Report to Hikers March 25-March 31

Wednesday, March 27

Taughannock Falls State Park

Hike report by Mark S.

Twenty-two hikers and a single dog met on Rice Rd in the Town of Ulysses for a hike of some of the trails in the vicinity of Taughannock Falls State Park led by Mark S. 

This hike is now listed as the Rice Road parking area to our existing Taughannock Falls State Park trailheads, hike #39 on our list of local hiking areas:

The day was sunny and clear as hikers cars continued to pull into the parking lot; the group eventually paused for the group photo with Cayuga Lake in the background before setting off on the hike. 

The hike started with hikers walking downhill towards Route 89, following the white blazed multi-use trail found on the map at…/parks/TaughannockFallsTrailMap.pdf. This route passed through a nice ravine area before crossing Rice Rd and continuing towards Taughannock Park Rd. The group paused briefly at the falls overlook before continuing along the Rim Trail towards the Black Diamond Trail and the overlook area above the falls. Reaching the parking area on Jacksonville Rd we found the expansion project for the Black Diamond Trail parking area well under way, with many trees being cleared for the new parking area and rest rooms. 

Crossing Jacksonville Rd the group continued on the trail on the westerly side of Jacksonville Rd ( not displayed on the linked map, but displayed as a shaded area on the park bowhunting map found at…/TaughannockFallsBowHuntingMap.pdf ) which we took in an out-and-back due to some high water levels that made stream crossings unwise. 

Returning to the Rim Trail the group soon crossed back over Taughannock Falls Rd and took the white blazed trails back to Rice Rd and our cars.

After the hike many hikers reconvened at the Cider House on Rte 89 for lunch.

Welcome to Ann R and Laura J on their first hike with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, March 30

FLT south and east from the corner of Townline and Layen Rds

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-five hikers and one dog met and hiked on this cool, sparkly, and remarkably non-muddy day. Five people were with us for their first event, and I am looking forward to learning everyone’s names better on future hikes! 

The route followed the Finger Lakes Trail south from the junction of Layen and Townline Roads for an out-and-back, and the farthest anyone in our group got was about 2.4 miles from the trailhead. Everyone arrived back at the cars by the end of two hours.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, March 31

Monkey Run Natural Area, south side of Fall Creek, Varna

Hike report by Jim

Seventeen hikers and three dogs met at the parking area at the dead end of Monkey Run Rd outside of the hamlet of Varna, for a loop hike of the Cayuga Trail. This is hike # 6 on our list of regular hike locations:

The day was generally cool and overcast at the start of the hike. A few drops of rain had fallen before the hike, but to my relief there was no rain during the hike itself.

Our hikers set off from the parking area in a westerly direction towards Varna, initially following the orange and red blazed footpath with associated moderate elevation changes along the way.

Reaching the open fields along State Route 366 outside of Varna, we followed the dirt farming road there until we reconnected with the red blazed trail that runs along the bank of Fall Creek. A short stop along the way and we pressed on until we reached the high bluffs above the creek. Erosion of the edge of the bluff was obvious, as the recent loss of several trees along the bluff to the creek below since our last hike here was apparent.

The group continued on our route, the path now descending back to near the creek shore. in addition to the loss of the trees mentioned above it appears that there has been quite a few recently fallen trees across the trail which have subsequently been cleared, some by hand as the axe work was obvious. Thank you trail maintainers!

By now it was clear to me that the trail conditions were a little muddier than I liked, so when we got to a side trail that connected with the Dryden Rail Trail I took the group in that direction, stopping along the way for a short entry in the trail journal.

The hikers ended our hike with a short out-and-back to Route 13 on the Dryden Rail Trail. We arrived back at our cars a few minutes later than planned, but no one was complaining.

Other than a couple of groups of day hikers with dogs encountered near the end of our hike, we had the trails to ourselves today.

Welcome to new K9 hiker “Benny” on his first time with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.