Report to Hikers April 8-April 14

Wednesday, April 10

Robinson Hollow State Forest, Richford

Hike report by Greg

Another wet gloomy Wednesday hike. Heavy rain before and after but for us steady drizzle. This hike is a rigorous up down up down with a brief level stretch hike. Eight of us started, one turned early, 7 continued. Mud while tolerable was annoying. At 45 minutes we took a vote and decided to turn around. On our early return some road walked to add time.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, April 13

Lower Treman Park

Hike report by Mark Sussman

Twenty hikers and 1 dog showed up at the parking area off of Route 34 for a hike into Lower Robert Treman State Park. The weather was chilly and a steady drizzle was falling. The hikers soon warmed up as they ascended the first steep section of the hike. The steep section also served to spread out the hikers, with the fast group galloping ahead. The group further spread out on the long uphill section. After that there is little significant elevation gain, but there are some small uphills and downhills. The trail, which is usually not very muddy, was quite slippery in spots. At least one hiker slid in the mud on a steep downhill section.

The lead group of the hikers made it all the way to the overlook of Lucifer Falls. The falls were roaring that morning due to all the rain we’ve been having. The main group made it back to the parking area in about 2.5 hours. Everyone was a bit damp and muddy, but there were no complaints.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, April 14

Cayuga Trail from Freese Rd

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-four hikers met at the Cornell Garden Plots parking lot off Freese Rd. to hike easterly along the Varna Cliffs and North Monkey Run. The first quarter mile of this hike is reliably muddy even during drier parts of the year. After a week of mostly rainy days, the trail was chocolate milk water and peanut butter mud most the way.  Everyone’s boots and lower legs got thoroughly sleazed. It was horribly wonderful. With that said, it was slippery enough on the steep parts that five hikers headed back via Hanshaw Road once we got to our turn-around point at North Monkey Run gravel road (2 miles in). All together, it took a little less than two hours for the remaining 19 hikers to return to the cars.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers April 1-April 7

Wednesday, April 3

Roy H. Park Preserve to Hammond Hill State Forest, Dryden

Hike report by Greg

Four hardy, determined mud walkers appeared for Wednesday’s hike. Rain was harder before and after our hike but we had more than drizzle as well. We crossed the lengthy, rather rapidly beginning to rot board walk and proceeded on a steady uphill trudge through 3” of mud. The gravel after that was more than welcome. We turned around at an hour but shorter distance than we have in the past. On our return we were surprised to find the mud had now become a trail wide 3” deep stream. Enough said.

Photos by Greg

Saturday, April 6

Owl Creek Trail, lower Buttermilk Falls SP

Hike report by Jim

Eighteen hikers met on Yaple Rd in the Town of Danby for a hike through the upper Buttermilk Falls State Park area. The route we took today didn’t correspond to any of the regular hike routes we normally do in the area.

The day was cool and blustery at the beginning of the hike, but by hikes end the sun had come out and temperatures were approaching what I would call comfortable.

Hikers left Yaple Rd and walked the FLT spur trail to the trail that normally loops around Treman Lake, if the upper side of the trail were not closed due to the bridge there being washed out. We found one or two other hikers on this section of trail, as well as a couple of minor blow-down trees that were easily skirted.

Reaching the lower end of Treman Lake the group paused for a photo before taking the stairs and path that crosses over the top of the dam. Once on the other side of the dam hikers took the side trail to La Tourelle, then turned around and followed the Lake Trail to Comfort Rd near the junction with Yaple Rd.

The group splintered up here, with some people leaving early, several hikers taking the FLT spur trail towards King Rd, and some, I believe, deciding to jump back onto the FLT spur trail leading back into Upper Buttermilk.

Those of us on the FLT spur trail leading to West King Rd found quite a bit of standing water and mud, causing some hikers to choose to turn around early.

Welcome to Genie on her first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Sunday, April 7

Black Diamond Trail

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Thirty-five hikers and two hiker dogs met at the junction of Kraft Road and the Black Diamond Trail on this sparkly-clear morning. We hiked north from there. This is an excellent hike for stretching out and getting some mileage and/or walking and talking side-by-side. People turned around at the one-hour mark wherever they were. A few hikers made it all the way to the upper falls viewing point, and for them the hike was about 6 miles round-trip.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers March 25-March 31

Wednesday, March 27

Taughannock Falls State Park

Hike report by Mark S.

Twenty-two hikers and a single dog met on Rice Rd in the Town of Ulysses for a hike of some of the trails in the vicinity of Taughannock Falls State Park led by Mark S. 

This hike is now listed as the Rice Road parking area to our existing Taughannock Falls State Park trailheads, hike #39 on our list of local hiking areas:

The day was sunny and clear as hikers cars continued to pull into the parking lot; the group eventually paused for the group photo with Cayuga Lake in the background before setting off on the hike. 

The hike started with hikers walking downhill towards Route 89, following the white blazed multi-use trail found on the map at…/parks/TaughannockFallsTrailMap.pdf. This route passed through a nice ravine area before crossing Rice Rd and continuing towards Taughannock Park Rd. The group paused briefly at the falls overlook before continuing along the Rim Trail towards the Black Diamond Trail and the overlook area above the falls. Reaching the parking area on Jacksonville Rd we found the expansion project for the Black Diamond Trail parking area well under way, with many trees being cleared for the new parking area and rest rooms. 

Crossing Jacksonville Rd the group continued on the trail on the westerly side of Jacksonville Rd ( not displayed on the linked map, but displayed as a shaded area on the park bowhunting map found at…/TaughannockFallsBowHuntingMap.pdf ) which we took in an out-and-back due to some high water levels that made stream crossings unwise. 

Returning to the Rim Trail the group soon crossed back over Taughannock Falls Rd and took the white blazed trails back to Rice Rd and our cars.

After the hike many hikers reconvened at the Cider House on Rte 89 for lunch.

Welcome to Ann R and Laura J on their first hike with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Saturday, March 30

FLT south and east from the corner of Townline and Layen Rds

Hike report by Leigh Ann

Twenty-five hikers and one dog met and hiked on this cool, sparkly, and remarkably non-muddy day. Five people were with us for their first event, and I am looking forward to learning everyone’s names better on future hikes! 

The route followed the Finger Lakes Trail south from the junction of Layen and Townline Roads for an out-and-back, and the farthest anyone in our group got was about 2.4 miles from the trailhead. Everyone arrived back at the cars by the end of two hours.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday, March 31

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

Hike report by Jim

Seventeen hikers and three dogs met at the parking area at the dead end of Monkey Run Rd outside of the hamlet of Varna, for a loop hike of the Cayuga Trail. This is hike # 6 on our list of regular hike locations:

The day was generally cool and overcast at the start of the hike. A few drops of rain had fallen before the hike, but to my relief there was no rain during the hike itself.

Our hikers set off from the parking area in a westerly direction towards Varna, initially following the orange and red blazed footpath with associated moderate elevation changes along the way.

Reaching the open fields along State Route 366 outside of Varna, we followed the dirt farming road there until we reconnected with the red blazed trail that runs along the bank of Fall Creek. A short stop along the way and we pressed on until we reached the high bluffs above the creek. Erosion of the edge of the bluff was obvious, as the recent loss of several trees along the bluff to the creek below since our last hike here was apparent.

The group continued on our route, the path now descending back to near the creek shore. in addition to the loss of the trees mentioned above it appears that there has been quite a few recently fallen trees across the trail which have subsequently been cleared, some by hand as the axe work was obvious. Thank you trail maintainers!

By now it was clear to me that the trail conditions were a little muddier than I liked, so when we got to a side trail that connected with the Dryden Rail Trail I took the group in that direction, stopping along the way for a short entry in the trail journal.

The hikers ended our hike with a short out-and-back to Route 13 on the Dryden Rail Trail. We arrived back at our cars a few minutes later than planned, but no one was complaining.

Other than a couple of groups of day hikers with dogs encountered near the end of our hike, we had the trails to ourselves today.

Welcome to new K9 hiker “Benny” on his first time with the group!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers March 18-March 24

Wednesday, March 20

Mulholland Wildflower Preserve

Hike report by Greg

Once Casey had talked 2 police into parking their cars illegally so the rest of us could park legally, 13 of us with no new hikers, dogs or cats were ready to hike.

A beautiful day again. My voiced concern that this hike would be too short led to Nancy L suggesting extending the hike into terrain I had thought too difficult. With unanimous agreement we were off. Though one hiker departed early we still returned with 13 hikers. How could that be?

Ten minutes shy of completion we encountered a very late hiker – a former deputy sheriff. Hugs all around and now with our new leader we arrived Intact 10 minutes late to our cars.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Photos by Greg

Saturday, March 23

Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area

Hike report by Nancy Lorr

Dave Gislason graciously led this hike after expertly grooming the trails. Nine hardy hikers gathered on a cold snowy morning at the Lloyd Starks Boylan junction on Connecticut Hill.  Snow was lightly falling rendering the roads a little slippery.  On my way I was chastened by the sight of a car off the road which reminded me to take my time getting there. There were plenty of rescue vehicles converging upon it.  The trails were quite passable since the snow was about 2 to 3 inches and quite soft. The first part of the hike went through a quite active beaver area where they are currently chop/chewing down trees to expand the dammed ponds. Next we climbed uphill in the territory between Boylan and Connecticut Hill roads finally arriving at Connecticut Hill road close to where it meets Tower Rd. We crossed the road to follow a trail which crosses many small streams called the  seven streams section of the hike.  All were picturesque winding through the snow. This was followed by a stretch on the FLT before turning down a trail taking us to a large pond.  Normally there is an escape route around the pond by crossing over the pond outlet and walking the dike to the road but this time the outlet was flushing a torrent of water due to the efforts of the beavers and the increased precipitation. No one wanted to quit hiking at this point so we turned north to visit a little pond and some streams in gently undulating terrain. Finally we crossed an alternate stream to make our way to the cars.

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

View Nancy Lorr’s photo album.

Sunday, March 24

Potato Hill State Forest, Caroline

Hike report by Nancy Lorr

20 hikers and 1 dog gathered on a wintry spring morning at the junction of the Finger Lakes Trail with Level Green Rd to hike eastward into the Potato Hill State Forest.  Parking was a challenge.  There was a pull off accommodating a few cars.  The rest had to park along the road which did not have a wide curb.  The trail had a blanket of snow but was somewhat wet with several challenges to keeping your feet dry.  On the first portion of the hike in Potato Hill State Forest from Level green to Blackman Hill road, it was quite woodsy with beautiful snow laden conifers.  Crossing the road, we entered the new Summerland Preserve.  After a brief hike uphill through trees we emerged into a field following the markers to a summit graced with an attractive but snowy bench and a good view. The trail proceeds into the woods again and soon plunges downhill making its way toward route 79.  I’m pretty sure some of the hikers made it there (lol).  On the way back several of us took a short side trip to a pond that is picturesque in all seasons.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

View Nancy Lorr’s photo album.

Report to Hikers March 11-March 17

Wednesday, March 13

 FLT west from Logan Rd., Finger Lakes National Forest 

Hike report by Casey

Eleven Hikers showed up at the trail head on Logan Road in Burdett (which by the way is no farther away from Ithaca than the Shindaigin hikes that we do) and headed west on the Finger Lakes Trail. The weather was exceptional for this time of year. The trail was still muddy in many places, but the views were spectacular.

We managed to get to the rail bed for our turn around and by the time we got back to the cars we had logged 5.04 miles with 789 feet of elevation gain.

Photo by Leah F. Vosko

Saturday, March 16

Lindsay Parsons Preserve, West Danby

(1) Hike report by Mark Sussman

17 hikers and 1 dog explored the various trails at the Lindsey-Parson’s Preserve. On this beautiful sunny day the group moved at a steady pace, and observed the various ponds surrounded by rolling hills.

The main hike finished about 20 minutes early so a group decided to do an extra loop on the red trail. Others decided to just head for their cars.

An additional 6 hikers did an alternate hike – the challenging scramble up to the Pinnacles.

(2) Hike report by Casey

There were two somewhat separate hikes starting at the same time from the same location. Mark Sussman led the regular Lindsay Parsons Hike while Casey started with 7 people for a more challenging hike that starts on the regular trails but eventually takes a turn for the steeper, where we do a bushwhacking climb off the beaten trail to make our way all the way to the Pinnacles that is on the Abbotts Loop trail. I think we managed to get to the Pinnacles in one hour.

On the way back we added a little to our hike by taking the purple blazed alternate trail off of the orange to get back to the railroad tracks crossing.

We managed to do the whole 4.39 miles, 971 feet of elevation gain, in 2 hours and 7 minutes without rushing.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Photos by Mark Sussman

Sunday, March 17

Ekroos/ Wheeling/State Land Rd.

Hike report by Mary W.

This St. Patrick’s Day morning, fifteen hikers met to walk Ekroos Road in the Town of Candor, Tioga County. Getting there is one of the rigors of this walk, gps and cell connection is unreliable in this area.

It rained lightly enroute to the hike, however once our walking began, the rain stopped. Hikers walked the rambling, rural road (having three different names) for about two miles eastward to 76 Road. It remained mostly cloudy and about 40F. As Casey pointed out, this was the first time in which every hiker reached 76 Rd and thus we were able to gather there for a group photo, cheers all!

Following the brief gathering, hikers turned around and walked back toward the cars. Many hikers continued walking beyond the cars to reach South Road and then back to the meet-up area in order to complete the full road distance. 

No one mentioned the recent and tragic history regarding Ekroos Road, so I’ll leave it as a mystery and not sully the hike. Instead I’ll call it a rigorously pleasant rural road hike on which we met to stroll for a total of about 4.2 miles with a terrific bunch of walkers!

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.