Report to Hikers — week of Oct 4 – Oct 10

Hello Hikers!

Wed Oct 6

Hike report by Jim

Black Diamond Trail heading south from Kraft Road, Ulysses

14 hikers and 3 dogs met on Kraft Rd in the Town of Ulysses, for a southerly-bound hike of the Black Diamond Trail.

It was a pleasant day, and while the leaf change had not progressed to the degree I had hoped for, it was still interesting to see the colors changes that were underway.

Trail use by others was minimal, with mainly a few casual bicyclists passing the group along the way.

This is one hike the group goes on during which I try to focus on maintaining as steady a pace throughout the hike as I can maintain. Other than conversation and our progress shown by the number of road crossings we made, for me this is a hike where typically I just hike steadily, and don’t stop to look around quite as much as I do when out on the FLT or other person-width footpath hikes. Not that there is nothing to look at. To the contrary there are many sights along either side of the trail. This time of year the brief glimpses of homes, fields, bits of lake and the like are quickly replaced by more foliage in the green tunnel.

Reaching the turnaround point the group observed a near-by herd of bison. While I had heard of these animals being along the trail on past hikes, I believe that this was the first time I had actually seen them grazing in the area of the Black Diamond Trail.


Photos by Tiger/shesse


Sat Oct 9

Hike report by Jim

Monkey Run Natural Area, north side of Fall Creek, Hanshaw Road

Twenty hikers and two dogs walked the red and orange trails on the North side of the Monkey Run trail complex. Meeting in the parking lot at the junction of Hanshaw and Lower Creek Rds, the skies were dark with an ominous hint of foul weather that never materialized during the hike.

The group set off from the parking lot on the red blazed trail, the sound of crunching fall leaves underfoot on the footpath sounding as loud as the voices of passing hikers.

There were a good number of blow down trees across the trail along the hike route today, and the group encountered the first of these within minutes of starting our hike.

Scrambling under the first tree, its leaves still green, the group continued onwards. Our first pause occurred at the old bridge site, allowing the tail end of the procession to catch up with the main body of hikers.

Proceeding forwards, the undergrowth along the trail often crowded inwards onto the trail, not quite obscuring the path ahead, and blocking much of the normal view of the nearby waterway.

Summiting the stairs on the first bluff, the group paused to admire the view across the water, then pressed forward. Soon we were passing from the red to orange blazed trails, and the footpath gave way from a mostly forest walk to alternating field and forest sections

On one such field section many in the group commented on some tall, person-sized purple hued grasses growing in the nearby field.

Once back in the woods the path wound its way ever closer to the waterway. In places the path had worn away, or the rootballs of falling trees had greatly narrowed the footpath, the bank in those areas slowly eroding into the creek. Eventually reaching a widening area in the woods the group paused before turning around to re-trace our steps.

Jack V led the return journey, the faster hikers quickly pulling ahead and away from  the main body of hikers.

Reaching the field with the purple grasses, many of us veered from the pathway to take a closer look at that crop of grasses in the field. After satisfying our curiosity and due to the quickly diminishing hike time, we opted to take a short cut across the fields to the near-by Cornell pavilion, and from there road walk back to the cars.

The lead element of hikers who had stayed on the trails arrived shortly thereafter, bringing a successful conclusion to another Ithaca Hikers hike event.

Photo by Leigh Ann


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Oct 10

Hike report by Jim

Lick Brook

22 Hikers and 3 dogs met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Lick Brook ravine and the Sweedler Preserve.

A 23rd hiker arrived a little later than the main body and completed their hike with Cian, who had remained in the Lick Brook gorge to photograph the ravine.

The Lick Brook side of the road was well-utilized on this day, with many couples and small hiking groups on the trail. I even saw at least one occasional Ithaca Hiker doing their own hike of the Lick Brook ravine with their family members. The reaction of many individual or small group hikers to a wagon train of 22 hikers and three dogs was interesting.

There were no terrain/ trail or weather issues with either part of todays hike, from what I saw. The skies were clear, and temperatures made for an enjoyable hike. The leaf change while underway, was nowhere near complete, with many trees still hanging onto their green leafy plumage.

The descent into the Lick Brook ravine area on the white blazed trail went well, and by the time the group reached the falls area it was  welcome break; there was plenty of water flowing downstream, and at least one dog wasted no time in getting belly deep in the cool water. No hikers that I am aware of took that cue and followed the dogs into the stream.

The climb back to Townline Rd on the blue trail was, as always, a bit of a long haul for me. By the time I got to the road the main body of hikers was already well on its way up the red blazed trail on the opposite side if the road.

I personally prefer the terrain and atmospherics of the blue blazed trail on the opposite side of the bridge, so rather than try to catch up with the main body of hikers I opted to meet them in mid-loop. I was successful at this, meeting them just as they were preparing to do the water crossing from the red to blue trail loops.

The hike back to the cars with the main body of hikers went well. Once at the cars we continued to meet many small groups of hikers who were just arriving at the trailhead. Clearly we were  not alone in our desire to hike the trails today.


Photos by shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Sept 27 – Oct 3

Hello Hikers!

Wed Sept 29

Hike report by Jim

Durfee Hill Roasd to the Tamarack Lean-to on the FLT, Danby

Thirteen hikers and one dog met at the parking area at the end of Durfee Hill Rd, for a hike of the FLT to the Tamarack lean-to and beyond. This is the last hike for the group before the onset of hunting season denies us safe access to many of our trails for the next three to four months ( depending on whether NYS DEC extends the hunting season in Tompkins County into January, as they did in early 2021 ).

After crossing State Route 96B the trail plunges into the wood line, for a while travelling through a stretch of nearly denuded evergreens. Someone in the group asked about possible parasitic damage to the trees causing the observed loss of the majority of needles on the trees in the area, a question for which I had no answer. Perhaps a reader can supply the correct information to the question. The various mosses and grasses in this level stretch of trail always seem to have a vibrant glowing contrast to the forest floor around them to my eye at least, and today was no different.

Too soon the trail starts to climb the hillside, and with the exception of a couple of short level stretches its pretty much a straight shot up the hill to the Tamarack lean-to. This results in a decent work-out for me, and Lincoln took the lead for the remainder of the hilly outbound leg.

The group stopped for a while at the lean-to, made a quick journal entry and then continued on the FLT.

Beyond the lean-to this part of the FLT has only modest elevation changes compared to the beginning of the hike. With the exception of a couple of recently ( as in a few years ago ) clear-cut areas we encountered no mud at all anywhere along the trail.

It was a sunny but cool day, and while en route to the hike I had worried that the sky foretold of inclement weather. Thankfully that threat passed unfulfilled. After the lean-to the forest floor was alive with the mottled mixture of sunlight and shadow. At one point on the return leg we passed through a very somber, dusky-type near-darkness, but that soon passed and we again had sunny conditions to hike with.

The return leg was uneventful for the group, and we arrived at our cars having completed another successful hike.


Sat Oct 2

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Ekroos Road, Tioga County

15 hikers and 3 dogs met in Tioga county on a dirt road that goes by several names according to Google maps; the road sign at the junction with Honeypot Rd says Ekroos Rd, so we’ll use that name here.

It was a pleasant morning, warming up nicely after the cool overnight temperatures of the previous evening.

Hikers set off on Ekroos Rd after meeting up slightly late over an initial confusion over the correct parking location.

There are only two houses on this road ( a third was in an early construction stage on this hike date ), so traffic is minimal.

Leaves on trees along the route were in a variety of states of change; some were stubbornly green, while others were already in a full stage of vibrant red. It seemed to me that the trees with sheltering trees along the opposite side of the road were still greener, while the trees with breaks in the treeline on the opposite side of the road were further along their transition.

Parts of the early stages of the hike lend to a sense of being in a green tunnel; occasionally a break in the treeline on the southern side of the road offers a glimpse into the meadows there and the hills in the far distance

Passing the last residence the road transitions to a seasonally maintained road with much more of a broken up and rocky surface. Here the road runs along a small ravine which still had small amounts of water running along its course.

At the bottom of the hill the group turned around, having reached the hour turnaround point, and made its way back up the hill.

The return trip to the vehicles was uneventful.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Oct 3

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Potomac Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler County

13 hikers and 0 dogs met on a rainy Sunday morning on Potomac Road, for a hike of part of the Interloken Trail and surrounding areas of the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Jack V was our guide for this hike.

Almost immediately the group ran into an obstacle of sorts, as the recent flooding caused by beaver activity was apparent within five minutes of starting the hike. This forced Jack to find an alternate route, which he did quickly.

The trails were running streams or standing water through much of the hike, so there wasn’t a dry hiker in the line that I knew of. About half the group brought umbrellas along, which were successful in deflecting the worst of the downpour.

We ran into only a small handful of other brave souls on the trail.

The group agreed to cut the hike short at around the 90 minute mark.

We can’t enjoy days like yesterday without the occasional hike on a day like today, so no complaints from me.

After returning to our cars about half of the group travelled to the near-by Grist Iron Brewery. While Grist Iron had a much reduced menu from what I recall on my last visit there , the group was able to draw together several tables under cover and partake of  several types of pizza, nachos and a variety of adult beverages to everyone’s satisfaction.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Leigh Ann

Some years back, we would regularly have a number of college professors all charging along the trail with our group, which seemed fitting to me for a major college town. But recently our active-professor contingent among the regulars has dwindled to just one academic, Leigh Ann. The others have all retired from active teaching, gotten hurt and had to stop hiking, or just drifted away. Luckily, our last professor is still relatively young and in good shape, so she’ll probably be around for a while. But with the disappearance of all our other professors, the rest of us no longer get the old academic shop talk, gossip, news and chit chat it was easy to overhear on the trail. To bring us all up to speed, here’s some of the latest news about Leigh Ann, by way of IC News.

Report to Hikers — week of Sept 20 — Sept 26

Hello Hikers

Tues Sept 21

Hike report by Nancy L. Photos by Nancy/Randy

Connecticut Hill — Cabin Road loop

5 hikers met at the corner of Rowell Hill Rd and Carter Creek Rd to drive the dirt portion of Carter Creek Rd out past Cabin Rd to the start of the hike.  The hike start is about 3 miles SW on Carter Creek from the intersection.  We started the hike by going west up the hill from Carter Creek Rd for a 500 ft climb   through nice mixed pine forest nearly to “Ridge Road” (the north south portion of Connecticut Hill Rd).  This is just about the only climb of the hike so its nice that its at the beginning.

When we reached nearly the top of the ridge,   we turned right on a trail that headed through the woods making a connection  with the finger lakes trail.   It was only a short walk on the FLT before we cut off  on a trail through a nice piece of woods dotted with mushrooms (especially the white corals) over to Cabin.

After crossing Cabin Rd a trail down alongside a ravine went quickly but gently downhill to a beautiful Western branch of Carter Creek.  At the point of intersection of this ravine with the creek there was a steep portion that we scrambled down with the aid of a fixed climbing rope.  At this point along the Western branch of Carter Creek there is a series of very nice cascades that we stopped to appreciate.  We next took a trail on the other side of the creek that followed the creek back down to Carter Creek Rd.  We turned right on Carter Creek road following it South on our way back to the cars.  This involved our final climb up out of the canyon.

One last treat is that we stopped to check out an old dam on the creek.  This ruin is quite elaborate with a big hunk of dam tipped over in the creek and quite a bit of wall standing on the West side of the creek, complete with a series of steps that was built as a spillway.  It was a short walk from there back to the cars.

More photos by Randy/Nancy here

Jim photos:


Wed Sept 22

Hike report by Jim

Virgil Mountain, Cortland County

Eight hikers met on Odell Rd in Cortland County for a hike to the top of Virgil Mountain.

The morning was cool, and as usual I arrived at our parking area well ahead of the rest of our group.As I waited for the group to assemble I observed the transitioning trees around me shedding their leaves with the approach of even cooler days ahead of us. During the hike much of the footpath was nicely covered in an array of freshly fallen fall-colored leaves.

A couple of section hikers who were doing part of the Cortland cross-county hike arrived and set off down the FLT in the opposite direction.

Our group arrived and after a few introductions we set off up the road to where the Trail enters the woods ahead of a long and steady climb to the peak.

Walking the footpath I noticed that except for a few really wet spots there wasn’t much in the way of real mud; more like  a semi-firm substance that our feet sank into but was clearly supporting the lighter forest animals who ran across its surface and left their footprints behind.

Water crossings were not difficult, with relatively little water flowing in the streambed; just enough to audibly welcome your approach to one of the small handful of crossings on this stretch of the FLT.

At one point we encountered a sign warning hikers of ground bees along a certain stretch of trail, but we passed through without attracting unwanted attention from stinging insects.

Arriving at Van Donsel Rd the group paused before proceeding up the mountain.

Eventually the FLT reached the top of the ski area at Greek Peak. The group paused there to examine the ski apparatus in its off-season hibernation before returning to the FLT and continuing up the hill.

By now a gloom, almost twilight in its depths, had settled over the Trail footpath. Gusting winds warned of rain in the near future.

Beyond the ski resort the hills ease up a bit, although the path continues a slow and steady ascent. Eventually the group passed the actual peak of Virgil Mountain, which is noted by the USGS disk and orange marker found there.

Continuing onwards the group came to its final destination, the overlook area by the line of industrial power lines. The view across the valley was somewhat diminished due to the trees still being leafed out, but there was still enough visible to make the climb worthwhile.

Mindful of the changing weather the group retreated, returning along the same route we had used. By the time we arrived back at Odell Rd a few raindrops had been felt and our windshields bore mute testimony as to the misting precipitation that was passing through the area.

All in all, another successful hike.


Sat Sept 25

Hike report by Randy. Photos by Randy/Nancy

Connrcticut Hill — Carter Creek loop
Seventeen hikers and seven dogs met at the easy-to-access corner of Boylan and Lloyd Starks Roads.  Plenty of parking and only a short, well-maintained section of gravel road make this an ideal spot to meet-up for a number of hikes.

The weather was cool and it felt like the short summer was in our rearview mirror.

From the cars it was a short distance to our trailhead, which headed west into the “wedge”.  The trail was a little muddy in spots, but overall, a pleasant way to start off.  We eventually curved southeast, travelling along a lively stream, then crossed over Boylan Road.  After counting heads, we continued.

The trail south of Boylan followed Carter Creek gently downhill going due south.  It then made an abrupt turn to the east for a short, but steep, uphill…everyone was warmed up now!  We then picked up an old road that followed the contour of the east-facing slope until we reached Carter Creek Road.  Along the way we spotted what we think might be a fisher den…two cantelope-size holes about ten feet apart.  Nancy had found a fisher skull there a couple of weeks before but it was gone.

After regrouping, we took a short walk along the road, crossing the creek and giving the dogs time to clean up and get a drink.  On the east side of Carter Creek we picked up the easy-to-find trail going northerly along what was once a road.  Some sections had dramatic drop-offs to the creek below, but it would be hard to fall unless assisted by a couple of the young dogs that were playing a lively game of “tag” around the hikers.

Eventually, we arrived at a gorgeous pond where the red-leafed trees and bright blue sky reflected in the water…nice photo op.  We skirted a muddy spot before finding our way over to Lloyd Starks Road.  It was exactly two hours from when we started, and four miles overall.  In a few minutes we were all back at the cars.

Overall, it was a good day for a hike…clear skies, cool temps, some new hikers, and almost zero 

More photos from Randy/Nancy here


Photos by Cian

More photos from Cian here


Sun Sept 26

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Level Green Road to Blackman Hill Road and beyond on the FLT, Caroline

16 hikers and 2 dogs met on Level Green Rd for a hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill RD and beyond. The day was cool but clear.

Hikers found the lower sections of the Trail closer to Level Green Rd to be wet and muddy, but this is its normal state most of the time.

Freshly fallen leaves in places obscured the footpath, requiring close attention to the blazes

The path was a slow gentle climb in elevation, winding its way through the trees and across a couple of water crossings. Soon enough the ground was firmer, the mud being left behind. The pine forests we were walking through seemed a little dark, what some people in the group call “atmospheric”.

Soon enough the group reached Blackman Hill Rd, where conditions seemed to be much sunnier than what we had left just  few minutes earlier.

Plunging back into the woodline the group soon came out into the fields overlooking the valley below in all directions. There air was clear without a trace of haze to lessen visibility.

After pausing for a few quick pictures the group continued onwards, hiking into the woods and down the hillside that eventually brings a hiker out onto State Route 79. This is a section of the Trail that we’ll lose access to during the long months of “hunting season” that start next week. The terrain here was somewhat steeper than what we were hiking earlier, but the forest was more dispersed and lighter than what we had been walking through  in the beginning of the  hike.

Reaching our turn-around point just before the beginning of the steep descent towards Slaterville RD, the group turned around and re-traced our steps without incident.

By the end of the hike everyone seemed to rate this one as a successful hike.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here



Our nature photographer Annie created a delightful montage of photos of Eckhart hiking over the years for his 89th birthday a year ago — she sent it to me after seeing this year’s 90th birthday salute in last week’s hike report — it’s a wonderful little tribute, and well worth looking at again this year. Click here.

Report to Hikers — week of Sept 13 – Sept 19

Hello Hikers!

Special update — our oldest active hiker Eckhart turns 90

He hasn’t been able to do our official hikes recently — plantar fasciitis, can’t walk for two hours straight — but he’s been aggressively doing a shorter hike all along, the killer climb up the Lick Brook trail, several times a week.

He’s also had two major demands on his time. His wife Dorothea, who’s just a few years younger, had to stop driving because of eye problems, so Eckhart now does all the chores she used to do. And he’s really gone all in this year on his garden. He moved out of town a few years back to a farm neighborhood in Enfield, and began to create a fruit and vegetable garden. The soil is terrible — hard, rocky and poorly drained — so Eckhart had to do a massive soil enrichment and drainage project before the garden could begin to flourish. This year the work began to really pay off, and the garden is now producing heavily. But the time demands are tremendous, Eckhart said. “I always have 30 things to do at any one time,” he said Saturday when Tiger and I visited him.

Here’s Eckhart, Dorothea and his son Martin and Martin’s family in from Chicago for the big birthday.

Eckhart’s enthusiasm, energy and optimism are a wonder to experience.



Wed Sept 15

Hike report by Jim

Roy Park Preserve to Hammond Hill SF, Dryden

7 hikers and 3 dogs met in the North parking lot of the Park Preserve on Irish Settlement Rd in the Town of Dryden.

Weather was nice although somewhat humid, with omens of the approaching storm that would arrive later in the morning just as the hike concluded.

The group walked along the boardwalk; a recent addition to the end of the boardwalk provides a gradual ramp rather than the former abrupt end which necessitated a quick jump back to terra firma. I prefer the additional section of boardwalk over the previous arrangement.

The walk through the pines was relatively mud-free, which is never a sure thing on this particular hike.

Climbing the hill, the trail soon brought the group out onto Hammond Hill Rd. After a quick pause there, hikers continued onto the Hammond Hill trails, burning up the remaining out-bound hike time until the appropriate turn-around time was reached.

The return leg of the hike was uneventful, with the group running into a couple of other recreational trail  users but otherwise having the forest to ourselves.

Passing over the boardwalk back to our cars the first drops of approaching rain were seen to be falling into the surface of the flowing stream beyond the wooden concourse; another perfectly timed hike for the group.


Sat Sept 18

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Level Green Road to Old 76 Road, Caroline

16 hikers and 4 dogs met on Level Green Rd for a hike of the FLT towards ( Old ) 76 Road.This section of trail is often quite wet and muddy , and with recent rains this hike was no different.

An initial stretch of the Trail just off Level Green Rd is actually quite nice and draws positive comments from new hikers, but soon the footpath turns Southerly and heads downhill. This portion of the Trail is often an active stream with the accompanying mud which, by the end of the serpentine group of passing hikers, is a churned up mess that sucks at your boots and slows your progress along the footpath.

A couple of stream crossings were notable for recent blowdowns that at least partially blocked the Trail and obscured the trail route on the return leg of the journey.

As the hill climbs away from the last of the stream crossings, the Trail passes through tall patches of person-high weeds that obscure a footpath that acts as an eroded streambed during rainy times.

Eventually the Trail breaks out of the weeds and into some nice stands of trees. The official FLT footpath turns downhill again towards ( Old ) 76 Rd, but that section of Trail is so heavily eroded and we reach that point so late in the hike that I find it better to use a near-by field with some nice views of the surrounding countryside as the turn-around point.

The return trip to our cars was unremarkable except for a chance encounter with a solitary section hiker who spoke to the group for a while.

Arriving back at our cars somewhat early, hikers made a short road-walk down the recently paved Level Green Rd to burn up the remaining hike time.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Sept 19

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Eastman Hill Road at the Tompkins/Tioga County line

16 hikers and 4 dogs met on the end of Eastman Hill Rd at the Tompkins and Tioga county lines, for a hike of the FLT on Eastman Hill. This hike was significant because it is one of the trail sections we will lose access to in October with the arrival of hunting season. With a planned re-route of this part of the FLT in the next year or so, we will also lose access to a part of the Trail that has some nice scenery. That’s assuming that the property owner will no longer allow hikers access to their property and the old sections of the FLT.

It was  a great day for a hike; the sun was out and temperatures were just about perfect. Bugs were at a minimum.Hikers crossed into the seasonal portion of Eastman Hill Rd, walking through DEC posted land. Passing the junction of Eastman Hill and the FLT, the group continued down the abandoned part of Eastman Hill Rd towards Coddington Rd.

Here the old road surface is heavily eroded in places, making the going somewhat difficult. With recent rains some portions of the roadway were an active streambed.

Soon we encountered the uphill portion of the FLT, and veered off into some steep inclines and hill climbs. This part of the hike is always the most difficult for me personally, and by the time the group reaches to actual summit of Eastman Hill, I feel like I’ve had a pretty decent workout. This hike proved to be no different. Reaching the summit doesn’t mean that there is no more climbing left on the route, just that the climbs ahead are shorter and less severe.

The group continued on the Trail, looping through some nice areas of pines and mixed hardwoods, interspersed with face-high stretches of goldenrod.

Approaching the crossing of Eastman Hill we ran into the only muddy part of this hike that I’ve ever known to be a muddy stretch. We got through that area and soon had plunged back into the woods on the other side of Eastman Hill Rd, heading towards Heisey Rd.

Reaching our turn-around point on Heisey Rd opposite a residence whose occupants have decorated the rock at the end of their driveway with a shamrock, we turned around and re-traced our route to the seasonal end of Eastman Hill Rd. From there it was a quick walk back to our cars, ending at just about the perfect two hour mark.

Some members of the group (such as Cian, who took a slightly slower pace in the interest of his photography efforts) made their own route for the hike.

Cian passed along this note: “Amadou & I did this as a helicopter hike  – so we took an altered route”

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of Sept 6 – Sept 12

Hello Hikers!

Wed Sept 8

Hike report by Jim

Comfort Road toward Bruce Hill Road on the FLT, Danby

Six hikers met on Comfort Rd for a hike of the FLT from Comfort Rd towards Bruce Hill Rd. This hike continues the month-long September focus of hiking area trails that we will lose access to once hunting season begins in October.
Our group, to my understanding, has not hiked this section of the FLT since around 2006.

The day was cool, with little in the way of swarming bugs to distract hikers.
There was a short section of trail immediately off Comfort Rd bordering a near-by field that was relatively muddy, but the group quickly got through that area and onto firmer ground.

On the outbound leg the trail was largely a gentle downward sloping footpath that wandered through some nice stands of pine trees alternating with hardwoods. 

A few streambed crossings were relatively easy due to the low water levels, but I assume that some of those would be much more challenging if this hike was being attempted during  the spring thaw. One crossing in particular was more difficult than the others due to the trail dropping down into the streambed, but hikers navigated the crossing safely.

Eventually the trail arrives at the first of several small fields and meadows. We hiked along the edge of the first meadow, after which the trail plunges back into the woods.

There are a series of old logging roads or grown-up farm lanes that the footpath crosses in this part of the Trail. Unfortunately the surrounding area is entirely posted for no trespassing, so we were unable to explore any near-by paths or woods beyond the trail footpath. There is one three way split in the trail at which hikers will need to pay attention to blazes so as to not unwittingly stray from the Trail.

Soon we arrived at a series of larger meadows, which we quickly crossed in rapid succession. By now the sun was out, and temperatures and humidity were rising. Birds screeched at the group from the cover of near-by brush and trees. There was enough wind to keep the hike pleasant despite the rising temperatures.

Once the group returned to the woods beyond the meadows I estimated that it was time to turn around. In fact we had gone too far on our out-bound leg, as the return portion of the hike by comparison was almost all uphill and slower going. The group ended up arriving back at our cars a full 30 minutes past our normal hike time.


Sat Sept 11

Hike report by Jim.

Lake Road east into Cortland County on the FLT, Dryden

18 hikers and 2 dogs met on Lake Rd at the crossing of the Jim Schug Trail in the Town of Dryden for a hike of the FLT towards Cortland County

While I had intended to have the entire group do the FLT route, most of the group opted to hike the Jim Schug Trail as an alternative to climbing Havington Hill.. I can’t provide a hike report for that group.

The hike route my subset of the group hiked is on AllTrails at the following link, for those who may want to do this route on their own:

As with most of our hikes in September, this route will be unavailable to the group over the winter due to hunting season-related trail  closures.

The weather was sunny and warm, but with a decent breeze that made the hike tolerable.

The group walked up Lake Rd from the Schug Trail, turning into the field that leads to the bottom of the mountain that always looks so impressive when viewed from Lake Road.

Five people chose to take the FLT route; that group climbed Havington Hill with relative ease and descended the other side of the mountain to where it opens up with abroad vista overlooking the valley and surrounding farmlands. This is always one of the favorite parts of this hike for me.

The group followed the FLT to where it continued in a broad arc that brought us out to another observation point for the same vista.

After reaching the second overlook area the group turned around and re-traced our steps up the mountain and back to the vehicles without incident.


Photos by Tiger

At this point, the trail entered the very dark woods. Too dark for Tiger’s camera


A former infant hiker returns to the trail nine years later

It’s very rare for us to get a hiker with an infant strapped on her back — with one notable exception. In 2012 two Canadian professors were working at Cornell and they hiked a number of times carrying their infant son Sydney. It seemed pretty exhausting to me but they would take turns carrying, and they always managed to keep up. Sydney ended up seeing a lot of our trail system.

Here they were in Kennedy SF, a very vigorous hike thas’s tricky to handle even without a kid on your back.

I was sorry to see them head back to Toronto because I liked the novelty of having such a junior hiker. Then I got a note saying they were back for another visit at Cornell.

Leah and Gerald w/Sydney


Cian’s photos

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Sept 12

Hike report by Jim

Spur trail from upper Lick Brook to upper Buttermilk Falls SP, Danby

Sixteen hikers and three dogs met on Townline Rd for a hike of the Sweedler Preserve red and blue trails as well as the FLT spur trail to Buttermilk Falls State Park.Two additional hikers and four dogs arrived late and did their own hike route in the same general area.

As with many of our September hikes, portions of this route will become unavailable to the group from October to January due to hunting season related trail closures.

The entirety of the locale for this hike may be viewed at the following All Trails link, for those who may want to attempt all or portions of our route on their own:

The group left Townline Road a couple of minutes late due to the later arrival of a couple of hikers.

Taking the red blazed trail we followed the stream until it turned away from the water to climb the hill back towards Sandbank Rd.

From there the trail follows the ridgeline towards West King Rd, popping out into a field before returning to the woods.

Arriving at a utility pole right of way the trail make a final turn towards West King Rd.

After arriving at West King Rd the FLT jogs slightly on the road before the spur trail returns to the woods in the general direction of Yaple Road.

There were a couple of good field crossings en route to Yaple Road; the goldenrod was higher than I anticipated and there were portions of the trail where the footpath was almost consumed by the undergrowth around it.

Arriving at Yaple Rd I decided that the remaining time did not warrant having the group continue on the spur trail to BFSP; instead we turned around and re-traced our steps towards West King Rd and beyond.

Reaching the blue blazed trail within the Sweedler Preserve we took that route to the waterway, where we had one of the easiest water crossings I can recall at that location due to the greatly diminished levels of water in the streambed.

The group took the blue blazed Toms Trail back to Townline Rd; from there we still had around twenty minutes of hike time remaining, so we took a short in and out into the Lick Brook gorge area to end the hike at the proper time.


Photos by Tiger/shesse


Photos by Cian

You can see Cian’s full photo album here