Weather for the week of July 26

The week of July 26th should begin with periods of sun and a chance of thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday with temperatures both days in the high 70’s or low 80’s. By Tuesday the skies clear and the temperatures rise into the mid 80’s with increasing humidity. Wednesday may be the warmest days with highs in the high 80’s. Thursday should also be sunny with temperatures in the mid 80’s. By Friday thunderstorms again may appear with highs in the low 80’s. Saturday will be more comfortable with lower humidity and temperatures in the low 70’s. Sunscreen and insect repellant would be a good addition to your pack. Keep hydrated since you will be able to hiker longer and in greater comfort. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!

FLT: Comfort Road to Route 13

ComfortRdRt13Jul2015_04camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, July 25th, I wanted to get out for another hike on the Finger Lakes Trail. The last section of map 17 for me was the first section of the map running 7.3 miles from Route 13 near Ithaca to Comfort Road where I had started my last hike. Of course, the problem is that I usually have to hike both ways as I have no ride back from the end point. This means hiking, for example, hiking 12 miles to get a 6 mile section of trail. On many hikes I have used other trails of road walks to avoid a strict out-and-back which can be extremely boring! The problem with the section I chose was that there was some question about crossing the Cayuga Inlet right at the beginning of the hike. Flooding had deepened and widened the stream which might make it impassable. The railroad bridge over the stream is in use and is a privately owned structure. Continue reading

FLT: Comfort Road to Fisher Settlement Road

ComfortRdFisherSettlementJul2015_02camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Thursday, July 23rd, I wanted to get out for another hike on my 63rd birthday. I decided I wanted return to the Finger Lakes Trail to the a section of map 17 which is the next map to the west of my completed sections. This section starts at the junction of Routes 96,13 and 34 near Ithaca and continues southeast for 19 miles to the intersection of Heisey Rd and Eastman Hill Rd northwest of Candor. Of course, the problem is that I usually have to hike both ways as I have no ride back from the end point. This means hiking, for example, hiking 12 miles to get a 6 mile section of trail. On many hikes I have used other trails of road walks to avoid a strict out-and-back which can be extremely boring! I checked the weather forecast when I got up found sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70’s with no chance of rain. Continue reading

FLT: Fisher Settlement Road to Heisey Road

FisherSettlementHeiseyRdJul2015_01camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Wednesday, July 22nd, I decided I wanted return to the Finger Lakes Trail my first section of map 17 which is the next map to the west of my completed sections. This section starts at the junction of Routes 96,13 and 34 near Ithaca and continues southeast for 19 miles to the intersection of Heisey Rd and Eastman Hill Rd northwest of Candor. Of course, the problem is that I usually have to hike both ways as I have no ride back from the end point. This means hiking, for example, hiking 12 miles to get a 6 mile section of trail. On many hikes I have used other trails of road walks to avoid a strict out-and-back which can be extremely boring! I checked the weather forecast when I got up found sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70’s with no chance of rain. Continue reading

FLT: Steve Russell Hill Road to Hoxie Gorge

SteveRussellHoxieGorgeJul2015_17camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Monday, July 20th, I decided I wanted to hike a newly rerouted section of trail near Marathon. This section of trail used to head north on West River Road to Blodgett Mills and then south along Route 11 to Hoxie Gorge Road. This was necessitated because the Tioughnionga River flows between West River Road and Route 11 and there are a limited number of bridges. The new route travels south along West River Road to Route 392, crosses the river on a road bridge and then for only .7 miles. It then turns east onto Steve Russell Hill Road for 1.2 miles before cutting left into the woods. The rest of the trail flows a completely new route cut through Hoxie Gorge State Forest before joining the old trail near The Cornell property near Hoxie Gorge Road. Continue reading

Touch-Me-Not Trail Maintenance

On Sunday, July 19th, I decided to head for Big Pond to do some trail maintenance on the Touch-Me-Not Trail from Big Pond to Little Pond. I recently adopted this trail for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference as it had not been maintained in a few years. This winter I hike the trail and lost the blazes several times when the trail was covered by deep snow. My intention is to clear the trail from Barkaboom Road to Beech Hill Road and then realize the sections that need it. I had already worked on the trail several weeks ago and had to remove several blowdowns before I could trim back the nettles and briars. By the time I got to the latter I was a little tired and was only able to trim the ones directly in the trail using my manual hedge trimmers. This time I was returning with a Stihl power Scythe on loan from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. The Power Scythe is gas powered and has a cutting bar just less than 3 feet long! It cuts grass and weeds just fine but will also cut branches and brush! The drawback is that it weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds and requires a supply of gasoline. I knew this would be perfect for the work I had to do. I packed the essentials in an older pack and included a gallon of gas mixed with chainsaw oil. I disappointed Sheila by leaving her at home but the work I was doing was too dangerous to bring her along. I come to get to work early as the temperature was forecast to rise during the day. I drove up the Beaverkill Road and turned left onto the Barkaboom Road just before Turnwood. I drove to Big Pond and found several cars already there. After parking, I got out the power scythe, shouldered my pack and crossed the road to start my work. I had cleaned out a good part of the first part of the trail so I simply walked until I began to encounter some nettles. Already the power scythe seemed heavy! I dropped my tank, filled the gas tank and prayed it would start. I guess I need not have worried since it started right up and I got to work. I walked up the trail cutting on both sides as I went. The work seemed to go quickly and the power scythe seemed lighter in use. I got to the beginning of an ascent and stopped there. I left the power scythe and hiked back to get my pack. I was surprised how far I had come and as I hiked back up the trail, I decided I would try wearing the pack while working. I filled the gas tank again, stared it up and began cutting.

I was not easy to climb while carrying the power scythe and cut at the same time but I developed a technique. I had noticed when I stopped that I was a little hard of hearing and my hands would not stop tingling! I continued climbing and cutting nettles. They got more plentiful the higher I climbed although the trail was shaded and not particularly wet. I was careful to cut a wide swathe so that they would be less likely to grow back and block the trail again. I also cut back some brush, a few small trees and overhanging branches. At some point the nettles stopped and there wasn’t too much to cut until the briars started. I attacked the briars as best I could but my arms were starting to get very tired. I noticed this more when I had to raise the tool to cut branches. The briars were harder to cut as they are thicker than nettles and tend to start farther back and hang out over the trail. In the end, they never had a chance. I though I would never get to the top of the ascent but eventually the ground leveled. I wanted to get to the trail junction as that was my goal and I remembered in needed some trimming. Of course, I ran out of gas at before getting there1 I decided to walk to the trail junction and refill the tank there. When I got to the junction, I filled the tank and took drank a lot of water. After starting the machine again, I cleared the junction and then began trimming on my way back to the car. I actually left the power scythe on for some time trimming a few things that I had missed on the way up. At one point I looked up to see a young man and woman hiking toward me in shorts. They said “hello” and asked about the distance to Cabot Mountain. I replied and suggested that shorts might not be the best choice for the nettles on the way to Cabot. When I got to the steeper descent, I shut down the power scythe and carried it the rest of the way. I WA sure it had gotten heavier and that it weighed more turn off than when cutting! I made it back to the car by 1:00 PM. I was glad since I was tired and there seemed to be thousands of small black flies on the trail on the way back!

Weather for the week of July 19

The week of July 19th began with a warm and partly sunny Sunday with temperatures reaching the high 80’s. Overnight thunderstorms could bring heavy rain and highw ends to the area. On Monday temperatures are expected to reach the low 80’s with sunny skies and some clouds. Tuesday expect thunderstorms in but the morning and afternoon but with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s. Wednesday should bring plenty of sunshine with temperatures dropping back into the mid 70’s. Thursday should also be nice with temperatures in the mid 70’s and partly sunny skies. Friday and Saturday are expected to by sunny and nice with temperatures rising from the low 70’s on Friday to the high 70’s on Saturday. Sunscreen and insect repellant would be a good addition to your pack. Keep hydrated since you will be able to hiker longer and in greater comfort. Once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Remember, the weather forecast is only a prediction and always contains percentages. Be prepared and have a plan for the most likely and least likely forecast! Are you prepared to stay out overnight on a trail? Conditions in the morning can change drastically by afternoon. Conditions at the trailhead do not always reflect the conditions on the peaks! Variable trail and weather conditions are a hallmark of these mountains. BE CAREFUL AND BE PREPARED!

FLT: West River Road to Steve Russell Hill Road

WRiverRdtoHoxieGorgeNov2013_05camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Saturday, July 18th, I decided I wanted to hike a newly rerouted section of trail near Marathon. This section of trail used to head north on West River Road to Blodgett Mills and then south along Route 11 to Hoxie Gorge Road. This was necessitated because the Tioughnionga River flows between West River Road and Route 11 and there are a limited number of bridges. The new route travels south along West River Road to Route 392, crosses the river on a road bridge and then for only .7 miles. It then turns east onto Steve Russell Hill Road for 1.2 miles before cutting left into the woods. The rest of the trail flows a completely new route cut through Noxie Gorge State Forest before joining the old trail near The Cornell property near Hoxie Gorge Road. Continue reading

Rock Rift Fire Tower Loop

RockRiftTowerLoopJul2015_10camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhikeOn Friday, July 17th, I decided I wanted to hike the new section of the Finger Lakes Trail that starts at the Apex Bridge on the Cannonsville Reservoir and visits the Rock Rift Fire Tower. From the fire tower the trail heads west to join the existing trail near Faulkner Road. I had hike almost 10 miles the day before but was feeling good and wanted to do this hike. Sheila apparently was feeling good also as she ran around the house as I was getting ready! I got my gear and Sheila in the car and headed north and west on State Route 17 a little after 9:00 AM. I took exit 87 and followed Route 268 to the Apex Bridge over the Cannonsville Reservoir and turned left to drive north on Route 10. I was looking for the point where the trail crossed the road. I thought that to add some variety to the hike I would hike up the newest part of the trail to the fire tower since I had never been that way before. Continue reading

FLT: Heisey Road to Braley Hill Road

HeiseyRdBraleyHillRdJul2015_05camera32gps_pictalltrailscaltopomapmyhike On Thursday, July 16th, I decided I wanted return to the Finger Lakes Trail to the first section of map 18 which is the next map to the west of my completed sections. This section starts at Heisey Road near Route 119 southeast of Ithaca and continues for over 23 miles to the intersection of Purvis Road and Route 38 just south of Dryden Lake . Of course, the problem is that I usually have to hike both ways as I have no ride back from the end point. This means hiking, for example, hiking 12 miles to get a 6 mile section of trail. On many hikes I have used other trails of road walks to avoid a strict out-and-back which can be extremely boring! I checked the weather forecast when I got up and sunny skies with lower humidity and temperatures with no chance of rain. By the time I started my hike at around 10:00 AM the temperature would be in the high 60’s. I knew the trail might be wet from the rains the previous day but this is a fact of life during most of the summer. Continue reading