April 30, 2017
My Mom, Mary, has been visiting from Michigan the last few days, staying first at Erin's house, then here. On Friday morning, after dropping Frankie off at school, I drove out to Beaver Lake and caught up with Mary, Erin, and Alden on the Deep Woods Trail. Yesterday, we had a picnic in the cold wind at Onondaga Lake Park, then the boys played on the playground eternally and we visited the memorial bench for my late grandparents. Erin and Alden aren't available Sunday mornings, so we made plans to meet up this afternoon to hang out after Alden's nap and have dinner together. Then Mary, Frankie, and I packed lunches and headed out for a short hike at Clark Reservation.
April 23, 2017
Erin and I had been waiting for a nice day to get the boys to Great Bear Recreation Area. Alden is big enough now to have acquired the ubiquitous kid joy in throwing things in the water. Splash! By taking Great Bear Road, then Alec's Trail, we reached the Oswego River in about 1 mile. For little legs, this is the perfect distance to get some time in the woods, then have a lengthy rest-and-snack-and-play session before returning via Great Bear Road. Because of this, we almost always take the same route, and likely will for some time to come. Alden hiked almost the entire distance himself, only requesting portage during the climb back up Great Bear Road toward the end. This is a very impressive hike for someone who is only very newly 2 years old, so it wouldn't be reasonable to ask the little guy to go further for a while yet.
April 16, 2017
We had to spend some lazy hours at home this morning, due to the Easter holiday and the excitable youth. This was somewhat challenging for me, since it was so gorgeous outside. The woods were calling! I would love to build a tradition of taking an Easter hike, and we have incorporated Easter candy on several occasions (Frankie brings a plastic goldfish stuffed with Easter candy and nibbles along the way). However, storms were predicted for the afternoon and I could see them barreling towards us on the radar. We needed a short hike somewhere close by. I remembered my promise to take Frankie back to Woodchuck Hill, and that seemed perfect given our constraints. I threw some snacks in my pack so we could have a picnic in the treehouse, and off we went, Easter fish in tow.
April 12, 2017
For this hike, I left my car at the intersection of Cheningo-Solon Pond and Freeman Roads, in the spot I scouted during my last hike on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). This section of NCT follows the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) through Cuyler Hill State Forest. My plan had been to hike north to Wiltsey Glen, which had been my turnaround point while heading south on a hike last fall. I knew it would be a long hike to fit into my school day hike window, and last night when I was squinting at the topo and adding up the elevation gain, I started to get nervous. Maybe I was biting off too much? In the end, I decided I would attempt the hike as planned, and simply turn around before reaching Wiltsey Glen, as necessary. And I'm so glad I did!
April 9, 2017
One of Frankie's best friends is a little girl named Holly who has been a classmate of his for three years now. I got an email Thursday from Holly's mom, Megan, inviting us to join a group hike with families from Frankie's school at Tinker Falls today. The hike was organized by a family with two elementary-aged children, and their daughter is best friends with Holly's older sister. The few names I recognized on the invite list were parents of other elementary students. Because of the mixed age classrooms at Frankie's school, he could be in the same class with some of these kids next year when he moves up to elementary. Plus I knew he'd have fun hiking with Holly!
April 5, 2017
For this hike, I returned to the Cheningo Day Use Area, where I had to turn back early without completing my planned hike back in January. This section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the Finger Lake Trail (FLT) across Taylor Valley State Forest. Today I successfully completed the section of trail between Taylor Valley Road and Cheningo Solon Pond Road. Redemption! The tracker on my phone put the out-and-back hike at about 5.5 miles with about 1,200 feet elevation gain. Basically, the trail climbs up over a ridge and down into the valley on the other side, where I turned around and climbed back up over the ridge again to get back to my car.
April 2, 2017
Erin and I have been wanting to get together for a hike with the boys for a while, but have been repeatedly thwarted by cold rain. Finally a gorgeous spring day! Alden recently turned 2 and is quite rapidly abandoning babyhood to join the big kids, an effect only enhanced by his height. He now enjoys throwing rocks in water, a long-term passion of Frankie's. Erin and I thought it would be great fun to watch the boys play outside together. We met at the parking area at the eastern end of Potter Road, and headed east past the gate before turning left up a service road. We hiked a modified version of the loop described here and mapped in pink here, turning right at the first service road crossing and returning via the berm, making a 1.4 miles loop. Alden did awesome, hiking almost entirely on his own, with some hugs mixed in here and there.