Report to Hikers August 14 – August 20

Wednesday August 16

Robinson Hollow State Forest

Hike report by Jim

Nine hikers met on Harford Slaterville Road for an out-and-back  hike on the Finger Lakes Trail through Robinson Hollow State Forest.

The day started out somewhat gloomy. The trail had some water seepage through the beaver dam, as is usual. The old logging road that starts the climb up the hill showed signs of some minor recent washout, probably from all the rain we’ve been having.

After cresting the top of the hill, the trail passes through a utility right-of-way and another old logging road, then it descends toward state Route 79.

We turned around and retraced our route, returning to the cars through a light rain.

Hiker safety note: There is an active bald-faced hornets’ nest on the right side of the trail, just before you reach the utility right-of-way. The trail maintainer has been advised, so you might find the area taped off if you do this hike in the near future!

Photo by Mary W.
Photo by Jim

Saturday August 19

Upper Treman State Park, Enfield

Hike and cookout reports by Jim

Fourteen hikers and two dogs met on Woodard Road for a hike into upper Robert Treman State Park as a prelude to our summer cookout at Roger’s house.

The group took the CCC trail into upper Treman, where we grabbed the Rim Trail to the overlook area opposite Lucifer Falls.

The route then took us down the stone staircase, where we again paused before the wooden bridge so that hikers could see Lucifer Falls from ground level. Leigh Ann commented that some of the group had never had an opportunity to see the falls from that angle, so I was happy that they got to experience something new today.

We crossed the bridge and then turned and walked back to the upper park via the Gorge Trail. From there, we took the CCC trail back to the FLT.

At that point, some hikers headed off to Roger’s house early. Leigh Ann led the rest of the group across Butternut Creek and followed the FLT  until it was time to turn around. I opted to cross Woodard Road and continue on the FLT in that direction.

A couple of hiker safety notes about this route, for those hikers who might want to try it out for themselves as a solo hike:

First, the CCC trail near the park worker’s house is extremely overgrown, so long pants are advised. I assume that maintaining this trail section is the responsibility of the park (they converted it from campsites into the CCC trail after I left the state park’s employment in the late ’80s, so I’m not sure about that). This is a concern mainly because of the high probability of issues with ticks. This section of trail should be a quick trim job for a park worker with a riding or push mower.

Second, the stone staircase from the Rim Trail toward the Gorge Trail has some seriously deficient (to my mind) stonework on the steps. I understand that budgets are tight, but this has been an issue for several years now, and seeing how other parks have been staying on top of issues like this, it really reflects poorly on Robert Treman Park. It’s a serious safety issue for people using the stairs, so be forewarned to take the stairs carefully.

Welcome to Deanne and Leagh on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Cian

View Cian’s photo album.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Summer Cookout at Roger’s

About 50 hikers stopped by Roger’s house over the course of Saturday afternoon to enjoy some food and drink and to catch up with Ithaca Hikers old and new.

The day was a little cooler than normal, but some brave souls did dare to take a swim in the pond.

A silent auction was held, raising some money to assist in defraying the costs of our website and Meetup page. Hikers also put donations in boots set up to collect money toward the cost of those sites and the chicken we grilled (Randy reported a significant spike in the cost of chicken this year, and he paid for the birds out of his own pocket).

Many thanks to Randy, Nancy L., Bud, Kai, and Jack V. for volunteering to help Roger set up on Saturday morning. On Sunday, Christina, Eckhart, and Mary assisted Roger in breaking down the tables and chairs, washing dishes and pots, and generally putting away those items until next year. (A gentle reminder to the group that assistance breaking stuff down and cleaning up after the party is equally important as any prep work done the day of the party. Roger is a gracious host in opening his home to us and providing so many of the materials used in the party; making the clean-up easy on him and his family is the least we can do for them.)

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday August 20

Monkey Run Natural Area, Varna

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-six hikers and three dogs set off from Monkey Run Road on the Cayuga Trail for a loop hike of the red-, yellow-, and orange-blazed trails on the south side of Fall Creek.

The weather was great for hiking. There were a few other day hikers on the trail system, but not as many as I expected for such a great day.

The group managed to keep up a good pace, but with such a long conga line we had to stop periodically to let everyone catch up.

We encountered a small amount of mud along the route, but nothing to worry about or slow us down.

Welcome to Maria on her first hike with us!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Special Hike Report – Adirondacks

Sunday July 30

Mt. Van Hoevenberg

Hike report and photos by Randy O.

While in the Adirondacks, Jim and I climbed to the summit of Mt. Van Hoevenberg from the north side.  The day was sunny, warm, and dry, and the bugs were nowhere to be seen. There was a reasonable amount of water flowing in the creeks we crossed.

There were only a few cars in the lot when we started the hike, but as the day progressed, we saw lots of hikers enjoying this well-engineered trail.

We logged about four miles over five hours, with a one-hour lunch stop at the top.  Overall, it was a great hike, as the photos show.

View Randy’s photo album.

Report to Hikers August 7 – August 13

Wednesday August 9

Bob Cameron Loop, Connecticut Hill

Hike report and photo by Jim

Eight hikers met at the end of Tower Road on Connecticut Hill for a hike of the Bob Cameron Loop, with part of the Finger Lakes Trail included at the end as time filler.

Trail conditions on the Cameron Loop were good, with no blowdowns and very little mud encountered. This is always a concern, especially on the  downhill portions.

A minimal amount of water flowed in the streams, but considering that it’s August we often see nothing in the streams this time of year.

Temperatures were warm, bugs were at a minimum, and the humidity, while noticeable, wasn’t as oppressive as it can be this time of year.

Hikers completed the loop with about 30 minutes to spare, so we crossed Tower Road and continued hiking on the FLT in a quick out-and-back to use up the remaining time.

Saturday August 12

Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-three hikers and a dog hiked into Buttermilk Falls State Park from Yaple Road. We made it to and from the La Tourelle trail before the rain started falling heavily. The remainder of planned route around Treman Lake and the Bear Trail was cancelled, and we returned to our cars.

About half of the hikers left the hike after reaching Yaple Road. The rest followed Casey toward the back trail entrance off Comfort Road to use up the remaining hike time once the skies cleared.

Welcome to new hikers Misa, Josh, Steve, and Nina on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday August 13

Logan Hill Nature Preserve, Candor

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Seventeen humans and one dog hiked the yellow trail on Logan Hill this morning. Most met at the Candor High School parking lot, and one hiker met the rest of the group after driving up the gnarly, extremely rutty and rocky seasonal road to the top and finally finding a place to park. This road is a fine, steep hike but not a fun drive in a car – and once you’ve started the seasonal part in a car, you’re committed.

The trail, but not the fields, had been trimmed since last Saturday, so wildflowers were everywhere. A little later in the season, the fields get mowed. The trail itself was not muddy, but it was clear that there had been a lot of rain the previous day. There were many, many mushrooms and amphibians (efts and tiny toads) on and beside the trail.

The weather was big, puffy, dark clouds against blue sky, so the hike was in sun and shadow the whole way. This is a good time of year to do this hike.

Photos by Leigh Ann

Photos by Jim

Report to Hikers July 31 – August 6

Wednesday August 2

Black Diamond Trail

Hike report and photos by Tom B.

Fourteen of us set out on the Black Diamond Trail from the parking lot on Houghton Road at the back of Cayuga Nature Center’s property.  We had a strong suspicion that others may have gone to the Nature Center itself, but those who found the map pin had a beautiful day for a brisk hike up the trail  The fastest group made it all the way to the falls overlook center, but most of us settled for the railroad bridge with its own smaller falls.  The water was running nicely there and at other spots along the way. 

Though the day was not particularly hot, six of us wound up at my house for quick dip in the lake – very refreshing!  Perhaps there will be another occasion when we are hiking on the west side of the lake and a larger group can come for swim.

Leigh Anns pictures from the Wednesday hike:

8-2-23 Black Diamond Trail – Google Photos

Saturday August 5

Shindagin Hollow State Forest

Hike report by Jim

Sixteen hikers and a single dog met on Braley Hill Road in Caroline, in the dual parking lots just above Bald Hill School Road. This was a loop hike combining parts of the blue, yellow, and red bike trails; a snowmobile trail; and a short section of the FLT.

Since I took over the group we’ve only done this hike once, last winter, and we came up short on time on that hike. On Friday I prehiked the area, checking out some of the bike trails we’ve previously bypassed, in an effort to improve our time on this hike as well as possibly include some of those other trails in a new hike for the group in parts of Shindagin State Forest that we’ve previously missed out on. I premarked today’s route with engineer tape due to the maze of trails – it’s easy to get lost on if not careful.

After an initial hike route briefing and group picture, we set off on the blue-blazed bike trails east of Braley Hill Road, trails that take the group through towering monoculture pines followed by a gradually descending arc of trail footpath that was gentle on the knees.

The bugs that hunted me down as a solitary hiker on Friday were not so obvious on Saturday’s hike. The only buzzing I heard was from the group of hikers behind me.

Eventually the blue-blazed trail intersects with both the FLT, which we initially bypassed, and a snowmobile trail that leads back to Braley Hill Rpad. After reaching Braley Hill Road, our route jogged briefly before taking the FLT west. In this area, there is some evidence of recent windstorms, which have sent a few trees crashing down, although nothing that we couldn’t work through.

After we reached the various red-blazed bike trails, the group turned north, working our way through a series of turns on different red-blazed trails that eventually terminated in a yellow-blazed section of trail we’ve hiked before. This final downhill section of trail brought us back to our cars only five minutes late – but that was still much better than a too-short hike.

It was only after returning to the parking lot that we ran into our first significant number of bike riders, unlike Friday when I repeatedly encountered groups of both bicyclists and other hikers on the trail.

photos by Leigh Ann

More pictures from leigh Ann:

8-5-23 Bald Hill – Google Photos

Cian’s photo album from this hike:

Shindagin Hollow Blue Trail August 2023 – Google Photos

Sunday August 6

Cayuga Trail

Hike report by Jim

Nineteen hikers and two dogs met at Lower Creek and Hanshaw Roads for a hike of part of our adopted section of the Cayuga Trail to check on trail conditions.

The weather was sunny and warm, and bugs along the trail were minimal.

The group initially walked from the trailhead to Route 13, then we turned around and hiked the Cayuga Trail toward Freese Road as far as some of the open fields beyond the Cornell Outdoor Rec pavilion.

We skipped our usual stops along the creek, as time was a concern.

Trail conditions overall were good, and it looks as if we won’t need another trail maintenance day until early fall.

Welcome to new hiker Todd and his canine hiking partner, Lexi, on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann’s Photos: 8-6-23 North Monkey Run – Google Photos

Annual cookout assistance needed

Regarding the cookout at Roger’s on the 19th:

Our party host Roger needs help with set-up on the morning of the 19th and break-down on the morning of the 20th. If interested in helping, please contact Roger at

As always, if you are attending the picnic you are free to bring food to share with the group.

Hiker Recognition:

On her recent trip to the high peaks, Ithaca Hiker June Meyer has completed all 46 of the high peaks. Congratulations June!

Report to Hikers July 17 – July 23

Wednesday July 19

Finger Lakes Trail, Connecticut Hill

Hike report by Casey

It was the Tale of Two Nancys. We started the Wednesday hike from the tower at Tower Road on CT Hill with 12 hikers, which happened to include two Nancys. At the beginning of the hike one of the Nancys went off to go forage for mushrooms with Betty and hike on some trails that could be more adventurous than the good old FLT that the rest of us took. Since we still had one Nancy, we were fine. You can imagine if there were two Caseys on a hike, one would really be more than enough.

I sort of facilitated the hike, with Greg being our hike leader and Tom being the sweep. Fortunately ,the Nancy who left was good enough to let our sweep know what was going on, so there was no missed communication there. That left us 10 hikers including, of course, one Nancy. We stayed with the FLT as an out-and-back hike and had a lovely hike. It was a little muddy but not bad for CT Hill, and it was just a little buggy but not as bad as what I often expect there. I logged 4.64 miles. And at the end of the hike we had 12 hikers show up which as you might imagine included both Nancys.

Photos by Nancy H.

Saturday July 22

Hammond Hill State Forest from Route 38 south of Dryden

There was some confusion about the starting point for this hike. The original meeting point was changed after it had been sent out, and some hikers didn’t realize this. For that reason, we have two reports for this hike: one from each starting point.

Hike report by Mark L.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the road where it began, and so our nine companions set out from the parking area at Star Stanton Road.  It was a few hundred yards to the FLT tailhead, where we found two more Ithaca Hikers, who’d started from the other end of Star Stanton Road and who joined  us for a 4.2 mile hike on a pleasantly cool morning.  We found a variety of mushrooms in a rainbow of colors along the trail.  

The trail had a few muddy spots but was mostly only damp.  The forest was fragrant and alive with birdsong and the steady chatter of our (mostly) merry band.  

 On our way back, we found a geological marker at the base of a tree not far from the top of the hill and the microwave transmission tower.  Our hike-leader-in-training missed a turn in the trail, but this was caught by the ever-watchful eye of more seasoned hikers.  Two of our companions parted company at this point, and we returned to the beginning of our walk with the original nine.  And whither then? I cannot say.

Photos by Nancy H.

Photos by Mark L.
Hike report and photos by Leigh Ann

Roger and I arrived at the original trailhead for today’s hike, which in hindsight was at the opposite end of Star Stanton Road from the revised trailhead. Confused but happy to see each other, Roger and I decided to hike from the trailhead on Hammond Hill Road. We had a lovely hike in the woods from Trail 1 to Trail 6, then 5, then 4. When we arrived at Grand Central Station, we went east on Star Stanton Road a bit, then hopped on Trail 1 to return to the trailhead. It took us 2 hours, and we went about 5.15 miles.

Sunday July 23

Stewart Park urban hike, Ithaca

Hike report by Norm


On Sunday morning, July 23, 13 people met at the little parking lot by the Cascadilla Boat House at the eastern tip of Stewart Park. Cayuga lake was serene, like an old woman peeling off her Covid mask at the start of a meal. A few seconds after I got there and started to say hi – this point often reminds me of the start of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” where the townsfolk greet one another and the reader thinks, if they think anything at all, that this is rather ordinary and meandering – Nancy H asked if I’d like to lead. I sprang at the opportunity.

We strolled a few yards, then Leigh Ann herded us to the shade and shot us while we were still in one group. One more person joined as we circled around the swan pond just north of the boathouse. We then flew like stones south along the mouth of Fall Creek.

We stopped at the purple martin house at 42.459559 -76.506900. I pontificated extemporaneously on the features, habits, and virtues of the martin house and its many noisy aerial denizens. The martins put on a good show. When we finished annoying them, we strode across the walkway to Renwick Wildwood and admired the verdant poison ivy.

Nancy asked if I’d like to do the hike report. I lunged at the chance to practice my creative writing like a territorial pit bull slicing the mail sack off a startled postman. (How’s that for vivid imagery, John Gardner?)

We looped through Renwick Wildwood, paused on the suspension bridge to gawk at a young couple paddle boarding with their small, long-haired, terrified dog (the only dog on this hike, other than the one in my imagination, which is still barking at that poor postal worker), took a gander at the golf course and followed Tom’s advice to roll along the paved trail, rather than bother the paying customers.

A family of osprey flew over, and a noisy group of them sat on a nest platform on the inlet edge of the golf course. We passed the whitewash under where the cormorants perch in the tall trees without casualties. The rough, overgrown jetty to the white lighthouse likely challenged some of the hikers, but all came through this lottery intact.

On the walk back to the golf course, we stopped to hear Roger say a few words about the reforestation project in the swampy woods. We left the many happy mosquitoes, skipped the Farmers Market (dunno where all the time went), and walked back to the cars. Our relaxing meander covered roughly 4 miles.

Photos by Nancy H.

Photos by Norm

Photos by Mary W.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.