I started this hike at the parking area on Circle Drive, and hiked west Stacy Basin, which was my turnaround point on my last hike in this area. The out-and-back was a total of 6.5 miles. This section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the Erie Canal Trail. The portion of the canal between Circle Drive and Lock 21 is still actively used and appears well maintained, compared with some other part of the canal that are choked with blowdown and debris. This section of trail is also one of the more pleasant to walk in the area because it is not adjacent to a road. Woods! Hurray!
After crossing Lock 21, which is a functioning lock that raises/lowers boats traveling to or from Oneida Lake, there is a short roadwalk. Then the trail crosses Route 46 and rejoins the old towpath. This section is better than some, but there is only the old canal and a narrow strip of trees between the trail and the state highway, with passing vehicles and homes easily visible.
We had zero snow at home, not even sorry little mounds along the roadsides, so I was surprised to find it here. Temperatures were in the mid-30s, with both rain and sun, and lots of wind, so I adjusted layers frequently. The blue sky was an unexpected but very welcome treat that lifted my spirits enormously. We don't get much sun here this time of year.