Wednesday Feb 17
Road walk, Hill Road and Curtis Road, South Danby
We got into hiking along deserted country roads a year ago when the snow in the woods was too deep to hike there. I’d never done it seriously before and I immediately loved walking on a picturesque rural road just as much as hiking in a forest. This year we obviously don’t have a snow-depth problem but I’ve been eager for a road walk anyway.
To be great, a road walk should have all of the following, IMO: Rolling terrain — long views — mix of farms, fields and woods — mix of active farms and decayed ones — basically no traffic — and horses. I also like local dogs that run out to engage with us, but not all the hikers appreciate that. This walk had everything but the dogs.
We had a little excitement beforehand — a mess of slush, ice and wintery mix until shortly before hike time — we had some chitchat online about what to do — could have been nasty, and it held down attendance; several hikers said afterwards they assumed the roads would be awful — in fact, our roads were neatly plowed and easy to walk on.
A road with open stretches can be windy but this one wasn’t bad and the temperature was pretty mild — dramatically cloudy and then the sub peeked through near the end to spectacular effect.
I’m a sucker for old barns and I thought this one would make a great photo backdrop — we have two regular Dennises, Good Dennis and Bad Dennis — I liked how this scene with the dark area worked out — Good Dennis looking a little bit Bad —
…. a second later the background looked entirely different and he was smiling sweetly.
Official head count: Eight hikers and Yoda
More photos online:
Saturday Feb 20
Stevens Suspension Bridge, Cornell fields, Fall Creek bluffs and Park Park, Forest Home
When it’s 50 and the sun is dazzling and the snow is melting under your feet, you don’t need me to tell you it was a great morning
This is one of our easiest hikes — just one uphill — the rest is all beautiful flats
Maybe on a different day we’d want to rush along trying to get warm, but it was so fantastic out, we pretty much dawdled quite a bit, just soaking up the fantastic sensation of a spring day
I thought the light had a special quality, probably a combination of reflection from the snow and from the stunning blue of the sky
Official head count: 27 hikers, six dogs
You can see more photos online by me here
Sunday Feb 21
Woodard Road NW to Hines Road, Enfield
Second wonderful morning in a row on the trail — more or less made up for missing both hikes last weekend
The snow was gone from some areas under the trees but a couple of inches deep in other spots, making for a very pleasing variety — upper thirties the whole time — nice gloomy quality to the light, very atmospheric
This walk is always a little challenging and it was more strenuous than usual because the snow was soft and a bit slippery — a lot of us were wearing microspikes — not really necessary but they give a nice sense of security
It just so happens you can completely bypass the lively ups and downs on the return leg of the walk by taking a level shortcut on the road — seems like we always lose a number of hikers at this point — of course each and every one always has a great excuse for needing to get back sooner
Just before we turn around, the trail brings us to a large and striking conference and party center for rent out in the middle of nowhere — I never manage to get it into a photo with the hikers — it’s off to the left in this shot ….
…. and off to the left in this shot — unfortunately our two nature photogs were both out of town all weekend so there’s no shot of it you can see this time
Official head count: 24 hikers, four dogs
You can see nine more photos by me online here