20.32 miles, 2.8mph avg moving, 2.1mph avg overall, 7h:11m moving, 2h:26m stopped, 9h:37m total time, max elevation 1905ft, total ascent 1183ft, 92.67ft/mi. FLT M13
Total trail miles completed to-date: 377.2 (63.1%)
As I usually do, I began checking the weather a week before the weekend of my planned hike. The prediction for Saturday was clouds and rain showers, but Sunday looked to be decent. As the weekend drew closer the weather for Sunday began to turn worse. By Thursday both Saturday and Sunday were predicted to be cloudy and rainy, however the weather for Monday looked nearly perfect – of course. Rather than hike in chilly and rainy weather I decided to take Monday off work and take advantage of the great weather.
I left for the long drive to the trailhead around 6:15 am. It was still cool and foggy out, but it was predicted to warm into the mid 70’s. The drive was uneventful and the fog had burned off by the time I arrived. Sunlight was filtering through the trees and it already felt warm. I decided to keep jeans on for now, but I knew I would be changing into my shorts soon. I pulled on my boots, shouldered my pack, and started off on the trail heading east (mile 0.0 – 8:18 am).
I crossed over several small streams and wet spots as I moved along the trail. At one place water was running down the trail and falling over some logs. I stopped to take a couple of pictures. Soon I found myself crossing over Rhinehart Road (mile 1.1 – 8:50 am). The sun was bright and I was starting to get warm, but I decided to wait on changing into shorts for a little while longer.
After crossing Rhinehart Road I came upon a massive old oak tree spreading it arms to the sky (mile 1.4 – 8:58 am). The old tree stood out among the much smaller and younger trees. The girth of the trunk and the number of limbs that stretched up from that girth were stunning. I paused to take several photos. Nearby I found a bench memorializing Mary L. Years, a hiker who had hiked both the FLT and the Appalachian Trail end-to-end. Opposite the bench was a sign and the foundation of a farm house from the pre-depression days. The sign gave information about the history of the area and the foundation of the old farm house.
After leaving the old oak behind I climbed up to Munson Road, a small dirt road, and walked down to CR 96 (mile 2.2 – 9:17 am). I crossed over and back down into the woods. A short walk later I came to a pair of bridges (mile 2.4 – 9:22 am); one over a small running stream the other over a dry stream bed. I was getting warm and I decided now was a good time to change into my shorts. I took a few pictures of the stream and bridges before continuing on.
The trail came to a “T” intersection (mile 2.5 – 9:30 am); to the right Birdseye Hollow Day Use Park and to the left back up to CR 96 and the main FLT. I decided to turn right and take a short detour down to see the park. I passed by a small playground and some picnic tables and then down to a paved pathway that crossed a bridge and continued on out to the levee. I walked across the bridge taking pictures along the way. When I reached the other side I turned to take a few more pictures back toward the park. I thought about exploring a little further, but I still had a long distance on the FLT to hike and I needed to get back to it, so I turned around and started back.
Soon I was back at the “T” intersection again and I continued on up to CR 96. I turned right down the road and past the road into the park. A short distance after the park road the trail turned left off CR 96 and headed back into the woods (mile 3.0 – 9:41 am).
I followed the path up along a stream before turning to the right to follow along the side of a hill. The trail turned down and came to CR 16 (mile 3.9 – 10:02 am). I crossed over stopping to take a picture in the middle of the road.
The trail followed CR 16, but slowly pulled away from the road. A short time later I found an old wooden trail register. I stopped to make my entry; commenting on the great weather and what my planned route was. After leaving the register behind the trail began to turn back toward CR 16. Just before reaching the road I came upon an old cemetery (mile 4.6 – 10:24 am).
The markers dated from the early to mid 1800’s. The site was still cared for, the grass had been recently mowed around the markers, although many were cracked or chipped. Some of the stones had been toppled over and were now slowly sinking into the ground. The first marker that I came to was for a young girl, Phebe, who had died on August 7, 1842 at the age of 10. Life in rural america at that time was not easy and sadly many children died. I wandered through pausing at various markers and pondering what life might have been like back then.
I left the cemetery behind and headed back to CR 16 for a short road-walk around to Aulls Road. After crossing a bridge over Mud Creek I turned left off the road and back into the woods (mile 5.5 – 10:51 am). The trail followed along the creek. At one point I came to an old section of the FLT that had come up from the creek, so I decided to take a detour (mile 5.9 – 11:01 am). The creek was deep and wide at this point and it would have been very difficult to cross. I could see an old FLT blaze on the other side and I wondered if there had been a bridge over the creek at one point or if it had not been so deep. After a few pictures I headed back to the main trail and continued on.
I came to another trail register and signed in here as well. I flipped back through the pages and found the entries from “The Botanical Hiker“ and “Shepherd and Star Left”. It is common practice for through-hikers to take “handles” or creative names for themselves. “The Botanical Hiker” (aka Heather Housekeeper) hiked the entire main FLT and all of the branch trails in 2015, nearly 1000 miles. During her hike she worked on a book about the edible plants of the Finger Lakes Trail. “Shepard and Star Left” were through-hiking the Great Eastern Trail, which runs from Niagara Falls to the Gulf of Mexico. I also noted the first entry on the page by “Native Ear” –
After leaving the register behind the trail followed a nearly straight path south along the edge of a field before crossing Dumack Road (mile 6.8 – 11:26 am). The breeze had started to pick up a little, but it felt nice – the sun was bright and warm, temps were now into the 70’s. A few puffy white clouds had appeared in the sky as well. The trail turned toward Aulls Road and passed by another old farm house foundation. I was able to walk down what would have been the basement steps and took some pictures from inside the foundation.
I climbed out of the foundation and onto Aulls Road for another road-walk. This walk would take me down Aulls Road to the busy NY 226. I walked down NY 226 crossing a bridge over a small creek. The trailhead off NY 226 sat back from the road (mile 7.6 – 11:46 am); there was no FLT sign on the road, but there was signage on the trees at the trailhead. I walked down from the road between two mailboxes and headed up the trail.
The trail turned out onto the end of Sutryk Road (mile 8.4 – 12:10 pm) for a brief road-walk and then began to climb up some logging roads. The lower portion of the logging roads looked to have been used recently, probably last fall. As I continue up the hill I crossed a power line right-of-way and finally came out onto Bozak Road, a small seasonal use dirt road (mile 9.3 – 12:30 pm). I decided to stop here and have some water and a granola bar.
After a short rest I continued my hike up Bozak Road to the intersection of CR 18. As I walked out of the trees a great view opened up to my right (mile 9.9 – 12:47 pm). I stop to take some pictures. I had only taken a couple of pictures when a DPW truck pulled up right in front of me. The driver hopped out and placed an orange cone in the middle of the road and a sign – “Wet Paint”. He said hello and commented that it was a great day for a walk and told me that there was a crew coming down the road painting the lines. He hopped back into his truck and headed off down the road. I took a few more pictures and then started yet another road-walk to my turnaround point.
A short time later I heard the line painting truck coming down the road – the air pistons pumping the paint with loud pulsing PSSST-PSSST sounds. The crew waved to me and passed on the down the road. I continued on up to the top of the hill and then down to CR 17. I reached the intersection and turned to my right and I saw the flag pole at the intersection of Moss Hill Rd. This is where I had turned around last month. I had reached the half-way point (mile 10.5 – 1:01 pm) . I took a quick picture of the flag and turned back.
I climbed back up to the top of the hill on CR 18 and then down to Bozak Road (mile 11.1 – 1:17 pm). I paused for a few more pictures before heading down the dirt road. It was now past 1 pm and I was getting hungry – I wanted to find a good place to sling my hammock and relax while eating lunch. I continued on down Bozak Road and then onto the logging road searching for a good spot. I crossed through the power line cut and still nothing decent presented itself.
Finally I resigned myself to just sitting on the ground (mile 12.2 – 1:38 pm). I dropped my pack, took off my boots, and got my lunch out. After a good rest I pulled my boots back on and set out again. I continued on down the logging road and then back onto the small section of Sutryk Road (mile 12.8 – 2:23 pm). From there the trail continued its way down to NY 226. I left the trail behind and started the road-walk back up NY 226 and then on up Aulls Road. The sun was hot on my arms and I could see that I was getting a little red.
Before long I find myself back at the old farm house foundation off Aulls Road and headed back into the woods (mile 14.0 – 2:49 pm). I passed by the foundation without stopping and continued up the trail along the fields and across Dumack Road (mile 14.3 – 2:55 pm). Before long I was back at the trail register once again. I stopped to sign once more. I noticed several trillium around the register and paused to take some pictures of the flower. Then I continued on and reached Aulls Road for the final road-walk. I turned off of CR 16 (mile 16.1 – 3:44 pm) and passed by the old cemetery without stopping and then on to the second register. I stopped here as I had with the last register and signed before heading off again.
I came to CR 16 and crossed over heading up the hill and then turning to follow it north (mile 17.1 – 4:18 pm) . The trail continued north for a distance before making a turn to the left to head down to CR 96. I arrived at the road and saw the sign for Birdseye Hollow Park, but I decided that this time I would not detour into the park. I moved on and soon crossed the two small bridges that I had stopped at in the morning to change (mile 18.1 – 4:44 pm) .
The trail turned and once again crossed CR 96 and headed up Munson Road (mile 18.3 – 4:57 pm) a short distance before turning off. It continued north following a straight route of an old road bed, most likely from the pre-depression days. I came to the massive old oak tree once again (mile 19.1 – 5:15 pm). I had not stopped to take pictures of the old farm house foundation on my way out in the morning, but decided to do so now. After taking a few pictures I continued on and soon crossed Rhinehart Road (mile 19.4 – 5:28 pm) and I knew I was almost back to my car. My GPS showed that the trail continued north before making a turn to the right and then looping back toward CR 96. I continued to check my progress and continued along at a quick pace.
Just before the trail took its final turn to the left and headed back to CR 96 I found a register that I had missed on my way out in the morning (mile 20.1 – 5:45 pm). The register was on a tree that had fallen over away from the trail. I decided to stop and sign the register. I took some pictures of the downed tree and register and would send the information to the FLT trail reports later. After leaving the fallen register behind I only had a short distance left to go. I continued to check my GPS and zoom in as I got closer – 2000 feet, 1000, 500, 300, 200… Finally I left the woods and was on the road again. I walked across to my car and dropped my pack (mile 20.32 – 5:57 pm). After stowing my pack and walking stick, changing into a new shirt, and exchanging my boots for sandals I started home. It had been a great day for a hike and I was glad that I had decided to take the day off.