Reading Time: 11 minutes 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.
Reading Time: 15 minutes 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.
Reading Time: 13 minutes 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
Reading Time: 14 minutes 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.
Reading Time: 16 minutes 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.