We did four hikes this week, all road walks in order to avoid the choppy snow and ice in the woods.
Monday March 23
Braley Hill Road and Chestnut Road, Caroline
This was a special hike to make up for the disappointment of not being able to hike Sunday because of bad weather.
We walked in the wide picturesque valley that slopes up into Shindagin Hollow SF from the north. There’s a wonderful feeling of openness, but it was cold (13) and we were completely exposed to a sharp north wind — this was a group of our most cold-hardy hikers, but even so, several of them got uncharacteristically chilled this time.
We’re increasingly hitting scattered patches of ice as the snow season winds down — one minute you need shoe traction, the next the traction is slowing you down — I love YakTrax and microspikes but I find them pretty much impossible to put on and pull off by myself — so I identified completely with Brenda here needing help to get hers off — we walked up a snowmobile trail for a while and that was really treacherous in a few spots — one hiker fell down three times in quick succession
The valley was dead quiet on a Monday morning — one car, one snowplow — many lovely and peaceful views — official head count: Nine hikers, two dogs
Part of the walk took us through the northern end of the state forest — it’s always gorgeous here and it was really beautiful with a dusting of fresh snow — though more treacherous ice in a few spots.
Click here to see seven more shots online.
Wed March 25
Station Road and Brown Road, Danby
Quite a bit milder and a lovely slight feeling of spring in the air two days later — another great mix of scenery, from masses of brooding pines to sweeping open views
Again, basically no traffic — couple of brief encounters with dogs excited by the group of strangers
Station Road begins in Danby SF near the access trail to the Pinnacles Look-out, and runs down the steep hillside to Route 34-96 in the valley below. The first part of our walk, in the state forest, was extremely picturesque, with great pine tree action.
One curiosity: We passed several large areas of rock cut that I thought were quite appealing as a backdrop for some photos — pale rocks on one side of the road ….
darker ones on the other side of the road ….
such are the low-key pleasures of walking on unfamiliar country roads. Official head count: Eight hikers, one dog.
Click here to see six more shots online
Saturday March 28
Comfort Road from Bald Hill Road to Gunderman Road, Danby
Back to winter! 15 and snowing at the trail head, fresh snow on the ground, a raw wind gusting from the north into our faces ….
…. notwithstanding, we had a great morning — the snow soon stopped and the sun came out a little and the wind was at our backs pushing us along on the return leg
…. horses, chickens — delightful walk — we went by Ithaca Beer Co on the way home — first ones through the door as it opened at noon — I ate a huge amount of french fries ….
Click here to see six more photos online
Sunday March 29
Layen Road, Gunderman Road and Jersey Hill Road, Danby
Fast forward into spring! 24 hours after our frigid wintery hike on Saturday, we had a beautiful mild morning on the northern part of the Comfort Road corridor — spring birds singing sweetly in the scrubby fields, sun shining brightly, no wind in the face — lambs cavorting in a pasture — we even saw some kind of horned steer ….
I’d never been on part of this route before and it felt a little like we were somewhere far away from Ithaca, like Iowa, which I drove across 50 years ago — huge vistas and rolling hills and flat plains — I can’t actually remember what Iowa was like so I’m just going on impressions — anyway, more fantastic scenery — and a wonderful feeling of more lovely mornings soon to come
It’s oddly fatiguing to walk on a road for two hours straight — you really start to feel it where your lower body joins your trunk, in your upper buttocks and hips and groin-thigh connectors — you might assume our woodland trails would be more challenging, but they’re actually easier to walk on.
We hit more traffic than on any other of the road walks we’ve done this year, which surprised me — but it still wasn’t much and it trickled off pretty soon — maybe people going to church ….?
Official head count: 19 hikers, four dogs.
Click here to see seven more shots online