Several weeks have passed since my last free day (i.e., my last chance for a school day hike), and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get out and move at an adult pace. Rain was forecast, so I selected another easy section of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) that follows the old Lehigh Valley Railroad. I parked at Nelson Road, which had been my turnaround point when I hiked the Canastota Creek section, and hiked to Quarry Road and back, a total of 6.4 miles roundtrip. The first portion is also marked for snowmobile use. This is farm country, and much of the trail follows hedgerows between fields or passes through pasture. The trail also skirts several backyards and passes through several front yards. There is not a lot of cover, so it is definitely a good choice for a cool, cloudy day.
At about 2.5 miles, there is a bench along the trail with pastoral views to admire. From here, the trail crosses another yard and driveway, then enters hardwoods. I had been enjoying myself up to that point, but was really glad for this wooded portion, too. Forests are just so beautiful to me, and this is definitely a nice one: interesting terrain on both sides of the trail, and a diverse assemblage of wildflowers. My pace dipped significantly in this section with so much floral stimulation. It was only 0.7 mile to my turnaround point at Quarry Road, so the delay wasn't too significant. I was downright jubilant on the return trek. Hiking is just so damn GOOD.
|bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)|
|thank you, Mr. Parker|
|Canada violet (Viola canadensis)|
|wild ginger (Asarum canadense)|
|early meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum)|
|cut-leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)|
|approaching my turn around point|
|two-leaved toothwort (Cardamine diphylla)|
|two-leaved mitrewort (Mitella diphylla)|
|jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)|
|there were no cattle in this pasture today, but I met the friendly landowner doing some fence work and he said he'd be bringing the cows over next week -- apparently they are friendly, too|
|a fleeting patch of blue sky|