September 28, 2017

FLT/NCT: Roadwalk, Trout Brook Redux, and Mount Tego Spur

For this hike, I parked at the snowplow turnaround on Telephone Road that had been the starting point for a spring hike through Taylor Valley State Forest.  Today I hiked west and south instead of north and east.  The Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) carries the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) throughout the area, so the white blazes are periodically punctuated with blue NCT discs.  The first 1.8 miles of my hike were a roadwalk, along Telephone Road and NY Route 41.  I decided to do this hike today so that I could complete a 0.2-mile section of trail I had orphaned this spring when I hiked the FLT/NCT through Baker School House State Forest.  There has long been a hunting closure on the private land this section of trail crosses, but unfortunately there was an announcement this week that the closure would be permanent effective October 1.  So today would be my last chance.

September 20, 2017

FLT/NCT: Underwood Hill

Although classes started back up a few weeks ago, today was my first opportunity for a solo school day hike.  I prioritized this section of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT), which carries the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), because it is on private land and has a fall hunting closure starting October 1.  I have already hiked the adjacent sections of FLT/NCT on both sides, so didn't want to orphan this chunk.  I parked at the Stone Road access, which I used over the summer when Frankie and I hiked the adjacent section into Hoxie Gorge State Forest.  This time I followed the trail north through farm fields, and then east down Underwood Hill, crossing two roads and two creeks before climbing again to the edge of Baker School House State Forest.  This spot had been my turnaround point on my last school day hike of the spring.  From here I retraced my steps down into the valley and back up Underwood Hill for a total hike of 7.6 miles with over 1,000 feet elevation gain.

September 4, 2017

Three Generations on the Bog Trail

Frankie was in the midst of one of his epic breakfasts, where he grazes and nibbles intermittently, but mainly focuses on reading drifts of Highlights and Ranger Rick, when I noticed a text notification.  I had a message from Erin that she was heading to Beaver Lake and had also invited our Dad, Bruce.  Apparently Alden was sad that we weren't coming.  I casually mentioned this to Frankie, and he wanted to leave -- immediately.  I told Erin we might come and find them, but not to wait for us, as we were still in pajamas and have a much longer drive.  It was obvious where they would go.  Alden is two and I remember those days: the Bog Trail is the only trail that matters. 

September 1, 2017

Giant Mountain

 Giant Mountain
4,627 ft.  |  Ranked 12/46 in height

In 2015, we spent a long weekend in Keene Valley, at a rental house with a direct view of Giant Mountain.  Frankie, who was four at the time, immediately declared that he wanted to climb "that mountain."  He was not remotely discouraged when we told him it is a very hard hike.  Over the course of the weekend, and continuing back at home afterwards, Frankie repeatedly expressed his desire to climb Giant.  He talked about it persistently, adorably calling it "Gigantic" for a while.  He was not to be deterred.  I didn't want to rush into to anything though - Giant actually is pretty gigantic.  I have taken Frankie hiking pretty regularly his whole life, but they were/are typically short hikes close to home, hikes without significant elevation gain.  At that point he had climbed only very small Adirondack mountains fully under his own power: Bald Mountain and Mount Jo.  His longest hikes had been a pair of four milers, in Tuscany and at Highland Forest.  Nothing remotely comparable to a High Peak.

August 31, 2017

Poke-o-Moonshine via the Ranger Trail

We had been planning on climbing Giant today, if the weather was good, in hopes of avoiding the holiday weekend crowds.  However, the forecast was not great, with rain predicted, so didn't set alarms for this morning.  Giant is a big mountain with big views.  Frankie has been looking forward to climbing it for so long, we wanted him to get to enjoy it on a nice day.  The  forecast for tomorrow is clear, so deferring a day seemed like our best option.  It was also much later than planned when we arrived in Keene last night, and then we went out for dinner after we got settled in the vacation rental.  As a result, it was pretty late when we finally got Frankie to bed last night; another good reason to have a slow morning today to rest up for the big push tomorrow.

August 26, 2017

Great Bear in August

We hadn't been to Great Bear since April, so Erin and I decided to meet up there for a Saturday morning hike.  It always has good reliable rock throwing, amazingly enough -- you'd think the boys would have thrown them all in by now.  We hiked our default loop down to the river and back.  The boys found an additional opportunity for throwing fun in an old dead red pine from which big chunky blocks of bark had sloughed off, forming drifts on the ground.  These apparently made perfect missiles to be launched into the forest.  Poor Alden took a few spills running, always running, but that is to be expected at his age, and he still had a great time, overall.  Frankie played with various sticks in passing, but there was no hoarding.  The weather has seemingly turned, and it was a lovely cool morning.  Such a relief to get a break from the ubiquitous oppressive humidity!  All in all, a great little hike.

August 19, 2017

Fellows Hill Loop

The orange-blazed Fellows Hill Loop is part of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) system.  The 3.6-mile loop is located in Morgan Hill State Forest, and can be accessed from the snowplow turnaround at the end of the paved section of Herhily Road, or from the the parking area at Spruce Pond further south along the dirt road portion of Herhily Road.  I was curious to explore a new trailhead, so I parked at the snowplow turnaround, which was empty.  There is a small footbridge crossing the ditch on the east side of the road, with orange blazes clearly visible on both sides of the path.  The trail to the west wasn't immediately visible, but since I wanted to go east first, up Fellows Hill, this didn't bother me.