Monday May 30
Memorial Day Hike: Monkey Run Natural Area, Ithaca
Hike report by Jim
Twenty-four hikers and two dogs met on Hanshaw Rd. for a hike of the trail system around the north side of Monkey Run. The skies were somewhat overcast at the hike’s start, but by the time the group had come out of the woods to skirt the open fields about halfway through the hike, the weather had cleared and the fields were bathed in bright sunlight.
For the most part, we hiked a mix of red- and orange-blazed trails. The terrain was largely flat, although there are a couple of memorable stair climbs and associated elevation changes along the route. We diverted a couple of times along the way to check out viewpoints, such as the old bridge structure or the creekbed itself. Very early in the hike we were treated to the sight of a bald eagle swooping over our heads along the stream. I considered that the highlight of the hike, and I know from hikers’ reactions that many other people in the group enjoyed the experience as well.
After reaching my planned turnaround point, we retraced our route as far back as the pavilion, bypassing the trails from the hike’s outbound leg. After we reached the pavilion area, we returned to our cars via the pavilion service road.
Wednesday June 1
Allan H Treman State Marine Park and Cass Park, Ithaca
Hike report by Jim
Twelve hikers and one dog met at Allan H. Treman State Marine Park for a hike of the marina trails as well as trails along the Cayuga Inlet and in Cass Park and the Black Diamond Trail.
It was a great sunny day for a hike, and the group made quick work of the paved and graveled paths in Treman Marina. The most memorable part of that section of the hike was witnessing some smaller birds defending their turf against a much larger hawk in the air above the group. The cottonwood trees were releasing their pollen during todays hike, and so the air and ground were full of the white cotton-ball like seeds drifting around us and accumulating in clumps on the ground.
It was a popular hike and bike day, and all of the trails we walked were heavily used, including by groups of summer program kids hiking and biking in and around Cass Park.
After leaving Treman Marina, we jumped onto the Waterfront Trail , which loops around Cass Park and its skating rink before following Cayuga Inlet inland.
After reaching the Children’s Garden, we crossed Route 89 and waked to the southern end of the Black Diamond Trail. We walked that trail for about 20 minutes before turning around and retracing our steps.
By now the sun was behind clouds, the temps had noticeably dropped a few degrees and the cooling breezes had picked up, an omen of the rain predicted for the afternoon.
Saturday June 4
Finger Lakes Trail and Lower Treman Park Trails
Hike report by Jim
Seventeen hikers met in the parking lot at Shady Corners for a loop hike through lower Robert Treman State Park consisting of parts of the FLT as well as the Rim and Gorge trails within the state park.
Unbeknownst to me there was an all day 50K trail runner event in the area that included the FLT and parts of the Robert Treman park trail system as its course.
After arriving at the parking area I asked race personnel about numbers of runners, race duration, etc. It sounded as if the race in that part of the course was nearly finished.
Our hikers arrived, and we set off on the FLT under the bridge. By the time we reached the park access road we’d already had to yield to several runners and I realized that we had to modify our planned hike route or we would be yielding to dozens of runners throughout our hike.
The group walked through the lower park campground to the access road that leads to the YMCA pavilion access road. We found that road lined with dozens of cars, presumably belonging to runners. We continued to pass dozens of runners who were using the FLT footpath while we stayed on the access road.
Our hikers made our way to the Rim Trail, which was marked as part of the runners’ course but was being used mainly by day hikers as best I could tell.
The hike along the Rim Trail was enjoyable, the coolness of the forested trail a nice counterpoint to the heat we were finding in the more exposed sunlit areas of the park.
Along the way we found a couple of downed trees across the trail, something that would have been a most temporary occurrence that would have been quickly corrected by park staff in past years.
Reaching the small bridge that straddles the stream below Lucifer Falls,we crossed to the Gorge Trail and began an uneventful return trip to lower Robert Treman State Park. I’ve always found this part of the trail system to be among my favorite for this park, dating back to when I worked for the park system in the ’80s. This hike day was no exception and this part of the hike actually seemed to go faster for me than it has in the past.
We arrived back at our cars with after 2 hours and 10minutes, as expected. From there, many hikers went to the Hesse farewell party at Rogers house. Watch for a separate post about the party!
Sunday June 5
Taughannock Falls State Park
Hike report by Jim
Sixteen hikers and two dogs met in the parking lot on Jacksonville Rd. near Taughannock Falls Park Rd,. for a hike of the North and South Rim Trails of the park. I choose this meeting location because the park is now charging admission at the parking areas we normally use.
We did this hike in reverse direction from our usual route, first hiking down the North Rim Trail with stops at the overlook areas.
It was a great day to hike: sunny, warm, and clear. Park use by day patrons was high, so we were sharing the trails and overlook areas with a good number of other people.
After some quick pictures at the overlook area we continued down to the lower park area, where we hiked to the main falls observation area.
After several minutes there, we hiked to the base of the South Rim Trail for a return hike to our cars.
I found this direction for the hike to be a nice change from our normal counter-clockwise direction, so I’ll probably throw this into the planning for future hikes at this location.
A warm welcome to Mario and his dog on their first hike with the group.