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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Back to Canals - THE Canal - Day 166

  Today, I joined the towpath of the Old Erie Canal. Here's the canal I'm sure you've all heard of. It first opened in 1825. It was the first major canal in the U.S., and reduced shipping costs of goods by as much as 95%. People could travel from New York City to Buffalo in nine days instead of four weeks. It literally transformed the new world. old Erie Canal

Sarah stayed with me for half of today. Her goal for this trip was to make it to where the trail crosses the New York State Thruway. She did it! hiker on bridge over Thruway

As on the other canals I've walked along, there is still a great deal of impressive stone work that is in great condition. stone culvert

Later in the day, the trail took a short road jog and began to follow the NYS Canal System- formerly known as the Barge Canal, but now once again called the Erie Canal. This is a much wider (and deeper) waterway, as you can see. In some places it was built over the old canal, but here the old and new routes are about a mile separate. NYS Canal

This crossing is at Lock 21. Let's talk about the canal system. It gets some use for commercial shipping, but its primary function now is for recreational boating.

Not as much shade today as yesterday, but it wasn't quite as hot. Still- plenty hot for me. Lock 21

BONUS SECTION: other adventurers

Meeting these people is not quite as bizarre as it might seem. The trail here is not just North Country Trail. It's also the Erie Canalway Trail, and the Empire State Trail, which are both multi-use trails. You can see the signs here. NYS Canalway signs

The thing that's a little strange is that we all met at one point that wasn't a place like a park or a natural resting place. The two bicyclists had passed me a bit earlier. Then I saw them again when they went into a small town- perhaps to find facilities or food.

I saw them again, stopped in the road and talking to another person, a young woman pushing baby stroller. But no baby. She had all her gear in the stroller.

The woman is Margaret Across America. She is walking from Maine to California. The couple is from Montreal. They took public transportation to Niagara Falls, and are riding the bikes back home mostly via the Empire State Trail. adventurers

I ran into the cyclists again when they were taking a break. Their names are Gilbert (say Zhil-BEHR) and Pam. adventurers

I also sort of chatted with a deaf man who is bicycling to California. Other cyclists went by with panniers, but I did not talk to them. If you are on a well-known long multi-use trail you are going to encounter people doing grand adventures.

Miles today: 16. Total miles so far: 2153.6.

Tomorrow is a day off- severe thunderstorms predicted.

See Lehigh Valley

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Lehigh Valley - Day 165

  Some of you know I love railroad history, and some fewer of you know that my favorite line is the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It was a large system of lines with branches all over New York (and Pennsylvania). One of those went through Cazenovia, New York. Lehigh Valley caboose

The former depot has become a photography shop. I love it when these old stations can be saved and repurposed. Cazenovia railroad depot

The trail follows the rail bed for most of the miles we walked today. This is a truly lovely walk. The surface is cinder, so it's not as hard on your feet as pavement. And unlike a lot of rail-trails, the sides are flanked by tall trees which provide wonderful shade. You can see that the leaves have totally popped in the last few days. Things smelled green! rail trail

In a lot of places the railroad was beside creeks that burbled as they flowed through rocky beds. creek

There was a section of roadwalk, but it was a keeper with distant views of Oneida Lake and beautiful farms. Oneida Lake is not technically a Finger Lake, but sometimes it's called "the thumb."
hillside farms

Did you notice that I said "we walked?" Sarah hiked with me again today. hikers

It was hot, but not quite so brutal with some cloud cover and the lovely shade on most of the trail

Miles today: 15.5. Total miles so far: 2137.6.

See A Fun Fifteen

Friday, May 13, 2022

A Fun Fifteen - Day 164

  Today I hiked with two new friends. They wanted to come just to hike with me. Crazy people! But here are Sarah and Lisa at a major trail junction. This is where I left the Finger Lakes Trail system, and moved on to what is just North Country Trail. hikers by a trail sign

We hadn't been hiking long before we found strange spray painted marks beside the trail. The were along a set of benched switchbacks, all on the uphill side. Finally it clicked in my brain- these are markings where this trail is going to be re-benched (fixed so it is cut into the hill better- this has to be redone every so often because... gravity works on dirt).

So then Lisa said, Oh! Mary Coffin (who organized the Adirondack work groups I've participated in) said she was bringing a work crew to this area some time this week. Just then, I saw people farther down the trail, and recognized Mary! How cool is this? They had a whole group of people working to rebuild this trail... in the heat! trail work crew

Mary took a picture of us. Where we are standing has been cleared out and is ready to have the cut made for the new bench. hikers

We saw this little guy today. Nothing special- just a toad, but it's the first one I've seen this year. toad

In the afternoon we went through the Stone Quarry Art Park. This is a private art park that seeks to bring artists and nature together. They have numerous trails in addition to hosting the NCT. Some of the sculptures are more traditional, like these horses. horses made from wire

Most are more modern, like these spirals against the vista. The displays change every so often. modern art

We were pleased that there was off-road trail right into the Village of Cazenovia, with only the last mile of trail on streets. It was hot, but not quite as hot as yesterday. Or else I'm a little bit used to it. I also moved the trailer today, so it was a long day. And... I turned and backed the trailer into the hardest place I've done yet! I have to go to bed. I've been up since 5 am.

Miles today: 15.6. Total miles so far: 2122.1.

See And Today's Challenge is...

Thursday, May 12, 2022

And Today's Challenge Is... - Day 163

  Today's challenge was not in the terrain. thermometer at 87 degrees

Let me just say up front that if any external force does in this hike, it will be heat. It was a great day to sit in a comfortable chair with a glass of iced tea and a book. However... I'm on a hike.

Midafternoon, I came to the Skyline Lodge at Highland Forest. This is a county park with miles of ski, snowshoe and hiking trails. Skyline Lodge

The interior has upscale decor and history displays. Incidentally, they have been very supportive of the North Country Trail. Skyline Lodge

However, this was the important amenity for me. I rarely like to take a break in the middle of a hiking day to buy something consumable. But today, I put in my money and got back a nice cold lemonade. I sat in the hallway and drank it, knowing this would mean a late finish. But I just couldn't care. I was so hot. drink machine

Highland Forest also has a really nice vista! Skyline Lodge view

Earlier in the day there was a perfect view of the village of Fabius. This is the classic American small town picture. Fabius

Early in the day, I passed Shackam Pond, a quiet and placid little place with no vehicle access! Shackam Pond

Babies are always cute. baby geese

Tomorrow I'll have hiking companions. Stay tuned.

Miles today: 15.6. Total miles so far: 2106.5 Over 2100 !

See Labrador Hollow

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Labrador Hollow and More - Day 162

  Labrador Hollow is a glacially carved valley that has been named a New York State Unique Place. And the NCT goes through it. These views are from the hang-glider take-off platform, which is really the only place you get such a view. But wow! Labrador Hollow Labrador Hollow

Another fun place within the Unique Area is Tinkers Falls. I knew the trail people had done some work in the area, and I was hoping you could get a better view of the falls than you used to. But, you still can't unless you do a lot of rock scrambling. Not happening today. Can you tell that the water flows over a shelf and then free-falls in a sheet in front of a more eroded bowl of limestone until it hits shale again and trickles down the layers?
Tinkers Falls

And Spruce Pond seems like a real milestone for me. Not sure why exactly. It's not really on the edge of the Adirondacks, but it feels like it's beyond the "circle" (more like a squishy amoeba) of places I was familiar with in New York when I was growing up.
Spruce Pond

First sighting of several flowers for this trip. First Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Not a colorful one, but it was first, neverthless.
jack in the pulpit

This is more exciting. Painted Trillium- more common in the east. It's been found in a couple of place in Michigan, but not many. painted trillium

And here's the exciting botany find of the day. This is a yellow color variant of Red Trillium. I found a lot of it in Ohio a few years ago, so I know what to look for now. Really special! This is the only other time I've found any. There were two plants. yellow variant of red trillium

It was hot and there were some big hills. But I rested longer at lunch and drank lots of water. Beautiful scenery.

Then I met Deb Nero (middle) and Michaela Aney (left) of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference for dinner. We talked trail stuff! Deb is the Executive Director and Michaela is Director of Trail Development. It's so good to know that lots of planning and development is going on. There have been lots of improvements since I last hiked much of New York. That's the direction we all want the trail to go! three people

Miles today: 15.3. Total miles so far: 2090.9.

See Got My Blue Blazes Back

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Got My Blue Blazes Back! - Day 161

  I have turned another corner, and I'm now on the Onondaga Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail. This one is blazed blue because it's the branch the North Country Trail takes to head northward toward the Adirondacks. This blue isn't the same as North Country blue, but it's blue! This is the east end mentioned in A Halfway of Sorts. North Country Trail sign and blazes

There are nice stepping stones that were added across Cheningo Creek since I was here last. Very much appreciated. I don't think high water will dislodge those! stepping stones

Beautiful Cuyler Hill greened up for me, just in time for my arrival. This is where the Onondaga Branch splits off. Cuyler Hill

Possibly the most interesting event of the day was that I met a man (Dave) who is on a 4-month adventure loop. He started hiking in New York City on the Long Path (not the Long Trail) that connects to the Finger Lakes Trail eastern terminus. Then he hiked west. He's going to hike all the way to the Pennsylvania border where he has a bicycle. Then he's going to ride north to Buffalo, east to somewhere and back to NYC.

We chatted briefly, and then each moved on. I hadn't gone more than a tenth of a mile when I saw a very new bungee cord on the path. I picked it up, and there was also a cord for some electronics there. I knew it had to be Dave's. The trail was right beside a dirt road, and he would have to cross it to continue. I also had maybe an extra minute to catch him because there was a trail register box there that he would sign. I hoofed it back down the road, calling his name every so often. Sure enough, he heard me when he crossed the road. He was mighty glad he didn't lose that cord. hikers

Long day, but blue blazes and meeting Dave at the end of the day perked me up.

Bonus section: Not that bad a day.

Any time I begin to think I'm having a bad day, I'll just look at this picture and be assured I'm not having that bad of a day! flooded camper

Miles today: 15.6. Total miles so far: 2075.6

See Max and Peaches

Monday, May 9, 2022

Max and Peaches - Day 160

  For a few days, a trail lover named Max is spotting me in the mornings. We put my car where I want to finish for the day. Then he takes me back to where I want to start to hike. Today, he and Peaches (who turns one year old tomorrow) hiked in with me for a while before returning to their car. It was fun to have someone hiking with me for a bit. man and dog

The day began in Hoxie Gorge State Forest with trail that's all new since I was here last time. It was beautiful, but the creeks are in shadow and the pictures aren't great. What was great was some of the vistas from field edges. farm vista

I love these gnarly old, old maples. old maple trees

Had to wade Trout Brook. It wasn't deep. The afternoon was warm, and clean water is such an improvement over mud, I just walked through. The biggest drawback to warmer weather is that I don't like heat very much. And it's going to get much hotter. I probably need to start carrying sandals for wading, but it feels good to cool the feet. wide stream

Best of all? The focus isn't perfect, but I got a picture of a wood thrush! wood thrush

Today was difficult. There weren't any really big hills, but I climbed and descended 100-400 feet over and over and over. I don't know how many times. And the first part of the day had a lot of spring cleanup still needed, and the footing was difficult too. I shopped after hiking. Remember, I have to take care of myself now- probably until I get to North Dakota. Then I came back to the trailer and did all the evening things. I need to get my act together and toughen up. I can do this!

Miles today: 15.4. Total miles so far: 2060.

See NCT Tongue Twisters
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