July 30, 2016

North Country Trail: Tinker Falls & Jones Hill

Bolstered by our successful mini-adventure at Clark Reservation on Wednesday, I was finally readyexcited to head out for a summer hike in Central New York.  I gave Frankie the choice of a few different sections of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), showing him maps and pictures from previous hikes.  He decided he wanted to go to Tinker Falls, which is part of Labrador Hollow Unique Area, then hike up to the hang glider launch pad on Jones Hill.  Last year when we hiked here, we took the service road up to Jones Hill, but this year we stuck to the blue-blazed NCT the whole way up and down.  The NCT does follow a short section of the service road, but the majority of the hike is on a narrow single-track in the woods.  It was so charming, I question why we ever went the other way!

It rained for much of the hike, but this was fine by me.  We are having a drought here, so need the rain.  Plus, it kept the temperatures lower and the normally busy trails were practically deserted, good things both.  Unfortunately, I wasn't really adequately prepared for rain.  I had brought Frankie's rain coat, but not his rain pants or rain hat, and had no waterproofs for myself.  In my defense, I checked the weather that morning, and the forecast predicted 0% chance of rain in each hour, all day.  Based on that, I made the decision to carry the smaller pack and travel light.  We did get wet, especially me, but we suffered no ill consequences, as it was plenty warm.  I didn't even bother changing into the dry clothes I had waiting in the car, although Frankie did take off his wet pants in favor of dry shorts.  But I definitely won't be packing light when cooler temperatures arrive.

This is a short, but rewarding hike, even in the rain.  It is approximately 3.2 miles roundtrip with about 650 feet elevation gain.  Tinker Falls is more striking in the spring when snow melt increases the stream flow, but the amphitheater behind the falls is cool any time of year, as is the view point on Jones Hill. 

I have never seen this creek so dry



at the top of the falls
looking upstream


Frankie was devastated that this tree he'd played in last year finally fell down -- there were tears


Working the lollipop I gave him to distract him from the tragedy of the fallen tree

Turns out you can blow bubbles in the rain






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