Wednesday, January 31
Monkey Run Natural Area
Hike report by Leigh Ann
Twenty hikers and two hiker dogs met at the corner of Hanshaw and Lower Creek Road for this hike.
There are many ways to do a hike from this trail head, depending on trail conditions. For today’s hike, we took the red trail south then southeast to Fall Creek, then followed the red trail northwest to intersect the orange trail. Then we took the main orange trail west. Because the trail was thawing and getting increasingly muddy, we chose to take the short cut across the last field before the bluffs. We enjoyed the view at the bluffs for about 5 minutes. Then we returned mostly via fields and arrived at the cars 10 minutes early.
This hike does not normally include the portion that goes from the Hanshaw parking lot to 13 and back. That portion is only about 20-30 minutes each way.
Saturday, February 3
Shindagin Hollow State Forest, Brooktondale
Hike report by Leigh Ann
Twenty-three hikers and one dog met at the snowplow turnaround where north Shindagin Hollow Road turns seasonal for a rim trail/road hike. This hike goes south on the road about 0.2 miles from the snowplow turnaround, then enters the woods going east. It follows the rim of the hollow to where the trail bends back on itself to go steeply down to the creek.
On our Thursday pre-hike, Leah Vosko, Gerald Kernerman, and I placed additional rocks in the stream to make the crossing easier. To paraphrase Jim Rolfe, the stream crossing on Saturday proceeded without incident.
The trail then follows the creek south to Gulf Road. At the appropriate place on that section, we stopped to admire the incongruous golden shoe. After turning right on Gulf Road, we crossed the creek on Shindagin Hollow Road where the creek flows into a pond. This is where we first saw blue sky on Saturday’s hike.
The route then heads north up Shindagin Hollow Road, which you can take directly back to the cars or which you can step back into the woods for about ½ mile of the outbound section. When we arrived at the cars at 11:30, the sun finally was starting to break through clouds and show what a beautiful day it would become.
Sunday, February 4
Hammond Hill State Forest
Hike report by Nancy L.
23 people and 1 dog met on Star Stanton as reached from Rt 38, ie from the East side. Another person joined us at the finger lakes trail (FLT) junction with Star Stanton. Star Stanton is not maintained and was snow covered starting about a half mile west of route 38 where we parked. After a group pic, we headed steeply up hill along the road, the hardest work out of the hike. The snow was quite evident and still crunchy and beautiful especially when we arrived at the FLT which turned left into the woods. We were greeted with a wintry picturesque scene that was effective in clearing the mind. Occasionally we would dip down to cross a small ravine. A short way in we encountered ski tracks which were not really disturbed by the hikers because the snow in the tracks was quite firm. The challenge was to find the white trail markers, the only way to stay on track since we were quite spread out. A few people turned back early and found it challenging to follow the markers back. Most of the group made it past the tower at the top of the hill before turning back to retrace their steps at the hour mark. We all arrived safely back at the cars in a timely manner.