November 7, 2018

FLT/NCT: Robinson Hollow State Forest


For this hike, I started at what had been my turnaround point on my last Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) hike: the Harford-Slaterville Road crossing.  The narrow roadside spot I had scouted was available and I took it.  Unfortunately someone else was parked on the opposite side of the road with two tires in the road, which concerned me somewhat because it made a narrow pinch point between our cars.  However, since my car had all four tires off the pavement with several feet to spare, I decided not to worry; it is unlikely that traffic is ever very heavy there anyway.  It was very chilly when I set out, but gloriously bright and sunny.  I grew up in central New York, and I like cloudy, overcast weather.  Too many sunny days in a row tends to make me a bit anxious.  The sun... it burns us.  Nevertheless, there is something amazingly cheerful about a bright sunny day after weeks of rain. 

November 3, 2018

Lake St. Clair Metropark


Since Frankie was born, my mother Mary has visited us in Syracuse every year around this time, sometimes carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating with us at Halloween.  Unfortunately, she had to have knee replacement surgery six weeks ago.  The surgery went well, and she is recovering nicely, already experiencing less pain than she did before the surgery, but it is a slow process.  Since she is still actively undergoing physical therapy and cannot drive yet, her annual fall visit was off the table this year.  However, Frankie's school was closed Thursday and Friday, so I bought tickets for the two of us to fly out to Detroit for a long weekend.  This way we wouldn't have to miss out on seeing Mary, and would get to see Keith, too.  Plus, we haven't visited Detroit in a few years and there is a whole lot to do here.  Thursday, we stopped at the Edsel Ford House on the way back from the airport, and hiked the short loop on Bird Island, and yesterday we went to the Detroit Zoo, where many animals were absent due to the cold, but we had notable encounters with an otter and a polar bear. 

October 24, 2018

FLT/NCT: Hammond Hill State Forest


For this hike, I continued my exploration westward on the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT), skipping a short roadwalk between here and my last hike that I plan to pick up during hunting season.  The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the FLT through Hammond Hill State Forest and beyond; the two trails diverge considerably east of here.  I left the car along Star Stanton Road, at what may be a snowplow turnaround, or perhaps just an old log landing; I doubt plows go that far up the dirt road.  Regardless, it quickly becomes undriveable immediately thereafter, so it was a good place to stop.  The white blazes continue to follow the rocky dirt track west up the hill for about 0.4 miles before a footpath splits off to the south.

October 20, 2018

Kane Mountain Redux


I love traveling and I love days trips.  Hiking Bald Mountain a few weeks ago just ramped up my always latent desire to be in the mountains, to be adventuring.  I immediately began scheming about how we could get back up to the Adirondacks.  We have not tested Alden's range yet, and don't want to overdo it and burn him out on hiking mountains.  However, Frankie and I hiked Kane Mountain together back in 2015, and knew from experience that it is comparable to Bald Mountain in both distance and elevation gain.  If anything, it might be a little easier, because there is less scrambling and exposure.  Based on how easily Alden scampered up Bald, we knew he could handle Kane.  Now we just had to wait for good weather.  Ha!

September 29, 2018

Bald: the Perfect First Mountain


Bald Mountain, a.k.a., Rondaxe Mountain, is located a short distance outside the tourist mecca of Old Forge.  It is a short hike to the top, about 0.9 miles, and with an elevation gain around 500 feet, is quite easy.  This accessibility, coupled with the gorgeous views out over the Fulton Chain Lakes, plus the thrill of the fire tower, makes it a very popular hike.  Sometimes when things are popular for a good reason, it is worth it to deal with the crowds, and such is the case here.  Since it is a two hour drive for us to get to the trailhead, we don't hike it frequently, but it a fun treat every few years.  For example, I hiked it in 2010 with Erwin, when I was pregnant.  In 2014, when Frankie was three and a half years old, Erin and I took him up it for his first entirely self-propelled mountain hike (he had hiked up Owl's Head in Keene before that, but I carried him back down that one).  Then last summer, Frankie and I hiked it again on the same day as Rocky, in pursuit of the Fulton Chain Trifecta.

September 19, 2018

FLT/NCT: Jim Schug Trail & Private Land


This hike continues my ongoing exploration of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) and North Country Trail (NCT), and is immediately west of my hike last week in Kennedy State Forest.  I had mistakenly thought the border of state forest lands was further west, but my hike today was entirely on private land, except a short portion at the start that follows a rail trail.  Completing this section early this fall was a priority for me, as there is a hunting closure on part of the private land.  I started my hike today at the trailhead for the Jim Schug Trail on Willow Crossing Road, and hiked east toward Daisy Hollow Road, planning to turn around where I parked last week.

September 16, 2018

Tour the Towpath: Cycling Dewitt to Rome


Last fall, Frankie and I were out for a bike ride on the Erie Canal.  We stopped at a road crossing to wait for a break in traffic, and there we met another child.  This boy, who was several years older than Frankie, asked him are you riding Tour the Towpath, too?  Confused, Frankie looked at me; we didn't know what Tour the Towpath was.  The boy showed us his map and explained all about it: Tour the Towpath is a 36-mile ride between Rome and Dewitt, with overnight camping in Canastota.  He looked Frankie up and down, and checked out his bike.  I think you could do it, he said.  My little brother is doing it.  Of course he's pretty hardcore.  Are you hardcore?  Frankie had never heard that term before, but this boy's vote of confidence and the entire conversation made a big impression.  On subsequent rides, last fall and this summer, the Tour kept coming up in conversation: Frankie was very interested.