Special Hike Report: White Mountains

Hike report by Nancy L.

After visiting our son Nathan, daughter-in-law Bri, and our 4-month-old granddaughter Eliza in Boston, Randy and I camped at Lafayette Place campground in New Hampshire.

The campground was all right but somewhat noisy because of its proximity to a super highway.  

In the morning we set off up to the Greenleaf hut, which is at the base of Mt. Lafayette. As we went up, the going got rougher, with boulders to navigate at every step.  

But after a 2,500′ elevation gain we arrived at the hut, a very nice place where you can reserve a sleeping mat in a bunk bed along with dinner and breakfast for about $135 a night.  

We enjoyed our lunch with a grand view and headed back down, which was the hardest part.

All photos by Nancy L. and Randy O. There are lots more beautiful pictures in their photo album.

My Top Twelve Hikes: Summer 2022

I was reviewing some of the older pages here last night while I sat in on Nancy H’s writing group on Meetup. After reviewing Stephens older post on his personal favorite top 12 hikes I decided it was a good time for me to compile my own list. I’ll probably have more commentary associated with my choices than Stephen had for his.

In no particular order:

1- Monkey Run, North side. Currently hike #5-01 on our hikes page. This is one of our go-to hikes that we’ve done repeatedly since I’ve been with the group, and it never fails to be a fun hike for me.

2- Kennedy State Forest. Cortland county. Hike # 36-1. Another of our hike standards. I was worried that recent logging work in the area would ruin the appeal of this hike for me, but the logging had minimal impact on the FLT footpath through the forest.

3- Shindagin Rim Trail. Hike #26. A very visually enjoyable hike for me.

4- Monkey Run south side. Hike #6. This route has so much to offer in terms of visuals and just sheer fun for me while I’m hiking this trail!

5- Six Mile Creek South Hill Rec Way from Crescent. Hike #2. While the hike route itself is very nice in its own right, I’m always amazed that this hike exists so close to the city of Ithaca.

6- Lower Treman Loop. Hike #8-02. I took the existing lower Treman out-and -back FLT hike and made it a loop hike by adding the Rim and Gorge Trails. I worked at the two Treman state parks for many years in the 70s and 80s, and this hike covers parts of my favorite trails in Robert Treman State Park.

7- Hammond Hill State Forest. Hike # 31-5. A recent addition to our hike options for Hammond Hill, this route covers just about all of my favorite parts of the state forest as it starts from Star Stanton Hill Rd and takes hikers in a clockwise loop hike over the green and yellow trails.

8- Potato Hill State Forest Hike #29-1. The FLT from Level Green Rd to Blackman Hill Rd and beyond. This hike has only gotten better after the recent footpath changes.

9- Virgil Mountain, Cortland County. Hike #40. I’m not normally a fan of the out-and-back hikes, but I like this one.

10- Dabes Diversion Loop, Cortland County. Hike #48-1. Combines Dabes Diversion Loop, the FLT and the Kuzia Cutoff into a fun loop hike in any season. Some nice views across the fields at the junction of Dabes and the FLT!

11- The FLT from Eastman Hill Rd, Tompkins/ Tioga county line. Hike # 50. While parts of the abandoned parts of Eastman Hill Rd make this loop hike somewhat sketchy in bad weather, the rest of the hike makes up for it. We’ll be losing this part of the FLT soon due to a trail re-direction.

12- Loop Trail: Bald Hill Rd to Dianes Crossing and back on the FLT. Hike # 20. Combines parts of the Abbott Loop, Doves Trail and the FLT into a loop hike worthy of being on my favorites list.

Honorable mention:

13- Fischer Old Growth Forest. Hike #15. This is a great hike locale, but the fact that we can’t *quite* get a two hour hike out of this one keeps it out of my top 12 list

14- Lick Brook. Hike # 7. This hike is a favorite for many hikers in the group, but for whatever reason doesn’t quite make my top 12 list.

15- Lime Hollow, Cortland County. Hike #37. While this is a little more of a “civilized hike” than the others on the list, we have a nice route we hike in this nature preserve that I find very enjoyable.

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: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8XeMGcGW3XMxRLMk6 (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