Report to Hikers: Part 2, week of Dec 28-Jan 3

Hello Hikers!


Saturday Jan 2

Bald Hill Road to Thatcher’s Pinnacles, Danby SF
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 063          Click here to see a version of this photo online
For years I thought it was completely wimpy to park 2/3 of the way up the long hill to this great look-out, rather than do the full hike from the valley below — well, I’ve seen the light — now I love being able to bypass all the intermediate huffing and puffing, and just zip straight up to the Pinnacles
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 044          Click here to see a version of this photo online
There’s too much vegetation blocking the full view from the top for much of the year now, but it’s fabulous in winter, especially with a little snow on the ground — I really like the effect of the distant hills in the background — looks a bit like a stage set to me — this is our senior hiker, Eckhart — I have similar shots of two other super-regulars, Steve S and Jack V, in my online album
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 035          Click here to see a version of this photo online
Our walk had a nice bleak quality — some nasty frozen spots on Bald Hill Road that were quite slippery — otherwise, the snow cover was fluffy and we had an easy time of it.
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 123          Click here to see a version of this photo online
The trail between Bald Hill Road and the Pinnacles is part of the Abbott Loop, and the scenery along much of the way is among the most atmospheric we see, especially with fresh snow on the pine boughs — but pretty much too dark for good photos — I’ve never been able to get a shot that came anywhere near capturing the beauty.
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 079          Click here to see a version of this photo online
The weather was pleasant and we were in good spirits — this was a crew mainly of super-regulars and the conversational level was quite loud.
Thatcher;s Pinnacles 018          Click here to see a version of this photo online
Official head count: 17 hikers, two dogs

More photos online:
Jack V


Sunday Jan 3

Texas Hollow SF
Texas Hollow SF 065          Click here to see a version of this photo online
This is a decent enough walk on a nice summer day — but the hike’s really emotionally satisfying when it’s nasty out, cold with rain or snow — the woods here have a great brooding and somber quality that bad weather strongly brings out
Texas Hollow SF 059          Click here to see a version of this photo online
I never attempt landscape or nature-type photos — I try to let you see the hikers, having fun or not — the downside is that I don’t convey much sense of what the bigger picture looked like. That’s an integral part of any hike that I ignore — but our nature photographers do a great job of documenting that.
Texas Hollow SF 084          Click here to see a version of this photo online
We were supposed to have just some minor snow flurries in the morning, but it snowed pretty much the whole time, and it was wonderfully dark. I loved the lighting — as long as the hikers were out in the open.
Texas Hollow SF 080          Click here to see a version of this photo online
In fact, most of this walk is under the trees — but I’ve pretty much given up trying to get shots there on dark winter days while I’m wearing multiple mittens and it’s almost impossible to make camera adjustments while stumbling along on slippery ups and downs.
Texas Hollow SF 092          Click here to see a version of this photo online
You can see that no one walked on the boardwalk in this shot — this is where the bees were living that stung several of our ladies last summer — people have now created a path off to the side and I guess no one trusts the boardwalk now even when the bees aren’t around.

Two minor news items:
1) There’s a big coyote den right off the trail — I can never remember where it is but regular hiker Bud does — he reported seeing something furry moving around — we decided not to tell everyone for fear they’d cluster around talking excitedly and scare off whatever coyote was living inside
2) Dave B, our Mr Connecticut Hill who’s been on the injured list for months, made his first serious hike with us since he had a major ankle repair surgery — he made it pretty far before turning back — he sais he has two months’ more rehab work to do.
Texas Hollow SF 018          Click here to see a version of this photo online
Official head count:  27 hikers, five dogs

More photos online:
Jack V


If you’ve been waiting for Annie’s photos from New Year’s Day, click here


I want to give a special shout-out to a former hiker, now inactive, who came to our New Year’s Day tailgate party. She hasn’t hiked with us in some time, and she doesn’t know many of our current regulars, who joined us after she’d left the trail. She’s Marjorie O, who was part of the nucleus of the Ithaca Hikers when Tiger and I got involved in mid-2004. The group was very small, and there weren’t very many really avid hikers among them, so the turnout was often quite small (we did just one hike a week then, on Sundays). I would have given up trying to organize hikes if the attendance had continued so low for very long, but Marjorie began a very effective campaign to recruit a large number of people to at least try out the group from among her huge circle of friends and acquaintances. Tiger and I had moved here without knowing a single person in Ithaca, so Marjorie’s effort was invaluable. She pumped a large number of people into the group — most didn’t last, but there was a sense of momentum and growth — word of mouth began to spread — we started to catch on — today we’re surviving without her help, but she single-handedly kept us from closing down prematurely because of a lack on interest.


Our winter hot dog cook-out at Chestnut Lean-to will be Sunday Jan 31, after our regular hike. This isn’t our biggest social event of the year but it’s the most lively, IMO. We plan to have a major fire this time, guaranteed five feet high, so no one needs to worry about being cold.