Wednesday April 27
Lindsay Parsons Preserve to the Pinnacles
Hike report by Casey
Assault on the Pinnacles:
Jim had originally scheduled a different hike for this day, but he was generous enough to agree to change it to this hike. This particular hike is best when done with a little bit of snow on the ground or in early spring before the leaves are out, due to its bushwhacking nature. And it seemed that this was going to be the last opportunity to get at it before the leaves.
We set it up so there would be two different groups on this hike. One would most likely be led by Jim and just do the regular Lindsey Parsons hike possibly in the opposite direction of how it is normally done. The other group would start with the normal hike, but we would bypass the extra little trip to the scenic pond and instead would leave the trail at a certain point and head up the hill for a bushwhack up to the Pinnacles.
We had 12 people and three eager dogs. Or was that 12 eager people and three dogs? As we split into our two groups it quickly became apparent that we had only one group and they were all ready to do the bushwhack version.
We crossed the tracks on the normal trail and went up the short, steep hill on the other side. From there you can take a slightly longer route to the right, but we had a mission with a destination so we went straight on the shorter version. At some point we got to where the bushwhack starts, but at first I didn’t recognize the exact spot because the flags that used to be there were missing. We walked just a little farther on the regular trail and then came back to where I thought the beginning of the bushwhack should be. And it started to show up as soon as I started to move in the right direction.
Now comes the fun part. The way up the hill starts to get very obvious once you get started and it is a fairly steep climb. Once you get to the top and try to catch your breath, you quickly realize that you are just at the first of many plateaus. You see a steep hill in front of you so you think you are close, but after climbing that one, you realize you are just at the next plateau with more to come. I think there were three or four plateaus. After a while, they sort of all just keep happening and you lose count as you struggle to climb and breathe.
Eventually you get to the Abbott’s Loop trail, only to realize you still have just a little more climbing to do to actually get the view from the Pinnacles. But we did indeed get there and catch the wonderful view along with the exceptional feeling of accomplishment having just climbed up so many hills that each showed another one to go.
Coming back down the series of hills and plateaus, our fearless leader (me) somehow completely missed the last plateau with its sharp left turn that would have taken us down the last steep hill. Eventually I figured out that I missed the turn and we circled around and took a much less steep path to get back to where we had left the regular trail. We might even try that way back up next time because although it was a little longer it certainly was much less of a severe climb.
It took us one hour and ten minutes to reach the Pinnacles from the parking lot and the whole trip was 4.56 miles that felt more like 8 miles.
It was a fun and challenging hike, and 12 less eager and somewhat worn out people and all three dogs made it safely back to the cars.
Saturday April 30
FLT from Lake Road Southeast of Dryden
Hike report by Jim
Twelve hikers and three dogs met on Lake Rd at the end of the Jim Schug Trail, for a walk of the Finger Lakes Trail into Cortland County.
The fields immediately off Lake Rd., as always, were a soggy mess. The day started out a little cool, but the group was soon warmed up and was removing layers as we approached the summit.
Once over the hilltop we encountered something that seemed to recur for the remainder of the hike; there were enough small blowdowns and missing blazes along the way that without having some familiarity of the hike route, we might have had some issues staying on the correct footpath.
Everyone enjoyed the initial views out over the valley that are the hallmark of this section. After a quick pause at the field, we moved back into the woods and hiked to the blue-blazed observation area that gives another view of the valley from a slightly different perspective.
Turning around, we retraced our steps back to Lake Rd., along the way running into a couple of cross-county hikers who were completing this section of the FLT before the May hunting closure.
This hike counts as 3.8 FLT miles for those trying to earn their FLT60 patch.
Sunday May 1
Hammond Hill State Forest from Canaan Rd.
Hike report by Jim
Fourteen hikers and three dogs met on Canaan Rd. in the town of Caroline for a figure-eight hike of the Hammond Hill trail system.
It was a beautiful day, probably the best hiking day we’ve had in some time. Light breezes, sunny, and the temperatures were at that perfect range where you are comfortable while hiking without getting overheated.
Trail conditions were also perfect, with no real mud encountered, even the predictable lower-lying areas of the route or portions of the Blue 1 trail, which almost always seem to be muddy.
Hikers walked the seasonal portion of Canaan Rd. to the bottom of the Rabbit Run snowmobile trail. Climbing the snowmobile trail, we quickly reached the B1 trail at the top of the hill. Making a figure 8 of our route, we hiked to the upper portions of Canaan Rd via the Y6 trail, which has a nice stretch of evergreens that rank among my favorite part of this particular forest.
Crossing Canaan Rd., we iwent on to hike Y5 Y4, Y8, and Y7. This route covers part of the FLT, so today’s hike counts as .5 FLT miles for those seeking their FLT60 patch.
In addition to the section through the evergreens, I particularly enjoy the Y7 trail at this time of year, as the undergrowth has not yet sprung up high enough to block the view of the hills below as the trail follows along a section of the forest with some great views of the valley floor below.
We arrived back at Canaan Rd. about 10 minutes over our normal hike duration, but I don’t think anyone minded the few extra minutes.