May 30, 2016

Pinery Provincial Park: Carolinian Trail

I fretted all week watching the weather forecast.  I desperately wanted to join my mother Mary and her husband Keith again on their annual Memorial Day camping trip to the Pinery -- Frankie and I met them there last year and had so much fun!  I was worried though, because storms were forecast for the entire weekend.  I knew we'd be OK if it rained a bit while we were there, but was concerned about getting the tent set up in the rain... it just seems like everything would be soaked right from the beginning.  As the weekend approached, storms were still forecast every day, but it seemed like they would be hit-or-miss, the kind of big storm that can pop up in the afternoon on hot muggy days.  And it was HOT!!  Ultimately, I decided to risk it, and I'm so glad we went.

May 21, 2016

North Country Trail: Old Quarry

There are two crossings of Quarry Road on the old Lehigh Valley Railroad portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  On my last hike in this area, the northern Quarry Road crossing was my turnaround point.  Because it was a school day hike, I didn't have time to continue 1.4 miles further south to the second Quarry Road crossing, from which there is a lengthy road walk to the next off-road section.  Rather than orphan the short remnant, I decided to bring Frankie along for this portion.  However, I knew he could handle a little more than 2.8 miles, especially since the old railroad bed sections are so flat.  I decided we'd continue on through my favorite portion of the last hike, making the bench with the lovely view our turnaround point.  That would give Frankie a chance to rest, and let him hug the railroad crossing sign.  The kid loves signs almost as much as he loves sticks!

May 18, 2016

North Country Trail: Hemlock Glen, Morgan Hill

The rolling hills south of Tully are fast becoming one of my favorite local places to hike, and I've been itching to get back down to Morgan Hill State Forest, where I last went with Frankie in March.  The weather forecast was lovely for today, and Erwin was planning on joining me for another section hike along the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  Unfortunately for him, he remembered he had a dentist appointment, so he went to get tortured while I ventured out solo.  For this out-and-back hike, I left my car at the shoulder parking area at the southern crossing of Shackham Road, and headed east.  I hiked east until I reached Chickadee Hollow Road, then returned to the trailhead via the same route, for a roundtrip total of 7.7 miles with about 1,000 feet elevation gain. This is a little longer than I typically attempt on a school day hike, but summer vacation is coming fast, and I decided to risk skipping a shower and/or laundry to fit this hike in.  I made it back in plenty of time and it was SO worth it. 

May 11, 2016

North Country Trail: Highland Forest

The weather forecast for today was very fine, sunny and warm, and Erwin decided to join me for a hike while Frankie was at school.  With two cars available, I opted for a traverse of Highland Forest on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), a 5.2 mile hike with approximately 740 feet elevation gain.  We dropped one car at the small gravel parking lot on Dam Road by DeRuyter Reservoir, and drove back west to a small roadside parking area along Cowles Settlement Road.  I pulled over a little too soon when I saw a NCT trail marker, but then remembered this section of the trail follows the road, and drove up to where the trail enters the woods, leaving the car at the small shoulder parking area at the sharp bend in the road.

May 7, 2016

North Country Trail: Armstrong Pond via Kinney Hill

Today Frankie and I hiked the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) from Webber Road to Armstrong Pond and back, for a total of 3.4 miles with about 700 feet of elevation gain.  This was the hike I'd scouted ahead for when I hiked the Deruyter State Forest section of the NCT last month, and Frankie liked Armstrong Pond as much as I thought he would!  He loved this entire hike, actually.  The trail starts climbing right away and gains 500 feet in the first mile, but the grade is never steep.  Like many other local portions of the NCT, this section was built by the Onondaga Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, and they do fantastic trailwork.  These trails are such a pleasure to hike.  

May 4, 2016

North Country Trail: Nelson Road to Quarry Road

Several weeks have passed since my last free day (i.e., my last chance for a school day hike), and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get out and move at an adult pace.  Rain was forecast, so I selected another easy section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) that follows the old Lehigh Valley Railroad.  I parked at Nelson Road, which had been my turnaround point when I hiked the Canastota Creek section, and hiked to Quarry Road and back, a total of 6.4 miles roundtrip.  The first portion is also marked for snowmobile use.  This is farm country, and much of the trail follows hedgerows between fields or passes through pasture.  The trail also skirts several backyards and passes through several front yards.  There is not a lot of cover, so it is definitely a good choice for a cool, cloudy day.