Report to Hikers June 20-June 26

Wednesday June 22

FLT South from Harford Slaterville Rd. through Robinson Hollow State Forest

Hike report by Jim

Eleven hikers met on Harford Slaterville Road on a warm, sunny day for an out-and-back hike on the Finger Lakes Trail. There is a beaver pond at the trailhead, and as we set out several hikers watched a beaver swim across the pond toward the lodge.

The trail goes gradually uphill from Harford Slaterville Rd. Then we encountered rolling terrain with gentle elevation changes. After we crossed an old stone wall, the trail went steadily downhill to the turn-around point.

Before we turned around, we explored the ruins of an old homestead, including a partial foundation and fragments of what we thought was an old woodstove.

Throughout the hike, there was minimal mud on the footpath, and we returned to our cars on time.

Photo by Jim
If you look closely, you can see a swimming beaver in the foreground, carrying some leaves back to the lodge.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday June 25

Connecticut Hill, Newfield

Hike report by Dave B.

A group of 14 hikers and 3 dogs met near the Connecticut Hill cemetery on a beautiful morning for a look at areas new to many and get a glimpse of the area’s history.

We descended a long hill to a stream crossing marked by pilings at the site of a bridge now long gone. (I surmised it may have been wiped out in the Flood of ’35, a major event that affected the entire Southern Tier:

We followed the old roadbed beside a tributary creek to the site of another bridge, this one retaining the steel joists of the bed. From there, the trail wandered on along the creek to rejoin the old road just short of the gravel bank to which it had provided access. A steep climb to the top of the bank provided a view of another of the foothills, before we headed on to complete the loop.

Another 45 minutes of deep forest, rolling hills, stream crossings, and an invigorating climb brought us back to the cars just three minutes short of the two-hour goal.

Most of the group stuck around to explore the cemetery, an interesting mix of 19th-century tombstones and evidence of recent rituals.

The entire time, the weather remained clear, and the temperature comfortable, with a welcome breeze now and then. A good day!

Photo by Nancy H.

Sunday June 27

Deputron Hollow Road and Olsefski Road, Danby

Hike report by Jim

Fourteen hikers and two dogs hiked from the junction of East Miller and Marsh roads in the town of Danby to Deputron Hollow Rd., for an out-and-back hike. The day was sunny and dry; we had some decent winds cooling us down as we progressed downhill on Deputron Hollow Rd. The sun and leaves combined to make pools of shadow on our journey; before I realized how far we’d come we were stepping out onto the paved bottom part of Deputron Hollow Rd. near Coddington Rd.

We got to Coddington Rd. with five minutes to spare for the outbound leg of the hike. After pausing for a quick photo and to make way for some vehicle traffic, we began the return journey back up the hill. The breezes that had been our companion on the first hour seemed to dissipate almost entirely, and other than the periodic pools of shadow along our route there was little to shield us from the sun and humidity.

Despite this we soon found ourselves back at our cars, saying our goodbyes and already planning the next hike.

Warm welcome to Hollie and Brian, on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Special Hike Report

Leigh Ann in Washington State

Hike report and photos by Leigh Ann

From May 23 – May 29, my husband John and I were in the Seattle, WA, area. For the first few days his conference kept him in Seattle, so I went to the Snoqualmie Pass to do day hikes. The first four pictures are from hikes I did on those days. On that Monday, I went to Rattlesnake Ledge (no rattlesnakes in that part of Washington, so…), which was very popular with a crowd at the top. The next two days I hiked Little Si Peak, which was less populated, prettier, and with which I was in love​. Both hikes are rated as easy for that area, which I’m guessing means easy compared to summiting Mount Ranier. These were 4-5-mile, out-and-back hikes with about 1000 feet of elevation change per mile.

When John’s conference was over, we took Mark and Ellie Sussman’s suggestion and went to the Olympic Peninsula, stayed in Port Angeles, and hiked on Hurricane Ridge and in the Hoh Valley. Thank you for these suggestions, folks! We found a great place to stay (Angeles Motel – the Yelp reviews are accurate) and got very different types of amazing hiking on the Ridge and in the Valley.

Hurricane Ridge looks out onto Mt. Olympus, which we could see once we passed mile marker 13 (or of 18) to get up to the trailhead. One picture shows what the clouds looked like right as we got above them. We found the trailhead easy to get to, and the views were rewarding once we got above the pounding rain and deep fog that almost turned us back before mile marker 13.

The Hoh Valley is the wettest place in the 48 contiguous states (140 inches of rain per year), and the trees are covered with club moss that never touches the ground and lives on dust and rain. The pictures of the Hoh Valley show what spring looked like there: broadleaf maples were in their Chartreuse stage and were exploding out from under the moss.

Coming back to the Finger Lakes was amazing because the weather was so bright!

A Celebration of Stephen and Susan

Saturday June 4

A Party to Say Thank You and Farewell

Note: The original link to Annie’s video (see below) didn’t work, so I’ve replaced that link with a new one. Several people have tested the new link and were able to view the video. Enjoy!

After Saturday’s hike, friends old and new gathered at Roger’s beautiful home to say thank you and goodbye to Ithaca Hikers’ longtime leaders Stephen and Susan Hesse, who are moving to Rhode Island to be closer to family. We didn’t do an official head count, but multiple people estimated that more than 50 current or former hikers dropped by.

Since taking over organization of the group in 2004, Stephen and Susan have expanded the number of weekly hikes, scouted out dozens of perfectly timed two-hour hikes throughout our region, and helped to organize social events beyond time spent on the trails. They always welcomed new hikers with grace and enthusiastic interest, making newcomers feel part of the group from their very first hike.

Stephen has compiled an illustrated history of the Ithaca Hikers. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time.

Saturday afternoon was the sort of beautiful spring day we’re lucky to experience in Ithaca. The day was sunny and pleasantly warm, with a lively breeze. At the party, guests made good use of the grills available for cooking. Guests were encouraged to bring their own food and drink, but many brought food to share.

People socialized for about an hour before Roger asked for everyone’s attention. He and several others shared memories of Stephen and Susan–times shared, recollections of specific hikes, and reminiscences of what made hiking with Stephen and Susan so much fun. It was remarkable to take stock of what the Hesses had built–the friends, the laughter, the shared memories, the echoes of Stephens loud “YO!” to get everyone’s attention–and to know that Ithaca Hikers is still going strong. We will miss them, but we will carry their legacy far into the future.

The party continued through the afternoon, with guests enjoying the pond and a clambake.

Hiker, photographer, singer, and all-around extraordinary person Annie W. compiled a video with photos she took over a period of several years, set to a soundtrack performed by Choir of the Earth (with Annie a participating singer). It is a beautiful and moving tribute, and you can view it here: (If you don’t immediately see the Play button, look for it in the upper right corner.) The singing is gorgeous, and the photos really capture the essence of our group. Thank you, Annie!

And thank you, Stephen and Susan, for everything you’ve done for the Ithaca Hikers. You created something remarkable and nurtured it into a strong and thriving group. It has meant so much to every one of us who have been lucky enough to hike with you. We wish you much happiness as you set out on your next trail!

Photos by Cian
Photo by Norm

Photos by Leigh Ann

Photos by Randy S.

View Cian’s photo album

View Leigh Ann’s photo album

Announcing a lively new feature for our web site

Hello Hikers!

Posted by shesse

Jim and Nancy H have been actively trying to bring new people into our group through the Meetup app, and having a good deal of success; seems like we get some new faces every week. Jim said that he can often hear newer members chatting behind him and asking about the background and history of the group, which has never been documented and has always been a bit murky to everyone. So Jim asked me if I could package something up that will give outsiders an idea of who we are ands how the group evolved. Here it is:

An illustrated history of the Ithaca Hikers

This history will always be available on the web site in the “MENU” widget — click the drop-down and you’ll see the heading. Sometimes history can be dull; I definitely focused on trying to make this one lively. Hope I succeeded.

Report to Hikers: week of Feb 4-Feb 10

Hello Hikers!

Wed Feb 6

Two farm roads south of Mecklenburg — N Shuler Road and Morris Road

This is a very bucolic part of a beautiful valley that stretches from Mecklenburg south to Cayuta Lake and beyond. We were on the eastern flank of the valley, which was formed by the upper stretch of Taughannock Creek. There’s also a neighborhood on the other side of the valley that’s equally lovely where we hike.
The forecast wasn’t great — there was a good possibility of rain or freezing rain during the walk — and it was quite gloomy. But it didn’t rain after all until we got back home.
This is Morris Road looking east from N Shuler Road. I find this scene to be perfectly satisfying, and I feel like I could happily live out the rest of my days here, swimming in the ponds in the background, walking on the dirt roads, tramping through the fields and watching the seasons come and go. Of course I do realize it might actually be boring.
I love the way the evergreen windbreaks and field separations create a semi-abstract dark pattern against the fields — very nice pictorial composition
The southern end of N Shuler changes character from a dirt farm road to a paved casual semi-suburban road — interesting to look at the scattered houses but it doesn’t compare to the rolling fields.
We ran out of time and so we weren’t able to walk the full length of Morris Road, which disappointed me
This was maybe the most quiet road walk we’re ever done — there was either one or two cars that passed us, not sure which, but no more

Official head count: 13H and one D


Sat Feb 9

Bock Harvey Forest Preserve and Riemen Woods, Enfield

I love this view of the start of the walk, and I’d hoped I could get a photo like this of the whole line of hikers in miniature, but I couldn’t get out ahead of everyone and make it up to the top of the hill far enough in front. The people in the photo are four hikers who arrived late.
I thought there might be some ice but I was surprised at how much we encountered. Luckily it was covered by a light coat of snow and it was navigable without foot traction, which I left behind in the car.
I’m very glad we were able to squeeze our cookout in last weekend — it was 20 degrees colder this time and there was a strong wind — no one would ever want to hang around here for more than a few minutes in those conditions
We’ve reconfigured this walk so we now cross Porter Hill Road and walk through a relatively new preserve, the Riemen Woods
I don’t know the background of these woods but they have a different character than the other woods that make up this walk — I really like the feeling of this preserve
My only complaint is that the time in this woods doesn’t last long enough
We also hit mud and water as well as ice, but it was manageable

Official head count: 24H, three D

More photos:

Jack V


Sun Feb 10

Willseyville Creek, Caroline

The hiker in the scarf waiting to climb down the side of the ditch is regular hiker Vicki, who was making her first serious hike since last June, when she suffered a major spinal problem. It was great to have her back on the trail with us.
This is the abandoned railroad right of way — there’s swamp on both sides but the scrubby growth obscures the view. The swamp was pretty much frozen solid.
We hit a fair amount of ice but almost no mud and very little water.
For the second time in a row, the huge pond on the other side of Ridgeway Road was flooded (this time it was also frozen) so we couldn’t get near it. From now on we’ll check the water level before we start the hike so we don’t waste time walking there only to be disappointed.
The flooded pond is just to the left where the car is stopped. The photo was taken about half way up to the cars.

Official head count: 26H, four D

More photos:

Jack V