Report to Hikers May 20-May 26

Wednesday, May 22

Taughannock Falls SP

Hike report by Mark Sussman

On Wednesday, May 22, eighteen hikers and one dog met up on Rice road at the parking area for the Taughannock Sledding Hill. The weather at the start of the hike was perfect, but it definitely was a little too warm by the time we finished.

The group descended through the grassy trails to the bottom of the hill. Although I had told the Taughannock staff the previous week of the need to mow these trails they did not mow them. The grass was quite long, but I did not hear any complaints.

The group re-entered the woods at the bottom of the hill and walked to the outlet at Rice Road. We then walked down the road for a short distance, and crossed over NYS 89 and into the Cabin area of Taughannock. We wound our way through the cabins, and followed the walkway to the north shore beach area. The group really seemed to enjoy being by the lake.

After walking further along the lakefront, we crossed back over 89 and climbed to the camping area. We then followed the north rim trail all the way to the old railroad bridge, where we turned around and reentered the woods that are on the northside of Taughannock creek, and followed the trail back to our cars. The group enjoyed the views of the waterfalls and gorge.

A small group fell behind early in the hike and did their own version of the hike. Two hikers also left a little early at the return trail.

This hike is not listed on the Ithaca Hikers trail list.

Photos by Mark Sussman
Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, May 25

 Stewart Park, Ithaca

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers and a dog met in Stewart Park for a hike of the area paths and trails to and from the Farmers Market. This is hike # 53-2 on our list of regular hikes: I wish that I could say that this hike was “normal”, but we managed to have a number of unforeseen problems along the way.

The day was cool, the skies were clear, and the sun was out when the group met in Stewart Park near the boat house. The views down the lake were fantastic. I picked this hike as an easy location for new hikers who might want to join us for their first hike on a holiday weekend.

The hike started with a short loop around the old swan pond; this is a chance to see some views of the lake in a shaded area; the trail surface here is mostly comfortable wood chips. After the swan pond the group moved towards the bird sanctuary, stopping along the way at Norms request to observe a martin house along the path for a quick minute.

The bird sanctuary was likewise a pleasant, if much larger, wood chip surface loop, and gives late arrivals a chance to catch up with the main group before moving on to more distant areas.

Crossing the second bridge we entered a section of our route that passes through the city golf course, and in my time with the group we’ve never encountered a problem, as we hug the edge of the course on our way towards lighthouse point. Today we ran into a group of golfers who took exception to hikers being anywhere on the course, so we reversed course and took the various paved roads around the course perimeter to reach Lighthouse Point.

Arriving at Lighthouse Point we found access to the lighthouse restricted due to bird nesting. The walk to the Lighthouse is normally a very popular part of this particular hike, but the closure is understandable. We scratched that part of the hike off our list and continued on towards the Farmers Market. By now a good percentage of the original group had left because the changes to our route had used up more time than originally planned.

A much-diminished group of hikers arrived at the Farmers Market and split up with the understanding that it was up to each hiker to find their own way back to the cars.

The various paths to and from Stewart Park to the Farmers Market were heavily populated with a mix of bicyclists and pedestrians.

A warm welcome to Sal, Stu, Ari and Virginia on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Sunday, May 26

Yellow Barn State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-two hikers met to hike a lollipop route in Yellow Barn State Forest. This is hike # 33 on our list of regular hike locations:

I had hoped to take the group on a different loop within the forest today, but opted for our regular route after pre-hiking the area on both Friday and Saturday.

The day was cool and a little overcast as the group gathered before the hike, but as the day progressed the sun came out and temperatures and the humidity levels rose.

The forest road was its usual mix of standing pools of water and occasional mud, but not as bad as I expected given recent rainfall. With everything leafed out we were hiking through a green tunnel. Flowers were in full bloom, there were a ton of efts scurrying around the forest floor, and hikers were regularly stopping to more closely enjoy some aspect of nature that they were passing by.

The open fields were overgrown, but there was a more recently mowed strip around the field perimeter that made walking easier. By the time we hit the fields the sun was out and it was obvious that it was a beautiful morning, with some good views across the open fields of tall grass with patches of wildflowers spread across the fields.

The ski loop…well, time has eased my view of that and things are starting to grow back, but the churned-up surface and the masses of piled up trees from the logging operation from two years ago are still in my view a real detriment to how much I used to enjoy that loop.

The group completed the ski trail loop and returned the way we’d come

Welcome to Julie on her first hike with the group!

Note about next week: Saturday is National Trail Days and we’re going to be maintaining our adopted section of the Cayuga Trail. After the trail work we’ll be stopping in at Hopshire. Gerald and Leah and Sydney will be leaving town in a week or two to go back to Canada, so this is a chance for any hikers who might want to say goodbye to them to have a chance to do so.

Photo by Jim
Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.