Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunday Hike on the Finger Lakes Trail

Last Sunday, my wife and I decided to take a day hike somewhere we haven't been before. We started to drive to some state land, but the access road to it wasn't being very kind to my little car (next time we'll take her Four wheel drive). So we drove around until we found a park with an access trail that connected to the Finger Lakes Trail system, 950 miles of trails that run through New York's Finger Lake's region. I have wanted to check out the FLT for a couple of years now but just hadn't gotten around to it with all the other great outdoor spaces around here.

Old Home Foundation

We parked the car, hitched up the dog and started our walk. The access trail from the park was pretty wet and muddy but eventually started heading uphill where it dried out and met the Finger Lakes Trail. The first part of the FLT we were on was an old logging road that led to the foundation of a long abandoned homestead. After checking that out for a few minutes we headed down the trail which quickly turned into a single path through the woods.

Part of the Finger Lakes Trail
We followed that for another mile or so, crossing a road and a couple of small streams before turning around and heading back the way we came. We passed the access trail we came in on and followed the FLT as it looped around and headed back to the other side of the park we started in, a total hike of around two hours.

Never having been on the FLT before, I wasn't sure what to expect. Parts of the trail run through towns and populated areas but this section ran through mostly state land and was a beautiful trail. There are plenty of places to get water and I spied quite a few really nice places to camp for a night or two. I'll be checking out other parts of he trail on day hikes throughout the summer and if I have the time, maybe even a two or three day backpacking trip. For more information about The Finger Lakes Trail check out , they are the organization that manages and maintains the trail system. They also offer guide books and maps, I'll be ordering a few from them very shortly.

Thanks for reading and I hope your days outdoors are good ones.


Tree at the Old Homesite

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

West Rim Trail, Tioga County Pa.

With the rain finally giving way to nicer weather here in the Northeast, My wife and I decided to take a day off from work and take a hike in the woods. Living only a few miles from the Pennsylvania border, we decided to go hike part of the West Rim Trail. The west rim trail is a 30+ mile hiking trail in North Central PA with it's northern terminus outside of Wellsboro Pa and it's southern terminus in a small town called Blackwell. Since this was a day hike we decided to hike in for a couple of hours then hike back out the same route. Googling "West Rim Trail PA" and "Pennsylvania Grand Canyon" will get you plenty of info about the trail and the area around it. The scenery is stunning and outdoor opportunities are everywhere.

The start of the trail is steep at times and crosses a couple of small creeks and then a state park road before finally leveling out and following the West Rim of the Pine Creek Gorge. In the first couple of miles you'll get glimpses of Pine Creek and The Pine Creek Rail Trail (a converted rail path for biking, walking, etc.) to your left. This part of the trail runs through Colton Point State Park and soon you'll hit the overlooks which offer incredible views of the gorge and creek. You'll see plenty of Turkey Vultures and if your lucky, the occasional Bald Eagle soaring over parts of the canyon.

Earlier in the hike we had come across a rather "fresh" present from a wandering bear right in the middle of the trail. Just as the trail was passing the overlooks, we caught up with him and my wife caught a glimpse of him when he realized we were behind him and he took off running, not giving us the opportunity for any pictures. There is a lot of Black Bears in this area and your chances of seeing one are pretty good. Just remember to keep your distance.

The trail wanders through patches of Mountain Laurel, which was just starting to bloom. Absolutely Beautiful.

On the way back out my wife saw a large bird sitting about 20 feet off the trail up ahead. As we got closer we realized we were looking at an Immature Bald Eagle and he didn't appear to be in any rush to leave. We quietly took a few pictures and stayed a respectable distance away so we wouldn't disturb him. They are an impressive bird, I have seen them before in flight but never one this close. They are magnificent creatures. We quietly headed back down the trail and back to the car.

Round trip we ended up hiking about 9 miles, and taking our time to see the sights it took us about 5 hours. I'd like to go back soon and do a 2 or 3 day backpacking trip to see the entire trail, hopefully I'll have time this summer for it.

Until next time, Be safe and enjoy your time in the outdoors.

Thanks for reading,