Report to Hikers: week of Aug 3-Aug 9

Hello Hikers!




Wednesday August 5

Harford Slaterville Road north into Hammond Hill SF

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This is one of many obscure and little-used sections of the Finger Lakes Trail that start in the middle of nowhere — it makes for a lovely shady walk on a mild morning — but there’s nothing really distinctive about it — the most noteworthy thing is the parking — narrow shoulder, curving narrow roadway, high speed limit — in the past we’ve been careless about getting the hikers’ cars completely out of the travel lane, and some local drivers have yelled at us — we’ve got it down now — except for our people standing in the roadway in the curve

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The other noteworthy thing about this hike is the beautiful boggy area where the FLT crosses the road  —  I really like the bright foreground paired with the dark brooding backdrop

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This is another of our many trails where you hardly see the sun once you step into the woods, so I pretty much confined my photo-taking to the roadway area

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Official head count:  14 hikers, two dogs

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Norm is a dedicated native plant enthusiast and he plunged into the bog at the end of the hike looking for I don’t know what  —  I like the combo of the long beard and the grasses.

You can see six more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s online photos here.




Saturday August 8

Ravine Trail, Finger Lakes National Forest, Schuyler County

Ravine Trail, FLNF 089

Great hike!

Ravine Trail, FLNF 005

This is the parking lot for the Ravine Trail as seen from Picnic Area Road  —  wonderfully atmospheric, and it sets a terrific mood  —  but if you’ve never been here before and you’re the first to show up, you’ll probably never notice it and you’re likely to go off on a wild goose chase looking for the meet-up

Ravine Trail, FLNF 140

This is a wonderful pine woods right next to the parking lot  —  also terrifically atmospheric  —  I skipped into it for a pit stop before we left for home and I was struck by the beautiful light

Ravine Trail, FLNF 128

The scenery along the ravine that gives its name to this trail is fabulous  —  if the ravine section was longer, I’d make this hike one of my Top 12

Ravine Trail, FLNF 104

We decided to skip checking out any of the horse trails  —  instead we walked south on the Interloken Trail  —  sometimes muddy but not bad this time, and always lovely

Ravine Trail, FLNF 052

There’s a huge pasture where farmers can graze their cattle that I love to visit  —  unfortunately the cattle were off in the far distance this time so they didn’t provide any excitement  —  sometimes they’ll run right near us and I can imagine them stampeding.

Official head count:  11 hikers, five dogs

You can see eight more photos by me online here.




Sunday August 9

Abbott Loop east from Michigan Hollow Road, Danby SF

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Lovely morning — marred by a very bad start for our hike.

The path into the woods starts with a drainage ditch that’s gotten deeply eroded — one of the hikers lost her footing descending and tumbled down head first, hitting her head with a thunk on a rock. After resting for a minute, she said she felt OK, and we proceeded.

Purely by chance, we had a visiting physician hiking with us — her help wasn’t needed, but it was very reassuring to have a medical person there.

A few minutes later, three ladies got stung — two of the stings were quite vicious. One of those stung was Tiger, at the base of her hand. By the tie we got home, her wrist and lower arm were swollen and very sore — she took a Benadryl, got extremely sleepy and slept all afternoon. Area still very sore and swollen this morning.
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Otherwise, uneventful morning — this is yet another dark leady trail and the dappled light was gorgeous.
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We didn’t hit any bees on the way back and by the time we got back to the cars, all was well.
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Official head count: 18 hikers, five dogs.

You can see seven more photos by me online here.

Report to Hikers: week of July 27 – August 2

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday July 29

Mundy Wildflower Garden, Plantations botanical garden, arboretum, Beebe Lake  —  and ice cream at the Cornell Dairy Bar
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This was a special hike for a hot morning — the forecast was for over 90 (though it actually fell short, topping out at 88 — we still haven’t broken 90 this year) — so we stayed in the flat flood plain along Fall Creek and kept in the shade as much as we could.
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The plan worked out great — we had to do some time in the sun in the mid 80s, but it wasn’t humid — these Cornell horticultural areas are fabulous and it’s a delight to spend time wandering through them — I wonder how many people mean to visit them, but rarely or never get around to it
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The Cornell dairy bar moved into a new building near the botanical gardens two years ago — ice cream not bad, but pricey — a pint costs the same as a hand-packed pint from Cayuga Lake Creamery — the prize for the thinnest person with the biggest ice cream item went to June — she bought an enormous ice cream sandwich — jumbo raisin oatmeal with chocolate ice cream and sprinkles — verdict: Not good, cookie much too thick, couldn’t taste the ice cream — everyone wanted to sit inside to get the a/c and it was much too dark for me to get a photo.
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Official head count: 20 hikers, three dogs

You can see seven more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.



Saturday August 1

South Danby Road westward on the Finger Lakes Trail

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Lovely walk on one of our most beautiful pine woods trails.
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This is another one of our hikes where you step into the shade as soon as you leave the cars, and don’t really emerge until you’re back. That can hold down the heat on a warm day — but this time it was quite humid and the shade didn’t help much on the outbound keg, which is definitely a bit strenuous. The humidity dropped after we turned around and we had a gorgeous walk back down the hill, absolutely delightful.
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I often think I should put this hike onto my list of favorites. I never do — but the fact we have such a great trail that doesn’t quite make it into my top group really speaks to the quality and depth of our walks, I think.
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Parts of this trail are amazingly dark — does weird things to the camera but I like the effect.
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Official head count: 14 hikers, six dogs

You can see seven more shots by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.



Sunday August 1

Six Mile Creek, south side rim trail

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Wonderful morning for a hike, mid-upper 70s with low humidity, a little breeze, very few bugs
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This one turned into a big adventure hike for most of the group — they ended up doing a major bushwhack on the way back up from the reservoir, including a very steep hillside scramble — June, our number one daredevil, rated the hill as serious — she told me she thought some of the hikers wouldn’t be able to do it, but everyone did
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I had to miss the excitement — as some of you know, my balance has been damaged by a rare nerve disorder I inherited from my mom, which started causing me problems last year — I have to avoid narrow spine trails and steep descents now — so I was waiting up on the bluffs while the others did their bushwhacking. I’ve done my share of hillside scrambling in the Six Mile gorge in the past — it’s really fun, and it can feel a little alarming at the moment.
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Official head count: 18 hikers, one dog.

You can see seven more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.


Items left behind at our July 25 cook-out still waiting to be claimed: two black umbrellas, red jacket, brown folding chair

In the week between July 25 and Aug 1, the temperature of the pond at Roger’s climbed five degrees, thanks to a week of sunny 80+ days — plenty warm enough for swimming now


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.

Report to Hikers: week of July 20-26

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday July 22

Yellow Barn State Forest, Dryden
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Lovely morning, cool enough for a light jacket for us thinner-blooded ones
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Still fresh-smelling and damp from the violent storm that came in on the cool front 18 hours earlier
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This place buzzes with snowmobilers in winter, but it seems pretty dead the rest of the year. It’s definitely one of our second-tier state forests — scruffy, overgrown — there’s supposed to be trails here but I never see any — the DEC web page describes it as “primitive in nature” — fine with me, I really enjoy walking on the decayed forest roads, huge puddles and all.
Yellow Barn SF 009

Official head count: Nine hikers, two dogs

You can see five more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.



Saturday July 25

Treman SP on the Finger Lakes Trail

Tiger and I had to miss this hike in order to get things ready for the cook-out. All these photos are by Jack V.

I set the start time for this hike an hour later than usual — I tried to emphasize the late start but I evidently didn’t do a good enough job — two hikers showed up at the usual start time and did most of the walk by themselves

Jack reported the hike was beautiful.  The group was clearly hightailing it  — they covered a lot more distance than we usually do.

Head count: Seven hikers, two dogs


After a few hours at Saturday afternoon’s cook-out, two of our regular hikers, Bud and Scott, set off to drive to Toledo, the first stage in a drive to Montana — they’re going to hike into the back country for 10-12 days of fishing. This will be a completely primitive camping trip near bear country. It sounds like a fabulous adventure, though one I would never want to actually do myself. I urged them to keep a journal so they can write a report for us when they’re back. You can see them here training for the hike last winter — Bud’s on the left with the huge pack, Scott’s on the right.

In more cook-out follow-up news, the following items were left behind: Two black umbrellas, one folding; a red jacket with liner; plastic serving dish with center dish; styrofoam cooler with bottle of champagne; and a nice slotted serving spoon. Contact me if one of these items is yours.



Sunday July 26

Michigan Hollow Road to Curtis Road on the Finger Lakes Trail
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A little warm but very beautiful in this gorgeous Danby SF woods
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A number of hikers and several of the dogs got stung, both on the outbound leg and heading back to the cars — the bees are definitely becoming a problem this summer — if you’re allergic to bee stings, be sure to bring your epi pen — if it gets worse, we’ll start doing our walks on the rural roads instead of the forest paths.
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This trail is a little strenuous and we got sweaty but it was comfortable enough even in the mid 70s thanks to all the shade, and we had a great time of it.
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Official head count: 21 hikers, five dogs

You can see seven more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.


Someone asked me to make up and publish a list of my Top Ten hikes — good idea — I’m going to do a Top 12 — stay tuned.

2015 cook-out at Roger’s

Hello Hikers!
Cook-out at Roger's 020

The weather could have been better, and almost no one went swimming, but we had another great cook-out anyway.
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It started to rain around 2, hard enough to send some people home early and to prompt others to move inside — the rest of us stood around under the trees getting a little wet — the storm passed after a while and it warmed back up and the weather turned lovely.
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Roger’s GF Gunilla is a big gardener and she’s done a huge amount of work on the property over the years that we’ve been having our cook-outs here — it looks like an estate managed by a professional gardener now.
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Official head count: 67 hikers, six dogs. The turnout was on track to break 70 comfortably but then some people cancelled at the last second.
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The cool nights we’ve been having kept the pond water in the 60s and only a tiny handful of people went in this year. Too cold for me — but I did arrange for my candid annual close-up that I’ve been dieting for — Hussain used my camera for the shot.
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Our effort to raise money to cover the cost of renting space on a server for the hikers’ web site went very well — it costs me $120 a year to keep the web site on DreamHost — we raised $118.

You can see 10 more shots from the cook-out here.