Tuesday Evening Hike: Fischer Old Growth Forest

Tuesday, October 31, 2017  •  4:30 pm
  • Hike rating: Distance - 2.5 miles; Terrain - Difficult; Pace - Moderate; Overall rating - Strenuous
  • Event/Trailhead location: Shoulder parking in small parking area off Route 13 South across the road from Stella's Restaurant, about 6 miles from downtown Ithaca.: (click for map).
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

Our destination this week is the Richard B. Fischer Old Growth Forest. There are stark contrasts in the landscape at Fischer. We traverse two fallow farm fields, forest that was clear-cut at some point, old growth forest, and then we skirt a wetland. The highlight of Fischer is the old growth forest that appears not to have been disturbed by man for over 100 years, perhaps because of the steep terrain. Along clearly blazed trails, hikers can easily pick out a couple dozen hemlocks, oaks and shagbark hickories that could be 150 years old or older. Fischer is a natural area owned by Cornell University and managed by Cornell Botanic Gardens. Its 84 acres of forest is a part of some 3,400 acres of natural area under the auspices of Cornell.

The trails here are quite short, so we will make two loops around the preserve, for a total of 2.5 miles, and a total change in elevation of 500 feet. The hike back up the hill is rigorous and steep. This is an "out and back" hike.

Bring sturdy, broken-in hiking boots and water. Headlamp or flashlight, or both, recommended as we will exit the woods at dusk. Dress in layers for the weather. Now that bow season for deer is open, wearing blaze orange clothing and hat is an excellent way to improve your visibility to hunters.

The parking area for Fischer is small and located just off NY Route 13; please do not make a U-turn on Route 13 as the highway is busy with fast-moving traffic. Instead, to reach the parking area, go south on Rt. 13 and pass Stella's Restaurant. Continue another 1/2 mile until you reach the top of the hill. Turn left onto Main Street, as if heading to Newfield. Make a U-turn on Main Street and head back downhill until you reach the parking area for Fischer, on the right as you head downhill.

For those unsure of navigation, email Gary.

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