Report to Hikers August 28 – September 3

Wednesday August 30

Jim Schug Trail, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Eleven hikers met on Lake Road in Dryden. Ten of us did a flat hike of the Jim Schug Trail, while one chose to take the Finger Lakes Trail over Havington Hill.

The day was warm and sunny, and we shared the Schug Trail with a good number of joggers and dog walkers. I believe the sole FLT hiker found himself alone on the trail.

This was our first hike of the Schug Trail since the tornado-related damage earlier this summer. Today, there was still quite a bit of tree damage visible along the trail, with a lot of upended root balls and downed trees on the banks along the pathway. Kudos to the town workers who clearly spent a lot of time returning the trail to a useable condition.

This was an out-and-back hike, with everyone doing their own pace. The fastest hiker on the Jim Schug Trail made it as far as South Street in Dryden village before turning around.

The trees are clearly in that late summer/ early fall stage where the earliest color changes are starting to happen, and the rest of the leaves are clearly past their prime.There were also a lot of contrasting colors with the various flowers, mature goldenrod, and even the algae and other growth in the lake, streams, and surrounding smaller bodies of water along the way.

Photo by Jim

Photos by Nancy H.

Saturday September 2

Connecticut Hill, Newfield

Hike report by Dave B.

A dog and 13 intrepid hikers set out on a beautiful morning, enjoying 2-1/2 hours of blue skies and cool temperatures for this 4.75-mile hike.

We peered down into the darkness of an old rock well at an abandoned homesite, before descending steeply into a ravine. At the bottom, the stream’s low flow made the several crossings easier. It also left to the imagination what the two waterfalls might look like were there more than a trickle of water.

Exposed stepping stones at the major crossing of Carter Creek made for dry feet, before a short side trail took us to the remains of a large stone dam – the part of the high wall still standing was an impressive sight.

After a shady roadwalk, we turned back across the creek for the uphill phase of the hike, passing the well-preserved basement of another homesite before returning to the trailhead. The at-times challenging terrain saw two hikers fall, but given that no bones were broken nor blood shed, we deemed this outing a success!

Welcome to new hiker Aron Gutman, from Ithaca.

Photo by Dave B.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 3

Finger Lakes Trail from Comfort Road

Hike report by Jim

This is a section of the FLT that we hike only once or twice a year because of the intermittent muddy trail conditions that tend to prevail for much of the summer. After I first led the group here, Steve H. told me that he and Susan had given up on this trail section because of the muddy conditions. My own solo hikes here established that the section was doable in the driest months, and while there’s still some mud, it’s a pretty enough section of trail that I’m not willing to bypass it entirely. I wanted to get the group on this section this year for an out-and-back hike before we lost access due to the fall hunting closures in October.

And so 22 hikers and two dogs met on Comfort Road on a sunny and beautiful summer morning. The views across the open fields were enjoyable, and the day was nice enough that we had multiple dog walkers passing our cars on the road as the group assembled before the hike.

Setting off through the woods, we found that the initial short sections that are often muddy were not so bad, which gave me some hope for the trail ahead of us. This initial stretch of the trail borders an open field near some homes. Soon, the trail makes  a soft right turn and begins a gradual descent that continues for much of the remainder of the hike’s outbound leg.

The trail winds through a section of pines, with old needles underfoot and a general lack of undergrowth that blocks your views of the surrounding woods. There are some shorter sections of the hike where the undergrowth is at its full summer growth and requires a bit of bushwhacking to get through.

Eventually, the trail reaches a few small stream crossings. Only one of these had any amount of actual flowing water amounting to more than a trickle. The real challenges here are getting safely up and down the sharply pitched banks, not the streams themselves.

The path has some minor elevation changes, but overall nothing of any great difficulty compared to the FLT elsewhere in the county.

We reached the first open fields and stopped for a group photo before moving on.

Usually this hike ends at a second section of open fields that are our turnaround point when we hike in from Townline Road. Today’s hike proved to be a little slower than in the past, so we hit the turnaround time before reaching those second fields.

Casey took over leading the group for the return leg  of the hike, and we all made it back to the cars without incident.

A warm welcome to Nancy J. on her first hike with the group!

For anyone trying to get their FLT 50 patch for 2023, I didn’t check with any of our usual members to get their GPS mileage, but a map check gives me a total of around 4.3  FLT miles for this hike.

Photos by Leigh Ann