February 5, 2020
I had another opportunity for an extended school day hike today, as my Dad was picking Frankie up from school and bringing him home at dinner time. I decided to explore another new section of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) down by Ithaca, which due to it's location west of Cuyler State Forest, also carries the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). I initially drove to the parking lot for the Stevenson Forest Preserve, where I had turned around on my last hike in the area, thinking to continue from there, but the lot looked a bit sketchy for my little car. The next 1.9 miles of the FLT is a roadwalk, so I kept driving, looking for a better spot to park. I ended up on Griffin Road, where the trail turns south and leaves the road, and the road was wide enough I felt safe parking there. I could have walked back towards the snowed-in parking lot, but the call of the woods was too strong, and I orphaned the roadwalk. I can always come back for it during hunting season.
January 22, 2020
Since today was a "regular" school day solo hike, and not the extended version I enjoyed last week, and we had a lot of snow that would slow things down, I decided to stay closer to home. I grabbed the snowshoes, and headed out to Mariposa State Forest, parking along County Route 53 where I left off after completing a Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) roadwalk during hunting season. This section of the FLT is east of the three trails junction, and is the first off-road section of the FLT I have hiked that does not coincide with the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). The NCT originally brought me to the FLT, but since my favorite NCT sections to date have all been part of the FLT, I will definitely keep exploring the FLT even where the two diverge.
January 15, 2020
I had extra time available today, as my Dad was picking Frankie up from school and bringing him home again later and staying for dinner. I wanted to make the most of my extended time slot, so chose a hike both further away and longer than I had previously attempted for a school day solo venture. I drove down to Robert Treman State Park, and parked at the upper lot. There were no signs indicating where the FLT might be, and data coverage was very poor. Conditions did not appear to match the map I had, but I found an orange-blazed trail where I expected the white-blazed Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) to be, and for lack of any better choices, decided to follow it. I passed one white blaze amidst the orange, and took that as a good sign.
January 8, 2020
The weather forecast for today included snow squalls, but it was clear and sunny in the morning when Frankie was getting ready for school, right up until about 5 minutes before we had to leave. We went upstairs to brush our teeth and when we came back down, darkness had descended. It snowed enough in just those few minutes that I had to clean the car off, and was snowing hard enough that the window I cleaned first was already completely covered again by the time I did a lap around the car. Not exactly ideal... I dropped Frankie off and headed south toward Mariposa State Forest, which I had been looking forward to exploring after knocking out a Finger Lakes Trail roadwalk leading there during hunting season.
January 5, 2020
With the madness of the holidays finally behind us, Frankie and I set out for a hike on the Onondaga Trail, just the two of us. In order to earn the patch for completing the Onondaga Trail, the entire trail must be hiked within five years. Since Frankie hiked several sections in 2016, this would be his last calendar year to complete the trail, if he wanted to count those sections. This is not something he has been actively pursuing over the years. However, the realization made him want to hike a new section today, and I wasn't about to complain about that. We got a late start, not heading out until after lunch, so I picked a short section, parking in the NYSDEC lot on Bardeen Road and hiking west.
December 11, 2019
I discovered the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) due to its partnership with the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), which follows the FLT from the Pennsylvania state line in western New York all the way to Cuyler Hill State Forest, where the NCT diverges, following the Onondaga Trail north while the FLT continues east. I hiked all of the Onondaga Trail, which is itself a branch trail of the FLT, in 2016, and started my explorations west along the FLT in Cuyler Hill State Forest. Ever since then, I have been hiking new sections of the FLT, but always westward, on the portion followed by the NCT. As I have fallen in love with the NCT, I realized that all the parts I love best are actually part of the FLT. And as my drive times to reach new sections of FLT to the west have increased, so has my desire to start exploring the FLT east of Cuyler Hill.
November 20, 2019
It has become my custom to use hunting season to complete roadwalks in my section hiking of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT). The gaps I went after today are big ones, not in distance, but in significance... because I have now hiked every single foot of the North Country National Scenic Trail between the two green marks on the map below, from partway through Danby State Forest in the southwest corner, to the end of the Erie Canal section in the outskirts of Rome, in the northeast corner. So even though it was cold and rainy, it was an exciting day for me!