Report to Hikers September 26 – October 2

Wednesday September 28

Havington Hill into Cortland County

Hike report and photo by Jim

Approaching Wednesday’s parking area, I observed that the hill we would soon be climbing was swathed in fog around much of its peak. There was a steady rain as I arrived at the trailhead; I was not expecting many hikers to brave the rain.

I was pleasantly surprised that by the time everyone arrived the group had grown to seven hikers. By this time the rain had abated, and it didn’t return until after the hike was completed.

We set off walking up Lake Rd. until the trail veered into an open field in the direction of Havington Hill. At the base of the hill we began the steady climb, winding our way back and forth over the switchbacks as we steadily ascended the hillside. We had to navigate around one blowdown, but otherwise the trail was in good condition.

At the crest of the hill, the trail traverses the hilltop fairly quickly before beginning its descent. We reached the open field on the far side of the hill; normally we would continue to an observation point at another corner of the field, but we’d proceeded slowly enough that we simply turned around here and retraced our path over the hill and down the other side, arriving at our cars just as the rain began again in earnest.

I would estimate 3.5 FT miles for those attempting to earn their FT60 patch.

Saturday October 1

FLT east from Logan Rd. toward Burnt Hill Rd., Finger Lakes National Forest, Burdett

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-five hikers and two dogs met on Logan Rd. in Burdett for an eastbound hike of the FLT.

The weather forecast had indicated that we’d have rain halfway into the hike, but this prediction proved to be wrong. Although skies were overcast, the group enjoyed a rain-free hike.

This hike starts with a gradual climb away from Logan Rd. Here the trail follows the bank of a stream bed, which had a small amount of water flowing on hike day. At the crest of the hill the trail levels out, crosses the stream, and begins a much more moderate winding and gradually ascending path through the trees. It should be noted that the Forest Service has installed new/ refurbished information kiosks with maps at Logan Rd. and Burnt Hill Rd.

The trail crosses the stream one more time before finally arriving at Burnt Hill Rd. The footpath in this section has recently been rerouted to cross Burnt Hill Rd. directly, as opposed to the previous slight jog down the road.

By now the larger group had split into different subgroups.

The FLT continues through the woods for a while, a section of trail that has no particularly unique aspect to it other than a nice walk in the woods. At the Dunham lean-to, my group paused to take a look at the only ADA-compliant privy on the FLT that I am aware of. Hopefully the vandalized well pump at this lean-to will eventually be repaired, as drinking water on this section of the trail is lacking.

Beyond the lean-to the FLT begins a gradual decent, passing over some tricky stone-filled sections of footpath and through some stands of evergreens before emerging onto a lower section of Burnt Hill Rd. Here my group opted for a small lollipop hike route; rather than returning directly back up the FLT, we took a short loop up Burnt Hill Rd. before returning to the FLT for the descent back to Logan Rd. and the cars.

The total mileage for today’s hike was 4.6 miles; subtracting the short road walk, this hike still amounts to 4 FLT miles for those trying to get their FLT60 patch this year.

Welcome to Rose Marie for her first hike with the group!

After the hike some of the hikers went to the nearby Grist Iron brewery for some excellent food and adult beverages. By now the sun had fully come out, and the views across Seneca Lake were an excellent conclusion to a wonderful hike!

All photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo albums of the hike and the post-hike visit to Grist Iron.

Sunday October 2

Hill Road and Curtis Road, South Danby

Hike report by Jim

Twenty-four hikers and six dogs met at the junction of Hill & Curtis roads in the town of Danby. Some trees at the parking area already had some excellent color change underway, so I was very hopeful for some picturesque foliage on this hike.

It was a cool day overall, and the winds coming across the open fields as we walked Curtis Rd were chilly. The sun was out, but we couldn’t really feel its warming effects.

At Karenville we noticed that Tangles the pony was not visible and the field was overgrown, and we feared the worst: that Tangles had died since our last hike of the area. (I talked with the owners on my return; they told me they’d sold Tangles, who now resides in Brooktondale.)

At the seasonal portion of Curtis Rd., we started to encounter quite a few muddy, water-filled ruts, so at the FLT trail crossing we opted to turn onto that trail. Travelling west on the FLT, we enjoyed  a gradual descent on a bed of pine needles and freshly fallen, golden-hued leaves.

Soon we came to the junction with the Abbott Loop, where we headed south and west. A quick poll of the hikers showed that many in the group had never been on the Abbott Loop. Although there was some mud on the loop’s footpath, it was not particularly bad for those hiking it for the first time.

When we reached what I had expected to be the turnaround point, the group convinced me to change plans and continue on the loop until we reached Hill Rd. In retrospect this was a better option than my original plan; thanks for the input, hikers!

On Hill Rd., we did a short road walk north to the FLT crossing on that road. There we turned back onto the FLT and took it east until we were back on Curtis Rd and then back to our cars.

Some hikers opted to stay on Curtis Rd. for a strict road walk as originally intended; they reported good hiking conditions beyond the FLT crossing.

For those FLT hikers in the group, I would estimate 3 FLT miles toward the FLT60 patch.

Photo by Nancy H.
Photo by Tamsen

Photos by Leigh Ann

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Report to Hikers September 19 – September 25

Wednesday September 21

FLT south and east from Townline and Layen Rds., Danby

Hike report and photos by Jim

Ten hikers and a single dog met at the corner of Layen and Townline Roads in Danby, for an out-and-back hike of the Finger Lakes Trail. The weather was pleasant, with a light breeze and sun.

From the trailhead we walked along the abandoned portion of Townline Road before emerging into the open fields. The fields had been mowed, and round hay bales dotted the hillside. The distant countryside was  visible through breaks in the hedgerow as we skirted the field’s edge.

As we entered the woodline, sunlight mottled the forest floor, and the canopy overhead offered some relief from the direct sunlight of the open field.

The first major water crossing had some small amounts of water flowing , as compared to the later and smaller water crossings, which were still bone dry. The hillside was dry, but the ropes were still greatly appreciated as we climbed the opposite hillside.

The FLT wound across the forest floor, occasionally going straight for a while but more often than not snaking its way through the woods. Here and there the trail crossed or followed logging roads, Only a few short hiking seasons ago, these had been scars along the trail; now, the healing process has begun to soften the devastation’s rough edges.

Despite recent rains, on only one occasion did the group encounter any mud at all, and that single instance was so minimal that it was barely noticed.

We stopped for a quick group picture at the only road crossing, then returned to the woods on the opposite side of the road. Eventually we reached a good turn-around point; the return trip to the cars was uneventful.

Saturday September 24

Texas Hollow State Forest

Hike report and photos by Leigh Ann

Sixteen hikers and two dogs met up at the junction of Texas Hollow Road and the FLT. Casey led, and he mentioned that there would be two groups: a fast group and a “half-fast” group. These groups were the same size at the start, and we met up at the first pond to the east of Texas Hollow Road on the FLT.

This hike headed east from Texas Hollow Road, across the gently rolling hollow, and then steeply up toward Newtown Road. The group in front made it all the way to Newtown Road and many more joined what became the main group as we returned on the FLT. We took the blue trail for a pretty loop out and back to the FLT on the way back.

The temperature was perfect for this varied hike, and the light through the trees was diffused because of some high haze. In the parts heavy with deciduous trees, the light was a salmon color because of turning leaves, and in the parts with dense hemlock, the light made silvery spots on the ground. This was a great choice of trail for the day.

View Leigh Ann’s photo album.

Sunday September 25

Carter Creek Rd., Newfield

This hike was cancelled due to rainy weather.

Report To Hikers September 14th – September 18th

Wednesday September 14th

Black Diamond Trail from Kraft Rd

Report by Jim

On a somewhat overcast morning 14 hikers met on Kraft Rd for a southerly hike of the Black Diamond Trail. Finger Lakes Weather claimed that we would be rain-free until the afternoon, and in fact the weather improved throughout the hike.

The group set off and soon found ourselves sharing the trail with a considerable number of other trail users throughout our hike; a constant stream of bicyclists and runners were passing us throughout the morning.

Water was flowing in the streams we crossed over, and while the brush and trees along the sides of the trail blocked most views, there were still some enjoyable glimpses of countryside through breaks in the vegetation.

The group continued along the trail, quickly breaking up into a couple of distinct bubbles of hikers spread out over a good distance.

The group got as far as the bison farm before re-consolidating and resuming the hike back to our vehicles.

The return leg of the trip was marked by improving weather; the sun came out, and the skies turned blue with large white clouds. Otherwise the return leg of the hike was uneventful.

Welcome to Frankie and Jim on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Mary Jo

Saturday September 17th

Monkey Run north side

Report by Jim

For todays hike of the north side of Monkey Run we had a great day; somewhat cloudy in the morning, with the sun coming out mid-hike.

The group consisted of 25 hikers, including some later arrivals, and 2 dogs.

We shared the trail with a small combination of other day hikers, trail runners and dog walkers but had the bulk of the trail to ourselves.

There was a small amount of water in the smaller streams and trail conditions were dry.

The hike consisted mainly of a combination of red and orange blazed trails that kept us out of the sun for much of the hike duration. Thankfully the trail around the edges of the open fields proved to be mostly in the shadows of the near-by trees

Welcome to Teddy and Nines on their first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Leigh Ann

Album by Leigh Ann

Photos by Cian

Sunday September 18th

Shindagin Hollow Loop

Report by Jim

Thirteen hikers and two dogs met on the seasonal part of Shindagin Hollow Rd for a loop route stitched together from parts of several of our other regular hikes. An additional three hikers with another three dogs arrived late and ended up doing their own hike of the area trails.

The main group set out of the parking lot located about half way down the seasonal part of Shindagin Hollow Rd. We quickly jumped into the Jeep Trail, passing by the yellow metal gate and then onto an overgrown old logging road. This flatter route led us directly to the FLT, which we followed down the hill to a lower point on Shindagin Hollow Rd.

Reaching the seasonal road, the group turned north, by-passing the FLT as it continued towards the lean-to; the group hiked to Gulf Creek Rd to reach our next trail section.

It was only a short road walk on Gulf Creek Rd until the group reached green blazed bike trail #3 which travels north as it follows the streambed.

This trail again put the group under the forest canopy and away from the relentless sun.

The group walked to the opposite end of Trail G3, which brought us back to our parking area.

A couple of hikers decided to leave the hike early at this point, but the majority of the group opted to continue hiking.

The remaining hikers walked to the Shindagin Rim Trail, which comes out onto Shindagin Hollow Rd near the parking area. This trail took us along the precipice on some very nicely cushioned treadway. and gave us many interesting views across the state forest on a nice clear warm day. This route is among some of my most favorite in the county.

Reaching the other end of the Rim Trail we road-walked back to our cars, ending the hike about ten minutes past our regular hike time ( as had been expected ).

Warm welcome to Michelle on her first hike with the group!

Photo by Jim

Photos by Cian

Photos by Leigh Ann

Album by Leigh Ann

Report To Hikers September 7th – September 11th

Wednesday September 07th

Finger Lakes Trail, west from junction of Durfee Hill Rd with 96B

Report by Jim

Seven hikers met on a wet morning that alternated between moderate rain and light mist, for a hike of the FLT westerly from State Rte. 96B in the Town of Danby.

From the parking area on Durfee Hill Rd we crossed a field thick with mature golden rod, the unkempt grass under our feet wet from the days rain.

Crossing 96B the group plunged into the shadowed woods on the other side. The ground was thick with old pine needles, the path appearing almost illuminated by the vibrant green ferns and moss that populated the trail shoulders in that section.

Soon enough the trail turns uphill, following the property line in a nearly straight ascent for a good stretch. There is the temporary relief of a couple of flat spots and a short length of level trail that follows an old logging road, but otherwise it’s a climb until nearly reaching the Tamarack Lean-To

After pausing at the lean-to for a few minutes the group continued onwards. The FLT began to pass through much more level terrain with much improved access to sunlight from overhead.

The group continued on until reaching an area that would have required passing through more overgrown grassy portions of trail. Believing that this was as good a turn-around point as any other, I reversed course for the group and we began the downhill descent back to our parking area. The return leg of the hike was uneventful other than for its relative ease in comparison to the earlier uphill climb.

Welcome to Peter on his first hike with the group!

Photo By Jim

Saturday September 10th

Kennedy State Forest

Report by Jim

This hike was a last minute location change from the Dabes Diversion Loop, due to a well-attended foot race event that included the Dabes Loop and the FLT that I was advised of only a few days ahead of the hike.

Seventeen hikers and two dogs met on Daisy Hollow Rd in Cortland county for  a hike of the English Loop.

It was a decent hiking day, with cooler temps; while the sun was out the breezes and temps proved to make for an enjoyable hike.

Setting off from Daisy Hollow Rd the group made its way up the nearly dry creek bed, following the yellow and blue blazed trails as they see sawed their way up the hillside

Reaching the near-crest of the hill and after a quick pause for a trail journal entry, we followed the blue, red and orange trails up to and over the crest of the hillside until we reached the Spanish Loop trail. This trail we followed until our turn-around point, a small vernal pond that proved to be nearly empty after the long dry summer.

Returning to the Spanish Loop we made our way back to the English Loop trails, taking a different route back down the hillside.

Having hiked this location only a couple of times, I still don’t have our hike pace down exactly to come up with a proper hike distance for the two hour hike duration, and so we found ourselves back at the cars a full thirty minutes early. The group opted to use up the remaining hike time by walking to the near-by FLT and hiking westerly, a direction on the trail that few in the group had ever hiked ( mainly due to the barrier of the stream during high water months ). The group crossed the mostly dry streambed and hiked up the hill on the other side until we reached  a time to turn around. The return trip to our cars was uneventful.

Photos by Jim

Photos By Leigh Ann

Album By Leigh Ann

Photos by Cian

Sunday September 11th

Hammond Hill State Forest, from Star Stanton Rd

Report By Jim

Twenty hikers and two dogs met for a hike of the FLT from Star Stanton Rd

The weather report for Sunday had forecast rain throughout the day, and I was less than optimistic when I woke up to continuing rainfall. By the time I arrived at the trailhead the rain had stopped, and the outbound leg of the hike was rain-free, although the skies were overcast

I had the group try something new by parking further up Star Stanton, beyond the end of the asphalt where we normally park. My goal was to eliminate some of the road walk at both ends of the hike and give the group a longer trail hike. This proved to be popular with many in the group.

The outbound leg of the hike had much less “uphill” than on our past hikes here, and soon we were turning from the seasonal road the FLT follows from the paved road onto the FLT footpath. This portion of the Trail is always among my favorite Trail sections in the winter, and while this day was much more atmospheric than what I would have preferred, it was still a good day to walk in the woods.

Soon enough the trail turns and climbs up to a Hammond Hill multi-use trail where hikers share the Trail with horses, skiers and other recreationalists. Other than some motocross bikers at the beginning of our hike we saw no other people on the trail this hike day

The Trail is a steady upward climb in this section, before the Hammond Hill trails part way with the FLT near the radio tower. The group continued on the FLT until reaching a turn-around point. Pausing for a group picture or two, we were soon on our way again.

The return leg of the hike proved to be somewhat wetter than the outbound eg; although the rain proved to be sporadic enough that not much of it made its way through the forest canopy to the ground.

Welcome to Gloria and Tatia on their first hike with the group

I would like to take  a minute and observe that the group has just passed the one year anniversary since Nancy H created the Ithaca Hikers Meetup page ( Ithaca Hikers (Ithaca, NY) | Meetup ) in an effort to attract new hikers to the group. Nancy’s on-going work in posting multiple hikes to the Meetup site every week has proven to be a success; many new  people have joined our hikes through Meetup over the past year, with many  becoming regular members of the Ithaca Hiker family. Thank you, Nancy, for what you do to improve the groups hikes!

Report To Hikers

Tuesday August 30th

Spruce Pond to Jones Hill, Tinker Falls area, Onondaga County

Hike cancelled due to weather.

Wednesday August 31st

Finger Lakes Trail from Connecticut Hill Rd

Hike report by Jim

Sixteen hikers and one dog met on Connecticut Hill Rd near Lloyd Stark Rd for an intended out and back hike of the FLT.

As Dave B was in the group for this hike that original plan changed, and I relied on Dave’s knowledge of the CT Hill area to craft a loop through the woods.

The group stayed on the FLT until nearing Boylan Rd, at which time Dave led the group along some interesting winding country trails through the woods.

The group arrived back at the cars at the allotted time, another enjoyable hike successfully completed.

Saturday September 3rd

Roy Park Preserve

Hike report by Jim

Sixteen hikers met for a hike of the more northerly Roy Park Preserve boardwalk and trail towards Hammond Hill State Forest

Two additional hikers and five dogs arrived later and joined the main group on the trail.

The group had to share the trail with many other families and individual dog walkers.

Weather conditions were perfect; sunny, warm, and with a slight breeze. Light cloud cover did little to block the sun or the view of the blue sky overhead.

The footpath was dry but I did notice that the trail had a good number of blowdowns blocking the trail compared to our past hikes here

The hike to Hammond Hill Rd went quicker than expected, in part due to the dry trail conditions I think.

The group entered the Hammond Hill State Forest from the parking lot at the dead end of Hammond Hil Rd,  intending to do  one of our routine out and back hikes on the  yellow and blue trails to burn up hiking time. At the last minute I opted to take the group down the access trail to Camp Earth Connections which is located on the seasonal portion of Hammond Hill Rd; we had only recently hiked the blue blazed trails, and the last several hikes we’ve done in Hammond Hill State Forest have all run over time by a significant length of time, so I was concerned with ending on time today.

Reaching the seasonal portion of Hammond Hill Rd we turned to the south and did a road walk until it was time to turn around and return to the trail back to the Roy Park Preserve

The group reached the Park Preserve several minutes early, and many in the group ended up standing around in conversation with other hikers.

All things considered, a good hike.

Photos by Jim and Leigh Ann

Photos by Cian

Photo Album by Cian

Sunday September 4th

Lindsay Parsons Preserve

Hike report by Jim

Welcome to Annie and Danielle for their first hike with the group.

Twenty one hikers and two dogs met for a very sunny and humid hike of the Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve property.

I’d scheduled this hike hoping that the goldenrod in the fields would be as of yet untouched; the larger fields turned out to be mowed, but the smaller Coleman Lake observation loop and some of the smaller fields along the hike route proved to be standing tall with goldenrod.

The group first completed the small lake observation loop at the south end of the parking lot, then quickly jumped onto the main blue yellow and red trails.

The sun was fairly intense as the group crossed the open fields, so I cut out as much of the field walking as I could to speed the group into the shade of the forest canopy. A quick photo by Coleman Lake and the group was on its way

Trail conditions were good, with dry footpath throughout the Preserve.

After crossing the railroad tracks the group splintered into around four subsets of hikers, with the lead elements completing the orange and purple loops and getting back to the cars before the other hiking subgroups.

Everyone came out of the trails safe and reported having a good hike.

After the hike many of the group reconvened at hiker Hanks house for an enjoyable afternoon of grilling and summer picnic fare.

Photos by Cian

Photo Album by Cian

Report from Spain

Hike report by Nancy Holzner

I walked the first segment of my Camino today, from Ourense to Cea. Just over 13.5 miles. I had the trail to myself almost the whole time. I saw four cyclists and one hiker. Galicia is green and hilly, reminds me a bit of Ithaca.

First hour today was like walking up Buffalo St for three miles!