My first overnight hike on the FLT. I had planned out my hike well in advance. I would start from Beech Hill Rd and head west to Campbell Mountain lean-to. My previous hikes that year had been 16 – 20 miles so I expected that I could hike the 14 miles to the lean-to. The week leading up to the planned hike I checked and re-checked the weather forecast. The weather looked to be good with no rain in the forecast and nice temperatures.
After my first few hikes on the FLT I decided that I wanted to complete the entire trail; an end-to-end (E2E). I knew that it would take me years to complete the entire trail, so by the end of my second year of hiking (2011) I added some short-term goals to accomplish along the way. I wanted to do an overnight hike and I also wanted to try to hike a “marathon”, 26.2 miles, in a single day. My first overnight hike would wait until September 2013, but I had already started increasing my mileage in 2011. My first 20+ mile hike was June 2011 at 21.82 miles, and the next in July at 24.57 miles. Although, that was an unplanned distance and I was left hurting after.
During the cold winter months of the beginning of 2012 I began planning; I decided I would do my marathon hike that year. I knew I needed to build up my endurance and distance. I would need to keep increasing the mileage with each hike. My first hike in 2012 was my “warm-up” and was only 16.23 miles. The next hike in May I increased the mileage to 21.18 and then 24.38 in June. I was ready.
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.
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.
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!