September 1, 2022

Cascade-Porter-Blueberry Traverse

4,098 feet  |  ranked 36/46 in height  | 2nd peak climbed (repeat)
4,059 feet  |  ranked 38/46 in height  | 3rd peak climbed (repeat)

I first climbed Cascade and Porter back in 1995.  Then in 2016, I hiked Cascade again with Frankie for his first High Peak.  Erwin accompanied us on that outing, and he has a strict one peak per day policy.  Therefore, even though Frankie wanted to add Porter onto that hike, his Dad outright vetoed it.  I promised Frankie that if he was still interested in hiking Porter another time, I would happily bring him back.  We postponed it a few years, which turned out to be a fantastic decision because by age 11, Frankie's stamina has increased considerably, making the traverse over Blueberry readily achievable.  This was exciting for me because it meant exploring new trails.  I had never been past the summit of Porter, and had read the back side was much less traveled.  This definitely turned out to be true.  

August 11, 2022

Gothics, Armstrong, and Upper Wolfjaw via JBL

4,736 feet  |  ranked 10/46 in height  |  28th peak climbed (repeat)
4,400 feet  |  ranked 22/46 in height  |  29th peak climbed (repeat)
Upper Wolf Jaw
4,185 feet  |  ranked 29/46 in height  |  10th peak climbed (repeat)

After missing out on stays at Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) for the last several years, I booked two stays for Frankie and I in 2022: one in July to climb Marcy with Erwin, and one in August to climb Gothics, Armstrong, and Lower Wolf Jaws with Erin and Alden.  I hiked these peaks solo back in 2017, using the same trails, but as a day hike, and this loop is one of my favorites.  It would be new for everyone else and I was excited to share it.  Staying two nights at JBL spreads the miles out over three days, making the peaks more accessible for the kids.  We lucked into among the very last parking spots at the Garden; it was very full for a Wednesday yet again.  I had been prepared to drop Erin and the kids and send them on ahead, but was very relieved not to have to do that.  We booted up and made last minute pack adjustments while the kids bounced around the trailhead area, then finally set off.

July 28, 2022

Mount Marcy via JBL

5,344 feet  |  ranked 1/46 in height  |  1st peak climbed (repeat)

Frankie has been wanting to climb Mount Marcy since he was tiny, but was always somewhat discouraged by the length of the approach.  Then in 2018, he picked up an activity book at a National Trust Property in Northern Ireland that inspired him in terms of timing for his goal.  See, the booklet was focused on fun things for kids to do outside, and included a checklist of things to do before you are 11 and 3/4 years old, really great things like dam a stream, go camping, catch a falling leaf, roll down a big hill, play Pooh Sticks, go swimming in the sea, forage for wild food -- and "climb a huge hill."  Frankie has always loved activity books and he was taking this one very seriously, marking off things he'd already done and working on some of the new ideas.  We climbed some pretty big hills on that trip (Slieve Binnian is the third tallest peak in Northern Ireland and Slieve Bearnagh the fourth).  However, Frankie refused to count them, as he had already decided: Marcy would be the huge hill that he would climb before he was 11 and 3/4.  He was only 7 then, and 11 and 3/4 seemed a long way off.  But he never forgot.  Last summer he talked about it a lot, how we had to make sure to get up Marcy soon because his "deadline" was approaching.

May 4, 2022

FLT: Getter Hill Road to Beals Pond Road, M27

For this Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) hike, I skipped ahead a bit, because there is a lot of road-walking after the spot I left off on my last eastbound hike.  Spring is a time for me to be in the forest, not on the roads, so this seemed like a good solution.  I will return for those skipped sections another time.  I started on Getter Hill Road where the FLT leaves the road, turning back when I reached Beals Pond Road.  I varied my route slightly on the return hike, to venture to the top of an unnamed hill the FLT climbs most of the way up.  It only seemed fair!  This was easy going because the FLT used to run that way - my entire diversion was on old trail.  It is no longer maintained, with the blazes painted over, so there is more blowdown than active sections.  I had no concerns about staying within the trail easement because the old trail is entirely within Beal Pond State Forest.

April 27, 2022

FLT/NCT: Lakeside Park to Whites Hollow Road

This hike would take me through Watkins Glen State Park, but not the gorge trail for which the park is famous.  The Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) follows the south rim of the gorge, high above the dramatic chutes and cascades.  At least in part, this is because the gorge trail is closed for much of the year.  It was closed today, in fact, due to "winter conditions."  Now, we did get snow last week, but it melted very quickly.  I could see down in the gorge and there was no snow or ice evident, but many years the trail doesn't open until well into May.  No matter!  Today I was here for the FLT. 

April 20, 2022

Interloken & No Tan Takto Loop

I went into this hike super excited because I would be finishing the Interloken Trail, which corresponds to Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) map sheet I1.  The Interloken Trail is the shortest of the FLT branch trails, but well worth exploring.  I started today on Searsburg Road, which was my turnaround point on my last Interloken Trail hike.  I proceeded north for 3.8 miles until I got to Parameter Road, which is the northern end of the Interloken Trail.  There is parking and a trailhead here, from which a non-FLT Forest Service trail, the No Tan Takto Trail, also heads south.  The southbound No Tan Takto Trail crosses the Interloken Trail at Seneca Road, about a mile north of my car, so I decided to return that way and make a loop.

April 13, 2022

The Kopac Trail

Frankie is on spring break this week, and I had today off, so we planned an adventure and lucked out with absolutely beautiful weather.  We decided to go down to Bowman Lakes State Park and check out the Kopac Trail, a Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) passport hike that passes by three different lakes.  I picked up passport books from a trail register last summer and Frankie has really been enjoying them: find the post and take a rubbing.  It adds a fun element because the maps don't disclose where exactly the post is, just that it is somewhere along the designated route.  I hiked the very short section of the passport loop that overlaps the main FLT last fall.  That small section included a playground by Bowman Lake, making this hike chock full of attractions for kids.  I was happy to be exploring (mostly) new trails.