March 30, 2016

North Country Trail: Tioughnioga WMA

It has been three weeks since my last "free" day, and Frankie has a birthday party to attend this weekend, so today seemed like a good time to squeeze in a solo hike.  I decided to explore another new-to-me section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  I chose the section between Irish Hill Road and Damon Road, which is the next off-road portion of the NCT south of Nelson Swamp.  The out-and-back was 5.0 miles roundtrip, with 425 feet elevation gain.  The distance was a factor in my selection, as this has turned out to be a good fit for a school day NCT hike, given that I have a 30-40 minute drive each way to get to the closest sections. It gives me just enough time to drive there, hike, drive home again, shower, start a load of laundry, and grab a quick bite, then dash out the door to pick Frankie up.

March 26, 2016

Alden's Birthday at Great Bear

Erin wanted to have a small family get-together to celebrate Alden's first birthday.  Since the weather was so nice, we ended up meeting for a hike at Great Bear.  We set off on the Upper Quarry Trail, then cut over on the Root Hill Trail to the river.  Here were took a long break to snack, throw rocks in the river, and open a few presents, which my sweet little guy carried in his backpack for the entire hike.  Alden was more interested in exploring than in the actual presents, but he will certainly enjoy them later absent the excitement of trees!sticks!dog!

March 20, 2016

North Country Trail: Shackham Road to Spruce Pond

Today I decided we'd continue our exploration of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) by heading back to Morgan Hill State Forest.  Last summer, we hiked the abutting section of trail, from Spruce Pond to Jones Hill, but had never been on the portion southeast of Spruce Pond.  We left the car at the small roadside parking area along Shackham Road, and took the NCT to Spruce Pond, then returned the way we came for a round trip out-and-back of approximately 3.8 miles.  Some people apparently make a loop by using the seasonal Herhily Road, which is also a designated snowmobile trail, but I'd rather walk the same single-track twice than walk on a road, so that's what we did.

March 12, 2016

The Berm Trail, Three Rivers

I asked Erin to pick the meeting spot for this hike, again suggesting we do something on her side of town to make it easier to fit the hike in between Alden's two naps.  I remember well how sacred the nap was in those days, so long gone for me and my big boy.  She suggested the Berm Trail at Three Rivers, to which I readily agreed because I hadn't hiked that trail in years.  I should clarify that the "Berm Trail" is not an official name; there are no marked or named trails at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area.  However, it is a big place with a lot of woods roads and parking areas, and we went there frequently growing up.  As a result, we've developed quite a few "in-names" we use amongst the family to refer to specific destinations.

March 9, 2016

Skyline Trail

Erwin doesn't hike with us very often because he operates on a completely different schedule.  However, he does enjoy hiking and is prone to the inevitable restlessness pulling so strongly toward the outdoors this time of year.  When he saw today's weather forecast for unseasonably warm temperatures, he decided to sacrifice some sleep and come out for a hike with me.  As soon as he mentioned the idea, I knew immediately where I wanted to go!  The Skyline Trail is 6.1 miles.  I've wanted to hike this trail for a long time, but logistically, it hasn't been feasible, since it is beyond Frankie's current range.  To accomplish it solo, I'd have to do an out-an-back totaling over 12 miles with significant elevation gain, which is not something I could realistically do in the window between dropping Frankie off at school and when I'd need to be back to pick him up.  Two cars would let us complete this hike as a traverse, making the distance more manageable in our available time window.