Our hikes are now open to everyone again — so come on out and join us

As we head into winter, some experts are warning Covid is going to get worse in the county. So we’re going to keep a close eye on the local health data. But we’ll continue to welcome new hikers into the group for now. So if you want to hike with us, contact our coordinator, Jim (jrolf@twcny.rr.com). He’ll add you to the mailing list he uses to announce upcoming hikes, so you’ll know where we’re meeting up.

Hope to see you on the trail!

Hello Hikers! hope you’re all doing OK

The county’s starting to open up, and we’re allowed to hike with as many as 50 people now. But not many of those in our active hikers group are ready to start mingling widely yet, so we’re going to hold off opening our hikes to the public for now. We’re concerned the arrival of the college students could lead to new Covid cases, so we want to wait and see.

That’s not to say we’ve just been sitting around waiting for the pandemic to end. Some of our active hikers have been hiking three times a week since April, and now I’m going to start posting a weekly report on those hikes. This will give you some idea of what we’re up to.

Meanwhile, I want to mention a change in our group. After coordinating the group’s activities for 16 years, Tiger and I have stepped down. Four of our most active regular hikers have stepped up to take over coordinating, and we’re hoping several other people will get involved too. Tiger and I have faded into the deep background. I’ll continue to put hike-related material up on this web site but I’ll just be functioning as a data-entry person. The new coordinators will be preparing all the material.

Tiger and I have loved coordinating this group since 2004. We’ve met a large number of interesting people we never would have met otherwise, and we’ve gotten familiar with the beautiful rural countryside outside of town. But I’ve been having problems with my balance and eyesight ever since I fell down onto my head two years ago and got a concussion. I’ve been recovering slowly, but I can’t keep up with the group any more much of the time. Our group’s new coordinators are all full of enthusiasm and energy. I’m confident they’ll be running some very exciting hikes for you.

Hiking in the snow: Wearing foot traction definitely helps

 

We have a number of new people who will be doing their first hiking in snow with us  —  if they stick around as the weather gets worse  —  most of our regulars have at least one kind of foot traction that they bring to the trail head when there’s snow on the trail, even if they decide at the last minute that the traction’s not actually needed.  Tiger and I have three different types.

 

YakTrax

These are the cheapest of the three devices we have.  We learned always get YakTrax PRO, which has a strap across the instep.  Otherwise they can come off your feet and possibly get lost.  These work well except in wet snow, when they can clump up and form ice balls.  Another drawback:  they’re a bit flimsy and the rubber connection points can break (though you can repair them using rubber bands).

 

Kahtoola Microspikes

These are a lot sturdier and they provide much more biting traction.  You can walk on serious ice in these and not worry.  But they’re quite a bit more expensive.  Drawback:  They do clump badly in heavy wet snow.  They’re more awkward than YatTrax for walking on pavement

 

Kahtoola Nanospikes

We bought these late in the season last year.  They have a different design and we don’t recall them clumping up.  They have protruding studs instead of claws.  They’re more comfortable to wear and they seem very sturdy.  Less expensive than Microspikes.  We don’t know how they’ll work on serious ice but they seem like they’ll be OK.

 

You shouild always shop around for better prices  —  they seem to be always on sale somewhere.

 

Our Nanospikes also work well on ice-covered sidewalks in town, where YakTrax and Microspikes are too bulky and uncomfortable.

My Top 12 hikes — and three close runners-up

  1. This slot is currently open while I re-evaluate my top picks
  2. Lick Brook
  3. Monkey Run, north side of Fall Creek (Hanshaw Road)
  4. Six Mile Creek, Mulholland Wildflower walk to Potter’s Falls
  5. Kennedy SF, Cortland County
  6. South Danby Road, Finger Lakes Trail to the Tamarack lean-to
  7. Shindagin Gorge, rim trail along upper Shindagin Hollow Road
  8. Monkey Run, south side of Fall Creek, Varna
  9. Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve
  10. Stevens Suspension Bridge, Park Park, and the Cornell horse fields and golf course
  11. Taughannock gorge rim trail around the top
  12. Six Mile Creek, south side rim trail starting from Crescent Place
  • Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve
  • Fischer Old Growth Forest
  • Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park and La Tourelle spur

 

As of summer 2015 we have well over 50 hikes we can do  —  you can see most of them on the page called Hikes  —  I need to get busy and finish the list and do descriptions.

Some of our hikers told me they don’t really have any favorites:

“I love so many. Depends on weather, my mood, how much exercise I want/need,” said Roger.

“I tend not to have favorites, each hike has its own strong points,” said Jack V.

“Most importantly, I LOVE VARIETY!!!!” said Katharine, agreeing with Jack V.