First hike of the 2019 season arrived with cool temperatures and mainly cloudy skies. It also arrived with lots of mud and wet patches. I started off with a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead, and arrived just after the sun began to shine. The trail took me through two hollows and across a few streams. I entered a dark and chilly pine forest and descended across a patch of ice.
The trail wound its way past a nice picnic/rest area near Harwood Haven Campground before entering the campground. A long road-walk along NY 98 and then Kingsbury Hill Road followed. From there I made my way through mud and much on an old logging skid and then down past a house where dozens of chickens surrounded me.
After leaving the chickens behind I made my way to a very busy NY 16 and another road-walk. The walk along NY 16 was thankfully short and I arrived at Bear Creek Road. Finally I arrived at my turn around point on Bear Creek Road, took a few pictures, and made my way back.
Another early start and long drive to reach the trailhead. I pressed my luck and drove on fumes to reach one of the few 24-hour gas stations on the drive. Thick fog banks along the route made for a stressful drive. The sky finally began to lighten as I neared my destination. A few minutes from the trailhead I broke free of the fog to see it settled in the valley in front of me as the rising sun colored the sky.
I arrived at the trailhead a few minutes later and began a short walk through the woods. At Rushford Road I began a long five-mile road walk. After finally finishing the road walk I took a short break before heading on. Another short walk through the woods and I arrived at West Branch Road for another road-walk. A short “jog” off Stebbins Road gave a brief respite from the road-walking. I arrived at my turn-around and started back. A stop for lunch and a rest at a tent site off West Branch Road before heading back to Huyck Road and the long road-walk.
Finally back at the trailhead on Rushford Road I took a short break. A little over a mile back to my car and my mind began to play the “what-if” game; I wondered if I had left a map light on in my car and if the battery was dead. I arrived back at my car to find I had not left the light on and the batter was not dead. After changing and stowing my gear I headed back on the long drive home.
Another long drive and long hike. I started my journey in the pre-dawn darkness, arriving at the trailhead shortly after 7 am. I waded through numerous fields of tall grass still wet with dew, the water slowly seeping into my boots and dampening my socks. After leaving the fields behind I came to a strange sight of blue tubing criss-crossing the trail and running wild through the woods. I quickly realized I had found a large sugar maple farm. After leaving the sugar maple farm behind I took a short road-walk and crossed another field before arriving at NY 19 and CR 3. A very long slog up CR 3 and I finally came to the trailhead. Here I discovered the spiral trace of a lightning strike on a tall red pine. I left the lightning struck tree behind and made my way through a rough section with many small branches down on the trail and three tree falls. An old growth black cherry tree provided a short scenic detour. Once again I was back on a road-walk and then took a short wade across Sixtown Creek before climbing up Swift Hill State Forest through a section that had been recently harvested for timber. I arrived at my turn-around and started my long hike back to my starting point. After a little over 11 hours and nearly 25 miles I had completed my hike.
After cancelling hikes in both May and June due to bad weather it was time to get back out. I planned out a longer hike than usual, around 24 miles. Beautiful deep blue skies arched over me on this long hike. I wound my way around fields of new corn and climbed up a ridge line to see an expansive view over the Genesee River Valley. Across the river I made my way down a pleasant path called the Genesee Valley Greenway. After leaving the greenway behind I climbed once again and made my way through a winding wooded trail. The trail opened out in a field and I made my way down the middle with another impressive and expansive view. A road-walk ahead was made somewhat better by the scenery. On my way back I stopped for lunch under a bridge with an artistic and uplifting graffiti. The last few miles of the return hike were hard, but the scenery and views had been worth it and I was rewarded by one last impressive view just before finishing.
The “winter that would never end” finally broke and I was able to take my first hike of 2018. I picked up where I left off last fall and continued heading west from Kennedy Road. The trail took me around a farm and up a hill. Over the next four miles I crossed 14 streams and gullies, some barely a dip in the trail, but others forced me to carefully pick my way down and scramble back up the other side.
After navigating the streams and gullies I came to a long road-walk down Fox Hill Road. From there I hiked along Keshequa Creek and then up Cheese Factory Road. After a short hike through the woods I arrived at Smith Hill Road. A red fox scooted across the road and a farm dog joined me for a short walk. I passed another hiker out enjoying the nice weather just before reaching Short Tract Road and my turn-around.
A quick lunch and I pressed on as fast as I could racing the sun. I trudged up the long climb on the road-walk up Fox Hill Road. After leaving the road I entered the stream and gully section of the trail and slipped and slid down the banks and scrambled back up the other side over and over. Finally I came back down the hill behind the farm and turned onto Kennedy Road, only to be confronted by a train barreling down the tracks between me and my car.
A good day for a fall hike. I passed by a small pool of water reflecting the trees and their foliage. Beyond the pool a pond ringed by trees with all the colors of fall. I continued on down switchbacks to NY 70 before reaching my first turn-around. Back up the switchbacks, around the pond and pool and then down the long dirt road of England Hill Road. At NY 70 again, I headed into Swain and then through the town to an old railroad bed which made hiking easy. After leaving the railroad bed a little more road walk before climbing another hill. As I climbed I came to the first of three stiles. I passed through several cow pastures on my way over the hill before finally arriving at my turn around on Slader Creek Road. My hike concluded with a nearly two mile climb back up England Hill Road.
I decided to push and do a longer hike – 23 miles. Getting to the access point proved to be a bit of an adventure; Google only managed to get me close. The weather was great for hiking, cool and sunny. The scenery was nice and the trail was good, but there was nothing special or remarkable about this hike. I pushed hard and kept a faster pace than my usual. The trail crossed over small single-lane dirt roads multiple times as it wound its way along. The best scenery and view came at the turn-around when I arrived at the top of a field and later used a stile to climb over a fence. The hike back was tiring and I repeatedly slammed the toes of my boots against roots and rocks. When I finally arrived back at my car I had one more adventure; leaving the access point was as difficult as it had been to get there.
Perfect weather greeted this hike. I set off from the Econo Lodge in Hornell as I had on the last hike, but this time headed west on map M9. I walked through the quiet Sunday streets of North Hornell and discovered a new rail trail. From the rail trail I climbed up about 500 feet to the top of Bald Hill before heading back down the other side. After leaving Bald Hill I began a road walk that took me across I-86. I left the road and passed through several fields of tall grass. I walked up a tractor path along side of rows of Christmas trees. Another long road walk waited for me after and I passed by two more tree farms. After 10 miles I finally found myself on top of another hill on Karr Road, my turnaround. And then I did all of it in reverse
My hike on Memorial Day started out under cloudy skies, damp and humid. A quick climb up to the top of a hill and then back down the other side greeted me on my first mile. The trail continued to climbed and descended on my way from Hornell to Windfall Hill Road. At the top of many of the climbs big views opened allowing for some great panoramic pictures. I passed by an old barn falling into ruin. The skies cleared and the weather improved a few hours after I started; blue skies, sun and a nice breeze. I discovered a Hard Cider shop and found a footbridge built by BOCES students. I reached my turn around under beautiful blue skies and looked out on a great view.
The first hike of 2017 on the Finger Lakes Trail. I picked up where I left of last year – McCaddam Road on M11. The morning started bright and sunny, but brisk. The first 2.5 miles were road-walk and took me along fields, over hilltops with great views, and past massive wind turbines. After the road-walk I returned to the woods and slogged through many muddy spots. A short hike down an even muddier tractor path along a field and then I climbed up to the top of Spencer Hill to find a small pavilion and some information signs about the wind farm. I descended down through Burnt Hill State Forest and reached my turn-around at Wind Fall Road. The hike totaled 15 miles and was a good “warm-up” for coming hikes.