Wednesday, January 24
Finger Lakes Trail from White Church Road
Hike report by Mary Weiz
Nine hikers (no dogs) met at the FLT parking lot on White Church Road in the Town of Caroline to hike approximately 4 miles in a westward direction from White Church into Shindagin State Forest and over to Brailey Hill Road. The onset of this hike requires a steep uphill climb (about 800ft – 1200ft elevation gain). One hiker even suggested that this particular hike be labeled a climb!
Hikers reached Brailey Hill Road in an hour’s time at which point they chatted a bit and then traced their footsteps on the FLT in an eastward direction and back down the hill to the starting point. The trail was well marked with no blowdown obstacles impeding forward momentum. The pace was moderate, and the forest a pleasant canvas of greys, whites and greens. The morning was fully overcast, 33 – 37 degrees fahrenheit. The trail was covered with about 3-5 inches of moist snow blanketing a carpet of layered wet leaves. While this could have been a tale of slips, tumbles and slides, however, no such calisthenic can be reported given the deftness of a limber and thoughtful bunch.
Saturday, January 27
Loop Trail from Bald Hill Road to Dove Trail and back on the FLT, Danby
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-eight hikers and two dogs met in the Town of Danby at the junction of Comfort and Bald Hill Roads for a loop hike consisting of parts of the Dove Trail, the Abbott Loop and the FLT. This is hike # 20 on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/298-2.
The day was fairly wet at the outset; most of the snow on the forest floor was gone, ice was entirely absent, and the fog was prevalent in the early morning hours around the time of the hikes start.
The group posed for a quick group photo at hikes start–we had several new hikers who missed the picture due to late arrival- and then the group set off down the unpaved portion of Bald Hill Rd heading towards Station Rd, to jump onto the Dove Trail. The streams and ditches were running well, and this was obvious no later than arriving at the Dove Trail, as the roadside ditches were running with so much water that it caused one of our dogs to be skittish about crossing over it.
Arriving at the Dove Trail register the Dove Trail footpath splits into two separate branches. Casey led the main body on the lower branch, which leads to a portion of the Abbott Loop which can be quite wet during parts of the year. Those of us towards the back of the conga line missed the arrow that Casey had left for us, and after making a quick trail register entry for the hike we headed up the hill on the dark pink section of trail that circles higher ground and avoids the mud.
My subgroup ran into some substantial blowdowns on our section of trail and the main group, once we rejoined them further down the Abbott Loop, reported that the mud in their section hadn’t been too bad. The reunited group hiked the Abbott Loop to Dianes Crossing where we joined the FLT. From there we hiked the FLT past the Chesnut Lean-to back to the paved portion of Bald Hill Rd and our cars. We found that the FLT portion was the wettest section of trail we hiked today, as portions of that trail footpath consisted of running streams.
Welcome to new hikers Ana, Vandana, Abi, Rob, Michael and Christine. I believe there’s one hiker I’m leaving out of that list as my notes page didn’t survive the hike unscathed.
Sunday, January 28
Dabes Diversion Loop, Kennedy SF, Cortland County
Hike report by Jim
Ten hikers and a single dog met at the junction of Bleck and Hauck Hill Roads in Cortland County, for a hike in James Kennedy State Forest. The hike we ended up doing changed mid-hike; we wound up doing hike # 40-3 from our list of regular hikes: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-40.
The day was rainy prior to the start of the hike, with the precipitation changing to a light snowfall near the beginning of the hike that persisted throughout the morning. Overall it was a gloomy day, as the sun never once broke out from behind cloud cover to make an appearance.
Hikers set out from the parking area, almost immediately encountering some very wet trails on the Dabes Diversion Loop and active stream crossings with much more water flowing that what we normally find on this hike. There was a moderate amount of snow cover on the forest floor, as well as some remnants of ice that didn’t create much of a hazard; many in the group had opted to wear foot traction as a precaution.
The group encountered one blow-down on the Diversion Loop, but it was minor enough that it will require only a bow small for removal.
Hikers arrived at the scenic overlook at the field found at the junction of the Dabes Diversion Loop and the FLT. After a short pause there the group proceeded east on the FLT towards the Irish and Lithuanian Loops, passing by the Firefox lean-to and making a stream crossing along the way before turning around at the agreed upon time.
Upon a group discussion it was decided to change our original plans from doing a loop hike that included utilizing the Kuzia cutoff to return to our cars, to now making it an out-and-back hike by directly returning to the parking area via the Dabes Diversion Loop.
Thanks to everyone who braved the elements to hike today!