Wednesday, November 15
Hike report by Mark S.
A large group, especially for a Wednesday hike, met at Camp Barton. The weather was perfect – cool and sunny. Twenty-seven hikers and three dogs began the hike by heading up the steep rim trail. One hiker felt it was too steep and explored the flat area.
After the initial ascents, the uphill becomes far more gradual. The hikers enjoyed views of the 3 waterfalls of Frontenac Creek. The flow was not at its best, but the views were still impressive. The hikers also enjoyed the beautiful mossy areas that are found along the rim.
The group next entered the main gorge and hiked to the base of Frontenac Falls. Since the water levels were low, this was a reasonable group activity.
After returning to the main area of the camp, the group decided to check out one additional small but high falls that is found next to the winter camping area of Barton. The falls, as expected, were dry, but people enjoyed seeing the other areas of the camp.
Several people decided to take alternate routes back, and all returned safely to their cars.
Saturday, November 18
Ithaca City Architecture Tour
Hike report by Nancy L.
Thirty hikers and three dogs met in the parking lot at Esty between Albany and Plain Street in the city of Ithaca, for an urban walking tour led by Randy Olson and Nancy Lorr.
The day was sunny but cool. To start off we visited the first black fraternity right on the block before heading for State street and a cluster of historic buildings including a famous early Queen Anne style house as well as the State theatre. After visiting the old Ithaca college, the Post office and an old County Courthouse, we headed over to Cascadilla Gorge. We got a good workout climbing the gorge. The view along the trail which hugs closely to the cascading creek was quite impressive.
Crossing College Ave the group walked onto the Cornell campus, where Randy led us on a circular route which included Bailey Hall, the Ad White House and Morrill Hall, the first building in the Arts Quad. Bonuses included a garden of labeled rocks in the Engineering quad and a modern sculpture of glass called PolyForm designed by Jenny Sabin. We stopped at Libe Slope, where we had a great view of downtown and the area beyond west hill thanks to clear skies. We encountered the Cornell marching band several times. We could even hear them playing inside the Uris library while on Libe slope.
On the way downhill back to town, we stopped by Telluride Hall, a house notable for its residents, including Francés Perkins, the first female resident who was concurrently the Secretary of Labor and Richard Feynman. We also visited Llenroc, Ezra Cornell’s house. The group continued to the city cemetery and then walked downhill to the Fall Creek neighborhood where we finished our circular route back at our cars.
Sunday, November 19
Potato Hill State Forest
Hike report by Jim
Thirty nine hikers and three dogs met on Level Green Rd for an out-and-back hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill Rd and beyond. This is hike 29-1 of our regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-29.
While it was opening weekend of gun season all of the hunters in the area were returning to their vehicles as I arrived for the hike. The day was cool and clear with an occasional breeze. The group got a little bit of a late start as last minute arrivals continued to arrive for several minutes after our normal start time.
Once we were past all of the pre-hike instructions, the group set off, with Casey and Leigh Ann setting a good pace for the group. There’d only recently been a couple of rainy days, so the usually muddy trail sections at the beginning of this hike were in full quagmire mode, with the recently fallen leaves concealing the muddy surprises beneath. Once past that first section of trail, things improved, the leaves concealing the normally obvious footpath beneath; trail maintainer Lucy G has recently re-blazed the trail section, so the route through the trees was clear, thanks to the frequent and newly applied blazes. Thanks to Lucy and all other trail maintainers for your on-going efforts!
The “new” bridges from last year at water crossings were still greatly appreciated today. I always enjoy most the section of trail through the pines in the area of the trail register, followed by the open fields near the usual turn-around point. Crossing Blackman Hill Rd, the group entered Summerland Nature Preserve: https://www.fllt.org/preserves/summerland-farm-preserve/. The day was mostly clear, and as I looked into the distance, I could see rainclouds dumping their watery burden in the area of the furthest visible ridgeline.
Because the FLT beyond Summerland Preserve is a hunting season closure the group settled for a long lap around the perimeter of the open fields before we returned to Blackman Hill Rd for the return leg of our hike. Hikers arrived back at our cars with a few minutes to spare, so some hikers did a short road walk south on Level Green Rd, while others continued their hike a short distance on the FLT towards 76 Road before turning around (the hunting closure on that stretch of the FLT doesn’t start right at Level Green Rd ). As the hikers started leaving the first drops of rain began hitting our cars. Good timing, in avoiding the rain that followed.
After the hike several hikers stopped at Brookton Market and gathered at hiker Mary W’s near-by home for food and refreshments. Thank you, Mary, for opening your house to the group!