On Wednesday, August 30th I decided that I wanted to go for a hike close to home. The big loop around Frock and Hodge ponds has become my “go to” hike for a quick walk close to home so I decided to head there. Sheila sniffed my clothes and immediately knew we were hiking. She began to run around the house bouncing against the furniture but always keeping a close eye on me. I put my gear in the car and an excited Sheila in the back seat and drove out the DeBruce Road at 9:40 AM. At Mongaup Pond Road I turned left and continued to follow the road bearing left onto Beech Mountain Road at the fork. When we arrived in the parking area there were no other cars parked. Sheila was acting as if she hadn’t hiked in a month as she ran around and headed for the trail. The temperature was 57 degrees and I was a little cool as I got my gear ready to go. The skies were overcast and there was a breeze blowing. We headed out the path to the register on Quick Lake Trail at 10:00 AM. Continue reading
On Monday, August 28th I planned to again go to the Hornell area to hike a part of the Finger Lakes Trail on Map 9. The section of trail from Bishopville Rd to Webb Rd had been relocated just as I was hiking it a little more than a week ago. The old route turned left on Bishopville Road and then ducked into the woods before coming out onto Wilson Karr Road. From there it was a road walk over Wilson Karr Road, Bishopville Road and Pennsylvania Hill Road where the trail again entered the woods. The new section of trail turned right on Bishopville Road and then followed dirt Hopkins road to a new trail along the right of way for I86 into Kanakadea Park. The trail again followed the I86 right of way before turning left on dirt Fitzgerald Road. From Fitzgerald Road the trail went through the forest before breaking out into a field and crossing Webb Road. From there the trail rejoined the old portion of the trail and headed east. I wanted to hike this new section before part of it closed on September 1st for hunting. I set my alarm for 5:00 AM but was awakened at 2:30 AM for an ambulance call. I got back home a little after 4:00 PM and decided that I would simply leave for the hike as soon as I could get ready. I was a little tired but thought I could safely do the drive and hike. Continue reading
The week of August 27th began with a sunny Sunday with highs in the high 60’s and low humidity. Blue skies with white, billowing clouds dominated the day. Monday will be much the same with periods of sun and clouds and highs reaching to just 70 degrees. On Tuesday it will be mostly cloudy with highs in the mid to high 60’s. Wednesday brings partly sunny skies and highs getting to 70 degrees. Thursday will be pleasant with some sun and slightly warmer temperatures reaching into the low 70’s. Friday will be sunny but cooler with highs in the low 60’s. Saturday will be mostly sunny and warmer with highs will be in the low 70’s. Getting wet in a shower may be refreshing but getting caught in a thunderstorm is no joke. When lightning begins to strike seek shelter under a rock overhang or in a lean-to or other building if possible. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. 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!
On Saturday, August 26th I had planned to visit Ringwood Manor in Ringwood, New Jersey with Cindy. After visiting the house and grounds, I though we might hike the 3 mile loop trail in back of the manor house. The first tour of the house was at 11:00 AM so we did not hurry to leave the house. As we were getting ready, Sheila was excited until I explained she could not go on this adventure. I always feel bad when I leave her behind but we had been on a long hike the day before and I promised to take her out after church on Sunday. We left Livingston Manor at 10:00 AM and headed south and east on State Route 17 to exit 131 at Harriman. From here we took Route 17 south through Tuxedo to the village of Sloatsburg. I turned right on Sterling Mine Road and continued until I saw the sign for Ringwood Manor on the right. We drove in paying only $7 to park in the lot which was almost empty at about 11:40 AM. We walked over to the park office and bought tickets for the noon tour for $3 each. Continue reading
On Friday, August 25th I awoke to my alarm at 5:00 AM to get ready to hike the westernmost section of Map 9 of the Finger Lakes Trail. Map 9 runs from Slader Creek Road southwest of Canaseraga to Hornell and has more north to south hiking than west to east. My plan was to park at Access 1 on Slader Creek Road and have a taxi pick me up there and drop me further south at Access 6 on Bully Hill Road. I would then hike back to my car. I would have preferred to hike in the opposite direction as that is the way the FLT sets up their map descriptions but there is no place to park on Bully Hill Road! The forecast for the Hornell area showed no chance of rain but clouds mixed with sun and highs only in the low 70’s. This is almost ideal hiking weather! I was tired from a number of serious ambulance calls during the week an thought about postponing the trip. In the end I decided to go since I knew I would feel better once I was on the road. I got all my gear together while Sheila hovered around me making sure that she was going on the hike. I put on my summer/fall pants and a light baselayer with my Columbia long-sleeved pullover shirt. I decided to try my Keen Glarus boots even though on a previous hike they had bruised my left ankle a little. I made sure I put in two full water bottles and had my water purifier with me. The drive is mare than 3 hours but I knew a good part of the route from previous trips and did not have to worry much about directions. Continue reading
On Wednesday, August 23rd I wanted to get in a hike close to home and, after trying to come up with a new hike, I decided to head for Frick Pond To hike the Flynn and Quick Lake Trails to Hodge and Frick Ponds. The weather was beautiful with bright sun and blue skies but with highs in the low 60’s. I saw no reason to wait and Sheila agreed so I got ready to leave and pulled out of the driveway sometime after 10:15 AM. Sheila was certainly ready to hike as she jumped in the back seat and perched on the console. I drove out DeBruce Road and turned left on Mongaup Road. When we arrived there were two other cars in the bigger lot. We crossed the road to get onto the Flynn Trail at 10:35 AM. The trail seemed a little damp as we walked through the woods from the rain we had over the previous couple of days. We turned right onto the woods road as we came out of the woods and the trail continued to be wet and was now muddy. It wasn’t long before I looked up to see another hiker headed down the trail in our direction. I put Sheila on her leash and the hiker stopped to talk. Continue reading
On Monday, August 21st, I decided I wanted to hike Slide Mountain as I had not been there is a year and it is close to home. I like to throw in a 3500 foot peak every now and then for the challenge and to prove to myself I can still hike elevation as well as distance. I asked Cindy if she wanted to go and was a little surprised when she said yes. The start of the day was very foggy and we decided to wait a little while before heading out. This was also the day of the long awaited solar eclipse but tat was supposed to occur in the mid afternoon. As we started to get ready Sheila was very excited and indicated she didn’t care where we went as long as we got out of the house. I headed out the DeBruce Road at about 10:00 AM and drove passed Round Pond and down to Route 47. I turned left and drove toward Frost Valley. After passing the YMCA camp, I watched for the parking area for Slide Mountain. The Biscuit Brook parking area had six cars in it and I wondered if Slide would be crowded. I pulled in just before 10:30 AM and found three cars in the lot. Another car pulled in just as we were getting ready to leave. I set my electronics and we got on the trail right away. Continue reading
The week of August 20th began with a partly sunny Sunday with highs in the mid 70’s and low humidity. Blue skies with white, billowing clouds dominated the day. Monday there will be fog in the morning giving way to sunny skies with clouds and highs in the low 80’s. On Tuesday the forecast calls for partly sunny skies with increasing humidity and highs in the low 80’s. Wednesday will be sunny with the clouds breaking and highs in the low 70’s. Thursday will be partly sunny and pleasant with highs reaching only to 70 degrees. Friday will sunny and nice with highs in the mid 70’s. On Saturday the highs will be in the low 70’s under party sunny skies.Getting wet in a shower may be refreshing but getting caught in a thunderstorm is no joke. When lightning begins to strike seek shelter under a rock overhang or in a lean-to or other building if possible. When the weather conditions are constantly changing, be sure you are dressed appropriately in clothing which will wick away moisture to allow further moisture to evaporate and cool your body. Layering should be with non-cotton materials as cotton tends to hold moisture. Keeping hydrated as the weather heats up can but hydrating properly will allow you to hike longer and in greater comfort. Be sure to carry plenty of water with you as local water sources can be unreliable and may be contaminated. 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!
On Saturday, August 19th Cindy and I had spent some time at Grey Towers in Milford, PA and were on the way home via Route 6 to Shohola. I asked her if she would like to stop by Shohola Falls as it was on the way. She agreed and we turned left onto Route 6 from the Old Owego turnpike and headed west. The turn for Shohola Falls is a left about 9.6 miles from the Owego Turnpike at the sign for then Shohola Falls Inn. We turned left and drove up the road until a left turn led us down to the parking area for Shohola Lake. We parked and I got my camera to take some pictures. I really didn’t know what to expect as it seemed dry in the area but I could see water leaving the spillway of the dam. We walked down the steps to the rock shelves that line the edge of the falls. New wooden steps with railings had replaced the old slippery stone steps. Continue reading
On Saturday, August 19th I was tired from the FKT hike I had done the day before near Hornell. The 9.7 miles hike wasn’t too hard but the temperature was in the high 80’s with a handily level to match it. Also, the round trip drive is almost 400 miles which is more tiring than the hike. I wanted to do something with Cindy and suggest we go to Grey Towers in Milford, PA. Grey Towers is a National Historical site maintained by the US Forestry Service. The mansion was built in 1886 by James Pinchot as a summer house. James Pinchot made a fortune selling imported wallpapers and curtains to the wealthy in New York. Gifford Pinchot, James’ son, inherited Grey Towers in 1914 was the person responsible for developing the idea of the National Forestry Service. He was also the first director of the USFS. Gifford Pinchot later served as the Governor of Pennsylvania. He and his wife Cornelia made several changes to the mansion to accommodate new ideas and to entertain many important guests. Gifford’s son Gifford Bryce inherited the mansion and 120 acre grounds in 1960 but did not use it much. Continue reading