Wednesday, August 31, 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, BullthistleHikers, where the many photos posted by our hikers can be viewed. Here are my reports for August 2016.

7 August 2016 – Charels E. Baker State Forest, Columbus and Brookfield

Baker State Forest covers 9414 acres of woods punctuated by ponds, laced by streams, and knit together by several miles of horse/hiking trails. On Sunday morning 7 August 2016 we had 9 hikers in the southeastern chunk: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Warren Johnsen, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Carol Smith, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered about 5 miles in 3.5 hours for a speed of 1.4 miles per hour.

We parked in the lot on County Road 24 (=Shawler Brook Road) and hiked northerly to TT-1. We then trekked on T-17 to T-16 to Morrow Road, where we enjoyed our well-deserved break. Refreshed, we embarked easterly up a hill on what appeared to be an unmarked logging trail, but turned into a bushwhack through a horrific stand of vigorous blackberry canes growing up through the very coarse woody debris of cut off tree tops. In here I suffered a painful fall when a log I was clambering over suddenly snapped and I landed on more large branches. Score was now bush = 1, bushwhacker = 0.

We continued stumbling through until we reached T-15 and took it south and west to Morrow Road. We then went south to T-14 (=Pope Hill Road) back to our cars, posing for some group photos at the new kiosk and sign.

14 August 2016 – Beaver Meadow State Forest, Smyrna

The Beaver Meadow State Forest in Smyrna on Sunday morning 14 August 2016 was soaked from the storm the previous evening. Nevertheless, we had 4 hikers: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, and Don Windsor. We covered 6.8 miles in 3.6 hours for a speed of 1.9 miles per hour. Our elevation gain was 1071 feet.

We parked in the quarry on Bliven-Coye Hill Road, east of Boos-Law Road, and hiked westerly to the state land. We then took the abandoned road, now snowmobile trail, south to George Crumb Road. We hike that west, but saw a lot of activity at the Y camp, so we took our well-deserved break on George Crumb and then took it northeasterly to our cars.

Rain held off until after our hike and the woods seemed almost bug free. Mud puddles were ample but not too daunting. Actually, it was a rather pleasant hike.

21 August 2016 – Pitcher Springs State Forest

A nice, bright Sunday morning 21 August 2016 progressively deteriorated into a gloomy, rainy one as 8 hikers ambled through the Pitcher Springs State Forest: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Tess O'Brien, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, and Don Windsor. We covered 5.9 miles in 2.9 hours for a speed of 2.0 miles per hour.

We parked on Calhoun-Davis Road, just east of Kinney Road, and hiked west, pausing to pay our respects at the Soper Cemetery. Upon spotting an inviting snowmobile trail on the south side of C-D road, we yielded to the urge and took it. Good choice, because it was a dandy hiking trail. It veered southerly and then easterly and then formed a loop with the trail we had been on. We then returned to C-D and took it east to our cars.

The easterly snowmobile trek was on an old abandoned town road that once stretched between Mott Cook Road and Kostenko-Sutton Road. It appears as a dotted line on the 1944 topo map. We will investigate this stretch the next time we hike here, because it might afford a splendid loop.

28 August 2016 – Genegantslet State Forest, Smithville

A cool morning became hot as the sun beat down on 6 hikers in the Genegantslet State Forest in Smithville on Sunday 28 August 2016: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Joyce Post, Carol Smith, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 7.2 miles in 3.8 hours for a speed of 1.9 miles per hour.

We parked on Stone Quarry Hill Road near the snowmobile trail and hiked east to Waldon Road. Whereupon, we ambled up Waldon north to the second creek, pausing for our well-deserved break. We then backtracked on Waldon south to Art Lake Road and took that to the snowmobile trail. We then trekked back southerly to our cars, gingerly sidestepping the numerous pesky mud holes.

We paid our respects at two cemeteries, the Eddy west of Waldon and the Perkins south along Art Lake. A dead Star-nosed Mole on Waldon provided a splendid photo op and John Carhart's close ups of the star tentacles are thought provoking.