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.
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.
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.
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.