Report to Hikers — week of Jul 26 – Aug 1

Hello Hikers!

Tues July 27

Hike report and photos by Jim

Carson Road to the Woodchuck Hollow Lean-to on the FLT, Virgil

Six hikers and 1 dog set off on the FLT from Carson Rd in the Town of Virgil, headed Northerly towards the Woodchuck Hollow Lean-to.

The trail initially rises from Carson Rd at a steady pace. Passing by the remnants of an old stone wall, the footpath is a comfortable walking surface of layers of old leaves. The trail passes close to one of the recent DEC logging efforts, but not too close to the trail as with the Kuzia cut-off in near-by Kennedy Forest.

It was a great day for a hike, with the sun shining down through the layers of leaves, creating a patchwork of light and shadow on the forest floor.

Soon after passing the stone wall hikers had to clamber over the first of many recent blow-downs that are obstructing the trail in this area.

Reaching the crest of the hill the trail begins a gradual plunge downhill, the surrounding forest transitioning to stands of pine trees, and the footpath surface transitioning to layers of old needles.

There are quite a few stream crossings in this stretch, some are entirely dry, some with minimal amounts of water flowing, but none so full as to make the stream crossing difficult.

A couple sections of muddy footpath were also encountered along this portion of trail, but nothing seemed excessive or out of the norm from what we’ve come to expect from other local trails.

The trail soon comes to a split, with a blue blazed trail heading Northwest while the FLT continues Southwest. The group continued on the FLT, which skirted a fairly decent sized streambed for much of the remaining trail distance before the Woodchuck Hollow Lean-to.

Reaching the  lean-to the group paused for a group picture.

Continuing onwards beyond the lean-to, the group reached the other end of the blue blazed trail. Hiker June agreed to lead the group for the return leg of the journey, allowing me to backtrack and photograph several areas I’d seen along the trail.

I returned to Carson RD and found several members of the group waiting for me; they reported that the blue blazed trail on the map did not conform to the trail on the ground, resulting in the group having to backtrack and take an alternate route to get back to the cars. I will keep this in mind for any future group hikes of the area.

I enjoyed this hike and will consider it for a hike location for the remainder of the group. The parking situation on Carson Rd will likely dictate that this be a Wednesday hike with a lower number of hikers participating.


Wed July 28

Hike report and photos by Jim

Texas Hollow SF, Bennetsburg

Seven hikers met in Schuyler County for a hike of the FLT in Texas Hollow.

It was a cool but sunny day.

The trail was slightly muddy in areas but not too bad.

The open meadow near the pond was overgrown, the footpath not having been mowed back recently.

Portions of the FLT we passed through were somewhat overgrown, prompting me to focus the hike mainly on the blue blazed trail that loops around one of the bogs.

The hikers set off on the FLT from the parking area, passing through the first woods walk portion with little difficulty. Walking through the overgrown grasses by the pond the group soon came upon and took the blue blazed loop that travels through stands of evergreens, the forest floor a cushion of evergreen needles.

Soon a short hike the group came to the junction where the blue blazed trail rejoins the FLT

Crossing a few small but flowing streams the group soon was climbing the hill out of Texas Hollow.

Reaching the hour mark the group turned around, re-tracing our steps back to the blue blazed side trail which we again hiked in preference to the much more overgrown FLT.

Passing the small pond again, the group walked to Texas Hollow Rd for a short road walk back to our cars.


Sat July 31

Hike report by Leigh Ann. Photos by Cian

Logan Hill Preserve, Candor

Eleven hikers and two dogs met at the Candor middle/high school parking lot on Saturday morning to hike in Logan Hill Preserve. It was a cool, clear day that looked like high summer and felt like early fall.

We hiked southwesterly on Water Road, which turns into Logan Hill Road where it becomes a steep, seasonal, one-lane road – one that’s much better for hikers and the occasional ATV than for a car. The steepest part of this roughly 4.2-mile hike is front-loaded on this stretch of Logan Hill Road.

About a mile into the hike, Logan Hill Road makes a 90 degree turn to the west, and about 100 feet past the turn is the eastern trailhead. The well-marked yellow trail heads north from the road through deciduous forest. Then the trail heads up through wide fields with beautiful ponds and enters hemlock forest.  The trail winds around at the edge of a small gorge and turns back to the south. Then the forest becomes deciduous again, and the trail comes out at the top of another beautiful field with views of hills to the southeast. The trail returns to Logan Hill Road about 1/2 mile west of the eastern trailhead. Because this is a lollypop-shaped hike, the last mile of it is a long, lovely downhill on the same stretch of Logan Hill Road/Water Road that we came in on.

Fair-weather cumulus came in over the course of the hike, but the weather never got hot, and the views from the fields at the top of the hill were expansive. There hadn’t been rain for a few days, but there clearly had been a lot of rain before then. The undergrowth in the forest wasn’t dusty, so it shone in the sun. Tiny toads were hopping all over the place in the woods, and mushrooms were everywhere.
When we returned to the cars, Cian mentioned that there’s a goat dairy called Side Hill Acres about 3/4 miles from the school. Many of us drove over to the little store, which is a neat place to visit after a Saturday hike.

Best wishes,Leigh Ann

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun Aug 2

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

Dabes Diversion Loop, Cortland County

Ten hikers and two dogs set off on the Dabes diversion loop in Cortland County.

It was a warm, sunny day throughout the hike.

The threat of rain is the distance came in the form of far-away thunder, but no rain fell and darker clouds in the distance did not appear until the hike was completed.

The trail was dry throughout, with minimal amounts of water to contend with in the water crossings.

There was little to no mud on the footpath, and the dry bed of old needles and relative lack of roots on much of the trail made for a comfortable hike;  those and the weather all combined to make a particularly fast hike pace for the group today. The group  finished the hike with a good fifteen minutes left, but no one complained about ending the hike early.

Hikers made the first gradual ascent on the diversion loop to the observation point by the field, which was particularly enjoyable today due to the clear skies. This first portion of the hike to the observation point is one of my favorites.

The group then followed the FLT to the Kuzia cut-off. Here the recent handiwork of the CTC sawyer crews was obvious to everyone, as the trail wound through the large numbers of recent blowdowns was efficiently cleared of debris.

Once clear of the Kuzia cut-off the group made its way back to our cars, another hike successfully completed.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of July 19 – July 25

Hello Hikers!

Tues July 20

Hike report and photos by Jim

Morgan Hill SF, Onondaga County

Four hikers met at the Spruce Pond parking lot on Herlihy Rd in the Morgan Hill State Forest, for a hike via the FLT/ NCT to the hang glider launch area that overlooks Labrador Pond in the Onondaga County Forest

Spruce Pond itself was extremely nice; near-by logging activities have not marred the ponds immediate surroundings. A decent breeze, the croaking of frogs in the pond, etc were a good atmospheric start to the hike.

The immediate stretch of trail was pleasant; very quickly hikers meet a fork in the trail, with the blue blazed FLT/ NCT going in a westerly  direction and the Fellows Hill Loop headed Northerly. Once past the fork in the trail its  a pretty steady slog up the hill for a short while. Once things leveled out a bit the group encountered some fairly wet, extremely muddy stretches of trail. As the trail eventually dipped towards a stream crossing the muddy trail transitioned  in some places to running streams of water. All part of a good day on the trail….

Once past the water crossing there were some additional muddy spots and smaller up and downhill sections, but nothing equal to the earlier hill climb.

Eventually the trail breaks out onto the hang glider launch area. There was some haze in the air today, so the view was not as clear or impressive as my last time at the site, but it was still quite enjoyable. We spoke a while with a section hiker we found at the overlook, and he was kind enough to get a group picture of us.

Leaving the overlook area we returned to the trail and began the return trek to our cars. We encountered a few other day hikers along the return hike.

Reaching the fork in the trail one hiker opted to end their hike there; the hike to that point had taken just a little over our normal two hour hike time. The rest of us opted to take in the views along at least part of the  Fellows Hill Loop. The route proved to be fairly easy, with minimal elevation gain or loss. The waterfalls were flowing well with water, and we stopped along the way to take several pictures.

Reaching Herlihy Rd a couple of us opted to road walk back to our cars; one hiker chose to hike on solo in order to complete the loop.

Overall a very good hike location that more of the group should take the time to check out. It was well worth the additional travel time. Thanks to Leigh Ann for suggesting this particular route to me.


Wed July 21

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger/shesse

Groton Loop Trail

Seven hikers and three dogs met on the 700 block of Spring Street in the Town of Groton for a hike of the Groton Loop Trail. This is a fairly new trail system that’s been created  just outside of the village of Groton. So new in fact that the person behind the trails creation a couple of years ago emailed me before our hike to advise me that a new portion of trail had just been created that wouldn’t be on the trail map. I had not had the opportunity to pre-hike the trail, so this was an exploratory hike for myself as well as the rest of the group.

The group set off from the trailhead parking lot, climbing a short hill that offered a look out across the valley occupied by Groton Village, to the hills on the opposite side.

Entering the forest the trail initially follows what must have been originally an old logging road. Soon enough the trail splits into two parts away from the logging road, with one trail leading down the hill and another up the hill. New signs with the various trail names assist hikers who did not bring a  trail map with them.

The group followed the lower trail, soon coming to another fork in the trail offering different directions of travel. The group opted for a fork that offered the possibility of a loop through the woods rather than what I believe is a direct path to Groton Village.

Continuing through the woods on what is now a wider trail footpath, hikers pass over several small water crossings that are shallow enough that they are probably entirely dried up in normal times.

There are some nice parts of the trail that pass through tall stands of trees. Berry bushes are plentiful, although the group was a week or two too early to be able to harvest more than  a handful of ripened berries.

We passed through a couple of additional forks in the trail, eventually coming out on the lower end of Sovocool Hill Rd at the Groton Village line. Thinking that we were at a higher road crossing on the map we looked for the trail to continue across Sovocool Hill Rd so we could complete a smaller loop above the area of the high school. Not finding a trail on the opposite side of the road we returned to the woods, re-traced our steps on the trail and took another fork in the trail that led up Sovocool Hill itself.

In this stretch of trail there are the most significant elevation gains we found on todays hike, as the trail follows the utility right of way. Having a utility line running directly above your head nearly within arms reach was a bit of a unique experience for me.

Eventually the group found the portion of trail that did cross Sovocool Hill Rd, but opted to continue our uphill climb along a quickly running stream that that portion of trail was then by.

Completing the climb up Sovocool Hill we followed the trail as it leveled out and returned to the entry point to the trail system by our cars.

Cutting out the lower loop, combined with out stops for map consults and rest breaks, todays hike  clocked in at just around fifteen minutes short of our regular hike duration. Anyone wishing to retrace our route should plan on crossing Sovocool Hill Rd and completing the lower loop to bring your hike time out to the standard two hour duration. Due to the newness of the trail system, hikers should plan on encountering some portions of trail that might not be as refined as trails that have been around for a longer time period. Overall, it was still a good hike.


Sat July 24

Hike report by Jim. Photos by shesse and Cian

Upper Treman SP, FLT from Woodard Road to Hines Road and beyond, Enfield

Sixteen hikers and six dogs met on Woodard Rd for a hike of the FLT towards Hines Rd.

Some hikers opted for  a road walk of surrounding roads rather than the FLT.

The main body of hikers plunged into the woods. The surrounding undergrowth was bountiful, with several blow downs across the trail to liven up the hike. Mud in some places along the trail, but nothing that was unexpected. The worst stretch of mud was around the Treman Center, a stretch that is historically very muddy

Hikers reached Rockwell Rd without incident, and due to the amount of poison ivy encountered along the trail opted to road walk Hines Rd back to Woodard Rd. Once on Woodard the trail hikers reunited with the road walkers for the last stretch of hike time.

Once back at our cars the group had some hiking time left and opted to take the FLT in the opposite direction, towards the CC trail, to burn up the last few minutes.


You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun July 25

Hike report by Jim. Photos by shesse and Cian

Jim Schug Trail, Dryden

Ten hikers and three dogs met at the parking area on Lake RD for a hike of the Jim Schug Trail towards Dryden Village

Temperatures were moderate, and after an early morning rain shower I wasn’t sure that the rain would hold off during the hike.

It did in fact not rain, although some of us came prepared with wet weather gear for that possibility.

The outbound leg saw an overcast sky, but by the time the group had turned around to head back to our cars the sun had come out and it was a pleasant return walk.

Use of the trail by others was light; I saw more deer on and along the trail on this hike  than I saw people outside of our own group.


You can see Cian’s complete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of July 12 – July 18

Hello Hikers!

Tues July 12

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Nancy H

Steege Hill, Corning

Two hikers met outside of Big Flats for a hike of the Steege Hill Nature Preserve.

The weather was fairly muggy and this had a definite impact on the hike.

Since this was our first time hiking this particular preserve I had only an indefinite idea of which route I wanted to take within the preserve. There are five interconnecting trails within the Preserve that total seven miles.

Right after arriving at the Preserve I had a good talk with a Finger lakes Land Trust employee who happened to stop by the Preserve at that time; he pointed out that this is the largest of the FLLT holdings, which I was previously unaware of.

We set off on the yellow trail that leaves the parking area towards the summit. This is a gradual incline that deceives you as you’re on it. On the return trip back to our cars it was much more obvious of the continuous climb that this trail represents for the out-bound hiker.

Near the top of the hill we were faced with several possible trails and directions of travel, and opted to continue in a big looping counterclockwise circle on the yellow trail we were then on.

This trail passed by a nice( small ) pond and consisted largely on old logging roads and some slightly un-mowed ankle to calf-height grassy sections of trail  ( if ticks are a concern for you ).

Eventually the yellow trail intersects several side trails, including red, orange and blue. We opted for the blue, thinking that it offered a fairly level trail section that would return to the yellow trail and a return to the cars within our desired hike time. While not a bad trail section compared to many we hike on as a group, there was a fair amount of streambed walking on this blue trail. With recent rains filling the shallow streambeds and the humidity this might not have been an optimal trail route.

Eventually the blue trail connects up with a white trail that heads back towards the yellow loop and the return to the cars. We stopped briefly at the summit, where there’s a bench thoughtfully installed for visitors. The return to the cars was uneventful.

Total hike time at our leisurely pace including  a rest stop at the summit was around 2.5 hours for the route we took.

The pamphlet for the Preserve warns about rattlesnakes and bears; we never saw a bear while the only snakes we saw were non-poisonous varieties.

Plenty of berry bushes were encountered along the way and raided for their supply of small tart berries.

I believe that every Daddy Long Legs in the 607 area code was observed to be hiking with us. Once Nancy H pointed them out to me I felt like we were in a bad 1950s era sci fi movie, with little bodies on invisible legs rushing across and along the trail as we walked.

We shared the trail with one trail runner and her dog; otherwise we were alone on the trails.

For those of you willing to take a little bit of a drive for a new hike location this was not a bad destination


You can see Nancy’s complete photo selection here


Wed July 14

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Mary

Lindsay Parsons Preserve, West Danby

Eight hikers and three dogs met in the parking lot of Lindsay Parson.

It was a warm and sunny day, uncomfortably so when out in the open. The humidity clung like to us like an outer layer of clothing, and the islands of shade were a welcome relief when crossing the open fields at the beginning and end of the hike.

Hikers set off out of the parking lot after a brief encounter with a dog walker, the only other hiker we saw on the trails during our time there.

The group found the main trails well mowed, which lessened the concerns about ticks.

Starting out on the blue trails from the parking area we soon made a stop at Coleman Lake, which was in much better shape than the last time I saw it after there’d been some recent earth-moving done around the lakes perimeter.

Leaving the lake we jumped onto the near-by red blazed trail, following that to the yellow trails that circle around some of the marshes on the more northerly end of the preserve. It was hre that we saw the only mud on the hike, which was not unexpected.

Back in the forest we transitioned to the orange trails that led the group across the railroad tracks. Once there the group completed the purple loop and re-traced our steps back across the fields to our cars. The hike came in exactly at the usual two hour mark.

As much as I tried to stop the group at major trail junctions we got split up at some point and we encountered part of our group coming from the opposite direction on the purple trails on the more Easterly side of the Preserve.

Gypsy moth activity was very obvious on the purple blazed trail portion.

With the humidity the smells and scents of the forests and fields were very pronounced on hike day. More than a few times I noticed how prominently the forest smells were presenting themselves during this hike.


Sat July 17

Sun July 18

Hikes cancelled — threat of T-storms

Report to Hikers — week of July 5 – July 11

Hello Hikers!

Tuesday July 6

Hike report and photo by Jim

Special longer hike — Hoxie Gorge SF, Cortland County

Five hikers met at the Hoxie Gorge Rd trailhead for a hike of part of the Hoxie Gorge State Forest.

The weather had not been cooperative earlier in the day, and in fact we cut the hike short because we thought that we had more inclement weather approaching.

From the trailhead parking lot the group walked a short way down the road to the blue blazed access footpath that leads to the Finger Lakes Trail. Signage indicated that the blue blazed trail was at one time the actual FLT, before it was re-routed.

The blue blazed trail ran nicely along the Hoxie Gorge Creek, although footing at points was somewhat iffy due to slick rocks and roots from the morning rains. Temperatures were tolerable, but the air was fairly muggy because of the recent rain.

There was a decent amount of water observed flowing in the streambed.

Eventually the blue blazed trail intersected with the FLT itself. My original intention was to take a left turn here and walk the FLT until we got to some open fields where the FLT map indicated several lookout points. The All Trails website listing for this trail spoke of the noticeable noise from I81 as the South-bound trail.  Because of the heat of the day and not wanting to be caught in the open if bad weather returned, I opted to take a right and follow the FLT South deeper into Hoxie Gorge State Forest.

Immediately after turning right onto the FLT, the path leads hikers through some majestic stands of evergreen trees such as we sometimes see here in Tompkins County. After a couple of minor water crossings and as the hikers approached Hoxie Gorge Freetown Rd, the footpath enters an overgrown section of trail that doesn’t appear to have regular maintenance or enough regular foot traffic to keep the undergrowth at bay. The group opted to turn around here, with the intent of returning to the intersection with the blue blazed trail and continue North on the FLT towards the near-by lean-to.

Upon returning to the intersection with the blue blazed trail the group observed that bad weather was setting in and chose to end the hike and return to our cars. The group returned to the trailhead via the yellow-blazed footpath maintained by SUNY Cortland; this trail runs along the blue blazed access trail, but further from the streambed. This route was both quicker and safer than the blue blazed trail.

Since this was the groups first hike at this location, I’ll make some observations in case other members of the group want to check out this hike. If using Google to map your route, if coming from Ithaca ignore any suggested route that doesn’t involve taking State Route 392 from Dryden, going through Virgil until it intersects with  Route 11.

On Hoxie Gorge Rd ignore the Google pin location previously emailed to everyone  and just drive to the end of the road where the very obvious parking area with signage ( it even says “parking” )  is. You’ll have to pass through a curved narrow one lane segment of road on Hoxie Gorge Rd to get to the parking area; be alert for the lane reduction. The blue blazed trail is a short way back down the road, but unless you want to get closer to the water my suggestion is to use the SUNY Cortland yellow blazed trail both in and out from the hike. Its safer and faster and takes you to the same place that the blue blazed footpath does. While we didn’t get to hike to the lean-to, my suggestion for a two hour hike is to go one way or the other on the FLT, either to the lean-to the North or the stands of pines to the South, and turn around and travel the other way to get your two hour hike time in.

Thanks to everyone who hiked with me today!

Randy, Nancy L, Elizabeth and Rich


Wed July 7

Hike report by Jim. Two photos by Elizabeth.

King Nature Preserve, Richford, Tioga County

7 hikers met in Tioga County for a hike of the  King Nature Preserve, a Land Trust holding that we hadn’t pre viously hiked as a group

Temperatures were high, as was the humidity level.

The threat of rain was unfounded, and if anything the direct sunlight and clear skies were uncomfortable

That being said, the trail in the Preserve was often muddy from recent rains.

The trail is a fairly short loop that passes through stands of a variety of hard and soft woods and old fields, as well as along a nice stream  for a short while ( coolest part of the hike, for obvious reasons ) that includes the ruins of what I assume is an old mill.

After completing a loop of the trail the group returned to the road and walked to the top of the hill where there are some nice views of surrounding farmlands.

Returning to our cars the group decided that there was enough time to complete a second lap around the trail, so we returned to the Preserve, this time taking the trail in the opposite direction from the first lap.

This brought us back out to the road at exactly two hours.


Sat July 10

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger/shesse & Cian

Monkey Run Natural Area, south side of Fall Creek — Varna

Eighteen hikers and six dogs hiked the trails around Monkey Run Rd on the South side of Cascadilla Creek.

The initial group of around 15 hikers and 3 dogs left our cars promptly at 930, while the only slightly late arrivals formed a separate group that didn’t meet the main hiking element until nearly the end of the hike.

It was a sunny but cool day, one that was popular not only with our group but other day hikers, dog walkers and joggers who we found sharing the trail with us. The portions of the route where hikers had to be exposed  in the open for a longer period of time did not have the sort of hot, discomforting quality to them that some more recent hikes through similar open areas have had.

The trails throughout todays hike were passable although with often muddy or with standing water. The mud was the consistency of brownie batter, and hikers often had to choose between striding through the muck or trying to skirt the mess entirely and further expand the footprint of the trail footpath.

I was somewhat surprised to find that while the trail itself did have many wet areas along the route, the inclines on the hillsides were not particularly hazardous due to slippery mud and wet roots as I had expected them to be.

The streams and rivulets we hiked alongside or over were briskly flowing with no lack of water. With one exception the many footbridges made crossing over the smaller streams a non-issue; the one exception currently lacks any sort of footbridge and could strongly benefit by such an addition….

The group set off in the direction of Varna, initially travelling over the orange blazed trails that eventually bring the hikers out near Varna itself. A quick walk across the open fields soon brings the group to the red blazed trails, which we followed for the remainder of the hike. With the exception of a quick stop at “the beach” where we took a few quick photos and observed the levels of water in the creek bed, there was no deviation from the red blazed trail system until the end of the hike.

Towards the end of the hike the group passes by the side trail that leads back to the cars; the group continues on for another ten or fifteen minutes, in order to reach the appropriate hike duration. Eventually turning around, we made our way back to the side trail and emerged in the parking lot only a few minutes early.



Cian’s photos:

“Saturday monkey run was a sub hike from the group because we got separated pretty early on / Katherine, Iris, Amadou and I ended up doing more of a naturalist hike  – finished an hour late”

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun July 11

Hike report by Jim. Photos by shesse & Cian

South Danby Road east to the Tamarack Lean-to, Danby SF

Ten hikers and two dogs set off on the FLT from South Danby Rd

An 11th hiker arrived late and caught up with us on trail.

A 12th hiker with 3 dogs arrived but missed the main body of hikers and did her own hike.

It was a cool morning from the trailhead; I had originally planed to have the group head towards Curtis Rd but realized that in a fairly short time we would have been hiking over a section of trail that we had just recently walked. So I pointed us up the hill in the opposite direction towards the Tamarack Lean to.

Weather reports had given us a very good possibility of avoiding rain; in fact, a short-lived shower had met me when I arrived on South Danby Rd. We lucked out for the rest of the hike and escaped unscathed from any torrential downpours. Unfortunately the recent rains had left their impact on the footpath, and there was  a fair amount of standing water and decently long stretches of absolute watery thick mud on the trail to greet hikers as we charged up the minor inclines. It wasn’t until we reached some of the higher elevations amongst the evergreens that we had reliably firm ground to hike on.

This particular section of trail weaves in and out of a stretch of snowmobile trail. In the winter this is a convenient bypass for a hike, as the snowmobile trail in winter  is usually well-travelled and compacted while the FLT is more or less pristine and often untouched and the snow quite deep for those without snowshoes. Today I was tempted to jump onto the snowmobile trail to avoid the mud on the FLT, but ultimately stayed the course until we reached firmer ground

Katharine, who had hiked in the opposite direction, reported that the FLT in that direction was as bad if not worse than the portion the main body had hiked on.

I always enjoy hiking through the stands of evergreen, with the forest floor covered in a layer of old needles. Today was no exception, particularly after getting through the mud and water at lower elevations. The light shining down to the forest floor through the canopy was particularly enjoyable today. The lack of much undergrowth in these sections gives a hiker a good sense of the lay of the forest floor around them. This is much preferred to pushing your way through the lush summer growth of vegetation found on some parts of the Trail that limits your field of view to only a couple of feet immediately around you.

Eventually reaching Peters Rd the group paused long enough to offer up an adequate rendition of happy birthday to newly returned ( from an out of town trip )  Leigh Ann. From there we forged ahead until reaching the Tamarack lean-to. After making an entry in the lean-to trail journal, the group returned to the trail and hiked back to South Danby Rd without incident.

The group encountered some mushroom pickers along the trail and some of us paused long enough to pick a few mushrooms for themselves, but the remainder of the hike was otherwise uneventful.

It was Leigh Ann’s 53rd birthday. She got to the trail head a little late and didn’t catch up to the main group until well into the hike, while we were taking a break. As we heard her coming, the group burst into Happy Birthday, and she got into the spirit.


Cian’s photos:

“Sunday hike in danby – we noticed orange mushrooms early on , noticed that Mary was harvesting them (she identified these as chanterelles) when I returning so I took some pictures / before we left we ran into a group of mushroom hunters, who were kind enough to point out the edible mushrooms, including oyster mushrooms and king bolete mushrooms.   I noticed Katherine’s car, she had went the other way, so I waited for her to return – while I was waiting more mushroom hunters showed up with buckets and baskets”

You can see Cian’s comlete photo album here

Report to Hikers — week of June 29 – July 4

Hello Hikers!

Wed June 30

Hike report by Jim

Deputron Hollow Road, Danby

On Wednesday June 30, 8 hikers met for a hike of the seasonal portion of Deputron Hollow Rd

While on the hike, the group encountered a 9th member of the group hiking in the opposite direction with family members.

It was a sunny day, and I would say that my favorite part of this hike is probably as we descend the hill towards Coddington RD, before reaching the maintained lower portion of Deputron Hollow RD. On sunny days such as this particular hike day, the various shades of green in the tree canopies overhead are fairly enjoyable, as is the walk along the route of the stream below us..

It seemed as if the first hour of the hike passed quicker than normal, and soon it was time to turn around and climb the hill back to our cars. This was probably the most uncomfortable portion of the hike for me as it soon became readily apparent how still the air was, with almost no breeze to relieve the heat of the day.

Soon enough the group found ourselves back at our cars and being quizzed by a local resident as to our observation of insect damage to the trees along the hike route.

All in all a fairly normal hike, one that I will probably put some thought into changing up in the future to make it overall more interesting.


Sat July 3

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian

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

On July 03 the Ithaca Hikers turned out for a hike of the FLT in the Potato Hill State Forest . This is the hike we do that starts on the seasonal portion of Level Green Rd and travels towards Rte 79 ( in the distance ), first crossing over Blackman Hill Rd.

Eight hikers and two dogs set off on the trail; the lower portions of the trail were frequently standing water and more often mud, which was my expectation after the heavy rain of recent days. As we gained elevation this became less of a problem.

Previous hikes on this section of trail had resulted in the group meeting some stinging ground bees. I don’t know if the bees are still in the area; if they are, the weather on this hike day surely kept them close to their hives.

It was an easy, gradual  climb through the woods, with a quick pause to make a trail journal entry as we always try to do. Lucy G is the trail maintainer for this portion of the Trail, and had emailed me ahead of the hike warning that the second footbridge from Level Green Rd was a-kilter and unsafe to use. This was the condition that we found it in. Thankfully the water levels in the stream were low enough to make the water crossing not an issue for the group.

In the area of Blackman Hill Rd the Trail makes a recently created jog, bringing the Trail out onto Blackman Hill Rd to make the road crossing a direct crossing rather than the slight road walk that was until recently required.

Once on Blackman Hill Rd the group could see sunny skies off in the distance to the East, but our hopes for a sunny crossing of the open fields ahead of us were soon dashed. In fact, the skies overhead almost immediately opened up with a strong deluge, as if to welcome us for exiting out of the forest. We crossed the fields quickly and plunged back into the tree line. After a few minutes of walking downhill I turned the group around for the return leg, as there was no purpose in sending everyone down the water-sodden hill just to turn them around to claw their way back to the fields. Re-crossing the open field, my main thought was of the lightning portion of the wilderness first aid class I recently completed ( along with several other members of the Ithaca Hikers ). Thankfully we were not called on to have to perform any lightning-related first aid to anyone on this hike.

The return leg of the hike to Level Green Rd was uneventful; as we had turned around on the hike early, the group filled out the remaining fifteen minutes of hike time with a short road walk on Level Green Rd.

You can see Cian’s complete photo album here


Sun July 4

Hike report by Jim. Photos by Tiger/shesse & Cian

Fischer Old Growth Forest, Newfield

Thirteen hikers and three dogs set off from the parking lot on Rte 13 in Newfield for a hike of the Fischer Old Growth forest. A 14th hiker arrived late and ended up doing a solo hike

The weather was particularly sunny and warm out in the open fields at the start of the hike, and it was a relief to plunge into the tree cover as we descended the hill from the parking area.

It was a pleasant walk through the woods as the group followed the red trail deeper into the woods. At the intersection with the yellow trail we branched off onto the yellow trail and did that loop through the old growth portion of the woods. I’ve always enjoyed that part of the trail system at this particular location.

Completing the yellow loop we rejoined the red trail, descending towards the streams and flat lands. The ground in many places along this part of the trail were still quite hazardous from the slick mud resulting from the recent rains. The portions of the descent with safety ropes were not adequate to keeping me from going to the ground at one point.

Reaching the flatlands the group found its way blocked for our most junior hiking member by a wild array of stinging nettles that grew up and over the trail. The group beat these down to the ground to make enough of a path to allow our young hiker passage without being unnecessarily shredded by the undergrowth.

Once across the small valley the group faced the mostly uphill portion of the Easterly leg of the red trail loop. Reaching the top of that segment the group reconvened and agreed that a second loop of either trail was unneeded today, and so we walked to the blue loop trail, completed that and returned to our cars so that we could each enjoy the remainder of the holiday.

Thanks to everyone who set aside part of what is surely a busy holiday for everyone to come together to hike our local trails.

As I stated my favorite part of this hike is the yellow blazed trail through the old growth trees.

I believe that for both safeties sake as well as a concern for the environment, some thought needs to be put into redesigning the hill portions of the red loop. I believe that creating some switchbacks along those areas would be both safer for hikers and protect the sensitive environments around the steeper slopes from human-caused damage and erosion……



You can see Cian’s complete photo album here