March 29, 2017
Even though the snow from winter storm Stella has virtually all melted at home, the Southern Tier got more accumulation, and I knew it wouldn't have all melted yet down in the hills. I decided to skip the unmaintained seasonal roads for one more week, and finish up the Erie Canal section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) instead. I parked at the trailhead on Circle Drive, and hiked east to the old Erie Canal Village, then retraced my steps back to where I started for a roundtrip out-an-back of 8.8 miles. This was my longest school day hike yet, although certainly not the most challenging, given the pancake-flat terrain.
March 19, 2017
There are about 9 miles of permanent trails at Beaver Lake Nature Center, and in the winter, use is designated, with the longer trails reserved for cross-country skiing and the shorter trails open for walking. But when snow conditions are right, two additional seasonal trails open for snowshoeing. Unfortunately, it's been a frustrating winter for snow activities. We've received more than 130 inches of snow this season, but wild temperature fluctuations have caused it to melt rapidly after each storm. We got about two feet of snow mid-week, and the temperatures finally stayed cool long enough so we still had snow on the weekend. This was the first weekend all winter that we've had enough snow on the weekend to go snowshoeing locally.
March 8, 2017
I've been eager to get out and explore more new sections of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT), not just on the Erie Canal, but back in the woods and hills. We had such a long stretch of mild weather in February that I felt confident I'd be able to find safe parking, even on a dirt road. I decided on a section of the NCT that follows the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) through Tuller Hill State Forest. This section is quite close to Interstate 81, which is part of the reason I selected it, as the proximity to the highway made the drive time comparable to many closer sites. I fully expected to be able to hear the highway for most of the hike, and was pleasantly surprised not to. I started on West River Road, and hiked up, up, up, crossing the seasonal Snyder Hill and Pipeline Roads before reaching my turnaround point at Cortland Road 9. I then retraced my steps back the way I came, for an out-and-back hike of approximately 5.9 miles with over 1,000 feet elevation gain. Not too shabby!
March 1, 2017
My motivation failed me this morning. I didn't sleep well last night, so I was exhausted, and it was pouring rain and forecast to continue raining all day. It didn't help that I hadn't done anything last night to prepare for a hike. On my school day hikes, I get Frankie up and ready for school, feed us breakfast, pack his lunch, the whole nine yards. It is always a mad dash just getting the little slug out the door on time, and that's without dedicating any time or energy to my own preparations. He has a sweet habit of wanting to cuddle on the couch between eating breakfast and brushing teeth, and that is not the kind of thing that can be discouraged... he'll outgrow it soon enough, so we're going to savor it while it lasts (he does the same thing with Erwin the other four days a week when I'm at work).