Report to Hikers: week of Sept 7-Sept 13

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday Sept 9

Stevens Suspension Bridge and Cornell fields, Forest Home

Stevens Suspension Bridge 123

10th day of the great September heat wave** …. forecast to hit 89, and it did, in the afternoon

Stevens Suspension Bridge 038

We set off early to beat the worst of the heat  —  followed just about the easiest trail we could.

We loafed along Fall Creek at the beginning and end, taking a very leisurely pace

Stevens Suspension Bridge 052

Had to do one brief uphill climb — spent the rest of the hike in the big Cornell fields up on the bluffs along the north side of the creek

Stevens Suspension Bridge 145

The heat-beating strategy paid off surprisingly well (it also helped a lot that the sun was out very weakly) and we had a lot of fun and didn’t overheat

Stevens Suspension Bridge 027

Official head count: 11 hikers, three dogs

**The average temperature for Sept 1-Sept 10 was 11 degrees above normal  —  the highest for Ithaca for the first 10 days of the month since record-keeping began (source: “Daily Data,” the Ithaca Climate Page)

You can see eight more photos by me online here.



Saturday Sept 12

Comfort Road to Smiley Hill Road, Danby

Chestnut Lean-to 072

Great atmospheric morning in Danby SF, mild, damp and grey, with a rain storm right over the horizon that was predicted to hit us

Chestnut Lean-to 052

Normally we don’t see anyone else on the trail, or at most two-three people — this time we hit two big groups, these young men sleeping out under the trees, and a group of primarily young women from Cornell who camped at the Chestnut Lean-to and shared a bit of the walk with us down to Michigan Hollow Road. Seeing the guys spread out under the trees brought back memories, and reinforced my intention never to sleep out in the woods again,

Chestnut Lean-to 060

This trail takes us over Michigan Creek at Diane’s Crossing — as I say in the boilerplate description of this hike online, I always imagine jumping into the water here and and gliding blissfully around through the picturesque tall grasses — forget that — the water level was extremely low from the drought, and the creek was revealed to be only a few inches deep.

Chestnut Lean-to 054

There’s been major logging by the state DEC along this route recently, and the crews don’t make any effort to beautify the results — I know many hikers don’t like to see this — our occasional Wednesday hiker Gary M led one of his Tuesday evening hikes for Cayuga Trails Club here recently and lamented the destruction they saw in his hike report:

“The loggers have been active here; we saw a pretty wide swath of clear cut, and the logger’s roads into and out of their work area. The aftermath of logging is devastating to the forest, with all the mature trees down or gone, and it is a hard reality for those of us who question its necessity. Our state forests are not parks and “recreation,” (hiking) is secondary to harvesting resources like timber.”

I actually don’t mind this logging activity myself — for one thing, it thins out the woods and lets in some light — a bit like a fire, I think

It started to rain very lightly about five minutes before we got back to the cars.

Chestnut Lean-to 024

Official head count: 14 hikes, five dogs

You can see six more photos by me online here



Sunday Sept 13

Jim Schug Trail eastward into Cortland County on the FLT

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 109

Our good luck with the weather held for another day, and the rain that was falling in the area missed us again (it did rain during hike-time closer to town, at the airport and Cornell’s Game Farm Road weather station)

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 095

Instead we had another great fall-like morning, cool, damp and atmospheric — a lot of the hikers wore jackets — Norm had on yellow lobster-fisherman overalls to go with his usual yellow boots, a very cheerful touch — in fact, the huge field wasn’t all that wet

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 179

I love everything about this hike — so many great vistas and picturesque scenes — this one is on the back side of the hill we have to cross — the valley always feels so wonderfully peaceful to me — of course I realize that’s just romantic projection on my part

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 122

A good part of this hike is in the woods, but they’re generally quite dark and not conducive to photos except for people standing around …. a little of this goes a long way

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 043

Here’s a shot of where we meet up — you can see some of the horses who live there in the background — there’s also goats

Jim Schug Trail eastward on the FLT 082

Official head count: 19 hikers, three dogs

You can see eight more photos by me online here.