Report to Hikers — week of Oct 25 – Oct 31

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 27

Hike report by Jim

Arnot Forest, Newfield

Four hikers met by the North gate of Arnot forest for a hunting season road walk

It was a cool but somewhat windy day, perfect hiking weather even with the cool breezes

Pulling up to the  gate of Arnot Forest, the air was full of the noise from the run-off from recent rains flowing quickly in the adjoining ditches.

Setting off from the cars, hikers are met initially by a short climb that takes you past a small older cemetery. The residents there didn’t appear to take any notice of our passing.

Coming to the first intersection, most people take a left turn to continue hiking, as the road ahead is chained off and somewhat overgrown. We took a few minutes to check out the chained-off road, but quickly found that the previous evenings rains had left the soil there a soggy mess.

Returning to the T intersection the group turned south. The road from here onwards was a series of gradual roller coaster peaks and valleys. The group stopped occasionally to check out the ruins of various foundations along the road.

Climbing one small peak in particular , the group found a very good views over the changing trees of the valley beyond. Stopping for a quick group picture, the group continued onwards.

Arriving at some small ponds at the turn-around time, the group delayed long enough to check out the ponds before turning around and re-tracing our steps to the cars

Photos by Randy

You can see Randy’s complete photo album here

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Sat Oct 30

Hike report by Jim

Lime Hollow Nature Preserve, Cortland County

Fifteen hikers met on Gracie Rd in Cortland County for a hike of the Lime Hollow Nature Preserve.

Temps were cool, and the early morning rain broke just as the hike time started.

The group moved down the Lehigh Valley Trail, turning onto the Hawthorn Connector for a trip around Baldwin Pond on the High Vista Loop. We tried to stop in along the loop for a look at Baldwin Pond, but the weeds and undergrowth presented too much of a challenge.

Returning to the Lehigh Valley Trail the group jumped onto Hermits Way and then Fen Way, which returned the group to the Lehigh Valley Trail.

In most places the trails were perfectly fine for hiking; with only shallow pools of water  and a few muddy areas presenting any sort of challenge.

Once back on the Lehigh Valley Trail the group returned to the parking area on Gracie Road, and then took the Lehigh Valley Trail to Maple Run.

On Maple Run I found the carpet of newly fallen leaves in all of their various hues of yellow and orange to be quite magnificent. Right around this time the rain resumed for a short time, then dissipated into a misty sprinkle that hardly proved to be an impediment to the hike.

Taking the Maple Run Trail to the Chicago Bog the group paused briefly, then walked the Phillips Memorial Trail to the Esker Connector; this in turn led back to Maple Run.

Returning to the cars via Maple Run and the Lehigh Valley Trail, the hike concluded with five minutes to spare; not bad, considering the weather conditions we had expected on this hike day. Several members of todays group commented that this hike had taken them to parts of the Nature Center that they had not previously visited, so I think that it was a worthwhile hike

Photos by Cian

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You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun Oct 31

Hike report by Nancy H

Halloween hike through two old in-town cemeteries

Thirty-eight hikers (some in costume) and six dogs met in the Ithaca High School parking lot on a cloudy, drizzly morning. The rain soon ended, but the atmosphere was perfect for making our way up the hill through Lakeview Cemetery. At the top, we paused in Sunset Park for a group picture and to take photos of the lake and cloud-shrouded hills on the far shore.

From there we walked through Cayuga Heights and over the bridge above Ithaca Falls to the City Cemetery. We walked along several cemetery paths, then exited at the bottom of the hill on University Avenue. From there, some of the hikers headed north through Fall Creek and back to their cars. The rest of us climbed the Cascadilla Gorge trail. Recent rains have really swollen the creek, making the waterfalls and cascades impressive… and noisy! At the top of the gorge, we made our way to Stewart Avenue and went back down the hill on the trail that goes along the gorge’s rim and eventually opens onto Cascadilla Park Road. We walked along Linn Street, pausing at Fall Creek Elementary School to hear about the gallows that used to stand on that site, before walking past Ithaca Falls and back to IHS parking lot.

Photos by shesse

Lakeview Cemetery
Sunset Park overlook — remember, you can click any photo and get a high-res blow-up version
Stewart Avenue bridge
City Cemetery
Jim had to work, but he was able to drop by for the meet-up

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Oct 18 — Oct 24

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 20

Hike report by Jim. Photos by shesse/Tiger

Lower Treman SP from Route 13

18 hikers and 4 dogs met in the FLT parking area at the 13/34/96 split at Shady Corners.

Crossing under the route 13 bridge, traffic noise behind us dropped quickly as we may our way on the FLT as it passed through the camping area of lower RH Treman State Park.

Climbing the first couple of minor hills we soon found ourselves on the service road that leads to the YMCA pavilion. There we found a work crew starting their day; this particular work crew is tasked with dealing with some of the invasive species that are threatening our local forests.

Continuing on the FLT  the group was soon at the YMCA pavilion, where a few hikers opted to break off from the main group and complete their own shorter hike.

The main body of hikers pressed on and were soon on the Rim Trail, which we followed to the base of Lucifer Falls. Crossing the wooden bridge there we took the Gorge Trail to lower Robert Treman and our vehicles. Total hike time was about fifteen extra minutes beyond our normal hike duration, which was not unexpected after the last couple of times we hiked this particular route.

It was a sunny day, and temperatures were perfect for being out on the trail. There were a moderate number of other hikers using the trails today. One hiker in our group reported to me post-hike that their canine hiking companions had picked up some ticks, so we were not alone on the trail.

I enjoy this stretch of the Gorge Trail and wanted to hike it a final time before the onset of the winter season forces the trail closures. One item of note for this particular hike is that a destroyed wooden bridge and some collapsed stone retaining wall sections on the Gorge Trail portion of the route have been repaired since our last hike here in early August. Some minor trail flooding at a single point on the Gorge Trail was easily skirted without incident.

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Sat Oct 23

Hike report by Nancy L

Watkins Glen SP

13 hikers met where the Finger Lakes Trail crosses Whites Hollow Rd and there is a blocked access road to the park, called “Punch Bowl Rd”.  The FLT follows Punch Bowl Rd a short distance and then cuts off toward a feeder creek to Watkins Glen gorge.  A short distance along the trail, we came to a nice pond, probably the Punch Bowl.  In that spot is a large, but seemingly unused, pavilion which we might be able to use for a picnic get-together.  From there we followed the Finger Lakes Trail along the creek until it joined up with an old dirt road which proceeded smoothly downhill.  It passes under a very impressive, and active, railroad bridge.  Then we proceeded more steeply downhill until we reached a stairway down to a bridge over the Watkins Glen Gorge to the Gorge trail.  There were many people in the gorge, so some of our group headed back while the rest explored the dramatic geology of the gorge.  On the way back we were able to return to the cars more quickly by taking the road-like portion of the FLT and then staying on various parts of the Punch Bowl Road to return to our cars.

*****

Photos by Randy

You can see Randy’s complete photo album here

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Photos by Cian

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You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun Oct 24

Hike report by Jim

Deputron Hollow Road, East Danby

22 hikers and 7 dogs met on Marsh Rd Town of Danby for a walk of Deputron Hollow Rd.

Temps were cool, with occasional breezes, and the sun was constantly trying to come out from behind cloud cover.

The hike starts out on the paved portion of Marsh Rd; by the time it turns to dirt and then meets the seasonal portion of Deputron Hollow is when the hike seems to truly start for me.

After turning onto Deputron Hollow the group was greeted by several horses in their field; I had failed to anticipate that they would be out and had brought no carrots.

The group encountered hiker Cian, who had walked up Deputron Hollow RD from his residence to meet us.

Soon enough Deputron Hollow turns and begins a gradual descent towards Coddington Rd.

We encountered one or two other people out walking their dog, or residents of the area working in their yards. Otherwise the group had the road to ourselves. Unlike most other parts of the county the forest was still in nearly a solid green as we walked through it, a fact that inspired much conversation.

Reaching Coddington Rd the group turned around and made its way back to Marsh Rd and our vehicles without any incident.

Welcome to first time hiker Amy, who joined the group for her first hike today.

*****

Photos by shesse/Tiger

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*****

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Oct 11 – Oct 17

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 13

Hike report by Jim. Photos by shesse/Tiger

Mundy Wildflower Preserve to Beebe Lake, Forest Home

12 hikers met for a hike from the Mundy Wildflower Gardens to Beebe Lake and beyond

Part of the wildflower Garden trails was closed due to tree hazards, so our actual time in the gardens was fairly minimal.

Soon we crossed Judd Falls Rd and passed through the Nevin Welcome Center grounds to Forest Home Drive.

After a quick visit to the Horseshoe Fall overlook loop, the group completed a loop of Beebe Lake.

Walking through Forest Home back to our cars the group found ourselves with a bit of time to kill, so we walked through the arboretum for a while before returning to the parking lot, completing another successful hike

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Sat Oct 16

Hike report by Jim

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP from Yaple Road

9 hikers ( no dogs, a rarity, which several of us commented on )  met on Yaple Rd for a hike of the Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park trails.

3 additional hikers arrived a few minutes late but found the group on the loop trail around Treman Lake without too much difficulty.

It was a mostly rainy hike, but there were enough pauses in the downpour that it didn’t feel like it was a continuous and unrelenting rain.

Taking the FLT spur trail into the park, the group make a right turn at the loop trail and walked to the area of the stone bridge that crosses the stream at the head of Treman Lake. There the group found the bridge partially under water and impassible, but we managed to cross the water on some well-placed rocks.

Continuing on the loop trail the group climbed the long flights of wooden stairs towards the high ground above the lake; walking along the trail it was a good day for a woods walk despite the rain.

Reaching the turn to the spur trail to La Tourelle the group made its way to La Tourelle before re-tracing our steps to the stairs leading to the Treman Lake dam.

After crossing the dam, a few members of the group opted to cut their hike short and return to their cars early.

The remainder of the group walked to the Bear Trail and did a partial in-and-out of that trail, long enough to bring our hike to a full 2 hour duration.

Returning to the Upper Buttermilk parking area the group returned to the Loop Trail and made our way back to the FLT spur trail and our vehicles

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Sun Oct 17

Hike report by Jim

Curtis Road south from Hill Road to Fisher Settlement Road, South Danby

18 hikers and 5 dogs met at the corner of Curtis and Hill Rds in the Town of Danby, for a walk of  Curtis Rd.

After the rains on Saturday, Sunday morning proved to be sunny with clear skies at 9:40 when the group started out.

Coming around the first curve of the road the group was met by the dog who often greets us from the first house on the road. Passing that residence, the hikers quickly warmed up with a pleasant sunlit walk along the fields.

Passing Karenville we were met by the miniature horse that always greets our hikers; he got a good amount of carrots before losing us to the continued hike.

The seasonal portion of Curtis Rd was mostly passable today. There were a few short stretches where the rains have eroded the shoulders, and a few muddy wallows that were easily skirted on foot.

The group made good time, and we reached Fischer Settlement Rd with time to spare, something that isn’t common on this particular hike.

A few minutes worth of hiking brought the group to our turn-around time.

The return trip, including another stop to hand out more carrots to the horse, was uneventful.

Welcome to new hiker Osama Sajid, who joined the group for the first time today

Report to Hikers — week of Oct 4 – Oct 10

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 6

Hike report by Jim

Black Diamond Trail heading south from Kraft Road, Ulysses

14 hikers and 3 dogs met on Kraft Rd in the Town of Ulysses, for a southerly-bound hike of the Black Diamond Trail.

It was a pleasant day, and while the leaf change had not progressed to the degree I had hoped for, it was still interesting to see the colors changes that were underway.

Trail use by others was minimal, with mainly a few casual bicyclists passing the group along the way.

This is one hike the group goes on during which I try to focus on maintaining as steady a pace throughout the hike as I can maintain. Other than conversation and our progress shown by the number of road crossings we made, for me this is a hike where typically I just hike steadily, and don’t stop to look around quite as much as I do when out on the FLT or other person-width footpath hikes. Not that there is nothing to look at. To the contrary there are many sights along either side of the trail. This time of year the brief glimpses of homes, fields, bits of lake and the like are quickly replaced by more foliage in the green tunnel.

Reaching the turnaround point the group observed a near-by herd of bison. While I had heard of these animals being along the trail on past hikes, I believe that this was the first time I had actually seen them grazing in the area of the Black Diamond Trail.

*****

Photos by Tiger/shesse

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Sat Oct 9

Hike report by Jim

Monkey Run Natural Area, north side of Fall Creek, Hanshaw Road

Twenty hikers and two dogs walked the red and orange trails on the North side of the Monkey Run trail complex. Meeting in the parking lot at the junction of Hanshaw and Lower Creek Rds, the skies were dark with an ominous hint of foul weather that never materialized during the hike.

The group set off from the parking lot on the red blazed trail, the sound of crunching fall leaves underfoot on the footpath sounding as loud as the voices of passing hikers.

There were a good number of blow down trees across the trail along the hike route today, and the group encountered the first of these within minutes of starting our hike.

Scrambling under the first tree, its leaves still green, the group continued onwards. Our first pause occurred at the old bridge site, allowing the tail end of the procession to catch up with the main body of hikers.

Proceeding forwards, the undergrowth along the trail often crowded inwards onto the trail, not quite obscuring the path ahead, and blocking much of the normal view of the nearby waterway.

Summiting the stairs on the first bluff, the group paused to admire the view across the water, then pressed forward. Soon we were passing from the red to orange blazed trails, and the footpath gave way from a mostly forest walk to alternating field and forest sections

On one such field section many in the group commented on some tall, person-sized purple hued grasses growing in the nearby field.

Once back in the woods the path wound its way ever closer to the waterway. In places the path had worn away, or the rootballs of falling trees had greatly narrowed the footpath, the bank in those areas slowly eroding into the creek. Eventually reaching a widening area in the woods the group paused before turning around to re-trace our steps.

Jack V led the return journey, the faster hikers quickly pulling ahead and away from  the main body of hikers.

Reaching the field with the purple grasses, many of us veered from the pathway to take a closer look at that crop of grasses in the field. After satisfying our curiosity and due to the quickly diminishing hike time, we opted to take a short cut across the fields to the near-by Cornell pavilion, and from there road walk back to the cars.

The lead element of hikers who had stayed on the trails arrived shortly thereafter, bringing a successful conclusion to another Ithaca Hikers hike event.

Photo by Leigh Ann

*****

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun Oct 10

Hike report by Jim

Lick Brook

22 Hikers and 3 dogs met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Lick Brook ravine and the Sweedler Preserve.

A 23rd hiker arrived a little later than the main body and completed their hike with Cian, who had remained in the Lick Brook gorge to photograph the ravine.

The Lick Brook side of the road was well-utilized on this day, with many couples and small hiking groups on the trail. I even saw at least one occasional Ithaca Hiker doing their own hike of the Lick Brook ravine with their family members. The reaction of many individual or small group hikers to a wagon train of 22 hikers and three dogs was interesting.

There were no terrain/ trail or weather issues with either part of todays hike, from what I saw. The skies were clear, and temperatures made for an enjoyable hike. The leaf change while underway, was nowhere near complete, with many trees still hanging onto their green leafy plumage.

The descent into the Lick Brook ravine area on the white blazed trail went well, and by the time the group reached the falls area it was  welcome break; there was plenty of water flowing downstream, and at least one dog wasted no time in getting belly deep in the cool water. No hikers that I am aware of took that cue and followed the dogs into the stream.

The climb back to Townline Rd on the blue trail was, as always, a bit of a long haul for me. By the time I got to the road the main body of hikers was already well on its way up the red blazed trail on the opposite side if the road.

I personally prefer the terrain and atmospherics of the blue blazed trail on the opposite side of the bridge, so rather than try to catch up with the main body of hikers I opted to meet them in mid-loop. I was successful at this, meeting them just as they were preparing to do the water crossing from the red to blue trail loops.

The hike back to the cars with the main body of hikers went well. Once at the cars we continued to meet many small groups of hikers who were just arriving at the trailhead. Clearly we were  not alone in our desire to hike the trails today.

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Photos by shesse

*****

Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Sept 27 – Oct 3

Hello Hikers!

Wed Sept 29

Hike report by Jim

Durfee Hill Roasd to the Tamarack Lean-to on the FLT, Danby

Thirteen hikers and one dog met at the parking area at the end of Durfee Hill Rd, for a hike of the FLT to the Tamarack lean-to and beyond. This is the last hike for the group before the onset of hunting season denies us safe access to many of our trails for the next three to four months ( depending on whether NYS DEC extends the hunting season in Tompkins County into January, as they did in early 2021 ).

After crossing State Route 96B the trail plunges into the wood line, for a while travelling through a stretch of nearly denuded evergreens. Someone in the group asked about possible parasitic damage to the trees causing the observed loss of the majority of needles on the trees in the area, a question for which I had no answer. Perhaps a reader can supply the correct information to the question. The various mosses and grasses in this level stretch of trail always seem to have a vibrant glowing contrast to the forest floor around them to my eye at least, and today was no different.

Too soon the trail starts to climb the hillside, and with the exception of a couple of short level stretches its pretty much a straight shot up the hill to the Tamarack lean-to. This results in a decent work-out for me, and Lincoln took the lead for the remainder of the hilly outbound leg.

The group stopped for a while at the lean-to, made a quick journal entry and then continued on the FLT.

Beyond the lean-to this part of the FLT has only modest elevation changes compared to the beginning of the hike. With the exception of a couple of recently ( as in a few years ago ) clear-cut areas we encountered no mud at all anywhere along the trail.

It was a sunny but cool day, and while en route to the hike I had worried that the sky foretold of inclement weather. Thankfully that threat passed unfulfilled. After the lean-to the forest floor was alive with the mottled mixture of sunlight and shadow. At one point on the return leg we passed through a very somber, dusky-type near-darkness, but that soon passed and we again had sunny conditions to hike with.

The return leg was uneventful for the group, and we arrived at our cars having completed another successful hike.

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Sat Oct 2

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Ekroos Road, Tioga County

15 hikers and 3 dogs met in Tioga county on a dirt road that goes by several names according to Google maps; the road sign at the junction with Honeypot Rd says Ekroos Rd, so we’ll use that name here.

It was a pleasant morning, warming up nicely after the cool overnight temperatures of the previous evening.

Hikers set off on Ekroos Rd after meeting up slightly late over an initial confusion over the correct parking location.

There are only two houses on this road ( a third was in an early construction stage on this hike date ), so traffic is minimal.

Leaves on trees along the route were in a variety of states of change; some were stubbornly green, while others were already in a full stage of vibrant red. It seemed to me that the trees with sheltering trees along the opposite side of the road were still greener, while the trees with breaks in the treeline on the opposite side of the road were further along their transition.

Parts of the early stages of the hike lend to a sense of being in a green tunnel; occasionally a break in the treeline on the southern side of the road offers a glimpse into the meadows there and the hills in the far distance

Passing the last residence the road transitions to a seasonally maintained road with much more of a broken up and rocky surface. Here the road runs along a small ravine which still had small amounts of water running along its course.

At the bottom of the hill the group turned around, having reached the hour turnaround point, and made its way back up the hill.

The return trip to the vehicles was uneventful.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Sun Oct 3

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Potomac Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler County

13 hikers and 0 dogs met on a rainy Sunday morning on Potomac Road, for a hike of part of the Interloken Trail and surrounding areas of the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Jack V was our guide for this hike.

Almost immediately the group ran into an obstacle of sorts, as the recent flooding caused by beaver activity was apparent within five minutes of starting the hike. This forced Jack to find an alternate route, which he did quickly.

The trails were running streams or standing water through much of the hike, so there wasn’t a dry hiker in the line that I knew of. About half the group brought umbrellas along, which were successful in deflecting the worst of the downpour.

We ran into only a small handful of other brave souls on the trail.

The group agreed to cut the hike short at around the 90 minute mark.

We can’t enjoy days like yesterday without the occasional hike on a day like today, so no complaints from me.

After returning to our cars about half of the group travelled to the near-by Grist Iron Brewery. While Grist Iron had a much reduced menu from what I recall on my last visit there , the group was able to draw together several tables under cover and partake of  several types of pizza, nachos and a variety of adult beverages to everyone’s satisfaction.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

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Leigh Ann

Some years back, we would regularly have a number of college professors all charging along the trail with our group, which seemed fitting to me for a major college town. But recently our active-professor contingent among the regulars has dwindled to just one academic, Leigh Ann. The others have all retired from active teaching, gotten hurt and had to stop hiking, or just drifted away. Luckily, our last professor is still relatively young and in good shape, so she’ll probably be around for a while. But with the disappearance of all our other professors, the rest of us no longer get the old academic shop talk, gossip, news and chit chat it was easy to overhear on the trail. To bring us all up to speed, here’s some of the latest news about Leigh Ann, by way of IC News.