Report to Hikers: week of June 20-June 26


News flash:  We’ll have a holiday weekend get-together in Freeville on Sunday July 3 on the way home from our regular hike.  Swimming, beer and snacks under the trees.  Stay tuned.


Hello Hikers!

Wednesday June 22

Road walk, dairy farm area between Freeville and McLean west of Fall Creek Road

R0099416R0099476Another in our series of road walks in unfamiliar rural neighborhoods  —  this neighborhood turned out to be spectacular, spread out across the flat top of a hill with distant views in all directions  —  the morning weather was incredibly nice  —  the walk quickly became one of the best we’ve done in some years

R0099412 (2)We often see cows standing around in a field outside an old barn on the way to our various hikes, but this dairy farm is in a different league  —  basically just a number of huge open sheds scattered around, all looking very crisp and tidy

R0099430A little smell of manure near the sheds but not really that bad considering how many cows we saw


R0099488A great feeling of being on the open road at the top of the world  —  so beautiful there was (momentarily) absolutely nothing to worry about

R0099425I doubt many groups of walkers pass by this farm  —  one of the hikers claimed she saw some of the cows looking at us with an expression on their faces that said, “We want to be out on the road with you!”

R0099463Road walks have several advantages over walking in the woods  —  one big one is that it’s much easier to socialize  —  our guys were really having a blast chatting away

R0099482 (2)

Most of our walk was through open areas but we did hit a few wooded spots  —  important if you need to make a pit stop

Official head count:  18H, two D

You can see more photos by me online here


Saturday June 25

The Saddle, Connecticut Hill WMA

R0099631R0099642When we have a hike in an out-of-the-way area like this, it might help if you spend a few minutes beforehand and draw a crude little map of the directions  —  especially of the intersections you need to negotiate  —  there are often no road signs at the corners, and it’s a big help if you have a blow-up sketch showing the road geometry in detail

R0099665For whatever reason, these Connecticut Hill woods aren’t quite as dense as we get in some other areas  —  the shadows aren’t as black, we don’t get as many extreme sun-and-shade conditions  —  you can see a bit better and the woods have a lovely luminous quality on a sunny day

R0099681We hit several areas that smelled intensely sweet, and some that had a delightful light piney smell, made more spicy by the very dry conditions.  The last leg of the drive to and from the meet-up, on Tower Road, was churned up into such an incredibly dusty mess by the cars you actually had trouble seeing.

R0099702Most of our Connecticut Hill hikes are on ski trails  —  these trails used to be marked with widely spaced little markers but these have been taken down, apparently by the state, which doesn’t really like the trails  —  the result now is that the trails are completely unmarked and obscure  —  if Dave B had, say, suddenly sprained his ankle, we would have been lost in the wilderness  —  I doubt any of us could have picked out the route we’d taken in

R0099708Official head count:  28H, three D  —  two more hikers were nearby but they couldn’t figure out the roads so they missed the hike

R0099711Dave’s extremely conscientious and organized about leading us around in this wild area  —  he walks the trail a few days beforehand, for instance, something Tiger and I never do  —  he also likes to clock the hike with a stop watch  —  he’s really superb at pacing  —  our hikes are theoretically supposed to last two hours  —  he brought us in in two hours and one second

Check out Jack V’s shots online here.


Sunday June 26

Stevens Suspension Bridge, Forest Home, east into Monkey Run Natural Area

R0099751Definitely too warm  —  but we managed to have a wonderful hike anyway

R009980380 when we reached the big Cornell fields on the bluff  — could have been really oppressive but there was a little breeze and it wasn’t very humid  —  great summer feeling

R0099828Just enough shade along the edge of the Fall Creek gorge across Freese Road

R0099833R0099865R009991085 by the time we got back to the cars but it felt OK  —  we actually spent a good bit of the time in deep shade  —  too dark for good photos

R0099925Official head count:  26H, three D

Check out Jack V’s shots online here