October 29, 2017
Although there is no official public access, the abandoned Skytop Quarry is a popular spot for outdoor recreationalists, particularly mountain bikers and hikers. There is a warren-like maze of single track trails through the rocky woods fringing the quarry, and old roads going though the quarry proper. There are some cliffs and steep spots that are apparently dangerous to the careless, and people occasionally do manage to get themselves hurt here, causing the owners to periodically crack down and issue trespassing tickets. We have been going here for more than two decades and have never had problems. However, one group of friends was ticketed a number of years ago. I tend to avoid the main entrance from Skytop Road for that reason.
October 25, 2017
I started this hike at the NYSDEC fishing access lot for the Tioughnioga River along NY Route 92, and hiked generally northward, until I reached my turnaround spot from last week. This hike was my third outing on the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT)/North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) within Hoxie Gorge State Forest. For the first 0.7 miles I walked south on Route 11; then the trail turned north, following the dirt Steve Russell Hill Road uphill through a narrow gorge. I was sort of dreading the roadwalk, since Route 11 can be so busy, but it wasn't too bad. There is a wide shoulder with lots of room to walk on the protected side of the guardrail. And Steve Russell Hill Road is actually kind of interesting, first winding up along the stream, then passing under Interstate 81. Immediately after 81, the road split. The right fork, Pine Hill Road, is more substantive; the FLT/NCT stays straight on Steve Russell Hill Road, which immediately narrows and keeps climbing.
October 18, 2017
I started this hike from the SUNY Cortland McDermott Nature Trail parking area, off Hoxie Gorge Road. There is an official Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) access spur that I followed to connect to the main trail near where Frankie and I turned back when hiking the adjacent section over the summer. When I hit the main trail, it looked unfamiliar, and I realized Frankie and I hadn't come quite this far south, so I decided to make a short diversion to find my previous turnaround spot. I traveled north just a tenth of a mile before I came to the spot I recognized, a second intersection marked with the yellow blazes from SUNY Cortland, and the specific stretch of stream where we hung out playing (pool, rocks, three fallen logs, just so - check). Satisfied, I went back to the main intersection, and continued my hike southward. I ran into two friendly hunters before crossing Hoxie Gorge Freetown Road, out looking for grouse and woodcock. They praised me for wearing orange.
October 8, 2017
We are in New Hampshire for the long weekend, visiting old friends. When planning the visit, Susie had suggested we could all go on a hike together, and of course I was excited by the notion. However, after being here a while, it seemed unlikely. They have two-year old twins (two years and eight or nine months), and that is just about the hardest age for hiking with kids: not yet able to hike far on their own, but way too heavy to carry very far. I suspect hiking with Frankie could have been a motivating factor for the girls, the way it is for Alden. However, these girls are in a serious nap resistance phase, and having company was not helping them go to sleep. Susie suggested we three sneak out for a hike while she and Jason tried to strong arm the girls into a nap. We were disappointed they couldn't join us, but definitely game for a hike. We planned to meet up for soup in Peterborough post hike/nap.