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.


  1. Congratulations. I was hiking the Bear Spring Park to Corbet part right about the same time. We were only day hiking though. We were wondering why we kept seeing the same set of footprints every so often. Congrats again.

    Don't know if you've been to this site but it would be nice to see ya and hear some advice.

  2. I must to say this blog catched my attention and i am completely satisfy what i read here. Really wonderful!! I think our fingers always get a good function for every task that we need to do. So we need to appreciate and take care every part of our body.
    Actually our fingers can be erotic too, if you are interested to have a great experience i advice first to buy viagra and then you´ll tell me.