EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING – JANUARY 2016
Donald A. Windsor
The best way to explore Chenango County is to walk it. I lead hikes every Sunday morning, year around, for the Bullthistle Hiking Club and report them on our Yahoo group site. Here are my reports for January 2016.
1 January 2016 – Friday New Years Day – Norwich Greenway
First hike on the first day of the new year had 9 hikers on the Norwich Greenway (Notice that 2016 adds up to 9.): Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Doona Coon, Peg Fuller, John Nesbitt, Carol Smith, Allan Strong, Jim White, and Don Windsor. We hiked 2.9 miles in 1.8 hours for a speed of 1.6 miles per hour.
We parked in the spacious lot by the Rexford Street bridge and hiked west on Rexford. We turned north on the O&W railway and then west on Borden Avenue. We went north through Weiler Park and east on Magistro Drive to the City Wells. Whereupon we took the Greenway northwesterly to its end on the NY&S railroad tracks. We then backtracked, taking the O&W railbed south to Rexford and east to our cars. We noted historical sites along the way but did not take a well-deserved break, because, well, we did not deserve one.
3 January 2016 – FLT, McDonough
When you are correctly dressed for the weather, even a dark, gloomy, woods, with snow falling, can feel cozy. Such was the case on Sunday morning 3 January 2016 when 5 hikers trekked on the FLT in the McDonough State Forest: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Dominic Shea, and Don Windsor. We covered 5.2 miles in 3.0 hours for a speed of 1.7 miles per hour. Vertical ascent was 416 feet.
We parked on Tower Road by the road to the Berry Hill tower and hiked south on Tower Road to the FLT trailhead. We then followed the FLT southwesterly to Gale Road, where we took a well deserved break. We then continued on Gale north to Preston Road and hiked that east to Tower Road and then North to our cars.
Near Galeville, we moseyed over to inspect the berm of an old man-made pond once used to by a steam sawmill. It was nicely highlighted by the light cover of snow. We did our good deed by unplugging a stuffed up culvert that was flooding Preston Road.
Mercifully, no one showed up for my hike on Sunday morning 10 January 2016. It was raining heavily and the weather map showed a persistent splotch of more to come.
17 January 2016 – CCC Camp Loop, McDonough State Forest
A dull but pleasant Sunday morning on 17 January 2016 had 8 hikers in the McDonough State Forest: Anne Altshuler, Joe Angelino, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, and Don Windsor. We covered 6.3 miles in 3.3 hours for a speed of 1.9 miles per hour. Vertical ascent was 690 feet.
We parked at the former CCC Camp M-68 on State Route 220 and walked northwesterly on an abandoned road to Butler Road where we went northeasterly to Bliven-Sherman Road. We took that east to an old foundation downhill from Whaley Road and cut northerly into the woods. We then bushwhacked northerly to Whaley Road and took our well-deserved break.
Refreshed, we continued onward to Whaley Pond. After a brief interlude of admiring the frozen pond we turned back and took Whaley Road to Bliven-Sherman. We then headed west and veered off on CCC Road to our cars.
This was a splendid morning for bushwhacking. The snow was only an inch or two deep so the terrain features were nicely visible. No wind and barely below freezing temperatures allowed mud to remain frozen while we stayed warm.
24 January 2016 – Ambler State Forest, New Berlin
So what's not to like about winter? If every winter morning were as glorious as the morning of Sunday 24 January 2016, nothing! Such a morn hosted 10 hikers in the Ambler State Forest in New Berlin: Anne Altshuler, Joe Angelino, John Carhart, Bruce Coon, Peg Fuller, Joyce Mosher, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Carol Smith, and Don Windsor. We hiked 3.9 miles in 3.2 hours for a speed of 1.2 miles per hour. Vertical ascent was 710 feet.
We parked at the kiosk on Pat Farley Road and walked the Truck Trail, pausing to note a cistern and to visit an old farmhouse foundation. We also veered off through a quarry and climbed around some bedrock outcrops. Some of these rock formations were big enough to accommodate a person (see photo). Art noticed porcupine tracks so we examined their den. We then checked the view scape at the wet field overlooking Route 23. We continued on to the Turnaround where we took a well deserved break. Refreshed, we bushwhacked up a high hill and down over to the Truck Trail and back to our cars. Sightseeing and bushwhacking take time, thus our slow speed.
31 January 2016 – Indian Tree Loop, Smithville
A mild Sunday morning 31 January 2016 in Smithville had 11 hikers in the Ludlow Creek State Forest doing a loop to visit our best local “Indian” tree: Anne Altshuler, Joe Angelino, John Carhart, Noah Ellsworth, Richard Ellsworth, Steve Ellsworth, Peg Fuller, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Carol Smith, and Don Windsor. We covered 4.1 miles in 3.0 hours for a speed of 1.4 miles per hour.
We parked on Engaard Road at the Truck Trail and bushwhacked the DEC boundary west to Hammerle Road. We then took Hammerle north to the public spring and then to the “Indian” tree. However, I doubt it, because the Indians left here around 1800, so that tree would have to be over 200 years old.
However, the horizontal part of that tree runs parallel with Hammerle Road, so it looks like it was intentionally placed as a marker. I suspect it was developed by a Euro-American and not a Native-American.
See group photo by John Carhart and by Peg Fuller. We continued north past Tucker Road to the unnamed creek and took a well-deserved break amongst the stone foundations on a knoll. We then bushwhacked southeasterly across what was a Trotting Course in 1875 to Tucker. Whereupon we hiked east to Engaard and south to our cars. Snow cover was 1 to 2 inches in the woods.
After the hike some of us went to Steve's Hammerle Hill Hop Farm to see his support poles and wires, a very interesting excursion indeed.