October 19, 2016

North Country Trail: Shackham Road to Bardeen Road

Erwin joined me for another section hike on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) today.  We covered the 4.2 miles between the northern NCT crossing of Shackham Road and the NYSDEC fishing access lot on Bardeen Road, where we spotted the second vehicle.  I had been saving this section for a day with two cars available, because I wasn't entirely certain I could complete it as an out-an-back and make it back in time to pick Frankie up from school.  I think I could swing 8.4 miles in my hike window, but there is no need to risk it.  Plus, this section of the NCT has two particularly scenic features I thought Erwin would enjoy, Shackham Pond and the Fabius view.

The first few miles of the hike roll up and down through Morgan Hill State Forest, then the trail crosses onto private property and descends into the valley.  The fall color was excellent, but the skies were completely overcast, making the light really flat.  None of these pictures capture the splendor that is the woods this time of year.  It was so nice!

I have now hiked most of The Onondaga Trail, and all of the off-road sections.  The Onondaga Trail is the blue-blazed 44-mile segment of the NCT located in central New York.  It is maintained by the Adirondack Mountain Club Onondaga Chapter and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.  This trail is gorgeous.  It is really special.

first glimpse of Shackham Pond through the trees

what a great spot for a campsite!

Herlihy Road crossing

Rowley Hill Road crossing

the second of two trail registers on this section of the NCT
coming out onto Keeney Road
looking north up Keeney Road
almost back to the parking lot on Bardeen Road

October 15, 2016

Great Bear in October

My mother and her husband are in town briefly, on their way back from their annual fall tour of New England, visiting family in Maine and friends in New Hampshire.  It is a long drive from Maine to Michigan, so they stopped here in Central New York for two nights, giving us two dinners and one full day together.  The weather was autumnal perfection, so after some lazing about this morning, with Frankie reading books aloud and showing off his school work, we headed out for a hike.  Alden was napping, so Mary suggested Great Bear, in hopes Erin could come join us when Alden woke up. 

We set out from the parking lot following the yellow trail west from the kiosk.  We stopped to play with some milkweed pods, then continued on through the old quarry.  We eventually turned onto the Root Hill Trail briefly, and then the Homestead Trail, coming down to the river between the old lock and our regular hang-out spot at the Canal River Landing.  We walked the short distance west to the lock, then walked the towpath back east to the landing for the obligatory stop.  From there we crossed the new footbridge and continued along the riverbank, pausing to hunt for fossils in the loose shale, until we got to Great Bear Road, which we took back to the parking lot.  The loop was a total of 2.1 miles. 

I was thrilled to finally take a slightly different route, but Frankie... not so much.  He was unusually difficult, whining excessively about wanting to go straight to the river, and pitching a fit about going to the lock when he just wanted to go straight to the landing.  Ugh.  It was frustrating to say the least, given that we had just this one day to spend together, and somewhat embarrassing, too.  Hopefully Mary and Keith don't think he is always such a little brat. 

I'm not entirely sure what was going on, really.  It was a short, easy hike, and he had plenty of snacks and water.  He was a little tired from being up a bit too late last night, but it wasn't extremely late.  Frankie is a creature of habit, often preferring to repeat regular routes, but he has to learn a better way to cope with not always getting his way.  And I need to do a better job of planning for him.  There was a lot of uncertainty, not knowing if Erin and Alden would join us on the hike, not knowing what we were doing for dinner, etc.  I think most kids do better when they know what to expect -- mine does anyway. 

Despite the hiccups, it was still a beautiful day in the woods!

Keith and Mary

fossil hunting

download map from Friends of Great Bear