minutes of the hike, where we were fully exposed to the sun.
The roadway wasn’t in too bad a condition compared to how I’ve seen it in the past. Although it was somewhat muddy and did have pools of water, clearly the ground had absorbed much of the recent rainfall.
When we reached the FLT, we turned onto the single-track hiking path and began the gradual descent to the junction with the Abbott Loop. On the Abbott Loop, we came across some sections that were much muddier than anything we’d found up to that point, which was not unexpected. Navigating through and around the mud slowed us down somewhat, and we ended up with a main group of hikers and a much faster group that pulled ahead of the rest.
The faster hikers made it as far as the Hill Road Abbott Loop crossing; the rest of us simply turned around at the hour mark and made our way back to our cars.
Total FLT mileage for those trying for their FLT50 patch was 3.5 miles.
Saturday June 7
Potato Hill State Forest, Caroline
Hike report by Jim
Eighteen hikers and a single dog met on Level Green Road for a hike of the FLT through Potato Hill State Forest and beyond. The day was sunny and clear, with a hint in the air of the mid-day heat that still lay ahead of us. We left the roadway and plunged into the forest, the overhead green canopy immediately shielding the group from the worst of the day’s heat.
The lower portions of this trail are sometimes a series of muddy pools. Today, however, we found a few muddy soft spots but nothing that was too difficult to navigate around.
The trail winds its way through a variety of trees and over a logging road. The blazes on trees in both directions are well maintained (thanks Lucy!). A couple of bridges recently repaired by the CTC got hikers over waterways that, for the most part, were waterless today.
Once past the initial lower sections of trail, the footpath is quite enjoyable. The FLT winds its way through a nice section of pines, the old needles thick underfoot.
Near Blackman Hill Road, we passed the new parking lot built there last year by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
We crossed Blackman Hill Road and entered the Summerland Farm Preserve, where the forested footpath that we’d initally hiked through continues. Soon, though, the FLT opens into a vast field at the top of a hill, with views of multiple ridgelines in the far distance. Here, a cooling breeze blew through the field, giving us some degree of relief from the heat as we paused for some group pictures. That task complete, we continued on the FLT, re-entering forest to proceed downhill toward state Route 79 before turning around.
We retraced our steps, our paces quickened by the general downhill slope of the return journey. We returned to our cars with about five minutes to spare.
For the FLT50 patch earners, today’s FLT miles were about 4.5 miles in total.
Welcome to Ben Ben on her first hike with the group!
Sunday July 9
Finger Lakes Trail from Woodard Road to Hines Road, Enfield
Hike report by Jim
Nineteen hikers and one dog met on Woodard Road where it intersects with the FLT. Thankfully, the weather reports for the day showed that the rain forecast for Sunday would be delayed into the afternoon, after our normal hike time.
We set off on the FLT, encountering some minor blowdowns on the trail, some minor encroaching undergrowth at various points, and a few very small sections of mud — nothing unusual for this section of trail at this time of year.
When we arrived at Hines Road, about a third of the group retraced their steps back to the cars via the FLT. The rest of us roadwalked back to Woodward Road, arriving at the cars well ahead of the hikers who’d returned through the woods. Everyone was back at the cars with about 15 minutes to spare.
Welcome to Peter on his first hike with the group!