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
Michigan Hollow Road to Curtis Road 087

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.
Michigan Hollow Road to Curtis Road 074

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.
Michigan Hollow Road to Curtis Road 095

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.
Cook-out at Roger's 043

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.
Cook-out at Roger's 072

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.

Report to Hikers: week of July 13-19

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday July 15

Potato Hill State Forest, Caroline

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Fabulous atmospherics for the second Wednesday morning in a row  —  cool, dark, foggy, drizzly, soaking wet from a storm overnight  —

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One of our hikers who hates the winter cloudiness here said she’s gotten badly depressed this summer by the constant dark stormy conditions  —  I love it myself  —  I’m 3/4 Irish  —  maybe I’m genetically predisposed to super-cloudy Irish-type weather ….?

Potato Hill SF 105

It’s my impression this Potato Hill SF trail isn’t one of the most popular FLT segments in the county  —  it has a wild and unused feeling to it  —  it’s not as dramatic as some of our trails but I always find it oddly satisfying  —  the high point is normally crossing several big fields with long views to the south into Pennsylvania  —  completely fogged in this morning but great fun nevertheless  —  if you don’t mind plowing through waist-high wet grass

Potato Hill SF 032

Official head count:  10 hikers, two dogs

You can see eight more photos online here.



Saturday July 18

Bob Cameron Loop, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area

Bob Cameron Loop 015

Delightful hike amid some really weird weather  —  at 8 am there were strong storms showing on the radar and the NWS was warning of flash floods in the area of our hike  —  but when we stepped off it was lovely, no signs of a storm  —  a heat wave was sweeping in but it was very bearable under the trees

Bob Cameron Loop 026

One hiker got stung three times, and both dogs were attacked by the bees  —  it’s tempting to dress in the lightest clothes on these hot mornings but I’d rather swelter a little in sturdy pants than get stung

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There’s one hairy stream crossing on the Bob Cameron Loop (not the one shown here)  —  the point where the trail officially crosses was too tough for some of our hikers, and we had to do some serious bushwhacking to find an easier crossing point  —  really needs a bridge but that would be a major project

Bob Cameron Loop 051

The trail was very neat and clean following the Cayuga Trails Club maintenance hike two days before.  But even at its best, this trail is harder to follow than most we do  —  luckily, hiker Gail had just been here five days before on yet another CTC hike, the popular Tuesday evening series  —    she saved us from doing the wrong thing a number of times.

Official head count:  Nine hikers and the two bee-stung dogs.



Sunday July 19

Hammond Hill State Forest, Dryden

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This is a great place to hike on a hot day — the trails have a very pleasing shady quality, sheltered from the sun but not claustrophobically hemmed in, and there’s a beautiful dappled light on a sunny day.
Hammond Hill SF 102

This turned out to be the hottest day of the year to date, in the mid 80s during our walk, but it wasn’t bad at all in the woods, sweaty but not oppressive. I wore a thick cotton broadcloth Brooks Brothers-type shirt to protect against mosquitoes and bees — neither of which were out — instead we had nasty biting flies, which bit me right through the heavy shirt.
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I’m always intrigued by this little pond in a pine grove — finally got a shot of it, not that the photo does the scene justice.
Hammond Hill SF 012

Official head count: 18 hikers, three dogs.

You can see six more photos online here.

Report to Hikers: week of July 6-July 12

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday July 8

Braley Hill Road at the Finger Lakes Trail crossing, Shindagin Hollow SF

Braley Hill Road at the FLT 064

We now have five different hikes to do in this huge forest tract  —  each one feels different and distinctive  —   all wonderful

Braley Hill Road at the FLT 032

Unfortunately, three of the five involve walking on bicycle trails, and we can only do these when the trail bikers aren’t around  —  they’re much too rowdy a bunch to share the narrow bike trails with  —  you can get an idea of their riding styles from their trail names ….  Ass Hammer 1 & 2, Widow Maker, Limp Dick, etc etc.

Braley Hill Road at the FLT 052

We had the forest completely to ourselves Wednesday  —  thanks to some fabulous atmospherics, it was one of the best hikes I’ve done in a while, cool, foggy, drizzling off and on, wet from a downpour overnight and a bit muddy  —  “I hate mud,” said one of our ladies  —  it turns out her mother had used a very harsh psychological trick to scare her when she and her sister got mud-covered when she was five ….

Braley Hill Road at the FLT 016

Official head count:  Nine hikers, two dogs.

You can see six more photos online here.



Saturday July 11

Texas Hollow SF, Bennettsburg, followed by a get-together at Eckhart’s house in Enfield

Texas Hollow SF 109

Beautiful walk in Schuyler County, except that three hikers got stung several times each shortly after we stepped off  —  walking on the boardwalk shown in the photo above  —  seems like there are bees living in the wood and they swarm up when someone walks across the boardwalk  —  we avoided using it on the way back to the cars

Texas Hollow SF 068

The areas under the trees are exceptionally nice here  —  many pine groves and picturesque terrain

Texas Hollow SF 035

Official head count:  22 hikers, seven dogs

Texas Hollow SF 140

We had a great time at the get-together afterwards  —  Eckhart’s house is near the top of a hill and there was a lovely breeze, and we were able to sit under the shade of some pine trees right near his deck.

Official head count at the get-together:  19 hikers

You can see eight more shots by me online here.



Sunday July 12

Lick Brook

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Another beautiful morning on a fantastic trail, balmy but not hot, birds singing all along the way, not many insects

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Lick Brook had surprisingly little water in it considering the amount of rain we’ve had recently  — this is the scenic lower waterfall viewing area

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and this is the upper stream where we’ve had some hairy crossings in the past.  But there were signs everywhere of very high water, downed trees and big swathes of mud and gravel  —  there was obviously some major flooding going on recently.

lick Brook 126

Official head count:  21 hikers, eight dogs.

You can see eight more shots from this hike online here.

Report to Hikers: week of June 29-July 5

Hello Hikers!



Wednesday July 1

Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve, Enfield

Bock-Harvey Preserve 058

This is a beautiful 50-acre piece of land that includes an old-growth sugar maple forest and was donated to the public by our own Dave B (in the red shirt below) and family in 2013.

Bock-Harvey Preserve 133

This was out first hike out here and I was very curious to see it because of the great reputation the forest has in tree circles — Dave said it’s regarded as the best stand of trees of its type in the state.

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I was vaguely expecting lots of enormous tree trunks but maples actually don’t get that big around  —  some of the trees here are 400 years old but you’d never guess it from looking at them.  I’m more of a pine tree person myself but this is definitely a wonderful place to hike.  I love the huge field that’s part of the preserve  —  Dave said he did haying here as a boy  —  there are wide mowed paths that make traversing the field a real pleasure.

Bock-Harvey Preserve 029

Official head count:  23 hikers, six dogs.

A construction crew from Cayuga Trails Club had just finished a new lean-to and outhouse here and we were the first group to see them  —  we had a snack at the lean-to and I got a photo of the outhouse  —  it’s open to the sky, which I really like, since I imagine that will help hold down infestation by vermin.

This place is a lot of fun and we’ll come back here when the leaves are turning and have lunch and a fire at the new lean-to.

You can see seven more shots I took on this hike here.



Saturday July 4

Coffee get-together at Hilary’s and hike at Monkey Run North

Monkey Run, north side 075

I thought the rain that started before dawn would slip a little south of us by hike time  —  it did, for a little while  —  then it resumed  —  no matter, it was gorgeous out and we had a great morning.

Monkey Run, north side 084

One downside  —  it was probably the worst mosquito hike we’ve had  —  Tiger had sprayed bug spray directly onto her face before we stepped off, but apparently she’d missed her eyelids, and the mosquitoes bit her savagely there  —  one eye was greatly swollen when we wrapped up  —  I’m not so delectable  —  I didn’t use any repellent and I got just a few bites on my hands.

Monkey Run, north side 150

We made the hike into a loop this time by coming home across the huge fields  —  insects not so bad out in the open.

Monkey Run, north side 145

The sun came out as we were finishing up  —  for some reason, I associate July Fourth with midwestern cornfields  —  this corn patch across Hanshaw Road from Hilary’s house made for a perfect finale for me  —  looks just like a gorgeous morning in Iowa.

Monkey Run, north side 140

Official head count:  16 hikers, four dogs.  Six more hikers came to the coffee visit but didn’t hike.

You can see nine more photos online here.



Sunday July 5

Robinson Hollow SF, Tioga County

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I wanted to be a farmer when I was a kid — the next best thing now is to hike off a road like Robinson Hollow where there are farm buildings and equipment and livestock — there are always chickens crowing at this trailhead and I love the mood that sets.
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This is one of our leafiest, shadiest hikes in summer — we basically leave the sun behind as soon as we step off the road, and we don’t really see it again until we emerge from the woods two hours later.
Robinson Hollow SF 056

That makes for great hiking in warm weather, but if you prefer trails with views or at least an open feeling, you might find this one a little confining. I like the deep-woods mood myself — there’s plenty to look at up close, the dappled light and the patterns of the leaves — there were birds singing away the whole time — I don’t bother trying to take photos in the gloom, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Here’s one action shot I got.
Robinson Hollow SF 041

The extreme sun-and-shade effects make the camera do weird things — here’s a shot of two of our ladies coming out of the gloom — Iris is in focus — Liz, just a step or two behind, looks like a Picasso painting.
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I was looking through the photos afterwards and I noticed this fashion moment I’d completely overlooked on the trail — Leigh-Ann and Jeff look like they coordinated their hiking clothes — I’m 99% sure that didn’t happen — but Leigh-Ann is a social psychology professor so there’s a 1% chance she did orchestrate this as a psychology experiment,

Robinson Hollow SF 060

Official head count: 21 hikers, four dogs  —  almost no mosquitoes.