Report to Hikers: Week of June 22-June 28

Hello Hikers!


Wednesday June 24

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

Ellis Hollow NP 023

Wonderful cool dark morning after three days of oppressive warmth  —  any summer morning where you need to wear a jacket is wonderful by definition, in my book  —  you can see Virginia in the background also wearing our newest fashion item, the EMS insect veil  —

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….  and here’s the full-body version (that’s me inside)  —  in fact it wasn’t actually buggy this morning so I didn’t try out the suit in action  —

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The walk through this nature preserve is in heavy shade pretty much every step of the way, and it gives you a great deep-forest experience

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But now we extend the hike by walking across Ellis Hollow Creek Road into a big field that leads us over to a beautiful meandering creek scene  —  I just love the moment of stepping into a field of early-summer tall grass and weeds  —  though I don’t advise it if you’re a big worrier about ticks.

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Official head count:  17 hikers, eight dogs (better shot pf Virginia in her insect veil)



Saturday June 27

Treman State Park on the Finger Lakes Trail

Stevens Suspension Bridge 007

Our hikers’ luck held once again and we managed to dodge a big rainstorm poised right over the horizon that was supposedly going to clobber us.  It was raining on the way to the trail head, but it slowed way down by the time we stepped off, and we could hardly feel any rain at all under the trees.  I left my camera in the car thinking it might get wet but I wish I’d brought it because it was gorgeous in the woods.  This is a beautiful trail and it looked really spectacular in the gloom  —  the green was intense.  Annie left her big camera behind too but she got some shots with her iPhone  —  here’s one showing the greenery.  I firmly believe the best hikes happen when it’s getting ready to storm or it’s raining a little  —  this one was a perfect example.  Just one downside  —  very buggy, worst mosquitoes we’ve had this year  —  and I left my insect suit back in the car.

You can see all Annie’s iPhone shots online here.



Sunday June 28

Stevens Suspension Bridge, Forest Home

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More great atmospherics after an inch of rain overnight, another intensely green beautiful gloomy wet morning

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We hit lots of ponds and water, which I think is really fun to navigate  —  the golf course was soaked underfoot and we had it to ourselves

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Fall Creek was really rushing by  —  as we walked across the suspension bridge on the outbound leg it was bucking like crazy, more than it ever has before, and I was worried it had been damaged, but it seemed normal when we crossed back on the return leg.

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It rained a little toward the end of the hike but just lightly  —  some mosquitoes were out; they were biting Tiger every time we stopped but they left me alone.  The lighting was fantastic everywhere, especially on the golf course and in the pine groves, where it was almost pitch black.

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Official head count:  21 hikers, four dogs

You can see seven more shots by me online here.

Annie used her iPhone again  —  you can see her shots online here.


We now have more than 225 people who’ve signed up to get news of the Ithaca Hikers as e-mails from our web site. Most of these people haven’t ever actually hiked with us, so I’m always trying to give an idea of what to expect if any of them do decide to come out and join us. For instance, what do we talk about on the trail? Sometimes it’s birds and wildflowers and the grandchildren. But also weightier things.

This week we talked about why we’re so much worse than people in other rich countries at reading and grasping numerical issues,  Why is the younger set even worse than us older people?   (Results of the latest big international test here — I find them amazing.)

Is it bad teaching? (Lots of teachers who hike with us.) Are our teachers bright enough to do a good job? Is their pay too low to get better people?

Maybe it’s something in the nature of intelligence itself? Do you know what the experts say about intelligence, the psychometricians and cognitive scientists and educational psychologists? You might be surprised. Check it out — Wikipedia summaries of an American Psychological Association report, and a survey of 1020 experts with a 65% response rate.

On Sunday, we talked about the best way to kill yourself.