Report to Hikers: week of June 1-June 7

Hello Hikers!


Wednesday June 3

Three obscure side trails, upper Treman State Park

Upper Treman SP 060

There’s lots more to see at upper Treman than just Lucifer Falls  — there are three delightful side trails that take you into some wonderfully varied and beautiful settings  —  but I’ve never gotten the impression many other people are aware of this  —  everyone’s just dazzled and satisfied to see the roaring waterfalls and then call it quits.

Upper Treman SP 099

Our gain  —  we always have the side trails to ourselves, even when the upper parking lot is jumping  —  and you always get the feeling of being off in some isolated part of the county instead of right next to one of the top three tourist attractions in town.

Upper Treman SP 063

We caught a really lovely morning, low 50s, fog hanging on the hillsides on the way to the trail head

Upper Treman SP 023

Official head count:  16 hikers, four dogs

You can see six more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.



Saturday June 6

Shindagin Hollow Road east to South Road and beyond, Caroline

Shindagin Hollow Lean-to 031

Gorgeous dark cool foggy morning in Shindagin Hollow State Forest  —  it evidently poured overnight when the cold wave came through, and the trail was running with water a lot of the way  —  this is always one of our darkest, most atmospheric walks, and the effect was really intense this time

Shindagin Hollow Lean-to 048

A couple of the hikers had been to the Olympic rain forest in Washington, and they said it felt similar on this trail, especially right around the lean-to, which was built in one of the best pine groves I’ve been to  —  (don’t look too closely at the photo; the lighting was so dim, the photo quality is poor  —  it’s more or less in focus, I think, but terribly pixelated)

Shindagin Hollow Lean-to 069

There’s only a few spots along this entire walk where there’s really enough light to take a decent photo  —  one is this crossing of South Road  —  you can see the fog in the distance  —  I got another photo op when we veered off the trail for a minute to check out this big field, which is actually a very high quality and productive one, according to Jim (far left), who studied crop science at Cornell for some years.

Shindagin Hollow Lean-to 091

A lot of our hikers rate this trail very highly, and it was exceptionally picturesque this time.  One drawback  —  lots of roots and a rough surface on the path, you really need to watch your step.

Official head count:  16 hikers, four dogs

You can see 10 more shots by me online here  —  including this year’s version of the big cairn  —  not the best I’ve ever seen  —  last year’s version was much better.



Sunday June 7

Six Mile Creek from the wildflower preserve to Potter’s Falls

Six Mile wildflower 049

Another great morning on the hiking trail, 10 degrees warmer than Saturday but still delightfully nice

Six Mile wildflower 062

The creek was quite muddy from Friday night’s storms  —  otherwise, picture-postcard conditions, and it’s really wonderful to have the creek in sight for so much of the way on this walk

Six Mile wildflower 111

We had several very good adventures  —  I led one contingent of hikers into the overgrown flood plain upstream from the lower reservoir  —  trying to get to Potter’s Falls by walking the whole way along the creek edge  —  lost my way in the maze of faint trails and marsh grass, hit an un-crossable stretch of water, had to turn back  —  we did some lively creek-jumping in the process  —  one hiker didn’t quite make it across cleanly, got a little wet, all in fun

Six Mile wildflower 132

Then a big contingent of hikers, the dare-devil crowd, kept going after we reached Potter’s Falls, where we always turn around  —  they walked forward along the narrow trail cut into the sheer cliff face of the north gorge wall up to the high dam  —  I foolishly did this trail once myself some years ago  —  most terrifying experience of my adult life.

Official head count:  32 hikers, five dogs.

You can see nine more shots online by me here.

Report to Hikers: week of May 25-31

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday May 27

Finger Lakes Trail from Bald Hill Road to Smiley Hill Road, Danby
Chestnut Lean-to 076

This walk through the northwest corner of Danby State Forest is a great one for a hot day, because it’s almost all in dense shade — it was verging on oppressive at the trail head, but once we stepped into the woods it was mild and lovely. But buggy — the bugs swarmed us as we stood around waiting to start, and they stuck with us throughout.
Chestnut Lean-to 133

One of the high points of the hiking year for me is the emergence of autumn olive blossoms in the woods — I find the intense sweetness almost intoxicating — it was out in full force along this trail and the effect is especially lovely on a sultry morning like this one — regrettably, it’s an invasive species much hated by native-plant types

This is the trail where we had our fabulous early-February hot dog cook-out, and I found myself thinking back on it wistfully as the prospect of a hot summer looms ahead. Since we were last here in February, there’s been considerable logging done along the trail, but it hasn’t changed the character and it’s still a very beautiful walk.
Chestnut Lean-to 112

Official head count: 15 hikers, five dogs

I got some shots of the hikers standing around at the trail head — light not great and some of the shots are a bit overexposed, but they’re usable — click here.

I got seven more shots on the trail — click here.

You can see Annie’s photos here.



Saturday May 30

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP from the Yaple Road spur trail

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP 161

Beautiful dark sultry morning around Late Treman

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP 068

This walk has a great variety of wonderful scenery, but a couple of spots have been damaged recently, in my opinion  —  the charm of this area where Buttermilk Creek flows into Lake Treman under this graceful little bridge was really degraded by a heavy-handed engineering project  —  here’s hoping it’ll recover ….

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP 121

…. damage also at La Tourelle  —  we used to be able to emerge from the woods and stand on the edge of a lovely bucolic lawn and gaze out on the serene resort  —  now the lawn’s been filled with glamping tents and there’s a raw gravel road  —  of course the resort’s entitled to make money, but it’s a shame from our point of view.

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP 096

There’s lots of really gorgeous dark woods along this trail  —  but it’s a waste of time trying to take photos on a gloomy morning like this one  —  here’s a view in an open glade where you  can at least get a glimpse of the woods in the background.

Upper Buttermilk Falls SP 186

Official head count:  19 hikers, five dogs.

You can see nine more shots by me online here.



Sunday May 31

Satterly Hill, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler County

Satterly Hill 131

A cold front moved in overnight  —  the storms that were supposed to hit us kept sailing by just to the north  —  and we had a fantastic atmospheric morning on Satterly Hill, with just a few light sprinkles  —  that’s not to say it was dry  —  we had to wade through long stretches of tall soaking grass and traverse some serious mud

Satterly Hill 089

The clothing of choice for a day like this is official rain pants, in my opinion  —  I wore mine  — roasty toasty  —  but you can’t worry about having a fat-assed look on the trail if you wear this item —  Sue’s actually decidedly slender under her rain gear

Satterly Hill 164

The mud was pretty intense  —  one hiker lost her concentration while crossing this boggy spot, fell over and actually got so stuck in the mud that some other hikers had to pull her out

Satterly Hill 104

The whole hilltop area was foggy so there were no long views to be had  —  but the fantastic lighting and atmospherics more than made up for this loss

Satterly Hill 098

The National Park Service has done some brush cutting and clearing in the last year, and many of the flowering shrubs seem to have disappeared  —  at least I didn’t see or smell any blooming areas  —  but the spring bird-song action was great.

Satterly Hill 088

Official head count:  14 hikers, three dogs.

You can see eight more shots by me here.

You can see Annie’s shots from the hike here.


Annie took photos of last Sunday’s walk at Kennedy SF that I didn’t link to before  —  click here.


Report to Hikers: week of May 18-May 24

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday May 20

Willseyville Creek flood plain, Caroline
Wilseyville Creek 097

For the second Wednesday in a row, we were hit with a big weather change just before our hike —stifling hot spell abruptly cleared out overnight, and we shaped up at a raw and breezy trail head — half the group had gloves on when we stepped off.
Wilseyville Creek 011

It was definitely cold waiting to start — and one big group got antsy and burst off down the trail before all the latecomers had trickled in — no big deal, except in this case it led to a mixup  —
Wilseyville Creek 036

This walk consists of three elements: an old railroad right-of-way through a big swamp, a series of lovely sweeping fields, and a huge picturesque pond.  The people who started early didn’t know about the fields and the pond, so they spent the whole time forging ahead up the right-of-way ….
Wilseyville Creek 040

Now, this old train bed has its leafy overgrown charms, but the hikers in the front group missed out on some other great sights.  I should have phoned them right away and told hem to wait for the rest of us, of course  —   except I didn’t think of that until two days later.
Wilseyville Creek 077

Anyway, here’s the big pond that some of us saw — if I’d stood further back, you could see more of it …. it’s really very lovely and striking — alas, none of us got to see the sweeping fields this time; this involves a detour and we ran out of time for this amid the crossed signals.
Wilseyville Creek 119

Official head count: 17 hikers, three dogs.

I took some photos of the hikers’ faces — click here.
You can see seven more action photos by me here.

You can see Annie’s shots from this hike here.



Saturday May 23

Upper Six Mile Creek, from Juniper Drive to the upper reservoir

Upper Six Mile Creek 049

Gorgeous cool morning on the trail after the temperature dipped down below 30 overnight  —  just the right amount of water in the rocky stream bed so it was great fun but not too challenging

Upper Six Mile Creek 093

Beautiful serene mood at the upper reservoir  —  I didn’t get over to the edge of the big dam to photograph the water rushing over, but Annie got some shots  —  here’s the best I have to show  —  our guys are standing on the wall of the dam, which you can just see underfoot ….

Upper Six Mile Creek 102

Very dark shade in the woods, photos generally didn’t work out ….

Upper Six Mile Creek 127

But there was some pleasant lighter shade in a few spots that made for a lovely effect

Upper Six Mile Creek 148

Official head count:  27 hikers, five dogs

Upper Six Mile Creek 020

You can see eight more shots by me online here.

I also got six shots of the hikers navigating the stream bed  —  click here.  Photos a bit grainy because of the low light, but good enough to capture the scene  —  this part of the hike went over very well with the first-timers.

Click here to see Annie’s shots from the hike.



Sunday May 24

Kennedy State Forest, Virgil

Kennedy SF 047

Managed to squeeze in another gorgeous morning on the trail ahead of the latest big heat wave lumbering up from the south — beautifully fresh on the outbound leg, starting to get a little warm on the way back to the cars, but still delightful.

Kennedy SF 073

Some of our walks have a variety of scenery  —  this one is pretty much just pure woods  —  but what woods they are!  they go on and on  —  really exceptionally lovely  ….  very little undergrowth, dramatic light-and-shadow patterns

Kennedy SF 067

There is one change of scene, when we come to Owego Hill Road and walk up that for a little while  —  it has a great country feeling, wonderfully shady, lots of big mud puddles

Kennedy SF 061

Official head count:  15 hikers, five dogs

Kennedy SF 090

As those of you who’ve hiked with us know, I’m always a bit nutty about trying to wrap up our hikes in exactly two hours  —  who cares, right  —  alas, I have no rich inner thoughts like some people do, so this is the kind of mundane thing I think about while I’m walking along  —  I bring this up because we managed to complete both the Sat and the Sun hikes in pretty much precisely two hours  –   yeah!

I didn’t get any extra action shots this time, too shady for good photos, but I did get some face shots while we were standing around that you can see online here.

Report to Hikers: week of May 11-17

Hello Hikers!


Wednesday May 13

Stevens Suspension Bridge, Forest Home, to the high bluffs across Freese Road

Stevens Suspension Bridge 103

Chilly grey breezy morning along Fall Creek, with occasional sprinkles  —  everyone was bundled up  —  some hikers were even wearing gloves  —  it was a complete delight to be cool again after the previous week’s heat wave.

Stevens Suspension Bridge 045

It seems to me that when spring finally arrives every year, the best place to get the full lush and green impact is in the flood plains right along the banks of Fall Creek, where the vegetation always seems a little wild and exuberant  —  it certainly looked beautiful along this stretch.

Stevens Suspension Bridge 081

We walked up into the huge fields along the bluff on the north side of the creek valley  —  I always love the wide open spaces effect, especially on a day when there’s a gloomy cast to the sky

Stevens Suspension Bridge 090

Normally we walk through the Cornell golf course as part of this hike, but this time we went the other direction, across Freese Road and along the high bluffs along the north side of Fall Creek  —  this stretch is really undercut  and dramatic  —  I never get within 15 feet of the edge but Annie got some shots where you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Official head count:  12 hikers, one dog.

You can see seven more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos from this hike here.



Saturday May 16

Roy H Park Preserve into Hammond Hill SF, Dryden

Roy H Park Preserve 057

Beautiful damp mild morning along Irish Settlement Road  —  we got some decent rain early in the morning and there was still a fresh spring feeling in the air when we stepped off.

Roy H Park Preserve 088

An unusual number of our regulars were out of town or otherwise engaged, including my Tiger, off looking after her brother, who was badly banged up in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago  —  I’m happily eating a deliciously unhealthy diet while she’s away

Roy H Park Preserve 072

Official head count:  10 hikers, three dogs.

Everyone insisted this photo wouldn’t come out, because I was facing toward the sun and I should have had the sun at my back  —  I argued if the hikers were facing into the sun, they’d all look horrible with the bright glaring light right in their faces lighting up the sags and creases and wrinkles.

Roy H Park Preserve 038

Some mosquitoes …. they were biting other people but none got me  —  one mishap  —  Roger lost his iPhone out of its holster on the way back to the cars  —  he turned back to hunt for it, but a small group of people hiking behind us had already found it and gave it to him

Roy H Park Preserve 114

This trail segment has some great dark-forest action on it  —  as usual, I failed to capture any of it  —  this shot is the next best thing, the dark mass in the background behind Jack B and Betty at least gives a hint of what you can see.

You can see seven more shots by me here.

You can see Annie’s photos here.



Sunday May 17

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

Monkey Run south side 091

More rain overnight, another gorgeous mild morning on the trail.

Monkey Run south side 062

This walk is very popular with the hikers, and understandably so.  It takes us past a whole series of delightful spots, some of which are so dark I don’t bother trying to photograph them  —  so you need to join us if you want to see the whole package.  The top photo shows West Beach  —  the shot right above is the dramatic high bluffs stretch  —  it’s 100 feet straight down  —  as I mentioned, I never approach the edge, but you can see some bluffs shots in Annie’s photo album from this hike, linked below.

Monkey Run south side 108

This is the huge Cornell fields area  —  I always shepherd everyone over here so I can get an unposed group shot  —  I also want them to admire the sweeping open area, but as you can see, no one pays any attention or even seems to notice, they’re so busy talking

Monkey Run south side 128

One of the two east beaches  —  a lovely bucolic spot  —  the last time we were here the creek was frozen solid and we were standing out in the middle on the thick ice.

Monkey Run south side 035

Official head count:  31 hikers, five dogs.

You can see nine more shots by me here.

You can see Annie’s photos here.



Special photo report  —  walk across England  —  by Jack V


Regular hikers Jack V, John & Kathy finished up a walk from one coast of England to the other last week.  Here are the details, from Jack:

“The Coast to Coast walk is a 192 mile walk across England. Most people start on the west coast at St Bees and walk east to Robin Hood Bay. It goes through 3 national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. The trail is not a national trail of England and is sometimes difficult to follow. It is a wonderful way to see the different regions of England.

We hiked an average of 13.5 miles per day with the longest being about 26 and the shortest 8. We stayed at B&Bs, all very high quality. The food was very good, we sometimes ate dinner at the B&B and other times at a pub. The weather had everything: rain, snow, hail, strong wind, cold and sun shine. We had about 5 beautiful day for hiking out of 14.”

Click here to see Jack’s photo album from the trip.

Report to Hikers: week of May 4-May 10

Hello Hikers!


Wednesday May 6

Fischer Old Growth Forest, Newfield
Fischer Old Growth Forest 091

I love this picturesque and atmospheric Cornell tract, but I’ve reluctantly had to put it onto the back burner for our group. The problem is, there’s not enough parking along Route 13 if we get a large turnout. I used to schedule this hike faithfully on two Sunday mornings a year — we’d usually get 20-25 people, and I was always lazy about paying attention to the parking — then, on Easter Sunday two years ago, we got 47 hikers — causing some congestion on Route 13 — I abruptly became aware I’d been negligent about this — so now I’m trying to keep our Old Growth Forest hikes small — one trick is to schedule it on a rainy morning

Fischer Old Growth Forest 067

It rained Wednesday up until a couple of hours before hike time, and it was beautifully damp in the preserve — for whatever reason, this place reminds me of a rain forest, and I think it’s at its best right after rain — although if we get too much, the trail can become dangerously slippery on the steep ups and downs — anyway, it was fine this time
Fischer Old Growth Forest 026

We had just about the right number of cars, 11, for parking comfortably — 12 hikers, four dogs

Fischer Old Growth Forest 083

An adjacent landowner closed off access to a little side trail we used to go up so we could stretch this hike to the full two hours, and that was a problem for a while — but now that’s solved — Irma had the bright idea to walk more slowly and look around — maybe it sounds obvious to you, but it was a revelation to me, and it worked out delightfully
Fischer Old Growth Forest 117

I always feel a little sad climbing up the long hill back to the cars on this walk — this really is a lovely place to spend time.

You can see six more shots from this hike by me here.

You can see Annie’s online shots here.



Saturday May 9

South Danby Road east to the Tamarack Lean-to

Tamarack Lean-to 205

It was already over 70 by the time we stepped off but it was gorgeous in the pine woods, breezy and dry, and we had a wonderful walk — the bugs were swarming at the trail head but they disappeared once we got moving
Tamarack Lean-to 186

We were supposed to have a picnic in the woods at the Chestnut Lean-to in another part of Danby SF, but it was almost as satisfying to sit around at the Tamarack Lean-to and then go over to Katharine’s for a back yard cook-out — I ate three hot dogs in quick succession, something I’m not accustomed to — felt weird when I got home, drank more than two quarts of ice water
Tamarack Lean-to 091

Hiker fashion news:
1) Brenda and Juliana introduced a hew item to our group, scarves filled with frozen gel — adapted from an ice-filled scarf Brenda discovered for Yoda, who was wearing his for the first time. The ladies had replacement ice packs wrapped up in their backpacks. They felt the results were good.
2) I tipped over a can of beer I was resting in my lap at the cook-out without noticing right away — made a very big puddle of beer in my lap — but I was wearing EMS-brand hiking pants and the beer didn’t soak in immediately — I was able to jump up and get it out of my lap, and I actually didn’t get my underpants wet  —  that EMS!
Tamarack Lean-to 125

Official head count: 23 hikers, eight dogs
Tamarack Lean-to 165

This trail is notable for having a spring you can (theoretically) drink out of — usually we have one or two people bold enough to do it — this time we had six — Annie and Margaret, Mary, Lucy, Jim and Randy — don’t be misled by the expression on Margaret’s face, everyone said the water tasted very sweet.

You can see eight more photos by me online here

You can see photos by Annie online here.



Sunday May 10

Shindagin Hollow rim trail along the gorge
Shindagin rim trail 136

Another morning over 70 by hike time, but once again it was just right — warm enough not to care if, say, you wet your foot crossing a stream, but not warm enough to be oppressive. Swarming bugs again, but manageable.
Shindagin rim trail 093

Trillium report:
I’m color blind so I can never appreciate wildflowers, but everyone else said this year’s trillium display was outstanding, and the extent of the flowers really is unusual.
Shindagin rim trail 150

A number of hikers were seeing this trail for the first time — it was a great day for a first visit, the light was really lovely.
Shindagin rim trail 060

Summer of love:
On the way back to the cars two young women suddenly appeared wearing long flowing dresses and with long flowing hair straight out of 1967 — they seemed exactly like throwbacks to the Summer of Love —I didn’t notice so I didn’t get a photo, but they had bare feet — they looked ethereal but their feet had to be as tough as leather — definitely an odd sight
Shindagin rim trail 071

Official head count: 18 hikers, three dogs

You can see eight more photos by me here.

You can see photos by Annie here



Sun-Mon May 3-4

Out-of-town trip to Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

This report is by Mary W, who coordinated the trip. All the photos are by her except the group shot, which is by Norm.

“10 Ithaca Hiker’s paddled half of the Pine Creek Gorge on Monday, May 4, 2015.

The water had receded due to lack of rain before we arrived, so rafting was not an option. We each paddled our own kayaks. There were 10 Ithaca-Hiker-paddlers in all. Here are their names: Jim and Tammy Rundel, Bud Norvell (Sue Norvell did not paddle, but went sight-seeing), David and Denise Kooperman, Vicki Nuzzo, Norm Trigoboff, Hank Spencer, Rich Andersson and Mary Weiss-Andersson.


We began in Ansonia, PA at the Pine Creek Outfitters, and paddled 7 hours up-stream to Blackwell. We endured some fairly hefty headwinds, but the weather was beautiful and the creek was a delight to travel. From the beginning to the end of the day, we each independently learned to read the river and float the creek with joy and determination. Our guides were good, but several of us anticipated that we’d be given more substantial information. We were supplied with all the gear we wanted, wet suits, socks, gloves, PFD’s, etc.

Pine Creek Gorge is a hikers paradise. It begins in Ansonia and ends at the Susquehanna River in a town called Jersey Shore.


We paddled appx. half of the gorge which is about 32 miles. We stopped in Tiadaghton for a picnic lunch, which the guides provided. Some paddlers chose to take a short hike to a large waterfall before returning to our boats for the second half of our float trip. A big treat was sighting two American Bald Eagles. “

American Bald Eagle
American Bald Eagle

You can see five more photos by Mary here.