Report by Tracy Verma. On February 21, twenty-seven hikers enjoyed walking the lower, easier sections of Wilber Park. Luckily the weather was great, with no snow, ice or slippery mud, and we enjoyed the sunshine. We viewed the graveyard of two Oneonta Fire Dept. mascot dogs with engraved granite stones from the 1930’s and 1950’s, which few people had ever seen. We hiked up a trail near Center St. to an overlook above the graveyard, then hiked across the lawn with plentiful deer and rabbit droppings to the yellow trail, which ended in the Fairy Trail. This has a nice outlook with a view of the bridge over babbling Oneonta Creek. We recalled the Fairy Land that appeared there during the pandemic, still evident with a few remaining painted rocks and tiny bird houses.
Next stop was the Telephone of the Wind Oneonta Connection. It’s a well-built, rustic phone booth in the woods near the lower pavilion, which was inaugurated in July 2022 as a bereavement tool to express difficult feelings after the loss of a dear one.
When we returned to our cars by the tennis courts, after hiking nearly 2 miles, twelve hikers continued through the city streets up Maple St. and through the little park at the top of Maple. We heard stories from Tom Austin about playing 3-team baseball on what was then a hard-topped baseball diamond with high fences all around. We walked on State St. around Bugbee where preschool kids were playing in the playground and heard stories from some of our hikers who attended that school when they were young. We hiked up the steep paved cow-path to the edge of SUNY Oneonta campus, with a nice view of Wilber Park through the leafless trees. Total hike was over 3 miles for 2 hours.
Photos by Scott Fielder, Janice Downie and Mary Taylor.