September 29, 2018

Bald: the Perfect First Mountain

Bald Mountain, a.k.a., Rondaxe Mountain, is located a short distance outside the tourist mecca of Old Forge.  It is a short hike to the top, about 0.9 miles, and with an elevation gain around 500 feet, is quite easy.  This accessibility, coupled with the gorgeous views out over the Fulton Chain Lakes, plus the thrill of the fire tower, makes it a very popular hike.  Sometimes when things are popular for a good reason, it is worth it to deal with the crowds, and such is the case here.  Since it is a two hour drive for us to get to the trailhead, we don't hike it frequently, but it a fun treat every few years.  For example, I hiked it in 2010 with Erwin, when I was pregnant.  In 2014, when Frankie was three and a half years old, Erin and I took him up it for his first entirely self-propelled mountain hike (he had hiked up Owl's Head in Keene before that, but I carried him back down that one).  Then last summer, Frankie and I hiked it again on the same day as Rocky, in pursuit of the Fulton Chain Trifecta.

September 19, 2018

FLT/NCT: Jim Schug Trail & Private Land

This hike continues my ongoing exploration of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) and North Country Trail (NCT), and is immediately west of my hike last week in Kennedy State Forest.  I had mistakenly thought the border of state forest lands was further west, but my hike today was entirely on private land, except a short portion at the start that follows a rail trail.  Completing this section early this fall was a priority for me, as there is a hunting closure on part of the private land.  I started my hike today at the trailhead for the Jim Schug Trail on Willow Crossing Road, and hiked east toward Daisy Hollow Road, planning to turn around where I parked last week.

September 16, 2018

Tour the Towpath: Cycling Dewitt to Rome

Last fall, Frankie and I were out for a bike ride on the Erie Canal.  We stopped at a road crossing to wait for a break in traffic, and there we met another child.  This boy, who was several years older than Frankie, asked him are you riding Tour the Towpath, too?  Confused, Frankie looked at me; we didn't know what Tour the Towpath was.  The boy showed us his map and explained all about it: Tour the Towpath is a 36-mile ride between Rome and Dewitt, with overnight camping in Canastota.  He looked Frankie up and down, and checked out his bike.  I think you could do it, he said.  My little brother is doing it.  Of course he's pretty hardcore.  Are you hardcore?  Frankie had never heard that term before, but this boy's vote of confidence and the entire conversation made a big impression.  On subsequent rides, last fall and this summer, the Tour kept coming up in conversation: Frankie was very interested.

September 12, 2018

FLT/NCT: Daisy Hollow Road to Hilsinger Road

On my last hike on the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) in Kennedy State Forest, I turned around when I reached Hilsinger Road.  It was immediately apparent that this "road" would be impassible in my car, so I knew I'd have to drive up to the crossing further west and hike back.  That's what I did today.  I parked on Daisy Hollow Road, walked north for a half mile road walk, entered the woods and followed the trail east to Hilsinger Road, then retraced my steps the way I came. 

September 10, 2018

NCT: Cowles Settlement Road to Skyline Lodge

It has been delightfully cool all weekend -- pants weather, long sleeves even.  It feels so good!  Such a relief after the oppressive heat and humidity.  The forecast shows that this nice weather won't last, though, so Frankie and I headed out for a hike on the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  Get it while the getting it is good!  To keep our drive time low, we went to one of the closer sections, which passes through Highland Forest County Park.  I hiked this section in 2016, as part of a two car traverse across the entire park with Erwin.  With just one car today, I opted to park at Cowles Settlement Road, and hike east, using the Skyline Lodge as our turnaround point.  Frankie was excited to revisit the lodge, where we lunched during our cross-country skiing adventures this past winter.

September 3, 2018

Mount Arab Fire Tower

Today was the last day of our end-of-summer Adirondack adventure, and would be mostly allocated toward getting home: school is starting back up this week.  We had breakfast, then packed up and loaded the car, departing Keene just before our 11 am check out time.  Frankie and I made plans to stop during the drive home for one last short hike: after being thwarted last month at Goodnow, we really wanted to climb a fire tower.  It has been way too long!  By taking a different, slightly longer route home, we would drive quite close to the trailhead for Mount Arab.  It was a perfect fit!  Erwin had driven up separately, and even though he had decided to drive home the same way on Route 3, he declined to join us for the hike.  I think after Catamount, he felt like he'd had enough mountains for a while. 

September 1, 2018

Catamount Mountain

Catamount has been on my radar for a while, but we hadn't gotten to it before.  There are just so many hikes I long to do in the Adirondacks!  Anyway, I'm super glad we made it out there today -- it's such a fun climb.  This trail is located well north of the main part of the high peaks, north of Whiteface even, so it apparently sees less traffic than the busiest areas along the Route 73 corridor.  However, I noticed a sign at the Garden encouraging hikers to try different trails aside from the 46 high peaks (we have always done this) and Catamount was specifically mentioned as a good alternative.  If people listen, it may not stay an off-the-beaten-path destination for long.  We stayed up late last night, and got a slow start this morning, so it was almost 1 pm when we arrived at the parking lot.  Between our late arrival and it being a holiday weekend, the small lot was filled to capacity.  There were a few cars parked along the shoulder, so I joined the line up.  There were no signs prohibiting this and no traffic on the wide road, so it seemed low risk.  Off we went...