Report to Hikers — week of Mar 28 — Apr 3

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 30

Hike report by Jim

Boylan Road to Carter Creek Road, Connecticut Hill WMA

Nine hikers and a dog met on Boylan Rd for a first time group  hike of the blue blazed trail that runs from the seasonal part of Boylan Rd towards Carter Creek RD.

Temps were cool, but the ups and down of the trail warmed everyone up nicely.

Snowpack was minimal after the recent snowfall, with none of the deep snow and ice build- up I’d encountered on my test hike of this trail a month ago.

The blazes immediately off Boylan Rd ( directly opposite the FLT ) are barely visible, apparently due to someone attempting to destroy the blazes;  a short ways down the trailthe blazes  are almost new, which helped seeing the blazes from a distance during the hike.

The trail passed through a series of  enjoyable monoculture evergreens and mixed tree species.

Other than a couple of short sections the trail was a steady downhill almost the entire distance.

At around the hour mark into the hike the group left the trail and took a short side trail down to the streambed, where there were a series of small cataracts. Water flow volume over the small falls was very good, making conversation at a distance somewhat difficult.

After leaving the streambed the group bushwhacked to the near-by Hulford Rd, which we walked back to our cars.

The group arrived at our cars at a perfect two hour mark. Hikers who might want to extend this route can follow the blazed trail to its southern terminus on Carter Creek Rd.

Welcome to Steven on his first hike with the group!

Photo by Nancy L


Sat Apr 2

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Texas Hollow SF, Schuyler County

Fifteen hikers and three dogs met where the FLT crosses South Hill Road just south of 79 in Bennettsburg, and we hiked east into Texas Hollow for an out and back. The outbound part of the trail heads gently upward through pretty woods and alongside a string of large and small fields in the first half mile.

This was an ideal time of year for this hike because there were no leaves on the trees. Nothing but trunks and branches stood in front of the wide view of Texas Hollow to our left. For most of the way, the trail parallels Texas Hollow road along the hilltop, and the trail is pretty much flat. It was mud free except for a few easy-to-avoid places in the entrance field, and there was no ice.
The hikers were remarking how lovely this section of trail was. Casey (who was leading and had done this section once) and Jack V. (who lives nearby and had done this section of trail a lot) were giggling about how things were going to change soon.

The last 1/4 mile down into Texas Hollow from the east is a set of tight but shallow switchbacks followed by a long, steep, and narrow stretch of trail down to Texas Hollow Road. It only took about five minutes to go down and ten to go back up. However, two hikers decided to walk back on roads rather than the trail because the trail gave one of them some vertigo.

As we were heading back toward the cars, the clouds opened, and the character of the day changed. We stopped briefly near the entrance field to check out a small pond, then arrived at the cars at exactly 11:30. We had only gone about 3.2 miles out and back on the trail, but it was a satisfying hike, and nobody really wanted to leave.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann’s full album is here


Photos by Cian

Cian’s full album is here


Sun April 3

Hike report by Jim

International Loop, Virgil

13 hikers and 3 dogs met in Virgil for a group first-time hike of part of the International Loop

It was a cool, somewhat windy morning.

I left for the hike and in the few miles from Freeville to Virgil the day was transformed from a cool, clear morning to blowing snow that was sticking to the ground.

The group started by crossing Daisy Hollow Rd and making the initial ascent; the first thirty or so minutes of this hike is pretty much all uphill.

From our exploratory hike of this area a couple of months ago I knew that I wanted to take the group first along the blue blazed Irvin Trail; this trail section skirts some nice sections of Cristina Creek before it starts a more substantial and serious climb up the side of the hill. This climbing portion isn’t terribly bad thanks to the numerous switchbacks along the way. The trail climbs through a mix if evergreens before finally leveling out towards the middle of the hillside.

After a quick stop to make an entry in the trail register the group continued out climb, finally crossing the crest of the hill.

By this point of the hike there are numerous trail intersections, end even having been there once before and consulting a map during this hike, I somehow missed an intersection on both the outbound and return legs of the hike. The worst outcome of this was that we got to repeat short sections of trail before jumping onto the correct trail at a following intersection.

Eventually the group stopped at our turn-around point, the blue blazed small pond spur.

Turning around the group re-traced most of our steps, opting at a couple of points to take trail sections we hadn’t explored on our first hike of the area in February.

By now the snow had stopped, but with only a small coating of snow on the grass, and the frequent mess of mud and pools of water not being froze, some of the portions of the downhill return leg of the hike proved to be more exhilarating than planned for those who came close to losing their footing. We only had one hiker fall during the hike, with no injury resulting, so it could have been worse.

One benefit to the return leg is that the hikers get more of a long view of the opposite valley through the leaf-less trees and through the cuts provided by utility right-of-ways.

The nice part of this hike is that, while the trails at the top of the hill can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the trail network, the return leg of the journey  is much simpler to figure out as all trails, no matter which one is picked, eventually spill out onto Daisy Hollow Rd.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann’s full album is here


Photos by Cian

Cian’s full album is here

Report to Hikers — week of Mar 21 — Mar 27

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 23

Hike report by Jim

YMCA and EcoVillage lands, West Hill

13 hikers and 2 dogs met in the parking lot of the YMCA Outdoor Education complex on Route 79 for a hike of area trails.

I had pre-hiked the local trails the previous day to find a route that was mostly mud-free; it was impossible to hike without finding at least SOME mud along the way, but I think that the route I had planned out managed as best as conditions allowed.

The group made its way across multiple trail within the YMCA complex until finally exiting onto the Coy Glen Natural Area blazed trail system.

We made our way to the trail system for Ecovillage, which is entirely unblazed and a bit of  a spiderweb of interconnecting trails. Wanting to avoid our past practice of hiking across the open areas of Ecovillage, I kept the group within their trail system, making a large loop until we returned to YMCA property.

We made our way back to the cars, arriving back at the parking lot a few minutes early because, despite having taken a lot of notes on my previous hike, we got turned around at the very end and re-entered the YMCA property closer to the parking lot that I had intended to.

Overall it was still an excellent hike,  despite the periodic muddy patches we encountered.


Special snowbird hike report from Randy and Nancy L — Joshua Tree National Monument

Report by Randy

We set off from home at 7:15 AM and headed towards Joshua tree. After an hour and a half we arrived at Hidden Valley, where we climbed around the rocks,  and took a short nature walk.  Nancy met a guide who was leading 4 women and it turned out he was related to one of Nancy‘s coworkers at Cornell.  Small world. 
We then headed to a place called Split Rock. We found a parking spot after ignoring the “Parking Lot Full” sign, and hiked to Skull Rock.  This is one of my favorite hikes in the park.  It’s loaded with cool stuff. We even spotted a couple of quail.
It was early afternoon, and our meager snack food was depleted.  We called it quits and headed to 29 Palms where we found a family-owned Mexican drive-in restaurant.
Made it back home in time to jump in the hot tub before dinner!
Looking forward to returning to Ithaca…I think.

Complete photo album


Sat Mar 26

Hike report by Nancy H

FLT east from Logan Rd., Finger Lakes National Forest

Eight hikers (and no dogs) gathered on a rainy, snowy morning on Logan Rd. to hike the Finger Lakes Trail eastward toward Burnt Hill Rd. On the initial long climb, we were pelted by very wet snow for the first mile or so. Trail conditions were what you’d expect in March—wet everywhere, deep mud in places, and some slippery spots on stream crossings and wooden bridges.

Gradually the snow stopped. We passed several old stone walls and commented on some distant views that won’t be visible in a few weeks when the leaves come out. When we reached the turnaround point at the second intersection with Burnt Hill Rd., the clouds were starting to break up. At that point, one hiker decided to return to the cars via the road; the rest of us turned around and retraced our steps on the FLT. Soon we could hear birds singing and see patches of blue sky. By the time we returned to Logan Rd., the sun was shining and it was about 10 degrees warmer than at the start of the hike. In a few minutes over two hours, we’d hiked just under five miles (one hiking app measured our distance at 4.87 miles and another reported 4.99 miles).

We entered the woods in winter and emerged into spring. As one hiker put it, “a typical March hike.”

Photos by Leigh Ann


Photos by Cian

Complete album


Photo by Casey


Sun Mar 27

Hike report by Jim

Layen Road to Bruce Hill Road and beyond on the FLT, Danby

11 hikers met on Layen Rd in Danby for a hike of the FLT to Bruce Hill Rd and beyond.

At the beginning of the hike the wind was whipping through the treetops around our cars, so I figured that crossing the open fields would be “invigorating”, which they were.

A small amount of snow had fallen overnight, leaving a thin layer of snow on the ground that gave the hillsides a mottled appearance.

The first open fields were quite windy, but once we were in the trees the wind was barely noticed.

For the most part the treadway was fairly nice; there were some muddy parts that hadn’t had a chance to freeze in the recent short cold snap. While inconvenient these parts of the trail were short in duration and quickly traversed.

Once beyond the first water crossing the main body of hikers was off like a shot, making good time across the rolling hills that the trail passes through in this area.

The group paused briefly at Bruce Hill Rd; once across that road we stopped briefly to check out the small quarry located in that area.

Reaching the open fields South of Bruce Hill Rd, the group turned around nd re-traced its steps back to our cars. The snow picked up throughout most of the return trip, giving that portion of the hike much more of a wintery sense to it than we had for the outbound leg of the hike.

Other than a couple of CTC day hikers and  a single dog walker, the group had the trail to ourselves today.

Photos by Leigh Ann


Photos by Cian

Complete album

Report to Hikers — week of Mar 14 — Mar 20

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 16

Hike report by Jim

Kingsbury Woods, Jersey Hill, Danby

Three hikers met on Jersey Hill Rd for a hike of the Kingsbury Woods Conservation Area.

The day had started out foggy; so foggy that some of us had had concerns while en route to the hike of the day lending itself to an enjoyable hike. Which, in the end, is exactly what we had

When I left my house, Freeville was nearly devoid of any meaningful amounts of remaining snow. Arriving at the parking area on Jersey Hill Rd I found a considerable amount of remaining snow, even if it was in a state of retreat during our hike on this warm day. This was not unexpected, and since I’d worn my summer hiking  shoes with their less aggressive snow traction, I chose to wear nanospikes for probably the last time this winter hiking season.

Hikers crossed Jersey Hill Rd to climb the small flight of stairs to the kiosk, where we paused briefly to make a trail journal entry.

From there the trail follows Lick Brook for a while before deviating into what Leigh Ann referred to as our “flagpole hike”. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but the odd shape of this parcel does result in a single trail system that somewhat resembles a flag on its pole.

I was the only member of the group who had been here, and my sole previous winter hike had informed me that we wouldn’t be getting a two hour hike out of a single pass around the trail system.

During the hike the sun shone brightly, reflecting off the snow that remained in the woods and on the fields we passed near. The warming weather revealed frequent stones set in the muddy path that I had not seen in my previous winter visit; someone has gone to great effort to emplace stones in the muddier portions of the trail at this location.

Knowing that we wouldn’t get a complete hike out of a single circuit, I was in favor of stopping to explore along the way whenever the opportunity presented itself. So we struck off across Conservation land a time or two when old logging roads presented themselves.

Mud wasn’t too bad on the open portions of trail; a couple of stream crossings were required, but while the water was flowing well during the hike it was not at such a depth that it presented any great difficulties to passing hikers.

At one point in the hike the group encountered past Ithaca Hiker Scott, who was out with his new puppy. Scott passed along some information about the part of the conservation on the parking area side of the road that we were unaware of, before we parted ways.

Reaching a point in the trail leading back in the direction we had walked in from, the group turned around and revisited the trail going in the opposite direction. This brought us back to our cars with about twenty minutes to spare, so we crossed the road and explored the streambed as well as the high bluffs of the conservation area above the small parking lot.

Overall this was a great hike day and location. I encourage other Ithaca Hikers with an hour or two of available hiking time to give it a try.

Photos by Leigh Ann


Special report from the Ithaca Hikers Snowbird Division

These reports were written by Randy, who is spending time with Nancy L in the Southern California desert area

Tuesday, March 15, Hike up Black Mountain
We drove about half hour straight uphill to the trail head leading to Black Mountain. The hike was quite steep with an overall elevation gain of a little over 2600 feet. The summit at 7700 feet had a fire tower, but was locked.  Most of the hike was on dry sandy granite, but at the top there was semi-crusty snow about 6 inches deep. It was a little slippery so we donned our one pair of yak tracks, mine on the right foot and Nancy’s on her left. We got up and down in 4.5 hours, a little over 8 miles.

Complete album


Friday, March 18,  Hike down Potrero Valley 
After a large breakfast of homemade chili rellenos and tamales, we set off on an adventure close to home. We took the golf cart to the edge of our gated community and hiked south into an area we had not explored, but was practically in our backyard. We followed the dry creek bed until finding a way across to the other side. We then continued north following a faint trail.  Overall hike time was about three hours and we covered about 7.5 miles.

Complete album


Sat Mar 19

Hike report by Jim

Fisher Settlement Road west on the FLT, Danby SF

19 Hikers and 2 dogs met on Fisher Settlement Rd for a very muddy hike Westerly on the FLT  At least half of the treadway covered by the group consisted of active run-off, mud, or remaining snowpack.

It was still an excellent hike despite the trail conditions.

Temperatures along most of the trail were in the 60F range at the beginning, and had gone up to around 65F by hikes end.

The water crossings were uneventful, and remaining snowpack created a cooler microclimate around the streams that had fog and noticeably cooler temps in the immediate vicinity. Nancy H likened it to walking into a walk-in freezer.

Other than dog walkers and some equestrians we encountered on Curtis Rd, we saw no other persons during the hike.

Welcome to new hikers Celine, Jennifer, Tom, Sally, Ivana, and Lisa, as well as K9 Charlie, on their first hike with the group.

Ticks are active this year; I know someone who found a tick on themselves following a local hike earlier this week.

Hikers should use whatever sprays they are personally comfortable with and should conduct tick checks after a hike to verify that they haven’t acquired any unwanted hitchhikers during the hike

For those tracking their FLT mileage for the year to qualify for this years FLT mileage patch through the CTC,  Saturdays hike totaled 4.4 FLT miles

Link for those interested in the FLT mileage patch for 2022:

This is the 60th year since the FLT was created, and the FLTC’s cross-county hike series is hiking the FLT in Tompkins County this year, so hikers will be seeing a bit of local FLT promotional effort this year.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Complete album


Sun Mar 20

Hike report by Jim

Roy H Park Preserve into Hammond Hill SF, Dryden

19 hikers and 2 dogs met at the Roy Park Preserve for a hike of the hill leading towards the Hammond Hill ski trails.

The day had already hit the projected high temperature of 42F by the time I arrived at the parking lot on Irish Settlement Rd. A stiff breeze foretold of the rain that was projected to arrive in the afternoon.

We set off across the boardwalk, crossed into the woods and quickly encountered the first muddy patches of several as well as blow-downs that we would find on the hike.

The climb up the hill towards Hammond Hill Rd was uneventful, as we were hiking on bare and relatively dry footpath at the higher elevations.

Approaching Hammond Hill Rd we were again encountering long stretches of boggy, muddy  trail.

Pausing for a few brief photos on Hammond Hill Rd, we crossed the road and plunged onto the multi-use trails on Hammond Hill itself. We found a good amount of persistent ice pack still on the footpath, with more rotten ice concealed under the mud at various points. Reaching the blue trails we turned and hiked those for a few short minutes until it was time to turn around and descend the mountain back to our cars.

Our timing was more or less perfect, as it was only a few minutes later that the rain let loose for a few minutes, encouraging hikers to call an end to the hike day and head for home.

Reminder to hikers: Ticks are active again. Please check yourselves out after hikes. Before hikes use whatever sprays you are comfortable with before hikes to discourage them from going home with you. Dog owners don’t forget to check your four legged hiking partners.

Non-Hike report stuff:

In the interest of furthering social interactions among hikers, as the spring warms up I will be occasionally scheduling a Saturday hike near an outdoor  location where we can meet post-hike and socialize a bit while we have a bring-your-own beverage or snacks. The occasional Hopshire post-hike meetings will also resume once its nice enough for them to return to their outdoor seating. When Jack leads his Finger Lakes Forest hikes we can expect to resume the Grist Iron post-hike gatherings.

Hope to see you all on the trail!

Photos by Leigh Ann

Report to Hikers — week of Mar 7 — Mar 13

Hello Hikers!

Wed Mar 9

Hike report by Jim

Hurd Hill Road, Caroline

9 hikers met in the Town of Caroline for a wintery hike of seasonal Hurd Hill Rd.

Snow was starting to fall when I arrived early at the intersection of Hurd Hill and South Rds. Arriving hikers reported to the group that they had encountered increasingly poor road conditions while en route to the hike.

The snow, now falling steadily, never let up throughout the hike and my return drive home to Freeville. The falling snow and the fresh snow under foot  made for a very winter-like hike experience, with each hiker individually  sheathed in a coat of fresh snow by the end of the hike.

Hurd Hill Rd, from its junction with South Rd, gradually descends through state land. While on todays hike, hikers encountered streams running vigorously alongside and under the roadway; evergreens shielding short sections of the roadway from the falling snow, creating small cocooned sections of road with still air that were protected from the steady snowfall, and nearly bare ground under the limbs. For much of the walk we had  hard crusty snow surfaces underfoot, with random hidden patches of ice concealed by the rapidly accumulating snow. One hiker went down to the ground on one of these ice patches, but thankfully sustained no injury.

The road receives no maintenance during the winter, so the accumulated fallen evergreen boughs and leafless downed deciduous branches along the way added to  the appearance of a very rural hike that’s hard to fully describe. There had been a single vehicle at some recent time that had plowed its way down the road through the hard snow, but otherwise we were walking along an unbroken tract of snow on the roadway.

Most hikers wore some form of foot traction, but the nanospikes proved to be entirely ineffective due to the fresh snow clumping up on the soles of hikers using that form of traction. The hikers with micro-spikes had a much easier go of things.

Reaching the bottom of Hurd Hill Rd ( now in Tioga County ), hikers meet the junction of Hurd Hill Rd and Prospect Valley Rd. On todays hike we made a right turn, choosing to walk along a portion of the Shindagin Hollow basin that we don’t normally get to see on our other hikes of the area. Prospect Valley Rd itself was as -of-yet unplowed when we were hiking there, so it gave the sense of being a seasonal road like Hurd Hill Rd, the only difference being a slightly better road surface that made walking easier.

Soon the group reached the hour mark and turned around to re-trace our steps. The return trip back up Hurd Hill Rd found that our footprints from the outbound leg were already well on the way to being filled in with fresh snow. The incline on the return leg of the trip is so gradual that none of our group experienced any difficulties.

Photo by Nancy H
3 photos by Nancy L


Sat Mar 12

Hike cancelled — snow, ice and high winds


Sun Mar 13

Hike report by Jim

Cornell arboretum and Mundy Wildflower Garden, Forest Home

11 hikers met at the Flat Rock parking area, for a hike of Cornell’s FR Newman arboretum, Mundy Wildflower Gardens, the area around Hemlock Gorge near Beebe Lake and the hamlet of  Forest Home

As hikers were arriving before the hike the sun shone with a brilliant intensity across the fresh snow from the previous nights winter storm. Fresh snow lay on the tree limbs, offering a sharp contrast in shading to the eye. Soon enough the cloud cover set in and we resumed our normal overcast Ithaca weather.

Hikers left the parking area and entered FR Newman Arboretum. The roads here had been plowed at some point in the recent past so that while the lanes were a little filled in from blowing snow, it was not an unpleasant hike. There was a layer of ice underfoot that made some form of foot traction much preferred. The air was filled with the sound of birdsong from the trees around us. Other day users of the arboretum were out in small numbers, but for the most part we had the place to ourselves.

The group circled Houston Pond on the Arboretum Rd before exiting onto Caldwell Rd

We crossed into the Mundy Wildflower Gardens but stayed there only long enough to reach the stairs that lead to Judd Falls Rd and the Nevin Welcome Center. The group found that all of the paths we used outside of FR Newman were well-used, and the snow depth did not impede the hike in any noticeable way

Passing by the welcome center we reached Forest Home Drive, crossing at Sacketts Bridge towards Beebe Lake.

The group took the short side loop trail to Hemlock Gorge, where we found the water flowing vigorously over the short falls.

Returning to Forest Home Drive we walked the short distance to the hamlet of Forest Home, passing through the hamlet on our way back to the arboretum.

Once back in the arboretum we jumped on the orange blazed trail which took us back to our cars without incident

Warm welcome to Lori and Judith on their first hike with the group!

Photos by Leigh Ann

You can see Leigh Ann’s complete photo album here

Announcing a lively new feature for our web site

Hello Hikers!

Posted by shesse

Jim and Nancy H have been actively trying to bring new people into our group through the Meetup app, and having a good deal of success; seems like we get some new faces every week. Jim said that he can often hear newer members chatting behind him and asking about the background and history of the group, which has never been documented and has always been a bit murky to everyone. So Jim asked me if I could package something up that will give outsiders an idea of who we are ands how the group evolved. Here it is:

An illustrated history of the Ithaca Hikers

This history will always be available on the web site in the “MENU” widget — click the drop-down and you’ll see the heading. Sometimes history can be dull; I definitely focused on trying to make this one lively. Hope I succeeded.