Report to Hikers: week of Jan 4-Jan 10

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday Jan 6

Potato Hill SF, Caroline

A minute or two after we set off for the trail head, Tiger noticed a “low tire pressure” warning light on the dashboard. It took a lot more time than we expected to resolve this, thanks to a series of semi-comical mishaps, and so we had to miss the hike. I regret this, because from the photos by Annie and Jack V, it looks like it was a really good one. Annie prepared a report for everyone, and Brenda added more info. I asked Annie and Jack V to send me their two favorite photos, and a blurb explaining why they especially liked the shots they picked.


Annie’s report:  Today’s hike started out with a bit of a surprise. Several cars lined up on Level Green but no Hesses were to be found. We then got the word that they had car trouble and would not be hiking today. We were on our own! The first challenge was finding the trail. What I learned later was, if you were using Google Maps and its dropped pin for the meeting place, and if you stopped right where the pin dropped, you were precisely at the trail head. Of course, we were parked hither and yon so we did scramble back and forth until we got it right. Jack V. led the way through the snow covered woods, which were filled with shafts of sunlight, tall tree shadows, crunchy snow and ice. It was beautiful and we all knew that Steve and Susan would have loved it.

There is the trail head! Why didn't I notice it when I drove pass it?
          Click here to see a version of this photo online

Photo by Jack V. He chose this shot because ‘Here is the trail head! How did I drive past it without seeing it?’

Crossing Blackman Hill Road, we noticed a state trooper parked near the Hidden Driveways sign. (Of course, in my photograph, I would have liked to change the sign to read “Hidden State Trooper” but the sign was too small in the photo for a quick change by yours truly!). We were very careful to hike to the left of the power poles and driveway (especially aware of the watchful eyes of the state trooper) and up the field we climbed, entranced by bright blue skies, streaks of white clouds, and bright sun that warmed us up. The views were lovely and we were told that we were seeing Pennsylvania mountains on that clear morning.


          Click here to see a version of this photo online

Photo by Annie: “I enjoyed all the vistas we saw today but I particularly like this photo where I zoomed in on the view. I like seeing the various hills and mountains in the distance, with varying shades of blue, streaks of white clouds, with the red barn in the foreground.”

We walked through some more woods and then returned to the pasture and walked up even higher for more views. It was definitely worth the short climb and we lingered there for a while. We all enjoyed the hike back. I, for one, also like to observe things that I hadn’t seen going the other way. Those of us at the end of the group were interested to see that hikers hung around the cars for a little while before departing.”

Do you see the cat?

       Click here to see a copy of this photo online

Photo by Jack V:  “Do you see the cat?”

We all noticed, on our way in on Level Green from Route 79, that the trees were covered with ice and they glistened in the morning sun. The beauty of the ice was gone on the return trip but definitely worth remembering.”

Garnished by beech leaves
          Click here to see a copy of this photo online

Photo by Annie:  “I like this one because it captures the bright colors of our hikers as they move through the trail and the garland of brown beech leaves that hang tenaciously on their branches. I wouldn’t have known what they were if I hadn’t been for walking with Jim Rundle on a fall hike when he told me about those beech trees. I love learning things from my fellow hikers!”


And from Brenda:  “A few additional comments:  Jack V. did his best to keep us off the private driveway off Blackman Hill Road and directed us to walk in the parallel field. He reinforced this by pointing out the State Trooper waiting (lurking) to arrest non compliant hikers.
This worked and the hikers complied until our return trip when Yoda decided to walk on the driveway. Jack tried his best to inform Yoda of the error of his ways but Yoda ignored him. Due to Yoda’s small stature the Trooper probably did not see him and he evaded arrest.
Being curious about the terrain we covered on the hike I found out (googled)
that Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps worked to plant trees on Potato Hill.”

Official head count:  17 hikers, two dogs

You can see Annie’s photos here

You can see Jack V’s photos here



Saturday Jan 9

South Danby Road west to the Abbott Loop, Danby SF

So Danby Road west 033

          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
Here’s a rhetorical question. It’s supposed to be a drizzly morning, but when you step out the door to leave for the hike, it’s raining briskly. Do you: a) push ahead, or b) go back inside and plop down on the couch?
So Danby Road west 002          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
I always make Tiger push ahead, of course, but it can be a dilemma for others. In this case, it obviously worked out, but you never can predict. Halfway to the hike, the rain stopped, the sky cleared and the sun burst out — then, when we reached the trail head, it was another typical dark and gloomy winter morning …. but not raining
So Danby Road west 119          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
There was a thin coat of slushy snow, and the trail was quite wet and muddy in spots. So I want to give a shout-out to some new shoes I just got at EMS — other hikers were slipping and skidding but my shoes were extremely grippy, and I didn’t get my feet wet — list price a bit steep but Tiger got them for 1/3 off.
So Danby Road west 114          Click here to see a copy of this photo online.
Ever smash the top of your head on a log that’s fallen across the trail high up that you failed to notice? I did it once and it was very upsetting, quite painful and I briefly wondered if I’d gotten a concussion. I was talking to to a hiker behind me about Trump when he abruptly cried out — I turned around to see him rubbing his forehead and looking at a fallen log at head height. This is actually a bad trail for these head-smashing logs — this same hiker hit his head here once before, on a different log. It’s not hard to let your attention relax and bash into one of these menaces.
So Danby Road west 084          Click here to see a copy of thi photo online
Otherwise we had a great hike. Official head count: 22 hikers, three dogs

More photos online:
Jack V

Sunday Jan 10

I hate to have to cancel a hike because of rain  — half the time it ends up that we could have hiked  —  but this time it probably was the right decision  —  according to the various rainfall loggers at the Ithaca Climate Page, we got just about 1/4″ of rain between 9 and noon  —  hard enough to make hiking uncomfortable for those of us who don’t love getting soaked  —  and one hiker told me it was pouring at her house on West Hill a little before 10.