Report to Hikers: Part 1, week of Jan 18-Jan 24

Hello Hikers!


Wednesday Jan 20

Chestnut Lean-to, Danby SF
Chestnut Lean-to 114          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
I’m posting this report on Wednesday’s hike ahead of time in order to get the ball rolling on our hot dog cook-out coming up next Sunday. We did the hike in to the lean-to for our midweek hike so we could collect enough wood for the fire, which I’ve learned from experience is the most important item in a winter cook-out.
Chestnut Lean-to 128          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
At the first cook-out we had, two years ago, the fire was too small and we were a little chilly. Last year we had a big fire but we started it too late and it didn’t get really blazing until we were wrapping up. This year I’m advertising a fire guaranteed to be five feet high, and we’re going to start it early so it will be just right when we gather.
Chestnut Lean-to 090          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
We thought we might have to do some extensive foraging for firewood, but the state DEC has done a great deal of tree-cutting in the area near the lean-to in the last year, and a lot of the wood has been left lying around, so there was actually a tremendous supply for us, though it required sawing. We had a number of saws with us and we managed to produce a huge amount of good-sized logs. We hid most of the cut wood a ways off in the woods to be sure no one camps out between now and the cook-out date and spots our logs and burns them.
Chestnut Lean-to 072          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
If your idea of a great outdoor get-together is to sit alongside a pool while a waiter hands you a drink, you won’t like the cook-out. But if you like a little challenge mixed in, this event is fantastic. The hike in from the cars is short, about 20 minutes, but there are several lively ups and downs along the way that will get you warmed up. If the snow is deep, we’ll have our snowshoe team walk in at the front of the line to pack the trail down into a solid base (we did this last year). We’ll have a two-hour walk as usual for those interested, but if you just want to come for the cook-out, by all means do it.
Chestnut Lean-to 085          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
The lean-to’s in an idyllic setting and it’s especially pretty with snow. You can get inside the open part of the lean-to if you want shelter, though no one has done this to date. There are rustic benches around the fire, and we cut some large stumps to use as stools. With the fire blasting away, it’s really quite pleasant. I’ll give details about the food next week — there’s no need to pre-order anything — just show up and you’ll find a hot dog waiting for you.
Chestnut Lean-to 031          Click here to see a copy of this photo online
We had a lot of fun cutting and gathering the firewood on Wednesday’s hike. It didn’t seem like work with everyone pitching in.
Official head count: 16 hikers and Yoda

More photos online:


Jack V