Tuesday July 11
Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania
Hike report and photos by Dave B.
Ten hikers (plus one Hiker Emeritus) ventured two hours south to explore the gorge and waterfalls in Ricketts Glen. The warmth and humidity of the day were nicely countered by the sheltered depths of the gorge and the breezes generated by the waterfalls.
And falls there were! We passed 19, 10 of those twice because a rockslide-induced trail closure turned what might have been a 4.5-mile loop hike into a 7.2-miler that required some backtracking.
Recent rains made the falls spectacular torrents, filling the gorge with the sounds of rushing water and generating the mists that often made the many steep rock stairs wet enough to deserve a cautious descent.
The waterfalls were varied: some wide cataracts less than 20 feet tall, others narrower cascades tumbling nearly 100 feet. All were beautiful.
The group enjoyed a mid-gorge lunch and, later, the reward of a stop for ice cream on the return trip to Ithaca. A great day and a beautiful hike made the long drive well worth the time and effort — the destination is a winner!
Wednesday July 12
FInger Lakes Trail from White Church Road
Hike report by Jim
Although the day was sunny, it was cooler than what we’ve experienced recently. I arrived early at the parking lot and had an enjoyable prehike show put on for me by hummingbirds and bees as they darted among the various flowers bordering the parking lot.
In total, we had 15 hikers on Wednesday. We left the parking lot of White Church Road and crossed the open fields toward Wilseyville Creek. The fields were somewhat overgrown and in need of a good trim. (I’m hoping that everyone did a good tick check after they got home!) Reaching the treeline gave us some welcome relief from the direct sunlight and saved some members of the group from spontaneous combustion.
The group initially followed the rerouted FLT toward the White Church/ Coddington Road intersection. When we arrived there, some hikers decided to check out the remainder of the FLT reroute as far as the Eberhard Preserve. The main group of hikers retraced our steps along the FLT until we reached the old FLT footpath.
Before the FLT was rerouted last year, I received permission from the property owners to continue to walk the old footpath on a limited basis. Today, we walked the old trail until we reached an open field near Ridgeway Road, where we turned around.
Some of our hikers did a trim job of this section a couple of years ago, and the old trail is quickly becoming enveloped by greenery. The owners are keeping parts of the trail cleared for ATV use, but I can see a day in the not-too-distant future when the section along Wilseyville Creek will require a good amount of bushwhacking for anyone trying to walk it.
On the return journey, we reacquired our subset of exploratory hikers and retraced our route back to the parking lot.
Today’s mileage was 4.5 FLT miles for those trying for their FLT 50 patch.
A warm welcome to Andy on his first hike with the group!
Saturday July 15
Kennedy State Forest, Dryden
Hike report and photos by Jim
Thirteen hikers met on Daisy Hollow Road for a loop hike of portions of the FLT and Swedish Loop in Kennedy State Forest.
There was a strong mix of sun and shadow along the route as we left the trailhead and entered the woods. Despite recent rains, the trail surface was generally soft – but there was not as much actual mud as I expected at the start of the hike. The roots along the footpath, as always at this location, were the real hazard for hikers who weren’t attentive to foot placement as they moved down the trail.
Humidity was ever present, as was a steady supply of flying insects. We encountered a couple of recent blowdowns across the trail that were reported to the trail maintainer and CTC sawyers.
Historically on this hike, we always seem to get back to the cars about 15 minutes early, and so today I tried to reverse our loop of the FLT and Swedish Loop portions to add some time. Unfortunately the change didn’t work as planed, and we still got back to the cars earlier than normal. I will have to experiment with some changes to the route for future hikes here to get us up to a full two-hour hike duration.
My estimate of FLT miles would be around 4.0 for the FLT50 patch folks. (I haven’t done a map or GPS verification on the miles to confirm that.)
Sunday July 16
Lime Hollow Nature Center, Cortlandville
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-four people met on Gracie Road for a hike of the Lime Hollow Nature Center. The day was sunny, with rain expected only after the end of the hike.
Hikers set off down the Lehigh Valley Trail, then circled the High Vista Loop before returning to the Lehigh Valley Trail and on to the nearby Hermit’s Way. After crossing a bridge or two, a turn onto Fenway brought the group back to the Lehigh Valley Trail and a quick return to the parking area.
Some of the group cut their hike short here, while the remainder continued to Maple Run for an out-and-back visit to the Chicago Bog.
The rain started to fall within minutes of the hike’s end.