Report to Hikers: week of Oct 19-Oct 25

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Hello Hikers!


Wednesday Oct 21

Yellow Barn SF, Dryden

Yellow Barn SF 106

It’s always fun when something unexpected suddenly breaks the routine of a hike — provided it’s not something bad, of course — we were walking through this lovely state forest on a woods road when we came upon a hunters’ platform about 20 feet up in a huge tree — up scrambled Norm — way to go …. but he’s a younger guy, so how impressive is that really? — then, up went Gopi — OK, that’s impressive …. she’s 75 — the rest of us greatly enjoyed the show
Yellow Barn SF 098

Not quite sure who the climbers are? Here’s a view of them from the other side
Yellow Barn SF 056

I like to come to Yellow Barn SF in particular in October because there’s a large area of bright yellow leaves that I can count on every year — I love the intense luminous glow the leaves cast onto the trail.
Yellow Barn SF 140

We were walking along the edge of a field when we started to feel something like spider webs or cobwebs getting in our hair and on our faces and eye glasses — it was tiny whitish worms dangling on threads at head level from the trees — first time I ever saw this strange sight.

If you look at the hike photos regularly you can’t help notice there’s certain hikers who show up at basically every hike — these are our super-regulars, and it’s distressing to the rest of us when one of them has to stop hiking for health reasons — our super-regular Brenda had to stay home for more than three weeks after some minor surgery — she was finally able to get back out with us

It started to rain on our way back to the cars — we pretty much all had brought rain gear but it was so mild and the rain had such a sweet, lovely quality, half of us chose to leave the rain coats off —  a fantastic morning, and I was sorry when the hike wrapped up

Yellow Barn SF 078Official head count: 15 hikers, five dogs

You can see 11 more photos online by me here.

You can see Annie’s online photos here


Saturday Oct 24

Abbott Loop, south leg up to Bald Hill Road, followed by a get-together at Hobit’s

Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 122

Great atmospheric morning for a hike up my favorite trail — chilly, dark and blustery outside the shelter of the trees ….

…. not quite so pleasant for sitting around outside at Hobit’s get-together afterwards — only a hard core of us stayed out in the yard — we got to see a very impressive display of tumbling by Hobit’s athletic 15-year-old son Jake, who does flips on the trampoline and off the deck — he was clearly energized by the cool conditions – he’s working up to do a double flip
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 040

This leg of the Abbott Loop is extremely shady in summer but it really opens up beautifully at this time of year, and you can clearly see how delightful the terrain is — a lot of the leaves were down and they made for a fantastic bright carpet
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 045

Here we are in the boggy area I like so much — it was unusually dry, almost no mud, streams barely running — looked like some of the fallen trees that litter the area were cleaned up — I hate to say it but it wasn’t as much fun for me — a little too sanitized — I love it when the streams are full and the mud is thick
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 067

The main group of us didn’t try to get up to The Pinnacles look-out, but a small group of speedy hikers did go all the way — they got back in about 2 hours 10 minutes, and they said they could have done it faster

One hiker wore a (very minimalist) Halloween costume — very amusing to those of us who know him
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 019

…. tin foil hat …..
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 110

Official head count: 23 hikers, four dogs
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 136

I was one of the few hikers who stayed outside at Hobit’s the whole time — the secret to doing this is to wear two coats and two hats at once — great selection of hot dogs and Italian sausage — lots of people were inside, and the food was reportedly great there, but I didn’t venture in until I was leaving
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 130

We were happy to get our first view in weeks of another regular hiker who’s been knocked off the trail for medical reasons, Dave B — mugging with my favorite hiker ….
Abbott Loop, south leg to Bald Hill Road 150

You can see eight more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos of the hike here


Sunday Oct 25

Bock Harvey Forest Preserve, Enfield

Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 066

It’s not hard to start feeling sad when you hike around Ithaca, if you begin to notice the rocky, muddy, barren-looking soils, and you become aware of the hit-and-miss rainfall, and then you think of the generations of farmers and their families who tried to squeeze a living from this inhospitable combination.
Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 040

I used to think about this in general, and feel glad all those struggling local farmers evidently were able to find some more productive way to make a living. Then Dave B started hiking with us a year ago, and suddenly we had a real-life example in our group. Dave grew up working with his dad on what’s now the Bock Harvey Forest Preserve — you can clearly see the land’s not that great for farming — there are a small number of very prosperous dairy farms in Tompkins County but Dave said his family farm wasn’t one of those — in Dave’s case, he managed to move on from cutting hay and attending cows to become a highly successful author of college-prep math textbooks and study guides.

Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 089
I expect there are similar stories connected with all the beautiful trails we walk on that used to be farms and are now woods — we’re always coming on old stone walls or excavations or even patches of grass that used to be farmsteads — I hope those people managed to move as successfully as Dave did from such a demanding and precarious life. Anyway, their loss is now our gain.
Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 120

(If you think the farm sector is looking good in Tompkins because of all the artisanal farms starting up, you’re mistaken. There’s an interesting survey of the ag sector here published just this summer. Only 125 farms in the county had more than $40,000 in annual sales in the most recent survey. Only 213 had sales of more than $10,000.)

Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 167
Aside from melancholy thoughts of a hard farming past, we had a great hike here — more fabulous atmospherics — rain on the way to the trail head, gloomy, 10 degrees warmer than Saturday — the leaves looked wonderful

Official head count:  27 hikers, four dogs

Bock Harvey Nature Preserve 111

There’s a new outhouse built here over the summer, open to the air — here’s Margaret demonstrating it — just pretending, of course — that’s Dennis and Leigh-Ann standing guard — photo totally faked, but I like it anyway.

You can see 11 more photos by me online here.
You can see Annie’s photos online here.


More photos:

Sheep:  Annie and Margaret encountered a big herd of sheep on their way home from our recent hike at Virgil Creek dam.  Includes a video!

Four Corners:  New regular hikers Mark and Ellie recently went hiking in the Four Corners area of the southwest.  There are a lot of shots  —  you really get a thorough idea of what it looks like out there