Wednesday Dec 2
Cornell natural areas along Fall Creek in Forest Home — Mundy Wildflower Garden, Botanical Garden and Beebe Lake — and the Cornell Dairy Bar
We regularly hike when there’s rain in the area that might or might not hit us (usually not) — but I think this was the first time we stepped out when it was 100% clear from the radar that we’d definitely get hit — the only question was when, and how hard
I was curious whether hikers would come out when we were guaranteed to get wet, but no one seemed to mind a bit. A couple of them didn’t even wear real rain gear.
It was a lovely dark mild morning and we were able to walk for well more than an hour along Fall Creek and look around leisurely at the beautiful plantings and the delightful scenery.
You’ve probably been to the botanical garden, but how about the Mundy Wildflower Garden? it’s quite low key and somewhat tucked away …. nice atmosphere … sounds like it’s very big among native-plant types — that’s not me — I don’t pay the slightest attention to the plantings but I do really like the feeling the place has.
Tiger and I walk around Beebe Lake all the time but it seems like most of our hikers are not that familiar with it — it has an amazingly bucolic feeling for an attraction right in the middle of a university campus.
We went into the Cornell Dairy Bar for treats — started to rain while we were sitting around — it wasn’t very far back to the cars, so we didn’t get seriously wet or chilled even though it was then raining a little briskly.
Official head count: 17 hikers, one dog
You can see seven more shots byt me online here.
You can see Annie’s shots here.
You can see Jack V’s shots here.
Saturday Dec 5
Jim Schug Trail, Dryden, with a stop at Hopshire Brewery in Freeville on the way home
Another mild morning, and an amusing break from our normal routine of ups and downs through the woods on lumpy paths.
This four-mile long rail trail has a wonderful open feeling, especially when the leaves are down — water on at least one side for most of the way, and deep views into the rolling fields and hills and farmlands that make this part of southeast Dryden so distinctive.
Dryden Lake takes up a lot of space — seems almost like it could be a resort with this little viewing platform here. There’s also beautiful swamps and extensive streams running through brushy areas — I wish I’d been a kid with such a fabulous place to play in.
The prospect of a completely flat walk brought out two regulars who’ve been on the injured-hiker list for a while, Steve S and Dave, and it was fun to have them back with us — they managed to finish about half the hike — both reported they were a little fatigued afterwards. For the rest of us, the walk was a piece of cake — I took the photo above at the end of the walk — do you see any signs of fatigue in the group?
Official head count: 27 hikers, three dogs.
Hopshire is midway between Dryden and NTSEG on Route 13, just right for a stop-off on the way back from hiking in the eastern part of the county — it’s very low key and relaxed — the dogs can come in, and they hover under the table eagerly badgering everyone for crackers and pretzels.
You can see nine more photos by me online here
You can see Annie’s shots here.
You can ee Jack V’s shots here.
Sunday Dec 6
Monkey Run Natural Area, south side of Fall Creek
Gorgeous sun-drenched morning along one of our most beautiful trails
Some picturesque frost and frozen mist on the way to the meet-up, but the temps rose fast and it was in the balmy mid-40s when we wrapped it up
There’s a few spots along the trail that are shady even when the leaves are down, like this dramatic pine grove on the high bluffs
…. but generally this walk is bright everywhere on a sunny day without leaves, especially when the sun’s so low in the sky
We had a special hiker with us — you may remember Boomer, who fell off the cliff here a while back and had to be rescued from the creek 100 feet below by the fire department — this was his first time back to the scene of the accident — he stayed on the leash the whole time on this walk — I didn’t notice any signs he had any bad memories of the accident when he arrived at the spot
Official head count: 37 hikers, seven dogs — one hiker arrived after we’d set off — tried to catch us but went in the wrong direction — didn’t connect until the last 15 minutes — but she said she’d had a great hike anyway looking for us
You can see eight more photos by me online here.
We’re having trouble with the photo-sharing page where our nature photogs Annie and Jack V post their hike shots — neither one put anything up — I’ll send a link to their photos from this hike next time.