January 25, 2017

North Country Trail: Route 46 to Stacy Basin

 
Today I continued my northerly-easterly exploration on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  I started at the parking area on Route 46, skipping the section back toward Durhamville, which is mostly a road walk.  Perhaps I will return for that during hunting season.  I was surprised to find three other vehicles in the parking lot... other hikers?  Nope.  I could see a man talking on the phone in one car, and there were no footprints in the snow leading to the trail.  In fact, mine were the only tracks in the snow for almost the entire length of my hike to Stacy Basin and back, 3.9 miles each way.  The only two places where people had recently been on the trail were immediately adjacent to or across from homes, essentially just people out in their yards with their dogs.

January 18, 2017

North Country Trail: Lenox Basin to Durhamville


I started out today at the Lenox Basin trailhead where I parked two weeks ago, but instead of hiking west into Canastota, I proceeded east to Durhamville.  I turned back at Route 46 for a roundtrip out-and-back of 6.1 miles.  This section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the Old Erie Canal.  It is flat and gravel-surfaced and not terribly exciting.  However, after my trouble parking last week down at the Cheningo Day Use Area, I wanted a sure thing today.  Plus, it was raining and in the 30s.  I thought being able to move quickly would help stay warm. 

January 15, 2017

Cathedral Rock Fire Tower


I have been hiking in the Adirondacks my entire life, but almost always in the summer and fall, with some forays in late spring.  I hike and snowshoe locally in the winter, of course, in the flatlands, but seeing amazing pictures of the snowy splendor that is the mountains in winter... it makes me want to get up there and experience it for myself.  However, we don't really have the appropriate gear for those kind of conditions.  My biggest concern is for Frankie.  For the most part, he has very good quality gear.  I consider it a worthy investment for him to be comfortable outdoors, because then we can spend more time there.  However, I cannot find any traction devices small enough to fit him, and that has prevented us from attempting anything with any significant terrain during the winter. 

January 11, 2017

North Country Trail: Cheningo Day Use Area


This hike did not go as planned.  I had intended to hike east from the Cheningo Day Use Area parking lot for 2.5 miles or so, turning back at Cheningo Solon Pond Road, for a roundtrip out-and-back of more than 5 miles with almost 1,200 feet elevation gain.  This section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the Finger Lake Trail (FLT) across Taylor Valley State Forest, and I've never been there before.  I was excited to be out exploring a new trail on such a warm, sunny day.  Unfortunately, even though it was gorgeous outside, I was unprepared for the conditions and had to turn back well before my planned turnaround point.  This rarely happens and I was none too pleased with myself for being so ill-equipped, but it was the right decision under the circumstances.

January 3, 2017

North Country Trail: Lenox Basin to Canastota


I intended to start this hike at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery trailhead in Canastota, where I'd parked back in April when I hiked the adjacent section out to Nelson Road and back.  However, when I arrived today, the entrance was gated, with a sign indicating that the cemetery is closed in winter.  This rendered the trailhead parking closed as well.  I pulled over and double checked my maps, then drove on to the parking area at Lenox Basin, which I had intended as my turnaround point.  No big deal; I just hiked my 7.0 mile out-and-back in the opposite direction planned.

January 2, 2017

Woodchuck Hill Preserve


While driving home from our hike at Cazenovia Gorge yesterday, we passed a sign for Woodchuck Hill Preserve, which I've driven by many times but never visited.  I asked my Mom about it, and she'd never been either.  However, she reminisced fondly about long ago hikes at nearby White Lake, which is on private land and hasn't had public access within my memory.  Last night I looked Woodchuck Hill Preserve up online, and found a trail map.  I remembered that I'd done this research before, but never ended up actually going because the trail system is so limited.  The preserve is small; the longest trail is just 0.8 miles.  However, for my Mom with her bad hip, it looked pretty ideal.  She was particularly intrigued by the blue trail, which is illustrated as an extremely short spur running to the western property line.  It is marked on the map as a hiking trail, and appears to head directly in the direction of White Lake.  So we decided to go and check it out today.

January 1, 2017

North Country Trail: Cazenovia Gorge

Mary and Keith are visiting over the long weekend for our annual late-Christmas/New-Year celebration.  Well, hiking is one of our favorite ways to spend time together (of course).  Unfortunately, Mary's osteoarthritis has worsened, and she is in the midst of scheduling hip replacement surgery.  She is still determined to get out for daily walks, but needs to be mindful of terrain and distance due to the pain. 

With those concerns in mind, I suggested the Cazenovia Gorge Trail.  It is part of a longer section of the North Country National Scenic Trail that I hiked in October, but none of the others had been before and I knew they'd enjoy it.  It is a rail trail conversion, so is flat and level-surfaced.  However, it is not arrow-straight like many rail trails, and runs alongside Chittenango Creek, which adds charm and visual interest.  We parked at the Clark Street trailhead and headed north with no particular destination in mind beyond a pleasant afternoon hike.  When it seemed prudent, we turned back the way we came, completing 1.5 miles roundtrip.  This is a great place for an easy but scenic hike.

Clark Street trailhead