Report to Hikers: week of Feb 12-Feb 18


Hello Hikers!


Monday Feb 12

This was an extra hike for us  —  I scheduled it in a mistaken belief Feb 12 was a national holiday

Yellow Barn SF, Freeville  —  snowmobile trails

Normally a snowmobile trail makes for an excellent walking surface when snow conditions are otherwise bad, but not this time.  The surface was frozen solid and treacherously slippery, and full of little ruts and bumps; there were even frozen deep horse hoofprints.

The group was very fragmented by the end.  Several people turned back early and others fell behind.  We came upon this beautiful dark pine woods almost back at the cars and I couldn’t resist trying a group shot, even if the group was small.

Official head count:  14H, four D


Wed Feb 14

Shindagin Hollow SF, Braley Hill Road  —  snowmobile trail heading west  —  followed by Valentine’s party at Steve and Diane’s in Ellis Hollow

The snowmobile trail was much more walkable two days later, softer on top and not so bumpy  —  we spent the whole walk in the thick woods  —  the scenery was slightly monotonous and bland, but very atmospheric

Here’s what passed for excitement:

I sent Gopi into the snow to get a shot of how deep it was  —  she began ragging on me and the hikers found it amusing

We detoured onto an active logging road for a while in hopes of seeing the site of the logging operation itself  —  this road surface was much worse  —   it turned into a bit of a grind so we turned back without reaching our goal.

One mishap  —  Vicki suddenly broke through the snow without any warning  —  she went sprawling but I didn’t choose to get a photo of that  —  here she is demonstrating the depth of the hole  —  probably could have hurt herself if she’d been unlucky

Nice walk, very low key and relaxed

Official hike head count:  16H, three D

We had a delightful Valentine’s party  —  I ate a very weird mix of things  —  my stomach was griping ominously after I got home

Toward the end of the get-together, there was an announcement that one of the couples was about to mark their 50th wedding anniversary.  Everyone knew about this beforehand except the couple, who’d been kept uninformed.

PJ, who loves to bake, made a huge commemorative fudge (in a cake pan), and the hikers gave the couple a $300 gift card raised from the group.

This is the long-enduring couple:

Those in the know may recognize Tiger (and that’s her mom).

Thanks so much to all the hikers who put money into the gift  —  it was much too generous.  We were very very touched

Official head count at the party:  22




Saturday Feb 17

Road walk  —  Hosenfeld Road and Carley Road, Odessa, Schuyler County

Official head count:  20H, three D

More photos:

Jack V


Sunday Feb 18

Farm road walk  —  Fairfield Road and Barden Road, Candor, Tioga County

We didn’t manage to escape slippery walking conditions after all.  The road at the meet-up hadn’t been plowed clean of the overnight snow  —  the Candor town crew threw down cinders instead of salt  —  there were lots of slick spots  —  one hiker who got a knee replacement in the fall turned back immediately out of caution  —  another hiker fell, but in a slow, controlled and graceful way and there was no damage

Bleak atmospherics but quite beautiful IMO

When we got back to the cars I walked into the woods for a pit stop  —  there was a solid sheet of ice with about two inches of soft powder on top  —  didn’t feel very stable

Later in the day I saw an e-mail on the nordic ski list-serv  —  near Kennedy SF in Virgil, one of our best hikes, there was 2″-4″ of new snow on top of 4″-6″ old snow  —  we’ll need to see a lot of melting this week before we can get back out into the deep woods.

Official head count:  22H, eight D

More photos:

Jack V