Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another 100+ miles on the Finger Lakes Trail System.

Beginning on Saturday (6/20 - 6/23), I completed another 104 mile segment of the Finger Lakes Trail system: Letchworth State Park to the Hammondsport area. The photos and information below will verify that I was REALLY on the trail ... unlike South Carolina Govenor Sanford, who recently claimed to be on the Applachain Trail, while really taking care of "affairs" in Argentina.
By visiting the following site you can view my route.
[Besure to waite & allow the interactive map to display, before clicking on "satellite", "terrain" & moving the zoom bar to explore my route.]

Below are pictures and video clips arranged in chronological order that will give you a sense of the trip. Saturday and Sunday were wet hiking days, while Monday and Tuesday were sunny and warm. I spent the first overnight in a lean-to, followed by a night in a tent next to a pond with a chorus of amphibian reproductive calls. The last night was in a lean-to that is periodically visited by black bears.

Sign post at Finger Lakes Trail Headquarters, Mt. Morris, NY. I now only have the about 111 miles of the FLT (Portage, NY to the western end of the FLT in the Allegany State forest )and the 130+ mile Conservation trail to complete the 840 miles of the FLT and Branch trail system in one year by October 26th.

Letchworth Gorge ... not much of a view due the overcaste sky and rain.

With over an inch of rainfall, streams were swollen. (6/20)

...what view? Letchworth State Park. (6/20)

Letchworth State Park (6/20)

Hiking the south end of Letchworth State Park (6/20)

Letchworth State Park (6/20)

An ice cream cone break ...outside Portage, NY (6/20)

It rain all night, so Sunday morning the treking was "WET!"

The rule of the trail is to leave the gate as you find, when you enter pastured areas. (6/21)


Walking up Garwood Glen. (6/21)

I felt like the "cow" pied piper across this pasture. (6/21)

With the cows behind, this was the view looking east - 1800 ft. (6/21)

Rain Again!? ... Late Sunday afternoon (6/21)

[Turn the sound up.] Sleepless in the Klipnocky State Forest (2 am - 6/22)

Finally "dry" and Big Sky - 6/22

Heading towards Hornell (11 am - 6/22)

Looking back into the Canseraga Valley (not the "Canesisteo valley" as I say in the video clip)and Hornell (3pm - 6/22)

Tuesday Morning in western Steuben County (6/23)

Trail break (6/23)

Heading towards Bath, NY near or on Cochrane Rd. (am - 6/23)

The end of the trail. (pm - 6/23)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recycled "junk" = an Arc Welder = an Old Bed Springs English Country Gate

In an earlier blog posting regarding my stone wall construction, it was not mentioned that an opening was left in the stone wall where a metal gate would be the perfect addition.

[See blog dated 3/17/09 "Stoned" on Stone Walls]

Over the last few days, our son Jason responded by scrounging around the local area to find metal rods from an old bed mattress foundation [... abandoned in a wooded dump area] and two discarded microwave ovens.

  1. From the mattress springs he cut out metal rods, designing and bending the rods into an esthetically pleasing gate, complete with latch.

  2. From the microwave units, he utilized the transformers to construct an arc welder.

  3. From there he welded the bed springs into a functioning gate.

    The "homemade" arc welder.

Jason spot welds the gate components into a single unit.

The finished unit

..."Welcome" to a little less trashy world.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Backpacking the Eastern End of the Finger Lakes Trail

On Tuesday, May 19th my parents dropped me off on Cuyler Hill road just off NYS route 13, northwest of Cortland to begin a solo, 8 day, 180 mile backpack trek from central NY into the central Catskill mountains. This trek completed the eastern end of the Finger Lakes Trail system.

Each day required that I cover between 22 and 23 miles in order to arrive at my designated pull out point on Denning road, northwest of Claryville, NY by May 26th.

My hiking day usually saw me off by 5:45 am, with arrival at my daily destination goal by 5 - 6 pm. I was glad that I invested and broke in a good pair of backpacking boots; as the terrain across Chenango, Delaware and parts of Ulstar counties was rocky, with my feet taking the brunt of the 215 pound load (body weight+backpack weight).

On the trail.

Spring flowers were constant trail companions.

I made a point to rest and periodically deboot, soaking my feet in cold streams throughout the hiking day.

Soaking my feet near Bowman State Park in Chenango County.

The terrain was 90% on hilly, rocky trials with repeated elevation changes of between 300 to 700 feet as I progressed across hill tops (2100 - 3100 feet) and valley bottoms (1200 - 1800 feet). I was surprised and glad that I wore long pants on hot days crossing the Catskills, where trails were often overgrown with briars and stinging nettles.

Briar and nettle covered trail.

The weather was good, with a only one night of repeated passing thunderstorm flashing and rumblings at a campground near Shinhopple, NY. I was cozy and dry in my tent as each storm passed.

The morning following a night of thunder & lightening near Shinhopple, NY.

Chenango County was the ancestral home of ...great, great relatives that enlisted and traveled down the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers for training and to fight in the Civil War.
Chemung River/Canal
Evidence of past life.
Another foundation structure

I thought of these people as I crossed repeated stone fences in hard wood forests, once homes to thriving communities long since abandoned for the better farm lands in the mid-west.

The hills of Chenago County
A ladder to cross a pasture fence in Chenago County
Crossing into NYC's water supply

Looking back over terrain crossed.

Evening with the "blackflies" in the Catskills.

Sunset from my tent on the first evening out.

Looking west from the Balsam Mt. fire tower.
Whow! ... started some 100 miles west of the horizon.
They did it all!
On Tuesday, May 26th Sue and Jason met me for a mid-day pick up on Denning Road near Claryville, NY, where we continued on to Rode Island for a family reunion at a beach house on the coast. I enjoyed sitting in the car, watching the country side pass by with very little effort on my part.