Hammond Hill Walk I

Buttercup Meadow

Hammond Hill New York State Forest is visible as an alluring height from many places of Tompkins and Cortland Counties. It is not on the list of tourist destinations, very popular for locals to mountain bike, and cross country ski at an advanced level for the steepness of some trails that wend over this high hill.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

The beauty of this wildflower meadow took me by surprise. The pink flower is a Bouncing Bet, AKA Soapwart. Scientific name Saponaria officinalis. The genera name is from the latin root for soap, “sapo.” The juice of the plant mixed with water can whip up a lather. Thus, also its common name, Soapwart.

The meadow is almost entirely buttercup. Click me for a post about a member of the buttercup family that is the first to flower.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy VII

Welcome Distraction

This Finger Lakes Trail / Treman Park / Cayuga Trails Loop concludes with these incredible trees and flowers

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

The diversity of Fleabane throughout North America is simply enormous.

We end at the beginning. Here is more information about these flowers, in the captions.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy VI

Welcome Distraction

The Red Trail makes a turn up a slope of 10,000 year old glacial till. Here a side trail leads to a woodland waterfall.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy V

There and Back Again

Still photography does not do justice to the Phlox meadow of yesterday’s posting. Here is another presentation including the sights and sounds. Smello-vision does not yet exist.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy IV

A Cayuga Trails Presentation

Cayuga, the name of the Iroquois tribe of this area, the name of our Finger Lake, an average of 1.7 miles wide, the longest at 40 miles. Fans of the “Twilight Zone” remember Rod Sterling’s Cayuga Productions named for a family lake house, from his maternal grandmother, on the west side of the lake.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Here we continue this Sunday loop hike, taking this stairway hidden next to the Old Mill. Thanks to the Cayuga Trails club the trail is marked and maintained.

A meadow next to Fish Kills is filled with Phlox.

A path through heaven.

To Be Continued……

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy III

There and Back Again

Looping from the hinterland of Treman Park, I turned left on the Rim Trail, following the a one-way track in this time of coronavirus.

“Ithaca is Gorges” is a popular bumper sticker with locals and in this portion of the walk we glimpse the truth of the marketing. No sooner than I turn onto the Rim trail, a foursome approaches, two young couples, a baby in a front mounted carrier on a presumed father, the women talking continuously. I ducked into a handy viewing platform to maintain distance and wait 5 minutes or so until the breezes clear the air. The mask is in my pocket.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

All these photographs and video are from an IPhone 7, sent to my laptop via ICloud.

I am not the fastest walker and this portion of the trail, a steep incline with many large rocks, roots and tilting bridges over rills, demanded care. Still, no other hikers passed me.

Walking the parking lot I understood why, there were few cars and people. Still, I needed to head off the path into the parking lot to maintain distance. Why is it always I how move? Time for experimentation, but I don’t want to put on the mask.

Find this mysterious pathway to beyond next to the Old Mill. To be continued……

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy II

A difficult clamber.

Hiking nowadays I seek out unfrequented spots, such as the Red Pine Trail. In yesterday’s post we started on a path that opened and changed with the building of a new footbridge over Fish Kill. Here we are on the other side.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

I meet no other hikers, though at the foot of the hill, where the path turns to climb, I pass a tent on a spot overlooking Fish Kill. This portion of the Finger Lakes Trail traverses the forested southern rim of Enfield Gorge (Treman Park) close to private lands, occasionally emerging for short distances on roads. It is the little known, and true, Rim Trail. The park’s named Rim Trail runs below on the side of the gorge.

Here is where the service road intersects with the Rim Trail, beyond the fence is a cliff dropping to Enfield Creek on an approach to the dramatic Lucifer Falls through the Devil’s Kitchen. With COVID-19 the park trails are one-way to reduce hiker interactions. The Rim Trail is one-way, up the gorge. I turn left.

To be continued…..

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Loopy I

There and Back Again

Hiking nowadays I seek out unfrequented spots, such as the Red Pine Trail using the adage “a mile makes all the difference” to find peaceful corners even in popular New York State Parks. A turn onto Woodard Road finds an intersection with a Finger Lakes Trail. On one side heading away to woodlands and fields. The other side the same with the option of hitting Treman’s Rim Trail.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Much of the infrastructure of our local parks were built in the 1930’s during the Depression, witnessed by this plaque. Substantial work is ongoing, such as a bridge over Fish Kill by the Finger Lakes Trail volunteers.

To be continued…..

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Native

Red Pine on the level

Red Pine is a tree native to North America, yet it is called “Norway Pine” in Minnesota. Famously settled by Norsemen, the misnomer may originate with a sense of homesickness in these first settlers. The tall and straight trunks grace the trails of Treman Park, one trail is eponymous.

Click any photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

I break away from household chores on a week day for exercise, arriving am impressed by the COVID-19 mitigation.

The new one-way trail rules, posted on the Rim Trail sign, means my planned route must change. Today’s COVID-19 strategy is to use the Red Pine trail, a very steep climb, a pine woods ramble, ending with descent to the Gorge Trail suitable for a mountain goat. The rules mean I cannot turn right on the Gorge Trail to form a loop. Instead commitment to the Gorge Trails means a 4 mile loop to the bottom of the park, returning on the Rim Trail. I decide to climb to the top and return.

I take an interesting detour on the way, visiting an archaeological site, fields of strongly scented wild roses, lush ferns.

All these photographs and video are from an IPhone 7, sent to my laptop via ICloud.

I cross a nameless stream to the trail head, follow this stream uphill to where it cuts into the slope where the trail turns sharply and climbs into the pines.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

Here is the experience from the ridge top. The sound of water is Enfield Creek rushing along the cliff face.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Brave Leap

First to Leave

In the first video, the largest and strongest Robin chick, the first to fledge, is not quite ready. Maybe I am anthropomorphizing, this individual appears to exhibit the same emotions I feel when approaching a new physical experience, say learning to flip turn, swimming laps in later life. Listen carefully to hear the chick playing the carriage light crown like a bell.

Click me for better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

Here the first chick to fledge screws up the courage, takes a shit, then leaps!! Bon Voyage!!

Click me for a better experience viewing the following video. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page. Note the replay icon (an arrow circling counter-clockwise.

I have a lot to learn about making video with this new camera. Color balance is improved in the second video.

Today, the morning after, this nest is not empty. I found the third chick standing, well grown, enjoying the benefits of parental attention. The nest was empty by afternoon, the territorial Robin parents were still terrorizing Blue Jays.

Special thanks to Pam for the heads up on the chicks and for ceding her prime kitchen window spot.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills