Wed Mar 4
Fisher Settlement Road, Danby, road walk to the south
Wonderful mild morning in Danby SF — the wintery-mix storm that hit us overnight had slid just to our south, and we had mid 30s, calm, and a gorgeous variegated grey sky.
We made it as far as the Tioga County line — nice mix of forest and an occasional house along the way, with a couple of great distant views — I’m a big fan of rural roads and this was an excellent one.
One stretch had some of the densest, darkest pine growth I’ve seen, so thickly grown it seemed impenetrable — irresistable to me as a photo backdrop, even though photographing pale-faced people against such a dark screen is technically a bit beyond my current ability — you can see a more formal group line-up shot against the pines here
Official head count: 12 hikers, three dogs
Walking on these country roads is a little like going back in time — there was almost no traffic, and when a car did appear it was a big deal, we all shouted out warnings and directed each other to stand on one side of the road or the other — one driver actually stopped to wait for a long time while I was standing on one side of the road photographing the group on the other.
You’ll see two hikers carring big backpacks — they’re in training for a planned summer hike in Montana.
You can see five online photos here.
Sat March 7
Snowmobile trail, Fisher Settlement Road to Hill Road, Danby
I sometimes wonder, what impression do these hike reports give you of our hikes? Do we come across as quiet? attentive? organized? serious?
I was prompted to this line of thought when Mary B, who likes to make snow angels, abruptly plopped down Saturday just as we were laughing at another hiker who’d just stumbled into extremely deep snow. So if it’s not clear from these reports, let the record show: we’re not quiet, not very attentive, sometimes not organized at all, and not very serious.
If that sounds good, you should check us out. Otherwise ….
We had a beautiful hike up into Danby SF Saturday — the first half of the walk was sunny and lovely — then a weather front bringing snow suddenly arrived and it turned grey and damp and a little raw — we didn’t see a single snowmobile — the walk was a bit strenuous but this is a stretch with such great pine tree action that it’s more than worth the effort to hike in.
Official head count: 13 hikers, three dogs
Click here to see five more photos online
Sunday March 8
Snowmobile trail, Canaan Road, Hammond Hill SF
Delightful hike on another unfamiliar snowmobile trail — until it took a very alarming turn just as we got back to the cars.
We never hike in HHSF during ski season — I pictured the place swarming with skiers and snowmobilers on a nice Sunday morning, and us having to dodge and weave to stay out of the way. Actual count: two snowmobilers, 5-6 skiers. We were warned sternly by Jack V (an active XC skier) never to walk in any ski tracks — but the walking was easiest there and I did see some hikers disobeying his stricture.
The scenery along Canaan Road is very beautiful, but the road runs steadily downhill from where we shaped up, and the walk back up in the soft snow, even though it wasn’t deep, verged on grueling, and I was dragging my ass.
Even so, it definitely beat trying to walk in the woods. The snow’s still exhaustingly deep where it’s not packed down.
Official head count: 15 hikers, five dogs.
We’d just gotten back to the cars when regular hiker Roger pulled up — he’d arrived a little late and gone to the wrong parking lot, so he’d set out with his dogs Diego and Ruby on a ski trail to try and intercept us. But then Ruby got spooked by a passing skier — with no place to step aside on the narrow ski trail, and deep snow on all sides, she kept running ahead of the skier, ignoring Roger’s calls to come back, until she disappeared in the distance still followed by the skier.
Roger searched for her by himself for an hour before he drove over to meet us. Six of us joined him in the hunt and we split up into three groups and went into the forest in different spots. I was with Tiger and Katharine and we walked for almost an hour up a main ski trail calling for the dog. We passed a group of skiers who said they’d seen the dog some distance away, so we were heartened. But as we kept walking we began to feel it was hopeless, and to get very concerned. Ruby is a small-medium very slender short-haired dog and we worried she might not be able to survive overnight in this isolated place. Finally we turned back — we’d gone back a ways, still calling — Tiger just happened to turn around for some reason — and there she was, trailing nervously behind us. She’d been missing and on the run for 2 1/2 hours.
Click here to see seven more photos online.