Tuesday August 16
Steege Hill Nature Preserve, Chemung County
Hike report by Jim
Eight hikers and one dog met to hike the Steege Hill Nature Preserve in Big Flats. Unlike last year, this hike was dry: no precipitation and no wet trails. A vast improvement on last year’s hiking conditions. I had no formal route planned, other than not wanting to repeat the blue and red trails from last year.
We set out from the parking area and took the access trail up the hill, as it slowly makes its way to the first trail intersection. Here, we opted to hike the lengthy yellow-blazed loop trail, which involves a long downhill segment and the inevitable upward climb on the reverse side of the loop. Nothing proved too steep of a grade.
Last year, blueberries were beginning to ripen when we visited this preserve. This year we hiked a bit later, and they had already gone by for the most part. In the future this hike will need to be planned earlier in the month for those in search of trailside food sources.
We took the blue-blazed trail to the nearby white-blazed trail, which had a much more significant downhill and uphill climb. We hadn’t hiked this particular loop last year, and the map reconnaissance I did failed to account for the actual time to complete the loop based on the steep inclines on the reverse side of the loop. As a result, we ran over the scheduled hike time by a significant amount. (Another option, which we did not try, is taking a side trail to a service road that leads directly back to the access trail to the parking lot; in the future I’ll take that route if the group is concerned about completing the hike in two hours.)
Norm, as he often does, did his own hike of the area and had a run-in with a rattlesnake along the trail. He survived to tell the tale and share his photos.
No bears were observed by any member of the group.
Wednesday August 17
Texas Hollow State Forest, Hector
Hike report by Jim
Eight hikers and a dog met at Texas Hollow State Forest for a hike of the FLT and loop trail there. It was a warm day, and as we set out there was a short period of light rain that barely penetrated the forest canopy. By the time we had traversed the short section of trail from the parking lot and arrived at the pond area, the rain had dissipated.
Very quickly we arrived at the blue-blazed loop trail and took that side trail, climbing the hill above the pond area. We then returned to the FLT and continued on, crossing over the many dry streambeds as the trail slowly crept upward.
The trail reaches a point where it begins a serious upward climb, and the group split up into smaller clusters of hikers who pressed forward at their respective hiking speeds. Eventually we reached the one-hour turnaround point and started the return trip to our cars.
Bypassing the loop trail, we took the slightly shorter and more direct FLT route, arriving back at the cars with five minutes to spare.
Overall, this was a very straightforward hike with no extraordinary events to report.
This hike represents 3.5 FLT miles for hikers working to earn the FLT60 patch.
Saturday August 20
From South Danby Road west on the FLT, Danby State Forest
Hike report by Nancy L.
On Saturday, August 20, 19 people and two dogs gathered on South Danby Road to walk west on the Finger Lakes Trail. It was a pleasant, cool morning.
The trail was quite pleasant with a thick bed of pine needles. Initially the going was easy, but in the end we got a workout. The first uphill portion was just practice for the second, which was quite steep.
In between we crossed a new, well-built bridge labeled “Dave’s Bridge” to honor our ubiquitous and endlessly helpful trail maintainer, Dave Priester.
We hiked a little beyond where we intersected the Abbott Loop. We reached another picturesque creek and beautiful bridge before turning around to retrace our steps.
Photos by Nancy L.
Sunday August 21
Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenters Falls, Cayuga County
Hike report by Jim
Seven hikers met on an overcast day for a hike of the Carpenters Falls and Bahar Nature Preserve area in Cayuga County.
A light rain was falling as we started out from the parking lot toward the newly constructed Carpenters Falls observation area. Soon the rain increased in intensity. We went down a short flight of stone steps to check out a lower falls observation area, then returned to the parking lot of start the trail toward Bahar Preserve. Several of us retrieved umbrellas from cars as the rain volume increased.
The trail along the gorge was largely uneventful; hiker James reported frequenting the area as a teen, before the trail system was created, and pointed out several smaller falls and cascades along the stream’s path that, for whatever reason, haven’t been afforded official viewing areas from the trail system on the bluffs above.
Throughout the hike, rain volume increased and decreased. Umbrellas would be put away when the rain would slacken, then come out again in short order as the deluge returned.
The unimproved trail grew increasingly muddy as the rain continued. Careful route selection on steeper descents to avoid slick tree roots prevented any accidents from occurring.
The group reached the shoreline at the bottom of the trail and spent a few minutes looking out over the lake. In the interest of time, we opted for a road walk back to the cars.
By this time the rain had stopped and the sun was out. While a misty fog still lay in the low areas, the views across the lake to the opposite shores were greatly improved from just a short time earlier in the hike.
After the hike several hikers reconvened at Summerhill Brewing in Locke. With a change into dry clothes and some good food, it was an enjoyable end to what had been one of our wetter hikes in recent memory.