Thursday Oct 29
Abbott Loop, Michigan Hollow Road eastward toward Curtis Road
A lot of people hike once in a while on a a handful of familiar trails. I’d never knock it if that’s the full extent of your hiking. But I want to suggest that if you start getting out a lot more, on a very wide variety of trails, you can come to discover there’s actually another whole world of Ithaca — parallel, completely different and separate from the daily world we see driving or walking around town — far more beautiful, serene, full of fantastic subtle colors and dramatic light and shade, striking forms and patterns — all you have to do is step off the road into the woods.
I was never into drugs as a young person so I don’t have any experience getting into an altered world. But I have found that by hiking several times a week all over the place, I’ve gotten a broad feeling that there really is another Ithaca all around us, just inside the edge of the forest.
The best time of all to get into it is October, in my view — sorry if you missed it.
I was prompted to try and put this thought into words by this midweek hike — it was fabulous, just so beautiful — raining on the way to the trail head, mild and sultry, dark clouds with some sun mixed in — I like the Ithaca of houses and stores and roads well enough — but Ithaca in the woods — fabulous!
Official head count: 12 hikers, two dogs
You can see nine more photos by me online here.
You can see Annie’s online photos here — she’s started to include photos taken on the drive back home after the hike — I think some of these rural drives are the next best thing to walking in the woods for great scenery..
Do you like challenges and contests? Think you’re observant? Annie tucked a joke into the set of photos she took on our midweek hike the week before, in Yellow Barn SF — if you can find it, contact me — you get two chances — if you succeed, I’ll mention your name as a winner in our next hiker posting — we have one winner so far, Brenda
Saturday Oct 31
Abbott Loop, north leg from Michigan Hollow Road to The Pinnacles look-out, followed by a get-together at Hank’s
Another great walk-and-party in Danby to wrap up what turned out to be a two-weekend Halloween spectacular for us. Weather about the same as our pre-Halloween hike-and-party the week before except no wind this time, so it felt milder. One other difference this time — more costumes. (That’s Hank, as a Viking.)
A couple of firsts — first frost clearly visible on the shrubbery as we stepped off ….
and my first hot dog from The Piggery — better than the NYC kosher-type hot dogs I normally love, but a bit more expensive …
a great pop when you bite in, thanks to natural casings
Official head count, almost exactly the same as the week before: 25 hikers, four dogs
As promised, we made it up to The Pinnacles, though not everyone arrived in time for the official Pinnacles group shot — I fiddled with my camera settings to make sure there was enough light on the faces — so the background’s a bit bleached — but the figures pop out nicely. You can see an un-fiddled group shot in my online photos if you want to see what the background actually looked like.
The woods looked great and the temps were just right for the vigorous climbing this trail requires both going and coming. Most people chose to sit inside at Hank’s, but a group of us stayed on his deck the whole time, and it was lovely.
You can see 11 more shots by me online here
You can see Annie’s online shots here.
You can see Jack V’s online shots here.
Sunday Nov 1
Hammond Hill State Forest, Dryden
The National Weather Service released its prediction for Nov-Dec-Jan on Oct 15 — supposed to be warmer than average, with average precipitation.
These predictions are often dead wrong, but they sure predicted right for Nov 1 — spectacularly nice morning in the woods, felt like early summer — this is our traditional group shot on the way back to the cars — a number of hikers not shown — a big group broke away and raced off up the trail several minutes before our scheduled start time — the main group of us who left on time never caught up to them — I don’t like starting early myself but some hikers have a mind of their own — if you know the players, maybe you can guess who led the early charge and why from this photo
There was a big crowd of Nordic skiers doing a fall cleanup of the ski trails while we were hiking, but this state forest is so big and sprawling we hardly saw any of them — I didn’t see any NWS predictions for snowfall — I’m sure the skiers want a repeat of last winter — please not
I thought the leaves might be mainly fallen here because of the high elevation, but there was lots of beautiful color left and the trails really looked great.
Official head count: 31 hikers, seven dogs
We’ve now entered the infamous three cloudiest months in CNY — I know some people get depressed by the low light — if it’s any consolation, we have an excellent hiking program coming up — it’s very cheerful in the woods with our group even on a dark day.
You can see eight more photos by me online here
You can see Jack V’s photos here