Remembering Ruby

In November, we posted a tribute to Diego, a longtime and much-loved canine member of Ithaca Hikers. Sadly, a few weeks later Roger’s other dog, Ruby, also passed away. Like Diego, Ruby hiked with our group for many years. Ruby and Diego had different personalities, but both added much to our hikes. Ruby tended to stick closer to our group and could often be found walking directly behind Roger. She was a sweet dog and will be missed.

Below are some hikers’ reminiscences of Ruby. If you have some memories of Ruby you’d like to share, please email them to Jim or Nancy H.

Photo by Katharine H.
This lovely watercolor painting by Steve Schwartz shows Ruby (on the right side) looking at hiker Jack McGory.
From Jim:

On our recent Saturday hike around Stewart Park and the Farmers Market, I asked Roger how his remaining dog, Ruby, was handling the passing of his other dog, Diego. I was curious about whether Ruby displayed any observable signs of grief at Diego’s passing. We spoke a bit on the topic before we each moved on to conversations with other members in the group, as we so often do on our hikes.

The next day, I received word from Roger that Ruby had also passed away. I am sorry to hear of Roger’s second loss in such a short time, and I thank hiker Katharine for being there for Roger at this stressful time.

In my years with the group I’ve noticed that Roger’s two dogs each had their own personalities. Diego often went tearing off into the woods with exuberance to explore some exciting new thing, and was happy to start off the hike with a Milk Bone or two from my pocket. Ruby inevitably stayed with the group and closer to Roger. She would usually refuse a Milk Bone from me at the beginning of a hike, but somewhere around the middle of the hike she would approach me and accept a treat, staying close by after that if she wanted more.

In contrast to Diego’s boundless energy and devil-may-care attitude, Ruby often reminded me of a disapproving older aunt, sometimes fixing me with a stare that seemed to take me to task for something I was doing at that moment. Even with that, she was a good trail companion.

Roger had recently retired Ruby from hikes, content to let her sit in his car until the hike was over or, in some cases, leaving her home entirely on hike days.

Roger, thank you for sharing the company of  your dogs with us over many years. I’m happy that I was able to share the time on the trails that I had with both Diego and Ruby.

Photo by Leigh Ann
Photo by Cian
From Mary W.:

Ruby’s quiet enjoyment of the trails was often my inspiration. She and her brother Diego have lifetime memberships, their past and future, on the trails and in the memories the Ithaca Hikers.

Rest peacefully, Ruby.

Photo by Leigh Ann
Photo by Leigh Ann
Photo by Cian
From Shannon G.:

I am a relatively new hiker to the group, but I had the sheer pleasure of doing a few hikes with both Diego and Ruby this year.

My oldest pup, who will be 16 in a couple of months, is too slow-moving and car-averse to join.  So it was awesome to see those two zoom about, having a blast. 

Our deepest condolences to Roger and his family. 

Photo by Leigh Ann
Photo by Katharine H.
From Sandra B.:

To Roger: Your dogs were always welcoming to my exuberant border collie, Skye. Sorry for loss of both of your four-legged friends in such a short period of time. 

Thanks to Ithaca Hikers for allowing us to bring our dogs. It is a special privilege.

Photo by Leigh Ann
Photo by Cian
From Bud:

Ruby and Diego were friendly and enthusiastic hikers for a decade or more. Both are missed.

Photo by Cian

See more images of Ruby in photo albums by Leigh Ann and Cian.

A Tribute to Diego

For many of us, the dogs who accompany us on the trail are part of the joy of hiking. Seeing the fun they have in the woods — racing back and forth, following intriguing smells, and playing together — adds so much to our hikes. When I first joined Ithaca Hikers, it was great to get out in the woods and make new (human) friends. But as someone who’s always loved dogs and was unable for various reasons have a canine companion, it was a special treat to hike with the dogs who came along with us.

One of the dogs who was always a fixture on our hikes was Roger’s dog Diego, who, sadly, passed away last week. Diego was a sweet, fun, and energetic hiker. Below, hikers share some thoughts and memories of Diego.

If you would like to add your memories of Diego to this post, email them to Nancy H. and I’ll include them here.

Diego, photographed by Katharine
From Jim:

Last week we lost a dedicated member of our hiking family.

Diego has been a regular member of the group over the span of many years, probably longer than anyone else who regularly hikes in the group except Roger himself. Diego was hiking with us as recently as last Sunday in Danby forest; although he was visibly slower that day, he was no less enthusiastic as he followed the group up the FLT from Diane’s Crossing.

Diego was always an eager member of the group on the trail, sometimes too much so; Roger had to wait at hike’s end more than once because Diego had gone off into the woods after one scent or another that caught his interest. Somehow, his free-spirited misdeeds were always forgiven by the next hike, when he would rejoin the group and come up to me in search of the next Milk Bone.

I will miss the little guy.

Diego hoping for a Milk Bone.
From Stephen Hesse:

Susan and I agree that Diego was the most adventurous, enthusiastic, and energetic hiker we ever had in the group, human or canine.  We’re so sorry he’s reached the end of his life.  We think he exemplified the spirit of the group: He just wanted to get out into the woods and see what was happening.

We all know the deep sadness you feel when an animal you love dies.

Jim asked if I had any good photo of Roger and Diego together.  Not that I can recall. Diego was not one to hang around and pose for cute photos with anyone.  He just wanted to get running.  He produced some anxious moments by getting lost, but now I look back on those moments fondly.

Diego and Ruby leading the way.
From Norm:

Each time I met Diego at the start of a hike, I was surprised at how low to the ground he was. I thought of him as bigger. This sort of made sense. He covered a lot of ground compared to us and even compared to the other dogs. And of course he was tough to keep track of — well out of proportion to his mass and his peaceful nature.

It’s fun to be in the field with a wanderer like Diego. Thanks Roger and all who bring their dogs to the hikes and into our minds, whether on or off leash.

From James R.:

Sorry to hear this!  I always enjoyed seeing Diego and his boundless energy, tearing through the woods as we plodded along.  I’m sorry for your loss, Roger.

From Kai:

Diego was always excited for the hikes and certainly seemed to have enjoyed them. He seemed to be a happy and energetic pup. I, like everyone else, will definitely miss him. May he hike and bound around in the next world.

A hiker for all seasons! Photos by Leigh Ann
From Bud:

Diego was a fine hiking companion.  If memory serves, he was a regular part of our group for at least a decade.  In his younger years, his enthusiasm and excitement were overwhelming as the time to start hiking approached.

From Mary W.:

I have long thought of Diego (and his litter mate, Ruby) as seasoned Ithaca Hikers and the dog leaders of the group. Through trail socialization and perhaps some sort of canine osmosis, Diego taught new dog members trail etiquette. He knew to wait until the trail widened before safely passing. He didn’t run on the trails. We didn’t worry that Diego would snap at someone, bump into human hikers, challenge other dogs, or otherwise create concerns for safety. It was all good, except when he’d instinctively run far into the woods and then lose the scent, sound, and sight of the group.

Even so, he had some fun adventures and contributed to the collective stories of the Ithaca Hikers. Thanks for sharing him with us, Roger.  Rest peacefully, Diego.

Diego and friends, photographed by Katharine.
From Eva:

So sorry to hear this. Diego was such a happy, energetic fellow. He will be missed.

We’ll miss you, Diego! (Photo by Katharine)

Hiking Locations in Hunting Season Fall 2022

A cut-and-paste compilation of hiking locations from the Cayuga Trails Club.

NY State Parks
Our local state parks allow bow, but not gun hunting.
Cornell Botanic Gardens Arboretum, Park Park, Beebe Lake
Monkey Run & Fall Creek Natural Areas
Includes the Cayuga Trail and other trails in these areas. Bowhunting allowed.
Campbell Meadows
Cornell Lab of Ornithology trails
Palmer Woods Natural Area
Ithaca College Natural Lands
South Hill Recreation Way
Six Mile Creek Natural Area (including Mulholland Wildflower Preserve)
Cayuga Waterfront Trail; Lighthouse Point; Renwick Wild Woods
City of Ithaca Cemetery Walk
Some Finger Lakes Land Trust Preserves
Steege Hill (near Big Flats) and the Roy H. Park Preserve; see complete list here
Jim Schug Trail & CBG Pervis Road Wetlands Natural Area
Black Diamond Trail
Cayuga Nature Center
Cascadilla Gorge & Cascadilla Meadows Natural Areas
Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve
Durland Preserve/CBG Hirshfeld Memorial Natural Area
East Ithaca Recreation Way (including Cascadilla Natural Area)
Eldridge Wilderness Preserve
Dotson Park (Danby)
Greensprings Natural Cemetery (Newfield)
Lime Hollow

NY State Forests; NY Wildlife Management Areas; Finger Lakes National Forest
All of these are open to all forms of hunting, including guns, subject to the dates shown above.
Most Off-Campus Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Natural Areas
If gun hunting is allowed, trails are closed during those dates. More information on the types of hunting allowed and whether trails are closed can
be found at this link.
Many Finger Lakes Land Trust Preserves
Information on individual preserves and closures due to gun hunting can be found at the FLLT website.
Dryden Rail Trail
Much of the trail crosses private land where hunting is controlled by the landowner. Thus, during the Regular Firearms and Muzzleloaders seasons,
gun-hunting may be taking place along the Rail Trail.

Edit: Missing Ithaca Hiker found


Ben’s parents have updated me and advise that Ben has been found in Pennsylvania and is receiving care there. No further information available at this time. Thanks!

Ben Bleier, who has been hiking with the Ithaca Hikers and is also a member of the Ithaca Outdoor Adventure Club on Meetup, has been unaccounted for since he was last seen in Ithaca on Tuesday.

Ben lives in Ithaca with his parents, who I have spoken to on the phone this morning.

The missing persons case is being investigated by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office

At this point Ben’s parents are asking that hikers be on the lookout for Ben while they are  hiking; if he is seen on the trail or around trailheads please contact the county dispatch center at 607-272-2444 and refer to case S22-11107.

Ben drives a white 2017 Subaru Forester, NY reg HWZ2017

Thanks for any assistance you might be able to give

Message of interest to some of the older hikers from Stephen Hesse

Stephen and Susan no longer have editorial control over the website, so I am posting this message from him that would be of interest to the older hikers who might still subscribe to the website but are not on the separate email list for hike announcements that go out to current hikers.

Stephen is now active on Facebook and has a small email group he’s updating with their adventures in their new hometown. If you’re a long-time Ithaca Hiker and want to stay in touch with Stephen, email him to be added to his email list, or find him on Facebook and follow him there.

Thanks to all!


Message from Stephen follows:

I’m going to put together a book from these 20 photos as a memento for myself of the last year I hiked with the group before I turned 70.  The first photo shows the group having a tailgate birthday party for me in January as I turned 69.  The last shot is from September, just before the web site opened and I began to post all the hike photos there.  The photos in this album were all emailed to the hikers  —  I doubt if many people have copies of these shots so many years later.

I’m going to publish the memento book with a company Robin used to publish an album of her photoshop photos.  It’s more expensive than the average online photo publishing operation but I thought Robin’s book was fabulous and I want mine to look as good as hers.  I don’t actually know what the cost will be but I’m sure it’s not crazy high.

I go into all this because it’s possible some of the people who were hiking with the group in 2013 might want to buy a copy of the book after I get my copy and they can see what it looks like.  A number of people who hiked with the group then are still active now.  And I suspect that some people who are no longer active still subscribe to the Ithaca Hikers web site and follow along.  The group was actually quite large in 2013 and there may be more than a few people who would like a souvenir of that year.

I’ve put the 20 photos into an album on my OneDrive account where anyone can look at them or download them.  I chose shots that I think convey the spirit of the group in that year  —  it was very cheerful and people were clearly having fun..  I’m going to put a short preface in the book explaining what 2013 meant to me.