Report to Hikers April 22-April 28

Wednesday, April 24

Eastman Hill Rd at the Tioga/ Tompkins County Line

Hike report by Jim

Ten hikers met at the end of the maintained portion of Eastman Hill Rd at the Tompkins and Tioga County line, for a hike of the FLT in the area. This is hike # 50 on our list of regular hike locations:

The weather forecast called for rain through much of the day, which I suspect accounted for a somewhat low turn-out. The day was cool and sunny when I arrived at the trailhead, but distant dark clouds moving towards our area were an ominous foretelling of weather to come.

The group set off on the seasonal/ unmaintained portion of Eastman Hill Rd that passes through DEC land. Reaching the intersection of Eastman Hill and Heisey Rd the group turned onto Heisey Rd. Before the FLT was recently re-routed we usually ended our hikes coming back on Heisey Rd; going in a reverse direction today caused me to be a little confused at the turn-off onto the FLT. The portion of the FLT between Heisey and Eastman Hill had a few sections of semi-solid mud that seemed to have the consistency of cookie dough. Not too bad, and not as liquid as the muddy section that we always run into on the opposite side of Eastman Hill Rd.

Once on the FLT walked to where it crosses the seasonal portion of Eastman Hill Rd, crossed over that road and continued on the FLT until entering the Eberhard Nature Preserve. My original plan had been to do a loop of the various trails within the Eberhard Preserve, but we were running short on time, so the group simply turned around and took the FLT back to where it crossed Eastman Hill Rd. The group returned to our cars via Eastman Hill Rd, with the rain starting to fall just as we drew closer to the trailhead.

Photo by Mary

Saturday, April 27

Virgil Mountain, Cortland County

Hike report by Greg

Nineteen hikers started and completed this 2 hour hike. No newcomers and no dogs accompanied us. Weather was ideal, temperatures fluttering around 50 degrees. There was some shedding and adding clothing depending on ascending or descending or rare sun exposure. Virtually no mud was encountered and 3 streams were readily traversed. Once again rain was delayed till after our hike! All in all a pleasant hike.

Sunday, April 28

FLT from Woodard Road to Hines Road and beyond, Enfield

Hike report by Casey

Lexi and approximately 31 hikers started at Woodard Road and headed west on the FLT. Yes there were muddy spots, but most of them were the spots that are muddy year round on this section of the FLT. After tackling the first few hills, three of us at the front had the pleasure of seeing a fisher in the woods scampering along a small ledge that was parallel to the park road. That is the first one I have seen in the wild.

We managed to cross Hines Road and continue through the woods to Rockwell Road where we walked a little and then followed the FLT across a field and into what is either part of the Bock-Harvey Preserve or very close to it before turning around and heading back to the cars.

On the way back there was the easy option of road walking Hines Road to Woodard and back to the cars, but for the first time since I have been doing this hike, I didn’t see anyone take that option. Although there could have been a few escapees that I failed to notice.

Anyway, we ended up with a nice 4.7 mile hike on a very pleasant spring day with a few rain drops only starting as we got into our cars.

Photo by Nancy H.

Report to Hikers April 15-April 21

Wednesday, April 17

The Pinnacles from Bald Hill Rd., Danby SF

Hike report by Casey

Marcy met with 26 hikers starting at Bald Hill Road and Station Road. We walked on Bald Hill Road a little until we turned right onto the orange blazed Abbott Loop. This was an out and back with everyone turning around in an hour regardless of any speed and distance differential. Seven of us actually made it up to the Pinnacles and down the other side all the way to the creek at the bottom of a steep hill at exactly one hour in.

At that point we turned around and retraced our steps until getting back to our cars at exactly the two hour point, having hiked 4.6 miles with an elevation gain of 900 to 1,000 feet depending on which app you use.

Photo by Jim
Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, April 20

Hike along Carter Creek

Hike report by Nancy Lorr

32 people and 2 dogs gathered at the junction of Boylan and Lloyd Stark Rd for a hike along Carter Creek. We walked up Boylan Rd a short way passing a large beaver pond on the way.  After the road crossed Carter Creek we cut into the trees on a well trodden trail that followed the creek along the rim gradually going uphill to about 200 feet above the creek.  Then the trail headed gradually down hill.  During this stretch we had a good view of Rowell and Doll Hill  through the leafless trees.  The trail intersects Carter Creek Road.  This road follows the main branch of Carter Creek.  Most of us turned right on this road following it until we reached an old carriage road which we took down to view the creek closeup.  The creek was too full for an easy crossing though several hardy souls made it.  If we had been able to cross we could have seen the crumbling foundation of an old homestead a short way up the hill.  We retraced our steps and headed the other direction until we crossed the creek we had previously followed and reached a trail that headed uphill on the other side of the creek. At the top of the hill we visited a lovely beaver pond surrounded by old pines and  beaver chewed stumps of other trees.  We negotiated a swampy area to emerge on Lloyd Starks road close to our cars.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Photos by Nancy and Randy

View Nancy Lorr and Randy Olson’s photo album.

Sunday, April 21

Logan Hill Nature Preserve, Candor

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty hikers convened at the Candor High School parking lot to hike up and around the top of Logan Hill on the seasonal road and yellow trail. The day was kind of crummy, with colder and more overcast weather than in the previous week, but the trail and views were rewarding.

Photos by Leigh Ann
Photo by Kelly

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Report to Hikers April 8-April 14

Wednesday, April 10

Robinson Hollow State Forest, Richford

Hike report by Greg

Another wet gloomy Wednesday hike. Heavy rain before and after but for us steady drizzle. This hike is a rigorous up down up down with a brief level stretch hike. Eight of us started, one turned early, 7 continued. Mud while tolerable was annoying. At 45 minutes we took a vote and decided to turn around. On our early return some road walked to add time.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, April 13

Lower Treman Park

Hike report by Mark Sussman

Twenty hikers and 1 dog showed up at the parking area off of Route 34 for a hike into Lower Robert Treman State Park. The weather was chilly and a steady drizzle was falling. The hikers soon warmed up as they ascended the first steep section of the hike. The steep section also served to spread out the hikers, with the fast group galloping ahead. The group further spread out on the long uphill section. After that there is little significant elevation gain, but there are some small uphills and downhills. The trail, which is usually not very muddy, was quite slippery in spots. At least one hiker slid in the mud on a steep downhill section.

The lead group of the hikers made it all the way to the overlook of Lucifer Falls. The falls were roaring that morning due to all the rain we’ve been having. The main group made it back to the parking area in about 2.5 hours. Everyone was a bit damp and muddy, but there were no complaints.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, April 14

Cayuga Trail from Freese Rd

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-four hikers met at the Cornell Garden Plots parking lot off Freese Rd. to hike easterly along the Varna Cliffs and North Monkey Run. The first quarter mile of this hike is reliably muddy even during drier parts of the year. After a week of mostly rainy days, the trail was chocolate milk water and peanut butter mud most the way.  Everyone’s boots and lower legs got thoroughly sleazed. It was horribly wonderful. With that said, it was slippery enough on the steep parts that five hikers headed back via Hanshaw Road once we got to our turn-around point at North Monkey Run gravel road (2 miles in). All together, it took a little less than two hours for the remaining 19 hikers to return to the cars.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers April 1-April 7

Wednesday, April 3

Roy H. Park Preserve to Hammond Hill State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Greg

Four hardy, determined mud walkers appeared for Wednesday’s hike. Rain was harder before and after our hike but we had more than drizzle as well. We crossed the lengthy, rather rapidly beginning to rot board walk and proceeded on a steady uphill trudge through 3” of mud. The gravel after that was more than welcome. We turned around at an hour but shorter distance than we have in the past. On our return we were surprised to find the mud had now become a trail wide 3” deep stream. Enough said.

Photos by Greg

Saturday, April 6

Owl Creek Trail, lower Buttermilk Falls SP

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers met on Yaple Rd in the Town of Danby for a hike through the upper Buttermilk Falls State Park area. The route we took today didn’t correspond to any of the regular hike routes we normally do in the area.

The day was cool and blustery at the beginning of the hike, but by hikes end the sun had come out and temperatures were approaching what I would call comfortable.

Hikers left Yaple Rd and walked the FLT spur trail to the trail that normally loops around Treman Lake, if the upper side of the trail were not closed due to the bridge there being washed out. We found one or two other hikers on this section of trail, as well as a couple of minor blow-down trees that were easily skirted.

Reaching the lower end of Treman Lake the group paused for a photo before taking the stairs and path that crosses over the top of the dam. Once on the other side of the dam hikers took the side trail to La Tourelle, then turned around and followed the Lake Trail to Comfort Rd near the junction with Yaple Rd.

The group splintered up here, with some people leaving early, several hikers taking the FLT spur trail towards King Rd, and some, I believe, deciding to jump back onto the FLT spur trail leading back into Upper Buttermilk.

Those of us on the FLT spur trail leading to West King Rd found quite a bit of standing water and mud, causing some hikers to choose to turn around early.

Welcome to Genie on her first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Sunday, April 7

Black Diamond Trail

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Thirty-five hikers and two hiker dogs met at the junction of Kraft Road and the Black Diamond Trail on this sparkly-clear morning. We hiked north from there. This is an excellent hike for stretching out and getting some mileage and/or walking and talking side-by-side. People turned around at the one-hour mark wherever they were. A few hikers made it all the way to the upper falls viewing point, and for them the hike was about 6 miles round-trip.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers March 25-March 31

Wednesday, March 27

Taughannock Falls State Park

Hike report by Mark S.

Twenty-two hikers and a single dog met on Rice Rd in the Town of Ulysses for a hike of some of the trails in the vicinity of Taughannock Falls State Park led by Mark S. 

This hike is now listed as the Rice Road parking area to our existing Taughannock Falls State Park trailheads, hike #39 on our list of local hiking areas:

The day was sunny and clear as hikers cars continued to pull into the parking lot; the group eventually paused for the group photo with Cayuga Lake in the background before setting off on the hike. 

The hike started with hikers walking downhill towards Route 89, following the white blazed multi-use trail found on the map at…/parks/TaughannockFallsTrailMap.pdf. This route passed through a nice ravine area before crossing Rice Rd and continuing towards Taughannock Park Rd. The group paused briefly at the falls overlook before continuing along the Rim Trail towards the Black Diamond Trail and the overlook area above the falls. Reaching the parking area on Jacksonville Rd we found the expansion project for the Black Diamond Trail parking area well under way, with many trees being cleared for the new parking area and rest rooms. 

Crossing Jacksonville Rd the group continued on the trail on the westerly side of Jacksonville Rd ( not displayed on the linked map, but displayed as a shaded area on the park bowhunting map found at…/TaughannockFallsBowHuntingMap.pdf ) which we took in an out-and-back due to some high water levels that made stream crossings unwise. 

Returning to the Rim Trail the group soon crossed back over Taughannock Falls Rd and took the white blazed trails back to Rice Rd and our cars.

After the hike many hikers reconvened at the Cider House on Rte 89 for lunch.

Welcome to Ann R and Laura J on their first hike with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, March 30

FLT south and east from the corner of Townline and Layen Rds

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-five hikers and one dog met and hiked on this cool, sparkly, and remarkably non-muddy day. Five people were with us for their first event, and I am looking forward to learning everyone’s names better on future hikes! 

The route followed the Finger Lakes Trail south from the junction of Layen and Townline Roads for an out-and-back, and the farthest anyone in our group got was about 2.4 miles from the trailhead. Everyone arrived back at the cars by the end of two hours.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, March 31

Monkey Run Natural Area, south side of Fall Creek, Varna

Hike report by Jim

Seventeen hikers and three dogs met at the parking area at the dead end of Monkey Run Rd outside of the hamlet of Varna, for a loop hike of the Cayuga Trail. This is hike # 6 on our list of regular hike locations:

The day was generally cool and overcast at the start of the hike. A few drops of rain had fallen before the hike, but to my relief there was no rain during the hike itself.

Our hikers set off from the parking area in a westerly direction towards Varna, initially following the orange and red blazed footpath with associated moderate elevation changes along the way.

Reaching the open fields along State Route 366 outside of Varna, we followed the dirt farming road there until we reconnected with the red blazed trail that runs along the bank of Fall Creek. A short stop along the way and we pressed on until we reached the high bluffs above the creek. Erosion of the edge of the bluff was obvious, as the recent loss of several trees along the bluff to the creek below since our last hike here was apparent.

The group continued on our route, the path now descending back to near the creek shore. in addition to the loss of the trees mentioned above it appears that there has been quite a few recently fallen trees across the trail which have subsequently been cleared, some by hand as the axe work was obvious. Thank you trail maintainers!

By now it was clear to me that the trail conditions were a little muddier than I liked, so when we got to a side trail that connected with the Dryden Rail Trail I took the group in that direction, stopping along the way for a short entry in the trail journal.

The hikers ended our hike with a short out-and-back to Route 13 on the Dryden Rail Trail. We arrived back at our cars a few minutes later than planned, but no one was complaining.

Other than a couple of groups of day hikers with dogs encountered near the end of our hike, we had the trails to ourselves today.

Welcome to new K9 hiker “Benny” on his first time with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.