Reading Time: 5 minutes On a warm late-winter weekend in March of 2010 I decided that I wanted to go hiking. I had already hiked around many of the local trails and was looking for something a little more substantial. I took to the internet and searched for hiking trails nearby. I found the Finger Lake Trails Conference website. I explored the website and learned that the FLT stretched across New York State for over 550 miles. I found that there was an Excel spreadsheet of all the access points on the trail; this was exactly what I was looking for!
Reading Time: 6 minutes After my first hike I the FLT I knew I wanted to explore more of the trail. Springtime and warmer weather meant I could get back out on the trail. My second hike on the FLT was over twice as long as the first and brought new sights and new experiences. I made my way across NY 96B and along a ridge above Coddington Road before climbing down a steep section fitted with ropes to assist hikers in navigating.
Reading Time: 7 minutes A hot and humid summer day greeted me for my third hike on the FLT. I began my hike at the parking area off Ridgeway Road (M18) and headed east to Old 76 Road (M18) and back. My hike took me along an old abandoned railroad bed through a tunnel of small trees and shrubs. Dragonflies flitted around a swamp near the old railroad bed. I crossed through fields of golden-green on either side of White Church Road. The trail curved around an old foundation before descending to a bright and sunny Shindagin Hollow Road. A small footbridge over a stream took me away from Shindagin Hollow Road and the trail climbed up along another stream that featured a small waterfall.
Reading Time: 5 minutes My fourth hike on the FLT. I had talked about the trail to my friends and my good friend Tim decided he wanted to go on a hike with me. I planned out a relatively short 11 mile hike as his first introduction to the trail. It was a beautifully sunny mid-summer day; perfect for a hike. Our trek took us from Old 76 Road to NY 79 and back. We rested along the wide grassy shoulder of Blackman Hill Road. Near NY 79 we encountered a long series of low bridges over marshy and wet ground.
Reading Time: 11 minutes My fifth hike on the FLT and my first single-day 20 mile hike. I started from NY 79 on a cool summer morning that had the promise of a warm day. My trek took me down NY 79 and then up over a hill in Robinson Hollow State Forest. I crossed over Harford Slaterville Road into Hammond Hill State Forest, passing under a tall microwave tower. After leaving the tower behind I descended to cross NY 38 and make a long hot walk along Purvis Road out in the bright sun. I arrived at the Jim Schug Rail Trail (not what I expected) and followed it along toward Lake Road. After a break for lunch on a bench along the rail trail I continued on to Lake Road and then turned onto the road. I left the road and continued across a field heading for what I believed was a road on the other side. At the far side of the field I found it was not a road and decided it was time to turn back. After a long trek back I descended on to Robinson Hollow Road and discovered that I had lost one of the lenses on my sunglasses.
Reading Time: 7 minutes The last hike of my first year (2010) on the FLT. I had perfect weather with bright sunny skies and temperatures starting in the upper 50s and highs in the low 80s. I retraced a little of my previous hike, parking at the north end of the Jim Schug Rail Trail and walking up Lake Road. From Lake Road I made my way across a field and up over the hill. Along the way I stopped to admire some breath-taking views. I arrived at Daisy Hollow Road and made my way up the road to the northern trailhead. From there the trail took me across two small streams and through an area carpeted in bright green ferns. Finally I descended down a steep section of trail with ropes installed as I made my way to Babcock Hollow Road. I took a rest break on a small footbridge over a deep ditch at the side of the road before heading back.
Reading Time: 5 minutes A short late-winter hike of eight miles did not go as planned. Tim and I challenged fate by driving past a seasonal limited use road sign and lost. As Tim pulled his car to the side of the road on what appeared to be solid packed snow the car broke through a thick layer of ice and sank. Despite our best efforts we could not free the car. Our only recourse was to call for a tow truck. The tow truck nearly got stuck trying to rescue us, but finally the car was free. We still had a few hours of daylight left, so we set out and hiked a much shorter route slipping and sliding through the snow.
Reading Time: 9 minutes Although the weather was not ideal I planned a new hike. I also had a new “toy” – a handheld hiking GPS unit – that I wanted to test out. My hike started with a steep climb up from Babcock Hollow Road (M19). The trail brought me up across Van Donsel Road; the same road Tim and I had gotten stuck on the previous hike. From there I made my way up to the top of one of the ski runs at Greek Peak and then descended over 750 feet down to Tone Road. A road-walk took me up the busy NY 392 and then up Carson Road (M19) to my turn-around. I turned back and struggled up along the ski run, sore and tired by the time I reached the top. Shortly before reaching the final steep descent to Babcock Hollow Road I twisted my knee painfully and limped my way slowly down.
Reading Time: 9 minutes My friend Tim joined me for another hike through some steep climbs and deep descents. The trail took us up over Snyder Hill. We crossed over the small dirt-tracks of Cortland 9 Road, Pipeline Road, and Snyder Hill Road. We made our way down along a stream as it tumbled down the hill heading for West River Road. A waterfall offered a good photo opportunity as we descended. West River Road took us on a long road-walk to Blodgett Mills. Along our road-walk a dog decided to join our adventure and continued to follow us all the way to the town. We took our lunch break at the Post Office in Blodgett Mills before turning and heading back. After another long road-walk and steep climbs and descents we finally arrived back at my car. On the first attempt to start my car the engine refused to turn over.
Reading Time: 9 minutes A long, nearly 22 mile hike, from Blodgett Mills (M20) to Baker School House Road (M20) and back. The hike marked a milestone crossing under interstate I-81; my east/west split. Clouds and fog dominated the hike, with periods of light rain making for a damp and somewhat miserable hike.
I started my hike with a long road-walk down US 11 before crossing under the massive twin bridges of I-81. Fog shrouded a field in mystery and created the impression of another world. Another long road-walk book-ended the hike as I made my way along several different roads before arriving at Baker School House Road. I planned to continued on east from Baker School House Road, but light rain began to fall again and I called an end to the hike and turned back.