Repport to Hikers — week of March 22 – March 28

Hello Hikers!

Wed March 24

Hike report by Jim

Mulholland Wildflower Preserve toward Potter’s Falls, Six Mile Creek

Four hikers met in the parking lot of the Mullholland Wildflower Preserve on Giles Street in the City of Ithaca.

It was an overcast day with light rain, but there were still a handful of other hikers and dog walkers present in the Preserve during our time there. Construction on city water system infrastructure that was scheduled to start the next day had not begun yet, although there had clearly been some prep work for that project done around the parking lot of the Preserve by the time of our hike.

Hikers made our way through the Preserve, stopping to admire some of the cascades of water and frozen ice clinging to the shadowy sides of the cliff faces. The group climbed the trail leading up the hill to the access road for Second Dam; from there making our way to the overlook area above the city reservoir.

In previous visits to this particular area I  had never noticed a stonework memorial bench that sits high above the reservoir, so we made our way to that feature and checked it out before re-tracing our steps back to the cars.

Once we were back at the cars we found ourselves with an additional half hour of hike time, so we crossed Giles Street and visited the Businessman’s Lunch area that is situated below the cascades and old industrial construction that sits on the cliff face in that area.


Sat March 27

Hike report and embedded photo by Nancy L. Widescreen photos by Tiger. Panoramic photos by Cian. Reminder — you can click any photo to see a larger version

Bock-Harvey Preserve and Riemen Woods, Enfield

16 people and 2 dogs arrived for a hike in Bock Harvey Preserve on a crisp spring morning.    We started by hiking to the lean to at the uphill Western edge of a field.  I took a haphazard picture of the group here:

From there we headed up to the finger lakes trail and headed west and across Porter Hill Rd into Riemann Woods.  We climbed the hill and followed the trail down the hill to nearly where it intersects again with Porter Hill road.  We took a ‘bushwhacking” trail that follows near the road which turned out to be a little rough but soon enough we were making our way back east on the FLT.  Soon we arrived at the yellow circuit trail which makes its way through a nice patch of old growth maples.   A couple of people returned to the parking from there. Soon we were back to the FLT  heading east. Eventually it took us back to Rockwell rd.  Most of the hikers hiked back up Rockwell rd to their cars.  A few of us continued on the FLT to Hines rd and headed back to the cars on the road from there.

Sent from Nancy 


Seven photos by Tiger



Five photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s full photo album here


Sun March 28

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Black Diamond Trail from Kraft Road to Taughannock Falls

11 hikers and 2 dogs met on Kraft Rd for a hike on the Black Diamond Trail.

The rain had held off through the morning, but on the way to the hike location we were treated to a relatively small rainstorm accompanied by winds.

As a result, we started the hike with an assortment of raincoats and umbrellas as required hiking equipment.

While the sun never did come out during the hike, as the hike wore on the threat of rain lessened and the umbrellas proved unnecessary. The wind did pick up again on the return leg of the hike, but seemed to stay higher up in the trees and not manifest itself at ground level on the trail.

I had intended to hike in a Southerly direction towards Ithaca, but a young hiker in the group was anxious to see the falls at Taughannock, and so we walked North.

Temps were cool, but it made the hike more enjoyable for me, particularly on the return leg when our overly long stay at the falls overlook forced me to step it out to get back to the cars at a decent time.

There were  a few people on the Trail, and a good number at various points around the Falls once the group reached there, but nothing that felt out of the ordinary.

While the skies were grey and the trees along the route have yet to spring forth with their bounty of summer leaves, the surrounding fields along the trail were noticeably popping a bright green hue. Nancy L reported that just a few days prior there had still been a layer of ice on the Black Diamond, none of which remained. The only snow I saw remaining along the way was in a few crevices on the hills surrounding Taughannock Falls.

It may be a dangerous thing to say in Ithaca in March, but I think that I can *finally* store my snow shovel away for the season.

All in all this was an enjoyable hike, although not one of our more strenuous trails.

Yoo can see Cian’s full album here

Report to Hikers — week of March 15 – March 21

Hello Hikers!

Wed March 17

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger

Curtis Road, Danby SF, South Danby

On Wednesday March 17th 11 hikers and 3 dogs met at the junction of Hill and Curtis Rds in the Town of Danby, for a walk of the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd

The first portion of the hike was fairly breezy, a stretch that a couple of late arriving hikers had to endure repeatedly as they hiked in and out from the cars several times as they met different hikers who were returning to their cars from the hike early.

The main body of hikers found Curtis Rd itself to be bare ground as far as the Karenville Bed and Breakfast. As is our usual practice, a quick stop at Karenville to visit the pony there was a popular pause to the hike. Beyond that area the seasonal portion of Curtis Road was still mostly covered with several inches of old snowpack, with patches and even short sections of bare ground. The snow was not particularly difficult to traverse; at one point the road becomes a snowmobile trail, and the snowpack in that section was still very compacted from past snowmobile use. The churning action of a handful of previous automobile through traffic was, as is so often the case on these sorts of seasonal roads, the biggest problem, as it creates an uneven and choppy walking surface.

One of my options for this hike was to have the group jump onto the FLT where it crosses Curtis Rd, but a quick exploratory walk down the trail from the crossing made it clear that remaining on the road was the wiser choice on this particular day.

The group opted to do a simple out-and-back hike, walking for the hour and then simply turning around and walking back to the cars.

While the road surface was not a perfect hiking surface, it shows the promise of better hiking days to come as our region warms up into Spring.



Sat March 20

Hike report by Jim. Widescreen photos by Tiger. Panoramic photos by Cian

Stevens Suspension Bridge, Cornell Golf Course, Cornell horse fields and Fall Creek gorge, Forest Home

Fifteen hikers and three dogs met in the parking lot near Stevens suspension bridge on Forest Home Drive ( Flat Rock area of Cascadilla Creek ).

It was a sunny day and it was pretty clear before we even left the parking lot that we would be sharing the trail system with many other people who were out doing the same hike we were enjoying. While we did encounter a number of trail runners, hikers and dog walkers on the trail it was not excessive. Some members of our group fairly quickly broke off from the main body as they encountered dogs and their owners who they were friends with….

One hiker opted to stay closer to their car and hike the Arboretum rather than traverse the trail system on the opposite side of the suspension bridge.

The remaining hikers crossed the suspension bridge and set off on the yellow and red blazed trails towards Robert Trent Jones golf course.

There were occasional patches of ice on the trail, most notably once we’d crossed the golf course and were returning to the trail system, a large patch deterred some members of the group, who opted to re-enter the trails from another access point. The mud was largely not a problem, as it was still in a semi-frozen state as we hiked the trails. The most dangerous patch of ice for me personally was the one I had parked on upon arriving for the hike, and which caused me to fall at the very end of the hike. The trail itself was otherwise exceptionally safe compared to recent hikes the group has been on.

Once past the golf course the now-fragmented group hiked separately on trails along the precipices above the stream until meeting again.  The recombined group left the higher elevations, preferring the trails immediately next to the waterway.

Returning to the suspension bridge and crossing over that, the group took the blue blazed trails East along the opposite bank, eventually crossing over Forest Home Drive in favor of finishing out our hike time with a quick visit to the overlook and bell area inside the arboretum.

From the arboretum overlook it was a quick trip back to the parking lot and the conclusion to another great Spring hike.



You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun March 21

Hike report by Jim. Three widescreen photos by Tiger. Panoramic photos by Cian

Buttermilk Falls SP, rim trail, Bear Trail and Lake Treman

By my count it was 16 hikers and 3 dogs that met for a hike of the Rim Trail and surrounding Buttermilk Falls trails on Sunday March 21. I’ll admit that my count may be off, as we had a couple of last minute arrivals today.

This report is more about my own hike experience today, as the larger group broke down into different sub-groups. Other hikers in other sub-groups may have had different observations than my own. If Stephen or others want to add their own interpretations of the hike they are more than welcome to do so.

The group started up the Rim Trail, quickly breaking down into about three different hiking speed groups.

The sun was out and I often stopped to enjoy the views across the ravine where the Gorge Trail ran down the opposite side. The mix of light and shadows through the trees and off the cliff faces on the opposite side of the gorge was really appreciated. Approaching the top end of the trail the view across towards the stone stairs of the Gorge Trail, still wholly encased in ice and reflecting back the brilliance towards me, was very enjoyable.

Others in our group  stopped to detour towards the closed-off gate at the bridge that spans the gorge between the Rim and Gorge Trails for a closer look at the ice and racing waters running through the stream.

Reaching the top of the Rim Trail I crossed into Upper Buttermilk proper and jumped onto the Bear Trail. Even though the group had just been here a month ago, the near-absence of snow and ice on the Bear Trail today almost seemed to make this an entirely new hike to me. There were still a few short stretches of ice covering the trail in shady areas, but nothing that seemed impassible or extremely hazardous.

Reaching the end of the Bear Trail I walked to the parking area for Lake Treman. Having hit the turn-around time and not seeing the hikers ahead of me, I turned around and chose to take the service road back to the park entrance rather than traverse the Bear Trail again.

On my downhill return hike on the Rim Trail there was  a noticeable increase in hikers using the trail system. Near the bottom of the hill I met Katharine H, and after stopping for a short conversation we were met by the majority of the remaining Ithaca Hikers who were now also coming down the Rim Trail behind me.

Returning to the parking lot we found it now to be entirely full of the vehicles of other park patrons.

Overall., a good hiking day. The onset of Spring and the closure of another winter hiking season is a welcome change to me. Seeing Ithaca Hikers on the trail this weekend who have been absent for many weeks and months was a welcome sight for me as well.

For those who were not with the group today but who may want to hike Buttermilk in the near future, park admissions fees will be re-imposed on April 1st

Here’s some additional info about how the hike unfolded. This is a shot of the frontrunners in the group after we got up to the top of the rim trail, heading over to the Bear Trail
At the upper end of the Bear Trail. Tiger and I turned back at this point. The others headed up along the Lake Treman trail to fill out the full hour outbound leg.
Tiger and I came back down the steep hill on the maintenance road to avoid all the people climbing uphill on the Rim Trail. When we reached the park road we came upon Bad Dennis and Katharine, who had just been up near the rental cabins.


You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of March 8 – March 14

Hello Hikers!

Wed March 10

This report was written by Jim

Lindsay Parsons Nature Preserve, West Danby

On Wednesday March 10th 7 hikers and three dogs met at the Lindsay Parsons Preserve in West Danby.

The temperatures were warm, an omen of the approaching spring.

The warm temperatures were having an effect on the remaining several inches of snowpack on the ground; for the most part the footpaths throughout the preserve were a sloppy wet mass of snow, making hiking a miserable slog akin to walking through wet sand on the beach.

The group quickly split up into about three distinct groups based on walking speed, with the route travelled more or less starting from the cars on the red trails, transitioning to the orange trails, and after crossing the railroad tracks doing the purple loop that brought hikers back towards the final push to our cars.

Progress was so slow that eventually I opted to more or less abandon the marked trails in favor of pushing up over the final hills and cross the open fields back to the parking area. This shaved some time off and got us back to the cars at the end of two hours.


Sat March 13

This report was written by Nancy L. Photos by Cian. Photos by Nancy/Randy at the link.

Robert Treman SP — from the lower parking lot to Lucifer Falls

11 hikers and two dogs met at Lower Treman Saturday morning, March 13.   We walked past the cabins and started up the rim trail for a short ways before cutting up the hill to the picnic pavilion.  The Fingerlakes trail passes right by so we headed up hill on it. Almost all the snow was gone so the walking was easygoing but a bit steep.  Before too long the trail leveled off.  The temperature was comfortable compared to winter but not unseasonably hot. The snow remained at the creek crossings for a little excitement.  We were able to take a look at the raging Lucifer falls before returning to the parking loathe way we came.

Here’s a link to some pics From my phone  and Randy’s

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun March 14

Report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Fischer Old Growth Forest, Newfield

Fifteen hikers and two dogs met on Rte 13 in Newfield at the parking area for Fischer old growth forest

The weather at the beginning of the hike was clear and definitely on the cooler side.

From the parking lot I could see a few bits of snow on the ground towards the bottom of the hill,  but beyond that the trail conditions were a mystery to me.

Some people in the group opted for foot traction, giving the trail conditions the benefit of the doubt.

The group set off and soon encountered signs advising hikers that the yellow blazed trails were closed for the next month due to hunting in that area, but that the red blazed trails remained open. The group decided to make two loops of the red blazed sections to make up for any lost time on the off-limits yellow trails.

Trail conditions were surprisingly excellent; there was no real mud to contend with, and the footpaths were void of any snow. We were a couple weeks too early to see the new growth of forest cover that makes this particular hike appealing to me. The amount of water in the streambeds wasn’t too much to make the stream crossing too risky, and made for some nice cascades and waterfalls for viewing and auditory pleasure at various points around the loop.

Soon enough the group was churning its way up the last few up-hill stretches that mark the completion of the red blazed circuit; once at the top of the loop the group opted to split into two groups, one continuing in the original direction, and the second group turning around and re-tracing their steps in the direction they had come from.

I opted to stay behind with Cian as he completed the second loop, exploring the various cascades and hollows in the mini-gorges of the streambeds. Eventually we met up with the group that had turned around, and we continued together back towards the parking area. Reaching the blue blazed trail we saw that we had some time remaining, and so opted to take the blue loop around the field and back to our cars.

We arrived at the cars only a few minutes short of our regular hike time, and with the first few flakes of snow beginning to fall from the sky.

All in all it was a good hike, the group having missed the combined hazards of snowpack, muddy trails and fresh snowfall.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of March 1 – March 7

Hello Hikers!

Wed March 3

Hike report by Jim.

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP

9 hikers and 3 dogs met in the parking lot at Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park.

I looked over our trail options upon arriving, and decided that a hike around Treman Lake would be the most enjoyable choice.

Several members of the group opted for a flat hike around the roads and parking lots of Upper Buttermilk.

The main body of hikers crossed the new bridge that leads to the Bear Trail. There was a newer cover of snow on the surface that concealed an older layer of ice; foot traction was absolutely a necessity on some of the hillier part of the trail and stairs.

The snow made everything in view attractive to look at as we walked along, and the volume of water coursing down the streambed, as well as the layers of ice on the main streambed and the gullies along the way drew more than a little attention from hikers. The various eddies and water currents created some formations of ice that drew some comments as the group walked the trail.

Unusual ice formation — looked like a dinner plate — photo by Elizabeth R

Temperatures were cooler than in recent days, but not unbearable. Views along the way were clear with no haze or other impediments to enjoying the view

Along the way the group encountered Casey C from the Germophobic branch of the Ithaca Hikers. Casey was hiking solo, and reported good trail conditions ahead. We also ran into a trail runner ( despite trail conditions!) and a handful of  dog walkers.

Due to trail conditions the overall group speed was somewhat diminished from our normal pace on this trail. By the time the group rounded the upper end of the lake and crossed the stone footbridge, it was time to turn around.

Returning to the upper parking area just below Treman Lake, the group decided that the more direct route of a road walk back to the cars would be a wiser course of action. Along the way we ran into the splinter group that had been road walking, and we returned to our vehicles without incident.

New to the group on todays hike was Elizabeth G; welcome to the group, Elizabeth!


Five photos by Nancy L

You can see Nancy’s complete album here


Sat March 6

Hike report by Jack V. Photos by Cian

Snowmobile trail, Finger Lakes National Forest

Six hikers and 2 dogs showed up for the hike today.  After going around the Wildlife Pond we spent the rest of the hike on snowmobile trails.  Since it was windy, it was  a beautiful day to spend in the woods.    Near the end of the hike we encountered  a hiker who parked in the wrong parking lot and the car of a hiker who arrived late whom we never saw.  

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun March 7

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Jim and Cian

Lick Brook

Thirteen hikers and four dogs met at the corner of Townline and Sandbank Rds for a hike of the Lick Brook trails.

With the exception of one hiker who chose to road walk the area, the group set off down the hill towards the flat lands around the waterfalls.

The weather was clear, and the sun shining down on the area was much appreciated.

Very early into the hike the group passed a handful of hikers and dog walkers who were walking up out of the trail system.

Very quickly hikers found that the trail surface, well-travelled by numerous hikers over recent days, had been compacted to a thick sheet of ice that in places covered the entire footpath and beyond. The entire group had some form of traction on our feet and yet the going in places was extremely risky, particularly places where the trail ran immediately next to drop off’s into the deep gorges of the area. We travelled at a seeming snails pace compared to the normal pace we set on this particular trail. Even the speediest of us was reduced to carefully picking our way down the white blazed hillside; we still had a couple of hikers fall down; thankfully,  no one sustained any injuries.

Th group inched along, in many places reduced to leaving the trail and walking through the surrounding snowpack out of necessity and a need for safety. Stairs were a frozen mass of ice that were completely unnavigable in any safe manner.

Reaching the flatlands at the bottom of the trail system, hikers congregated around the frozen falls, admiring the mass of ice covering the area.

Soon enough we started again up the blue blazed stairs, picking our way along again. This trail was for the most part no better than the downward-bound white trail had been.

Upon reaching the roadway, a few hardy hikers crossed the road to the blue blazed trails to finish out the two hour hike time. By the time that group returned to the cars the last of the hikers and dogs were coming up out of the gorge at the cars.

This was easily the slowest the group has ever hiked this particular trail, and the worst most unsafe condition I’ve ever seen this particular trail in. Thankfully no one was injured during the hike.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Feb 22 – Feb 28

Hello Hikers!

Wed Feb 24

Hike report and photo by Jim

Bike trails, Shindagin Hollow SF

4 hikers met on Braley Hill Rd for a walk in the area

Prior to arriving on the hike morning I was not entirely certain what trail conditions would be like. I was prepared to lead a road walk if trail conditions were entirely uncooperative to hiking on those.

I walked a short ways into the blue trails on the East side of the road and the yellow trails on the West side of Braley Hill Rd.

Due to recent bicycle and ski use I found the yellow trails to be somewhat more compacted and an easier walking surface, so when the group set out we reversed our normal direction of travel for this hike and set out on a Westerly direction.

It was a relatively warm day, feeling like the temperatures were hoovering somewhere around freezing. As we climbed the hill in the bright sunlight, which reflected well off the surface layer of fresh snow, we quickly warmed up.

My initial investigation of the trails had found that straying even a slight amount off the compacted trail surface had you up over your knees in soft snow. While the yellow trail surface itself was compacted, it was  a narrow track that had accommodated skiers and bicyclists but which forced the hikers to walk in a very narrow single file.

Forced to take the route previously used by other users and not one of our own choosing, we soon found ourselves hiking over a route that the group doesn’t normally take in the summer months. Even so, we were commenting on what an attractive section of woods we were travelling through.

The yellow trails soon turned into a red system of trails, which eventually led to a road lane-wide and well-used snowmobile trail. Able to finally spread out somewhat, the hikers followed the snowmobile trail down the hillside to Braley Hill Rd. Crossing Braley Hill Rd we continued on the snowmobile trail in an Easterly direction. A couple of times we passed blue hiking trails, but quick checks of the trail surface there had me nearly to my hips in snow on one such little-used footpath.

Reaching an apparent significant downhill section of the snowmobile trail I decided that it was a good time to turn around. We re-traced our path to Braley Hill Rd; a quick road walk brought us back to our cars with near-perfect timing.

Thee was minimal vehicle traffic and we sighted only a single dog walker and pedestrian on the road for the time we were there.


Sat Feb 27

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Fisher Settlement Road, snowmobile trail, Danby SF

Nine hikers and two dogs met on Fisher Settlement RD where the FLT crosses that road.

Since the group had a good experience hiking the snowmobile trails on Wednesday, I hoped that this location would give us a third option if the FLT and a road walk of Fisher Settlement Rd were not viable options. Hikers found Fisher Settlement RD to be a muddy mess, and the FLT in that area had a significant amount of snowpack still on the trail, making a hike there impossible.

By comparison, the snowmobile trail was well compacted and a good walking surface.

Hikers walked Westerly on the snowmobile trail, towards South Danby RD. Walking through the forests in this area was quite pleasing to the hiking group. Crossing South Danby RD hikers climbed the small hills in that area, travelling through forests of evergreens. Eventually the snowmobile trail came  out onto Travor RD, and I chose a direction on that seasonal road after a brief conference  with other hikers.. We soon found that Travor RD had a much less compacted snowpack surface, and as temperatures continued to rise during the hike, hikers soon began to posthole regularly as we proceeded on the Travor Rd snowpack.

Hikers reached Peter Rd at exactly the one hour mark. Turning around at Peter Rd, hikers retraced our steps to Fisher Settlement RD. Overall it was a very enjoyable hike, even with the posthole issues towards the end of the hike.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Feb 26

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Woods roads, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area

Twelve hikers met on Carter Creek Rd for a hike of the area seasonal roads.

Hikers set off, finding the initial portion of Carter Creek Rd to be fairly churned by a car or two that had driven through the area. Upon reaching Lloyd Stark Rd we found that Lloyd Starks RD was untouched by vehicles and had a well-packed snow base to walk on. Climbing Lloyd Starks RD  we soon came to the fairly extensive portion of that road that is being actively logged, with large piles of logs stacked by the road waiting for removal. The logged portion of Lloyd Starks extends all the way to Connecticut Hill Rd, or about a third of the length of the road

The group reached Connecticut Hill Rd and turned left to climb Boylan Rd in order to make a loop out of the days hike. About half of the group chose to turn around and re-trace their route on Lloyd Starks because the loop route would have taken longer than the usual two hours.

Soon enough those of us doing the loop reached Hulford Rd, which also had a well-compacted snow base. Multiple other people were in the area enjoying the beautiful day, including several dog walkers, skiers and even an equestrian who we stopped to talk to for a while.

Hulford RD led us back to Carter Creek RD which we took back to the cars. The loop hike, with the various delays and somewhat longer hike due to snow and ice conditions, came in at just under three hours.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here