May 10, 2017

NCT/FLT: Telephone Road to Cheningo Day Use Area

When researching this hike months ago, I read that there is no bridge over Cheningo Creek, and that the crossing can be difficult/dangerous during high water.  I went down and scouted the crossing when I was in the area on a solo hike back in January, and decided that I should save this section for a day when Erwin could join me.  It turns out that was an abundance of caution, because despite high water conditions today, the crossing was really easy.  However, it was a spectacular hike for Erwin to tag along on!  Really nice woods, stunning displays of wildflowers, and not too much hill climbing.  Having two cars allowed us to drop one vehicle at the Cheningo Day Use Area, then drive around to start our traverse at the Telephone Road crossing.

This section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) follows the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) through Taylor Valley State Forest.  From Telephone Road, it runs alongside a small stream, gaining elevation via gentle grades before topping out on the plateau of the forested Mount Roderick.  The trail passes through an overgrown clearing with remnants of an old homestead: a foundation and grave marker.  After that, the trail stays up on the ridge for a mile or so, hugging the top edge of the long, steep slope down into Taylor Valley.  Eventually the trail joins Cortland Two Road, following it downhill for about a mile before the footpath once again splits off to continue the descent through the forest.  This part of the trail is once again very narrow and charming.  It doubles back to the southeast and runs alongside Cheningo Creek for a while before the rock hop across. 

With leaves misting out on the trees and explosions of leeks and trilliums carpeting the forest floor, the verdancy of Taylor Valley State Forest was astonishing.  I was agog with wonder.  It truly was magnificent! 

photo by Erwin
crossing Cortland Two Road
two-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)

sessile bellwort

wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia)
dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius)
squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis)

photo by Erwin
Canada violet (Viola canadensis)

Cortland Two Road again

photo by Erwin

photo by Erwin

photo by Erwin

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