Report to Hikers September 18 – September 24

Wednesday September 20

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

Hike report by Jim

Eleven hikers met on Ellis Hollow Creek Road for a hike of the Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve, which is hike #38 on our list of hikes. The day was cool but sunny, and the greenery in the parking area was clearly in seasonal transition, with many shades coloring the leaves as I waited for hikers to arrive.

We all stayed together for a single circuit of the yellow, blue, and red loops. Once we were in the preserve, things were quite gloomy under the canopy, and here it was obvious that most of the trees had yet to start their seasonal transition. There was almost no water flowing in the creeks, and we encountered only rare patches of mud along the way.

After a quick pause at the kiosk at the end of the first circuit, the group splintered into a number of subgroups, and each subgroup did its own route within the preserve. The entire group reconvened at the two-hour mark to conclude the hike.

Our group had the place to ourselves with the exception of a single dog walker we encountered along the way.

Saturday September 23

Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, West Danby

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers and one dog met at Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in West Danby to do hike #16 on our hike list. The day was generally overcast, but hikers said they preferred that to some of the hotter days we’ve hiked recently.

Before we set out, the larger group split into two smaller groups. Each group did its own distinct hike: Five hikers, led by Casey, preferred to bushwhack to the top of the Pinnacles, while most hikers stayed within the preserve’s trail system.

Those hiking within the preserve started with a quick loop around the Coleman Lake observation trail, then entered the larger fields and began a loop hike of the various yellow, blue, red and orange trails there.

Trails were in good condition, and we saw only a handful of other hikers during our time on the trails. There was a 50% chance of morning rain, but that never materialized while we were hiking.

The main group arrived back at their cars a few minutes early. Casey’s bushwhackers arrived back at the parking lot considerably later and reported a successful ascent of the hillside.

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 24

Spur trail from upper Lick Brook/Townline Road to upper Buttermilk Falls SP/Yaple Road

Hike report by Jim

Nineteen hikers and one dog met on Townline Road in Ithaca for a hike of the Thayer Preserve trail system to the FLT spur trail into upper Buttermilk Falls State Park. This is hike #11 on our list of our regular hike locations.

We set out into Thayer Preserve on a steady climb on the orange-blazed trails away from Townline Road. A few minutes into the hike, the trail reaches Sandbank Road and follows that road in close proximity for a short while. The trail then emerges into the open fields near the South Hill Cidery glamping sites, where we paused for a group photo before returning to the woods. The trail winds through the woods until it finally emerges into an open utility right-of-way near West King Road.

We crossed West King Road and picked up the FLT spur trail, which intermingles woods walks with open fields until it reaches Yaple Road. This section in particular was very nice today; the wooded portions were gloomy, but the grasses and underbrush in this section had an almost luminescent quality, especially on the return leg of the hike after the rain had ended. The open fields were awash with a multitude of shades of fall colors: yellow, red, green, and purple.

At Yaple Road, hikers continued on the spur trail until we reached the park trail that circles Treman Lake. We took that trail to the upper end of Treman Lake, crossed the mostly dry lake bed and walked to Comfort Road on the park access road. Then, we walked back to Yaple Road and Casey took over leading the group for the return leg. We retraced our route until we reached the blue-blazed Toms Trail, which we took back to Townline Road.

We arrived back at our cars at exactly the two-hour mark.

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

Report to Hikers September 11 – September 17

Wednesday September 13

Allan H. Treman Marina, Cass Park, Black Diamond Trail

Hike report by Jim

Fourteen people met in the parking lot of Allan Treman State Marine Park for a walk in the area, hike #53-1 on our hike list.

Hikers set off on the looping paved and gravel trails that circle the north point of the park. It was a sunny and pleasant day, so the breezes and views down the lake were welcome.

After returning to the parking area, we continued on the walking trails that cut through Cass Park to run along the flood control channel. At the Route 89 bridge near Inlet Island, we crossed over and returned through the Children’s Garden to the bottom of the Black Diamond Trail. A short out-and-back segment of the trail returned hikers to the Children’s Garden.

From there, we walked through Cass Park back to Treman Marina and the cars.

Photo by Roz

Saturday September 16

Dabes Diversion Loop, Cortland County

Hike report by Jim

Seventeen hikers met in Cortland County to hike a loop comprising the Dabes Diversion Loop, the Finger Lakes Trail, and the Kuzia Cut-off in Kennedy State Forest. This is hike #40-2 on our hike list.

Before the hike there was heavy fog which, thankfully, burned off before we started our hike.  Temps were cool, with a mix of sun and shadow on the trail. The climb through the woods from the parking area and the traverse through the pines and across the old stone walls was a really enjoyable time for many of us – a great day to be in the woods!

When we arrived at the junction of the FLT and the Dabes Diversion Loop, we found clear skies with really good vistas across the valley. We continued our loop on the FLT, descending toward the water crossing, where we got to use the new, recently built footbridge.

Hikers navigated through the short FLT reroute that accompanies the new bridge, and we soon found ourselves on the blue-blazed Kuzia Cut-off.

We arrived back at our cars with 30 minutes to spare, so most of the group resorted to returning to the Diversion Loop to use up the remaining hike time.

FLT through-hiker Tim, who is on his 28th day on trail, joined us at the Dabes/FLT junction and hiked with us for the remainder of our route.

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 17

Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenters Falls, Cayuga County

Hike report by Jim

Twenty hikers and one dog met for a hike of the Carpenter Falls and Bahar Nature Preserve in Cayuga County. This is hike #60-9 on our list of hikes.

By start time, our group had completely filled the small parking lot, so I think that I’ll have to make this a Wednesday hike in the future. At hike’s end we found about 10 other cars illegally parked along the road. Had our group been any larger, some of our hikers might have had to resort to the same parking arrangement.

The day was overcast and the woods were somewhat gloomy, but the falls were well attended not only by our group but by numerous other day hikers and dog walkers. We walked to the viewing area for the falls via the new boardwalk and hiked the nearby stone stairs to see the falls from below. There was a decent amount of water flowing, so the falls were quite enjoyable. Pretty much the entire group commented on the workout  they got while returning to the boardwalk from the lower viewing area.

Back at the parking area, we took the trail toward Bahar Preserve. We found very little mud along the footpath as we followed the winding trail downward. Few of our hikers had been on our sole previous hike here, and this was their first visit to this location. Many reported having an enjoyable hike.

At the end of the trail, we made a brief stop at the lakeshore before turning around and retracing our steps back to our cars. We arrived at the parking area a few minutes early, so we did a short road walk to use up the remaining hike time.

Our planned stop at Summerhill Brewing had to be cancelled because the brewery was unexpectedly closed today, but I am sure that we’ll visit this venue at some time in the future.

Welcome to Mary Ann on her first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers September 4 – September 10

Wednesday September 6

Black Diamond Trail

Hike report by Jim

Ten hikers met for a leisurely out-and-back hike of the Black Diamond Trail southbound from Kraft Road. A late arrival did their own solo hike.

Hikers found that state park crews were working on this section of the Black Diamond Trail in anticipation of an upcoming group event that would use the trail. The workers indicated that we were not a hinderance to their efforts, so we hiked as planned.

The day proved to be sunny and very warm. Everyone in the group walked at their own pace, and it wasn’t long before we were strung out in small subgroups over a very long section of trail. Everyone turned around at the halfway point and made their way back to Kraft Road without incident.

Lots of other people were on the trail today, including bicyclists, runners, and dog walkers.

Tom invited everyone to his nearby house for a swim in the lake. I was unable to attend due to a pre-existing appointment, so I cannot report on how many people took Tom up on his offer.

Photo by Jack V.

Saturday Septemner 9

Alex & Michele Gonzalez Hiking Preserve, Virgil

Hike report by Jim

Nineteen hikers and a dog met for a hike of the Alex & Michele Gonzalez Hiking Preserve, a.k.a. the International Loops. Light rain before the hike had dissipated by our start time. This location was a new hike for many of the people in today’s group.

We set off from our cars, climbing the hill past the recently installed kiosk before taking the Jose and Irwin trails up the hill in a series of loops and switchbacks, with Casey in the lead. We stopped to make a trail journal entry and take some group photos along the utility right-of-way before continuing onward. We switched to the Spanish Loop, taking that trail to Adams Road before turning around. A quick stop at the small pond, and we were on the return leg.

To avoid making it entirely an out-and-back hike, we took the red-blazed English Loop before returning to the Spanish and Irwin trails back toward Daisy Hollow Road. I always find the return leg  of this hike enjoyable; we pass through some nice sections of evergreens with a layer of cushioning needles underfoot. We returned to the cars at exactly the two-hour mark.

All of the trails we hiked today were in good condition, with minimal mud. The only other preserve users we saw along the way today were some campers at one bivouac site, which I later found out included Alex Gonzalez. Hikers enjoyed several nice views along the route.

Alex advised me after the hike that one new trail has been completed, and another new loop should be finished later in the fall. I plan to bring the group back here to check out the new trail loops after those projects have been completed.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 10

Finger Lakes Trail west from Logan Road, Finger Lakes National Forest

Hike report by Jim

Seventeen hikers and a dog met on Logan Road, just outside the Finger Lakes National Forest, for an out-and-back hike of the FLT from Logan Road to Satterly Hill Road and beyond. The skies were generally overcast, with fog clinging to the distant hills as I waited for the group to arrive at the trailhead. A few drops of rain threatened the hike, but nothing came of that until the end of the hike.

There was a bit of a slow start as some late arrivals and a group photo delayed things for a few minutes. Jack V. took the lead, guiding hikers across the open fields and into the woods.

After we’d crossed the always-impressive footbridge, the climb toward Satterly Hill Road began. Recent rains had created a few muddy patches along the way, but those were nothing compared to what we’ve seen here in the past. Late summer colors along the trail were really enjoyable, the still-green leaves contrasting sharply with those that were already underway into their fall transformation.

We crossed Satterly Hill Road and descended the hill on the opposite side toward Watkins Glen, before we turned around and retraced our route.

The footpath along this section was recently mowed and spruced up for the FLTC cross-county hike that’s happening next weekend. Thanks to the volunteers for your trail work efforts!

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers August 28 – September 3

Wednesday August 30

Jim Schug Trail, Dryden

Hike report by Jim

Eleven hikers met on Lake Road in Dryden. Ten of us did a flat hike of the Jim Schug Trail, while one chose to take the Finger Lakes Trail over Havington Hill.

The day was warm and sunny, and we shared the Schug Trail with a good number of joggers and dog walkers. I believe the sole FLT hiker found himself alone on the trail.

This was our first hike of the Schug Trail since the tornado-related damage earlier this summer. Today, there was still quite a bit of tree damage visible along the trail, with a lot of upended root balls and downed trees on the banks along the pathway. Kudos to the town workers who clearly spent a lot of time returning the trail to a useable condition.

This was an out-and-back hike, with everyone doing their own pace. The fastest hiker on the Jim Schug Trail made it as far as South Street in Dryden village before turning around.

The trees are clearly in that late summer/ early fall stage where the earliest color changes are starting to happen, and the rest of the leaves are clearly past their prime.There were also a lot of contrasting colors with the various flowers, mature goldenrod, and even the algae and other growth in the lake, streams, and surrounding smaller bodies of water along the way.

Photo by Jim

Photos by Nancy H.

Saturday September 2

Connecticut Hill, Newfield

Hike report by Dave B.

A dog and 13 intrepid hikers set out on a beautiful morning, enjoying 2-1/2 hours of blue skies and cool temperatures for this 4.75-mile hike.

We peered down into the darkness of an old rock well at an abandoned homesite, before descending steeply into a ravine. At the bottom, the stream’s low flow made the several crossings easier. It also left to the imagination what the two waterfalls might look like were there more than a trickle of water.

Exposed stepping stones at the major crossing of Carter Creek made for dry feet, before a short side trail took us to the remains of a large stone dam – the part of the high wall still standing was an impressive sight.

After a shady roadwalk, we turned back across the creek for the uphill phase of the hike, passing the well-preserved basement of another homesite before returning to the trailhead. The at-times challenging terrain saw two hikers fall, but given that no bones were broken nor blood shed, we deemed this outing a success!

Welcome to new hiker Aron Gutman, from Ithaca.

Photo by Dave B.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 3

Finger Lakes Trail from Comfort Road

Hike report by Jim

This is a section of the FLT that we hike only once or twice a year because of the intermittent muddy trail conditions that tend to prevail for much of the summer. After I first led the group here, Steve H. told me that he and Susan had given up on this trail section because of the muddy conditions. My own solo hikes here established that the section was doable in the driest months, and while there’s still some mud, it’s a pretty enough section of trail that I’m not willing to bypass it entirely. I wanted to get the group on this section this year for an out-and-back hike before we lost access due to the fall hunting closures in October.

And so 22 hikers and two dogs met on Comfort Road on a sunny and beautiful summer morning. The views across the open fields were enjoyable, and the day was nice enough that we had multiple dog walkers passing our cars on the road as the group assembled before the hike.

Setting off through the woods, we found that the initial short sections that are often muddy were not so bad, which gave me some hope for the trail ahead of us. This initial stretch of the trail borders an open field near some homes. Soon, the trail makes  a soft right turn and begins a gradual descent that continues for much of the remainder of the hike’s outbound leg.

The trail winds through a section of pines, with old needles underfoot and a general lack of undergrowth that blocks your views of the surrounding woods. There are some shorter sections of the hike where the undergrowth is at its full summer growth and requires a bit of bushwhacking to get through.

Eventually, the trail reaches a few small stream crossings. Only one of these had any amount of actual flowing water amounting to more than a trickle. The real challenges here are getting safely up and down the sharply pitched banks, not the streams themselves.

The path has some minor elevation changes, but overall nothing of any great difficulty compared to the FLT elsewhere in the county.

We reached the first open fields and stopped for a group photo before moving on.

Usually this hike ends at a second section of open fields that are our turnaround point when we hike in from Townline Road. Today’s hike proved to be a little slower than in the past, so we hit the turnaround time before reaching those second fields.

Casey took over leading the group for the return leg  of the hike, and we all made it back to the cars without incident.

A warm welcome to Nancy J. on her first hike with the group!

For anyone trying to get their FLT 50 patch for 2023, I didn’t check with any of our usual members to get their GPS mileage, but a map check gives me a total of around 4.3  FLT miles for this hike.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Report to Hikers August 21 – August 27

Wednesday August 23

Hinchcliff Family Preserve, Spafford, Onondaga County

Hike report by Jim

Ten hikers and  a dog met for a hike of the red- and yellow-blazed trails at the Hinchcliff Family Preserve above Skaneateles Lake. The day started out cool and cloudy, but by the end of the hike the sun was out and temperatures had noticeably climbed.

Trail conditions were good. There’s a new switchback trail reroute on the yellow loop that makes the climb away from the old homestead a little easier than in the past.

The views over the hills toward the lake near the end of the yellow-blazed loop are always a high point of this hike.

We ran into very few other hikers during the hike, although we did see other hikers leaving as we arrived and arriving as we departed.

Photos by Nancy H.

Saturday August 26

Hammond Hill State Forest from Star Stanton Road

Hike report by Jim

Fifteen hikers met for a loop hike of the green- and yellow-blazed trail system of Hammond Hill State Forest in Dryden. At the hike’s start, the day was overcast and somewhat cool–perfect hiking weather.

I found out in the day or so before our hike that we would be sharing Hammond Hill with both the Cayuga Trails Club and the Nordic ski club, although we didn’t actually run into either group during our hike.

What we did encounter along the way were a couple of wandering day hikers who went to the hill relying on their online maps, which were no good when they lost connectivity. We also met a couple of equestrians, a family group or two with dogs in tow, mountain bikers, and a lot of single hikers with or without dogs. In short, it seemed like everyone wanted to be in the forest today!

Our hike ran over on the planned time, which is a common problem for us on Hammond Hill. I keep tweaking our route, but we always seem to run over our usual two-hour hike time. There are some newly created blue-blazed trails on Hammond Hill, which will give me a chance to experiment with some new routes!

A warm welcome to Priyanka and Nitin, who joined us on their first Ithaca Hikers hike!

Photos by Leigh Ann

Sunday August 27

Bock Harvey Forest Preserve and Riemen Woods, Enfield

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-five hikers and four dogs met in Bock Harvey Preserve and Rieman Woods in Enfield. Cool temperatures and a sunny day greeted us as we set off from the cars. Mature goldenrod filled the fields above the parking area near the lean-to, where we paused for a quick group photo.

We reached the FLT and turned toward Rieman Woods. After completing that loop, the group returned to the FLT and took the trail back to Rockwell Road, crossing open pastures and traversing some nice woodlands along the way. The return leg of the hike took us on a side trail with some very nice old-growth trees.

There was very little water in the streams along our route. Dave B. was along for the hike, and he provided much insight into the preserve and its history.

We returned to our cars with a few minutes to spare.

A warm welcome to Meng Lin, Issac Hao, Zhonglin Wang, and Zheng Hao on their first hike with the group!

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.