Tuesday, October 4, 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 September 2016.

4 September 2016 – Hyer+Upham roads, Lincklaen State Forest

A “lovely hike” Joyce called it and I agree. On a cool, sunny Sunday morning, 4 September 2016, we had 6 hikers in the Lincklaen State Forest: Anne Altshuler, Peg Fuller, Joyce Post, Sharron Sandberg, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 7.4 miles in 3.3 hours for a speed of 2.2 miles per hour.

We parked on Hyer Road at its junction with Upham Road and hiked northerly higher and higher on Hyer. We took our well-deserved break just short of Springer Road at a very old stone foundation surrounded by a lush stand of periwinkle. This structure appears on the 1855 map as belonging to Joel Burdick. We paused at Springer Road to admire the great vista and then sprang down Springer to Factory Gulf Road. We took that southwesterly to Johnson Road and traveled that southerly and easterly to Upham. We then ambled down Upham southerly to our cars.  Group photo by Maryann.

Signs of early autumn were especially vibrant in open fields, where the goldenrod were absolutely dazzling, punctuated by Joe-Pye, red clover, New England asters, and chicory. Autumn in New York indeed!

11 September 2016 – Hunts Mountain, Sherburne

Hunts Mountain in Sherburne is privately owned and one of its owners, Al Marsters, led us on a fascinating hike up, down, and around this high hill on Sunday 11 September 2016. We covered about 5 miles in 4 hours for a speed of 1.2 miles per hour.

We had 9 hikers: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Al Marsters, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Robin Vanwagner, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor.

As we ambled along, Al pointed out the various historical places and provided us with their interesting backstories. We took our well-deserved break at his rustic cabin. The spectacular vista of the Chenango River valley was memorable. After crossing under the power line, we stood at the base of the 330 foot tower and felt energized. The high point of the hike was when Al showed us the US Geologic Service monument at the pinnacle, as well as the triangulation monuments pointing to it. From there on, the rest of the hike went downhill.

18 September 2016 – Bucks Brook State Forest, Otselic

Rain at the HoJo lot stopped by the time we reached the Otselic lot, so we 7 hikers had a rain-free hike on Sunday 18 September 2016 in the Bucks Brook State Forest in Otselic: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, and Don Windsor. We covered 6.0 miles in 3.8 hours for a speed of 1.6 miles per hour.

We parked the fishing lot where State Route 26 crosses the Otselic River and walked north along 26 to Valley View Road then took that to Bucks Brook Road. We then hiked up that road northwesterly to Ridge Road. Whereupon we hiked Ridge north to the FLT trailhead and got on the FLT for our southeastern trek. A short distance into the woods we paused for our well-deserved break, basking in sunbeams while rainwater dripped from the overhanging foliage. We continued on the FLT to where it deviates near the southern end from the old town road. We took the town road because I wanted to see where it comes out. On Route 26 across from the Seventh Day Hollow Cemetery. We then ambled back to our cars via Old State Road to avoid the dangerous midday traffic.

We looked for foundations but the foliage obscured vision. We found only one. The old abandoned town road will be explored this winter. When coupled with the FLT it could make a dandy loop hike by avoiding Bucks Brook Road.

25 September 2016 – Genegantslet State Forest, Smithville

A cold, foggy Sunday morning soon brightened to a glorious, sunny day as 9 hikers tread through the Genegantslet State Forest in Smithville: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Kate Hooks, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 4 miles in 3.3 hours for a speed of 1.2 miles per hour.

We parked on Raymond Decker Road at Whitting Road (2013 map; Whitling on 2001 map) and hiked north on Whitting. We stopped at an old foundation and dug well and hiked an old road that soon petered out. We backtracked to Whitting and continued north. We then hiked east on Nidley Road to its dead end and backtracked to Whitting, resuming our northward progression. Encountering an enticing dirt road heading westerly into the woods, we took it.

Good choice, as we came across some interesting old trees, one with several faces seen by some of us in its gnarled, twisted trunk. We followed this road until it petered out and then bushwhacked to the western border of state land. We follow the yellow blazes north and turned with them east, pausing for our well-deserved break in the dappled shade of a dry hemlock swamp. Refreshed, we continued east until the blazes ran north and followed them to Collier Road.

Pleasant surprise. A picnic table, concrete fireplace, parking lot, and a dandy pond with emerging vegetation and frogs galore. John Carhart spooked a Northern Water Snake basking on the shore. What a beauty! About 3 feet long and curious. As the snake watched us, we took several photos. After that we hiked easterly on Collier to Whitting and took that south to our cars. The pond is part of Whittling Swamp on the 1950 topo map, so I suspect Whittling is what the road should really be named.

The dug well was covered with a sheet of rotten plywood overlain with leaves. Very unsafe. Someone stepping on it could fall through into the well, which was at least 15 feet deep. The proper way to indicate a well is to place long tree poles in it to make people aware of its presence. We did that and tied colored ribbons on the poles.