Wednesday September 6
Black Diamond Trail
Hike report by Jim
Ten hikers met for a leisurely out-and-back hike of the Black Diamond Trail southbound from Kraft Road. A late arrival did their own solo hike.
Hikers found that state park crews were working on this section of the Black Diamond Trail in anticipation of an upcoming group event that would use the trail. The workers indicated that we were not a hinderance to their efforts, so we hiked as planned.
The day proved to be sunny and very warm. Everyone in the group walked at their own pace, and it wasn’t long before we were strung out in small subgroups over a very long section of trail. Everyone turned around at the halfway point and made their way back to Kraft Road without incident.
Lots of other people were on the trail today, including bicyclists, runners, and dog walkers.
Tom invited everyone to his nearby house for a swim in the lake. I was unable to attend due to a pre-existing appointment, so I cannot report on how many people took Tom up on his offer.
Saturday September 9
Alex & Michele Gonzalez Hiking Preserve, Virgil
Hike report by Jim
Nineteen hikers and a dog met for a hike of the Alex & Michele Gonzalez Hiking Preserve, a.k.a. the International Loops. Light rain before the hike had dissipated by our start time. This location was a new hike for many of the people in today’s group.
We set off from our cars, climbing the hill past the recently installed kiosk before taking the Jose and Irwin trails up the hill in a series of loops and switchbacks, with Casey in the lead. We stopped to make a trail journal entry and take some group photos along the utility right-of-way before continuing onward. We switched to the Spanish Loop, taking that trail to Adams Road before turning around. A quick stop at the small pond, and we were on the return leg.
To avoid making it entirely an out-and-back hike, we took the red-blazed English Loop before returning to the Spanish and Irwin trails back toward Daisy Hollow Road. I always find the return leg of this hike enjoyable; we pass through some nice sections of evergreens with a layer of cushioning needles underfoot. We returned to the cars at exactly the two-hour mark.
All of the trails we hiked today were in good condition, with minimal mud. The only other preserve users we saw along the way today were some campers at one bivouac site, which I later found out included Alex Gonzalez. Hikers enjoyed several nice views along the route.
Alex advised me after the hike that one new trail has been completed, and another new loop should be finished later in the fall. I plan to bring the group back here to check out the new trail loops after those projects have been completed.
Sunday September 10
Finger Lakes Trail west from Logan Road, Finger Lakes National Forest
Hike report by Jim
Seventeen hikers and a dog met on Logan Road, just outside the Finger Lakes National Forest, for an out-and-back hike of the FLT from Logan Road to Satterly Hill Road and beyond. The skies were generally overcast, with fog clinging to the distant hills as I waited for the group to arrive at the trailhead. A few drops of rain threatened the hike, but nothing came of that until the end of the hike.
There was a bit of a slow start as some late arrivals and a group photo delayed things for a few minutes. Jack V. took the lead, guiding hikers across the open fields and into the woods.
After we’d crossed the always-impressive footbridge, the climb toward Satterly Hill Road began. Recent rains had created a few muddy patches along the way, but those were nothing compared to what we’ve seen here in the past. Late summer colors along the trail were really enjoyable, the still-green leaves contrasting sharply with those that were already underway into their fall transformation.
We crossed Satterly Hill Road and descended the hill on the opposite side toward Watkins Glen, before we turned around and retraced our route.
The footpath along this section was recently mowed and spruced up for the FLTC cross-county hike that’s happening next weekend. Thanks to the volunteers for your trail work efforts!