On the last Sunday in January, 8 hardy souls braved the bone chilling weather to enjoy the winter wonderland in Swain. Fresh snow was still clinging to the branches of the hemlock and hardwood trees. The hikers divided into 2 even groups. All hikers started on the main trail, that primarily followed an old railroad bed.
Then, the Rambo hikers, led by Duffy and Mark (in that order), scampered up the Robinson Loops, starting on the orange trail. During the climb up the central gully, the temperature continually rose resulting in the need to remove a layer of winter wear before the top. At the second junction of the blue, they switched over and cross the open fields at the top of the hill. Temperatures of course dropped quickly in the open wind. At the trail junction in the fields, the other climbers convinced Mark to check the map, avoiding a needless trip down the the wrong road and back. A few more slips and slides down a rutted logging trail and the hikers returned to the main Finger Lakes trail.. Returning to the lot by the main trail, they completed a vigorous 4-5 mile workout.
The more leisurely hikers enjoyed a stroll down the mostly flat main trail (except for a fairly steep stream crossing) up the junction of the blue, and back, for a total close to 3 miles. After the hike, we got to warm up and enjoyed fellowship and fine fare in the back room of the Sierra Inn, reviewing this hike, and looking forward to some great future ones that Rick, and his hike leaders, have planned for us.