Wednesday July 19
Finger Lakes Trail, Connecticut Hill
Hike report by Casey
It was the Tale of Two Nancys. We started the Wednesday hike from the tower at Tower Road on CT Hill with 12 hikers, which happened to include two Nancys. At the beginning of the hike one of the Nancys went off to go forage for mushrooms with Betty and hike on some trails that could be more adventurous than the good old FLT that the rest of us took. Since we still had one Nancy, we were fine. You can imagine if there were two Caseys on a hike, one would really be more than enough.
I sort of facilitated the hike, with Greg being our hike leader and Tom being the sweep. Fortunately ,the Nancy who left was good enough to let our sweep know what was going on, so there was no missed communication there. That left us 10 hikers including, of course, one Nancy. We stayed with the FLT as an out-and-back hike and had a lovely hike. It was a little muddy but not bad for CT Hill, and it was just a little buggy but not as bad as what I often expect there. I logged 4.64 miles. And at the end of the hike we had 12 hikers show up which as you might imagine included both Nancys.
Saturday July 22
Hammond Hill State Forest from Route 38 south of Dryden
There was some confusion about the starting point for this hike. The original meeting point was changed after it had been sent out, and some hikers didn’t realize this. For that reason, we have two reports for this hike: one from each starting point.
Hike report by Mark L.
The road goes ever on and on, down from the road where it began, and so our nine companions set out from the parking area at Star Stanton Road. It was a few hundred yards to the FLT tailhead, where we found two more Ithaca Hikers, who’d started from the other end of Star Stanton Road and who joined us for a 4.2 mile hike on a pleasantly cool morning. We found a variety of mushrooms in a rainbow of colors along the trail.
The trail had a few muddy spots but was mostly only damp. The forest was fragrant and alive with birdsong and the steady chatter of our (mostly) merry band.
On our way back, we found a geological marker at the base of a tree not far from the top of the hill and the microwave transmission tower. Our hike-leader-in-training missed a turn in the trail, but this was caught by the ever-watchful eye of more seasoned hikers. Two of our companions parted company at this point, and we returned to the beginning of our walk with the original nine. And whither then? I cannot say.
Hike report and photos by Leigh Ann
Roger and I arrived at the original trailhead for today’s hike, which in hindsight was at the opposite end of Star Stanton Road from the revised trailhead. Confused but happy to see each other, Roger and I decided to hike from the trailhead on Hammond Hill Road. We had a lovely hike in the woods from Trail 1 to Trail 6, then 5, then 4. When we arrived at Grand Central Station, we went east on Star Stanton Road a bit, then hopped on Trail 1 to return to the trailhead. It took us 2 hours, and we went about 5.15 miles.
Sunday July 23
Stewart Park urban hike, Ithaca
Hike report by Norm
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
On Sunday morning, July 23, 13 people met at the little parking lot by the Cascadilla Boat House at the eastern tip of Stewart Park. Cayuga lake was serene, like an old woman peeling off her Covid mask at the start of a meal. A few seconds after I got there and started to say hi – this point often reminds me of the start of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” where the townsfolk greet one another and the reader thinks, if they think anything at all, that this is rather ordinary and meandering – Nancy H asked if I’d like to lead. I sprang at the opportunity.
We strolled a few yards, then Leigh Ann herded us to the shade and shot us while we were still in one group. One more person joined as we circled around the swan pond just north of the boathouse. We then flew like stones south along the mouth of Fall Creek.
We stopped at the purple martin house at 42.459559 -76.506900. I pontificated extemporaneously on the features, habits, and virtues of the martin house and its many noisy aerial denizens. The martins put on a good show. When we finished annoying them, we strode across the walkway to Renwick Wildwood and admired the verdant poison ivy.
Nancy asked if I’d like to do the hike report. I lunged at the chance to practice my creative writing like a territorial pit bull slicing the mail sack off a startled postman. (How’s that for vivid imagery, John Gardner?)
We looped through Renwick Wildwood, paused on the suspension bridge to gawk at a young couple paddle boarding with their small, long-haired, terrified dog (the only dog on this hike, other than the one in my imagination, which is still barking at that poor postal worker), took a gander at the golf course and followed Tom’s advice to roll along the paved trail, rather than bother the paying customers.
A family of osprey flew over, and a noisy group of them sat on a nest platform on the inlet edge of the golf course. We passed the whitewash under where the cormorants perch in the tall trees without casualties. The rough, overgrown jetty to the white lighthouse likely challenged some of the hikers, but all came through this lottery intact.
On the walk back to the golf course, we stopped to hear Roger say a few words about the reforestation project in the swampy woods. We left the many happy mosquitoes, skipped the Farmers Market (dunno where all the time went), and walked back to the cars. Our relaxing meander covered roughly 4 miles.