Wednesday, December 6
FLT along Wilseyville Creek
Hike report by Jim
Fifteen hikers met on White Church Rd for a hike of the FLT. Everything in the area; the ground, tree limbs, etc, was covered with a fresh untouched thin layer snowfall from the previous evening. Temps were cool and the air was clear, with good views of the surrounding forested hills in the far distance.
The group crossed White Church Rd and entered the FLT footpath, hiking towards Wilseyville Creek, the trail briefly crossing an open field before it reaches the tree line. Just as we entered the woods the sun came out from behind cloud cover and bathed everything in our area in what seemed like pure white. The crystalline structure of the top layer of snowflakes seemed to gleam around the hikers with a special brilliance. The ground underfoot had not frozen and in places there was a thin layer of semi-solid mud hiding underneath the fresh snow, but this only presented a potential hazard on the very slight hilly areas the trail traverses.
Reaching the first turn onto the new section of recently re-routed FLT, the group turned in a southerly direction. Here the snow-covered trees with the sun filtering through the leafless branches overhead seemed to created a tunnel of light surrounded by only slightly shadowed trees. I’m not sure if the photos do this visual effect justice.
The group walked to the end of White Church Rd where it meets Coddington Rd, before we turned around and followed the former railbed back along Wilseyville Creek until we reached Ridgeway Rd. By now the sun overhead was again under cloud cover, but we were treated to the hillsides in the distance still being lit up in sunlit brilliance. The group again reversed direction, walking south until again meeting the intersection that would take hikers back through the woods and across the fields to our cars. We arrived at the parking area about ten minutes earlier than I had planned, but overall it was a spectacular hike.
Warm welcome to Deborah on her first hike with the group!
Saturday, December 9
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-three hikers and one dog met at the junction of Bald Hill and Station Roads in the Town of Danby for a hike to the Pinnacles and surrounding area trails. This is hike # 19-A on our list of regular hike locations:
Most of the hunters I saw in the area were loading up and leaving prior to the arrival of most of our group. The day was sunny and cool with moderate breezes, overall a good hiking day. None of the rain or snow that we’ve experienced on recent hikes!
The group set off down the seasonal portion of Bald Hill Rd, climbing the hill as the road travelled in a southerly direction. The group turned westerly on the Abbott Loop, climbing somewhat more sharply as the trail drew closer to the Pinnacles overlook area. The view from the Pinnacles was a little hazy but still very enjoyable, especially with the summer view-obstructing vegetation now absent. Beyond the overlook the Loop trail crosses the peak before descending back to Bald Hill Rd. From Bald Hill Rd the group split into two groups; a smaller subset of hikers preferred to do the old out-and-back hike where they returned to the Pinnacles and from there back to the cars. As I prefer a loop hike I led the remainder of the group north of Bald Hill Rd to rejoin the Abbott Loop and take that to the Dove Trail back to our cars. There was a minor water crossing for my loop hikers, but nothing too remarkable. The loop hiking sub-group returned to our cars about fifteen minutes early, while the out-and -back sub-group joined us at the cars at exactly the two-hour mark.
Welcome to Hongli, Sean, Tom and Dorothea on their first hike with the group!
Sunday, December 10
Forest Home Hike
Hike report by Jim
Eleven hikers and one dog met in the parking lot of the Mundy Wildflower Preserve at the corner of Caldwell Rd and Forest Home Drive, for a multi-loop hike of the trails available in the area. This is hike # 4B on our list of regular hike locations: https://www.ithacahikers.com/hike-04.
There was a steady drizzle through much of today’s hike, with some chilly temperatures that hint of the lower temperatures forecast for this afternoon into the overnight hours. Other than a few joggers and a couple of day hikers, we had the entire hike route to ourselves today.
The hike started with a quick loop through the Mundy Wildflower Garden, Cornell University. Part of that gardens trails remain closed, so it was a very quick loop that shadowed Fall Creek briefly before looping towards Judd Falls Rd.
Exiting the Wildflower Gardens, we entered the grounds of the Nevin Welcome Center long enough to reach Forest Home Drive. The group walked to Sackett Bridge and then turned on to the trail to Hemlock Gorge. The water was flowing quite well in all of the waterways we hiked around today, the cascades at some points so deafening that you had to speak up to be heard. Completing the Hemlock Gorge loop (several deer were sheltering on the ridge there above the falls, and I’m not sure whether the hikers or the deer were more startled at the appearance of the other group) hikers walked to the Sampson Trail and followed that trail along Beebe Lake until we crossed the Triphammer footbridge.
Our group continued on the southerly shore of Beebe Lake, returning to Forest Home Drive which we followed into the hamlet of Forest Home. It didn’t take long to exit the other side of Forest Home near our cars; as we still had a lot of time left on the hike, I opted to enter the Newman Arboretum and hike some of the footpaths there that follow the easterly leg of Forest Home Drive. We passed through the War Memorial, Treman Woods and other display areas until we reached the Morgan-Smith Trail. We eventually turned around and walked the Arboretums paved roads back to our cars.
Welcome to Chen on her first hike with the group!