Wednesday May 6
Fischer Old Growth Forest, Newfield
I love this picturesque and atmospheric Cornell tract, but I’ve reluctantly had to put it onto the back burner for our group. The problem is, there’s not enough parking along Route 13 if we get a large turnout. I used to schedule this hike faithfully on two Sunday mornings a year — we’d usually get 20-25 people, and I was always lazy about paying attention to the parking — then, on Easter Sunday two years ago, we got 47 hikers — causing some congestion on Route 13 — I abruptly became aware I’d been negligent about this — so now I’m trying to keep our Old Growth Forest hikes small — one trick is to schedule it on a rainy morning
It rained Wednesday up until a couple of hours before hike time, and it was beautifully damp in the preserve — for whatever reason, this place reminds me of a rain forest, and I think it’s at its best right after rain — although if we get too much, the trail can become dangerously slippery on the steep ups and downs — anyway, it was fine this time
We had just about the right number of cars, 11, for parking comfortably — 12 hikers, four dogs
An adjacent landowner closed off access to a little side trail we used to go up so we could stretch this hike to the full two hours, and that was a problem for a while — but now that’s solved — Irma had the bright idea to walk more slowly and look around — maybe it sounds obvious to you, but it was a revelation to me, and it worked out delightfully
I always feel a little sad climbing up the long hill back to the cars on this walk — this really is a lovely place to spend time.
You can see six more shots from this hike by me here.
You can see Annie’s online shots here.
Saturday May 9
South Danby Road east to the Tamarack Lean-to
It was already over 70 by the time we stepped off but it was gorgeous in the pine woods, breezy and dry, and we had a wonderful walk — the bugs were swarming at the trail head but they disappeared once we got moving
We were supposed to have a picnic in the woods at the Chestnut Lean-to in another part of Danby SF, but it was almost as satisfying to sit around at the Tamarack Lean-to and then go over to Katharine’s for a back yard cook-out — I ate three hot dogs in quick succession, something I’m not accustomed to — felt weird when I got home, drank more than two quarts of ice water
Hiker fashion news:
1) Brenda and Juliana introduced a hew item to our group, scarves filled with frozen gel — adapted from an ice-filled scarf Brenda discovered for Yoda, who was wearing his for the first time. The ladies had replacement ice packs wrapped up in their backpacks. They felt the results were good.
2) I tipped over a can of beer I was resting in my lap at the cook-out without noticing right away — made a very big puddle of beer in my lap — but I was wearing EMS-brand hiking pants and the beer didn’t soak in immediately — I was able to jump up and get it out of my lap, and I actually didn’t get my underpants wet — that EMS!
Official head count: 23 hikers, eight dogs
This trail is notable for having a spring you can (theoretically) drink out of — usually we have one or two people bold enough to do it — this time we had six — Annie and Margaret, Mary, Lucy, Jim and Randy — don’t be misled by the expression on Margaret’s face, everyone said the water tasted very sweet.
You can see eight more photos by me online here
You can see photos by Annie online here.
Sunday May 10
Shindagin Hollow rim trail along the gorge
Another morning over 70 by hike time, but once again it was just right — warm enough not to care if, say, you wet your foot crossing a stream, but not warm enough to be oppressive. Swarming bugs again, but manageable.
I’m color blind so I can never appreciate wildflowers, but everyone else said this year’s trillium display was outstanding, and the extent of the flowers really is unusual.
A number of hikers were seeing this trail for the first time — it was a great day for a first visit, the light was really lovely.
Summer of love:
On the way back to the cars two young women suddenly appeared wearing long flowing dresses and with long flowing hair straight out of 1967 — they seemed exactly like throwbacks to the Summer of Love —I didn’t notice so I didn’t get a photo, but they had bare feet — they looked ethereal but their feet had to be as tough as leather — definitely an odd sight
Official head count: 18 hikers, three dogs
You can see eight more photos by me here.
You can see photos by Annie here
Sun-Mon May 3-4
Out-of-town trip to Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania
This report is by Mary W, who coordinated the trip. All the photos are by her except the group shot, which is by Norm.
“10 Ithaca Hiker’s paddled half of the Pine Creek Gorge on Monday, May 4, 2015.
The water had receded due to lack of rain before we arrived, so rafting was not an option. We each paddled our own kayaks. There were 10 Ithaca-Hiker-paddlers in all. Here are their names: Jim and Tammy Rundel, Bud Norvell (Sue Norvell did not paddle, but went sight-seeing), David and Denise Kooperman, Vicki Nuzzo, Norm Trigoboff, Hank Spencer, Rich Andersson and Mary Weiss-Andersson.
We began in Ansonia, PA at the Pine Creek Outfitters, and paddled 7 hours up-stream to Blackwell. We endured some fairly hefty headwinds, but the weather was beautiful and the creek was a delight to travel. From the beginning to the end of the day, we each independently learned to read the river and float the creek with joy and determination. Our guides were good, but several of us anticipated that we’d be given more substantial information. We were supplied with all the gear we wanted, wet suits, socks, gloves, PFD’s, etc.
Pine Creek Gorge is a hikers paradise. It begins in Ansonia and ends at the Susquehanna River in a town called Jersey Shore.
We paddled appx. half of the gorge which is about 32 miles. We stopped in Tiadaghton for a picnic lunch, which the guides provided. Some paddlers chose to take a short hike to a large waterfall before returning to our boats for the second half of our float trip. A big treat was sighting two American Bald Eagles. “
You can see five more photos by Mary here.