Wednesday July 1
Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve, Enfield
This is a beautiful 50-acre piece of land that includes an old-growth sugar maple forest and was donated to the public by our own Dave B (in the red shirt below) and family in 2013.
This was out first hike out here and I was very curious to see it because of the great reputation the forest has in tree circles — Dave said it’s regarded as the best stand of trees of its type in the state.
I was vaguely expecting lots of enormous tree trunks but maples actually don’t get that big around — some of the trees here are 400 years old but you’d never guess it from looking at them. I’m more of a pine tree person myself but this is definitely a wonderful place to hike. I love the huge field that’s part of the preserve — Dave said he did haying here as a boy — there are wide mowed paths that make traversing the field a real pleasure.
Official head count: 23 hikers, six dogs.
A construction crew from Cayuga Trails Club had just finished a new lean-to and outhouse here and we were the first group to see them — we had a snack at the lean-to and I got a photo of the outhouse — it’s open to the sky, which I really like, since I imagine that will help hold down infestation by vermin.
This place is a lot of fun and we’ll come back here when the leaves are turning and have lunch and a fire at the new lean-to.
You can see seven more shots I took on this hike here.
Saturday July 4
Coffee get-together at Hilary’s and hike at Monkey Run North
I thought the rain that started before dawn would slip a little south of us by hike time — it did, for a little while — then it resumed — no matter, it was gorgeous out and we had a great morning.
One downside — it was probably the worst mosquito hike we’ve had — Tiger had sprayed bug spray directly onto her face before we stepped off, but apparently she’d missed her eyelids, and the mosquitoes bit her savagely there — one eye was greatly swollen when we wrapped up — I’m not so delectable — I didn’t use any repellent and I got just a few bites on my hands.
We made the hike into a loop this time by coming home across the huge fields — insects not so bad out in the open.
The sun came out as we were finishing up — for some reason, I associate July Fourth with midwestern cornfields — this corn patch across Hanshaw Road from Hilary’s house made for a perfect finale for me — looks just like a gorgeous morning in Iowa.
Official head count: 16 hikers, four dogs. Six more hikers came to the coffee visit but didn’t hike.
You can see nine more photos online here.
Sunday July 5
Robinson Hollow SF, Tioga County
I wanted to be a farmer when I was a kid — the next best thing now is to hike off a road like Robinson Hollow where there are farm buildings and equipment and livestock — there are always chickens crowing at this trailhead and I love the mood that sets.
This is one of our leafiest, shadiest hikes in summer — we basically leave the sun behind as soon as we step off the road, and we don’t really see it again until we emerge from the woods two hours later.
That makes for great hiking in warm weather, but if you prefer trails with views or at least an open feeling, you might find this one a little confining. I like the deep-woods mood myself — there’s plenty to look at up close, the dappled light and the patterns of the leaves — there were birds singing away the whole time — I don’t bother trying to take photos in the gloom, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Here’s one action shot I got.
The extreme sun-and-shade effects make the camera do weird things — here’s a shot of two of our ladies coming out of the gloom — Iris is in focus — Liz, just a step or two behind, looks like a Picasso painting.
I was looking through the photos afterwards and I noticed this fashion moment I’d completely overlooked on the trail — Leigh-Ann and Jeff look like they coordinated their hiking clothes — I’m 99% sure that didn’t happen — but Leigh-Ann is a social psychology professor so there’s a 1% chance she did orchestrate this as a psychology experiment,
Official head count: 21 hikers, four dogs — almost no mosquitoes.