Entries to Win Afghan

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Saturday, April 30, 2022

5, 15, 150, 1500 - Day 151

  5- It's the last day of month 5.

15- I hiked a full 15 miles today.

150- OK, it's day 151, but I have to stick with the theme here. 5/12 = 41% of the months used. 151/365 = 41% of the days used (if I can finish in a year). 1937/4800 = 40% of the (theoretical) miles hiked. Those are a fair match, but I'd rather be a smidgen ahead than a smidgen behind. And there's no actual reason I have to finish in a year. I just want to.

1500 feet- The reason I was able to hike 15 miles when I'm perhaps not quite at 100% recovery. Today, the terrain was almost all downhill as I dropped from about 2000 feet in Sugar Hill State Forest to the shores of Seneca Lake at about 500 feet.

There's way too much to show you, and my pictures are OK, but they don't do it justice. Here are some of the best. This is an unnamed falls on Glen Creek at a place called Ebeneezer Crossing. Ebeneezer Crossing

After that was a short road walk with views across Seneca Lake. Those blue hills are beyond the lake. And on the other side of that ridge, partway down, is where I grew up. These are the hills of home, even though the trail doesn't enter my home county. Seneca Lake hills

Today was the walk through Watkins Glen. This is one of the most spectacular of the Finger Lakes' gorges. However, the main trail is not yet open for the season. In fact, because it's not open year round, the FLT stays on the upper trail. It's beautiful, but you don't see as many waterfalls and rock formations. Some of my love of hiking was born here, since I was walking this before I went to school. But I haven't seen the lower gorge in years. I'll have to come back one of these days.

However, this is a picture of some of the typical rock work that enhances the natural beauty of the gorge. There are "magical" stone walkways, stairs, walls, and bridges. Watkins Glenn stonework

I'm including this just to give you a sense of the scale. This is a shot of the entrance to the lower trail as you are about halfway down from the upper trail. Watkins Glen entrance

Then a short walk through town takes you to the shore of Seneca Lake. Seneca is one of the two largest of the Finger Lakes. Cayuga is the other one. Cayuga is "my" lake. This is just the blunt southern end of Seneca. It's 40 miles long. Seneca Lake

A short climb and you are into a small glen that is a very special place. This was private land when I lived here, but it's now been made public, and the FLT follows Excelsior Glen. Here is the largest waterfall. Excelsior Glen

I especially like how you can really be intimate with the creek. Excelsior Glen

The wildflowers are starting to pop. I have two favorite pictures from today. The very first trillium of the year for me was a red one. There are lots of red ones in New York. red trillium

And this is blue cohosh. I LOVE how eclectic and windswept it looks before the leaves uncurl, with the starry yellow flowers exploding off to the side.
blue cohosh

I seem to be back to full strength. That gets tested tomorrow with difficult terrain and 15 miles.

Miles today: 16.5. Total miles so far: 1937.4.

See All Trail

Friday, April 29, 2022

All Trail - Day 150

  On this sesquicentennial day, there was not any road walk! There aren't too many of these old style NY DEC trail signs still in use, but I like the rustic look. DEC trail signs

Sunshine makes everything SO much better. Pine Creek is pretty eroded, but it was really beautiful in the sun. Pine Creek

This picture isn't that great, but I always enjoy the hemlock swamps. They are particularly nice when there is puncheon for clear walking. trail through cedar swamp

Near the end of the day, just off the trail there is an old cemetery with dates from the early 1800s. It's a fun place to poke around, but the best thing is the view from that hill. cemetery on a hill

The second of the Finger Lakes! (the second one you see from the trail- you don't see all of them) This is Lamoka Lake, one of the small ones, with Waneta Lake behind it. Lamoka Lake Bonus Section: Wood

Here's some really old wood. This is a monster oak tree. The FLT map used to tell something about it, but those words have been taken out and I can't remember. And it's too early for me to be able to tell if it's still alive. In either case, it's really impressive. It has to be at least 200 years old. large oak tree

I just liked the patterns in this slab of wood cut from a tree that fell across the trail. How many hidden pictures can you see? patterns in a slab of wood

And, how's this for some wood-work? The beaver not only felled the tree, but he built a bridge, and stripped all the bark off the stump. tree cut by a beaver

Despite 3 big hills and 3 medium ones today, I did fine- maybe a tiny bit slow. But tomorrow is easy terrain, and I'm going for full distance. And we moved locations today, too. Always a tiring project, but I'm feeling fine. Still have a nagging cough (so does Marie although she never got the full-blown crud), but I think we are in good shape.

Miles today: 11.2. Total miles so far: 1920.9

See Branches

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Branches - Day 149

  The sun shone, the temperature was lovely. Spring is beginning to take on her colors. I just couldn't resist the green of the field and hills. springtime hills

Marie hiked with me for quite a distance this morning. In fact, she stayed with me until we had climbed a 600-foot hill. Most of the climb was on a closed county road, so the actual walking was not difficult. That made the elevation change more tolerable. We had to laugh though, because when we got to the top there was a gate with this sign for cars coming the other direction. photo label

In case you can't read it, it says "Danger Keep Out." So, that implies that we'd just come through the dangerous section. There wasn't even a washout or holes or dragons or anything!

But, what I want to talk about is Branch Trails of the Finger Lakes Trail. There are 6 major branch trails. If you hike all of these, you can get a patch, a different one from completing all of the main FLT. Since I have the main FLT patch (finished in 2014), Marie and I have been working on the Branch Trails. We did the Onondaga long ago because it is part of the NCT. And I will do that one again this year. Two years ago, we did the Interlochen and Bristol Hills Branches. You might remember that I mentioned a week ago about passing the end of the Bristol Hills Trail. Last summer, we did the Letchworth and Crystal Hills Branches. Today, I passed the end of the Crystal Hills Trail. Marie didn't walk that far with me today, but she just did that piece last year because we had to walk in from a parking spot.

The Crystal Hills Branch is blazed with orange, and here is where it begins (or ends, depending on your direction). They have used three blazes to denote that ending. This isn't quite standard, but it works. I've been asked about blazing, so some day I'll talk about that.
photo label

But this is neat. There are two huge cairns that mark the "entrance" to the Branch trail... cairn gateposts

... and the path to the Moss Hill Lean-To. Moss Hill Lean-to

Marie and I have only the Conservation Trail to complete for our branch trail patches. Maybe next summer!

Today was a challenge for my lungs with an 800-foot hill (I went up 200 more feet after Marie turned around), and then a 500-foot hill. I didn't do either one fast, but I did them. And although I did take a nap afterwards, I'm not feeling sick again. Tomorrow I'm going to try longer miles, and they are really hilly!

Miles today: 8.9. Total miles so far: 1909.7

See Colder than the Refrigerator

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Colder than the Refrigerator - Day 148

  This is getting ridiculous, but here I am cooling my heels for yet another day. I can't get this congestion out of my lungs. instead of being in the 40s and dry, the day topped out at about 33 degrees with snow and a bone-chilling wind.

I'm so annoyed that I'm entertaining myself with mindless matching games I haven't played in almost two years. I did a few things I was supposed to, but when I waste time, I do it well. farm heroes saga game

Marie and I are reading a book out loud. Well, since my voice is weird, she's been doing the reading. Reading is at least more edifying than matching games. A Pearl in the Storm is written by a woman who rowed solo across the Atlantic in 1998. At least her experiences make my "epic" feel positively tame. Pearl in the Storm

My other chief activity is drinking hot tea laced with honey and lemon. Yuk. But I can't take a lot of the decongestant medications, and I'm not willing to experiment with ones I haven't tried in case they cause similar reactions. So we are going old school. cup of tea

This lack of progress on the trail is an issue only because it's going to mess up the schedules of a number of people who have tentatively agreed to help me farther along. I have the time to take as long as is needed to finish hiking the trail. But I can't keep jerking the chains of my helpers. The logistics of this project are a killer.

Plans, as of now, are to do a limited hike tomorrow. Warmer, dryer, and mostly less wind expected.

See Triple F

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Triple F - Day 147

  No, not a triple fail... we have Flowers, Farms, and and Eft (ok, just read it like it sounds, not how it's spelled).

Let's start with a conversation after mile 2.8. Marie hiked the road miles with me and was getting ready to head back to the car.
I said, "I feel pretty good. Maybe I can do another couple more than I planned."
"No, you won't," said Marie. "Don't you know that you are supposed to wait 24 hours after a fever breaks to do anything?"
At this point, I got a little whiney. "It's been a full 24 hours!"
Marie gave me that look. " 'Anything' generally means, sitting up in bed and eating solid food."
"Oh," I replied, as I walked into the woods.

Rue Amenome blooming. I also saw Wood Anemone, but it's not quite open yet. Rue Anemone

Here and there, a Mayapple is trying to open up. Actually, no flowers yet, but such happy little umbrellas in the rain. (Overnight. I didn't walk in the rain.) Mayapple

The most prolific bloomer of the day is Pennsylvania Sedge. The yellow "flowers" are really only the male portion of the plant, but they are pretty. Pennsylvania Sedge

Closer up, you can see the fuzzy yellow anthers above the brown female parts. Pennsylvania Sedge

Like many state and national forests, Birdseye Hollow, where I was today, was purchased as failed farmland. This foundation supported a fairly large house at one time. The walls were probably broken down on purpose when the house was razed for the forest. stone foundation

The broken down stone fencerow is now of interest because of the various mosses and plants. It's a beautiful rock garden. broken down stone fencerow

And look at this giant of a tree in the much younger woods. This once stood beside the house. When you see a tree like this with spreading branches in the forest, you know that it grew up in the open before the other trees were there. tree in the open

The first Red Eft of the year for me! I love these little guys! red eft

However, Marie was right, and the 9.9 miles was plenty of hiking for the day. And there weren't even any big hills. Tomorrow, there are hills, so I'm keeping the mileage short again. I didn't feel so good when we got back to the trailer.

Miles today: 9.9. Total miles so far: 1900.8, So, there's that!

See Ready to Roll

Monday, April 25, 2022

Ready to Roll, Or at Least Bobble - Day 146

  No fever today! I feel lots better. Mostly, I contintued to rest. But we took a 6-mile walk that we thought was going to be 5 miles. I was tired but I made it, and it was hot. We just went to town and back to test my stamina.

Maybe I should blame the naughty faeries for my trials. Perhaps I woke them up! fairy door

Many thanks to all of you who wished me well, and happy birthday. I think I'm not going to be able to go back and respond individually. Usually, I go for a hike on my birthday (yesterday). This year, I didn't go for a hike on my birthday! It's always good to change up the schedule, right?

I'm going to try for 10 miles that count tomorrow. That seems reasonable, and the route is not too hilly.

See Still Down

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Still Down - Day 145

  I'm still down. That's all I have to say at the moment. Have some pretty spring plants from two days ago. Bloodroot, fern fiddleheads, and trout lily. bloodroot fiddleheads trout lily

See Time Out

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Time Out - Day 144

  I am down with a bad cold. That's all it is. Marie and I both tested negative for Covid. But I didn't hike today. Tomorrow is not looking good either. cold remedies

Back to sleep for me.

See A Halfway of Sorts

Friday, April 22, 2022

A Halfway of Sorts - Day 143

  I made a fun discovery in the middle of the morning. I reached the southern end of the Bristol Hills Branch Trail (that Marie and I hiked in 2020). I took a picture of this sign then, but it wasn't particularly meaningful to me then. Now it is.

See that it's 191 miles to the Onondaga Branch? That's where I leave the main Finger Lakes Trail and head north toward the Adirondacks. And 186 miles ago, I was at the Pennsylvania border. These numbers have probably changed a bit since the sign was made, but essentially, I'm halfway across the main FLT. Not halfway across New York, but it's still satisfying. FLT sign

Today was gorgeous. Sunshine! Not too hot! Marie hiked out with me for 3 miles this morning. We made it past the Hickory Hills shelter, new since I was last here. Hickory Hills shelter

Then I went down to a valley and up the hill on the other side. This view is from Kershener Hill back across to Hickory Hill. New York view

The next treat was Mitchellsville Gorge. This is a special place, but it's nearly impossible to get good pictures. It's a deep gorge with a creek in the bottom, and the edges are covered in thick hemlocks, so it's always dark and cool. Mitchellsville Gorge

I managed to get one poor picture of one of the waterfalls down in the depths. Mitchellsville Gorge

By the time you get to the bottom, the trail and the creek meet, so I ate lunch here. Mitchellsville Gorge

The last climb of the day was a doozie. It's a 900-foot climb, and the hill doesn't even have a name. For that kind of effort, I want it to have a name. However, the treat from those heights is views of Keuka Lake, the first of the Finger Lakes that you can see from the trail. Photos just don't show it well because your brain is able to filter out the trees when you are there. But that big blue puddle is the south end of Keuka Lake. And it was blue today because of the sunshine! Keuka Lake

And, we were social again tonight. Irene drove down from her home to see us! friends

Miles today: 15.1. Total miles so far: 1890.9.

See Cochrane & Company