The seven hikers who ventured out to Big Flats Sunday afternoon were rewarded with a glorious walk in the woods. Sunny and mild weather, plus dry trails. The photos tell it all.
Our host, Bob C. met us at the trailhead with his usual cheerful welcome and helpful information. His wildlife account about a cinnamon bear, got us all excited at the prospect of seeing this black bear of a different color. After the initial hike up to the trails, Bob left us to explore on our own, cautioning us about the LONG hill on our selected route. The climbers (our only group on this hike) were not to be deterred.
For those who have not been to this preserve, It is about 800 acres of newer growth trees, overlooking the Chemung River. The 6 miles of trails are meticulously maintained by the aforementioned Bob C., the steward of the property. Each year during hunting season, volunteers patrol the preserve for the Land Trust to assure that no hunters stray into its borders. We encountered none.
Our route took us through some new territory, the northeast corner of the preserve. Conditions were perfect for this hike down then up, up, UP to the top of Steege Hill. Our group then traversed some gentler terrain on the hilltop along a steep gully to a small pond. By then it was near sunset and time to head out of the woods.
Off we went to Tag’s Restaurant, a cozy little eatery nearby, with friendly service and a sizeable menu. There we were welcomed by Bob, three other Steege patrollers, and the famous Irene S., trail builder extraordinaire. It was a pleasant ending to a perfect day. Do not hesitate to visit Steege Hill on your own. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of that bear.
Thanks to all the folks who joined us for the Sunday Hike on Robinson’s Loop. We had about 15 hikers. The terrain was more challenging than usual due to recent logging and the consequent muck and fallen branches.
The groups today got more than they bargained for. Most of us did three hours on the trail due, to map and memory confusion. However, these intrepid folks still gave the hike a thumbs up. Must be they are hardened hikers, ready for anything.
The tourists really did take a “tour” of the whole area. They hiked the blue trail and then some. John did a masterful job of getting everyone back to base camp. Climbers made a perimeter hike of the orange and blue loops which entailed some bushwhacking over fallen trees and through a few multiflora bushes. Undaunted by mud and bugs, they persevered until the final mile when they opted to take the downhill route through the ski trails, which afforded a cool breeze and fewer insects.
The Sierra Inn was a welcome refuge for all after this challenging hike.
Check out the Facebook photos as well as those contained in this post.
On Friday, June 2nd The Finger Lakes Land Trust will be conducting trail maintenance at the Wesley Hill Preserve. The time is 2:00 to 5:30 PM meeting at the Wesley Road trailhead. Please contact Melissa email@example.com if you would like to volunteer. Our organization has enjoyed several hikes at his preserve. It would be good for us to help keep this lovely landscape in good shape.
Despite the discouraging weather forecast, four intrepid hikers made the journey to Big Flats for the Sunday Hike. Their fortitude was rewarded. What awaited was a winter wonderland of ice coated trees and soft snow which truly enhanced the serenity.
The steward of the preserve, Bob Corneau, met us at the trailhead and hiked with us through the forest. The deep wet snow slowed our pace which allowed for many observations we might have missed on the fast track. Bob provided much history and many personal stories, having spent countless hours in these acres. He tuned us in to the pulse of the forest and its wildlife as we pondered about pine species, animal tracks, and “yellow snow”. His extensive knowledge of the terrain, the trees, and the reptile population made the two and a half hours fly.
Our education continued during a hearty post-hike feast at the local eatery, Tag’s Tavern. The food, beer, and conversation provided a pleasant conclusion to our adventure.
If you have the opportunity to visit this unique preserve in any season, you will not be disappointed. Read about it at fllt.org/preserves/steegehill-preserve Springwater Trails will definitely be making a return visit.