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.
I had hoped to get one more hike in before the cold weather and my pause in hiking. My plan was to take one last hike in the middle of October and get in some of the fall colors. Three days before my planned hike I fell while rollerblading with my son and dislocated my shoulder. […]
Sun, blue skies and big puffy white clouds accompanied me on this hike through fields and along country roads. I pushed through overgrown sections and lost the trail several times. Vast and expansive views opened around me at the top of Brooks Hill. Quiet country roads wound along through the valleys. Fields criss-crossed the trail and I found myself more often in fields than in woods.
This hike was a rainy hike. Both Saturday and Sunday were not ideal hiking days, but Saturday seemed to the best of the two days. The rain was not supposed to start until later in the day, but the weather had its own plans. Rain started as I left my house at 5 am and continued on and off all morning.
I started my hike across vineyard fields, over a bridge across a stream, and then on to an abandoned railroad bed. From there I hiked up along a deep gorge. I took a short detour to climb down into the gorge to a waterfall. After leaving the waterfall rain started and I got wet as I crossed CR 13 and climbed to the top of a hill.
The trail wound along through and near fields for much of the hike. I saw expansive views, fog clouds hanging in the valleys below, and a strange circular structure in one field.
I picked some wild raspberries along Newton Road, encountered several orange efts and a few toads. Most of the hike the woods were quiet except for the patter of falling rain drops. The skies remained dark and gray.
I set out on the long drive to the trailhead, heading west on NY 17 / I-86. The wind whipped at flags I saw along the drive and pushed my car around on the road as higher gusts blew up, but the sun was bright and the temperatures were warm. I arrived at the trailhead shortly before 8 am; the same place I had parked at for my last hike, but this time I was heading west.
On this hike I would meet a thru-hiker, walk/jog a long road walk of nearly four miles one-way, descend 700 feet through numerous switchbacks on my way down to Urbana, NY, and then climb back up and do the road walk once more. And although the day was warm and sunny, the wind was wicked, gusting over 30 mph at times. On top of the hill it was so constant that my ears started to ring from the sound.