Today I headed back to the Cuyler area to hike another section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) that crosses private land with an upcoming hunting closure. I parked at the New York State Department of Environment of Conservation (NYSDEC) lot on Route 13 that provides fishing access to the Tioughnioga River. The trail follows Route 13 in both directions, with blue blazes painted on the telephone poles. I walked west for 0.4 mile until the trail turns north at West Keeney Road, following a hedgerow and field edges away from the road and toward the woods.
The trail climbs steeply through numerous switchbacks over the next mile. The forest is beautiful, but until the trail tops over the top of the ridge, the noise from the traffic on Route 13 is a bit of a distraction. There are a lot of big trucks using this road, and it is loud. Once the ridge is crested, the noise is muted and then fades completely. The trail continues through gorgeous forest, eventually entering Morgan Hill State Forest. The NCT crosses the seasonal Chickadee Hollow Road once, then passes a trail register, then crosses Chickadee Hollow Road a second time. This was my planned turn around point, as I'd hiked this far from the other direction this spring. However, I wasn't quite ready to turn back yet, so I continued on to the power line, where I took a quick break for a drink and snack before starting back the way I came.
I had the good fortune of twice crossing paths and chatting with Anne and Bill, a couple of trail volunteers. He is 87 and she 85, and they were out there hiking with loppers and a hand saw. What an inspiration! All that hiking has kept them young. I am grateful I got to meet them and thank them in person for all the hard work they do on these trails. The Onondaga Trail or Onondaga Section of the NCT is truly one of the nicest trails around and it is entirely due to the efforts of volunteers like Bill and Anne. Thank you!
The out-and-back hike totaled 7.6 miles with approximately 940 feet elevation gain.
|NYSDEC parking lot on Route 13|
|at West Keeney Road, the trail turns north heads cross-country, following hedgerow and field edges|
|pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)|
|shiny new trail register|
|New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)|
|New York State Route 13|