Sunday, March 31, 2013


I have been pretty busy with the Easter holidays, so I will have to update the rest of the FLT posts later, but I survived the hike to the eastern end of the FLT, finishing at the Long Path near Claryville.

Tomorrow I will be setting forth from Blodgett Mills to start the western end of the FLT, spending 3-4 weeks on that half of the trail.

Its kind of funny, but I will have more time to write the journal posts when I am hiking than now, but less contact with civilization to be able to post them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

FLT Day 13: Tower Rd, 19.1 miles

Today was mostly roadwalk, so I took advantage and got an early start. The first few miles were actually trail, updated since Chenango got his maps, so that was a nice addition to the FLT.

For the most part the roads were all back roads. They were still all plowed, but had almost no traffic. The one exception was route 10, which had some traffic but a wide shoulder. The nice thing about route 10 was that Chenango had offered to meet me there and take me into town to resupply. That way I could avoid carrying 8 days worth of food.

It was a quick town stop in Walton. I hit the family dollar for a resupply, and then we used the Mcdonalds wifi to check email and weather. Apparently there is a storm moving in tonight which is supposed to dump 4 inches of snow. Just when it was starting to clear off too.

Given the impending storm I really tried to burn in a few extra miles today to make tomorrow easier. However, by the time I was at Tower rd it was already snowing pretty hard right into my face. At that point I had already almost set up camp underneath an old 18 wheeler on the side of the road, but decided that was a bit conspicuous. As it turned out, right when the storm was getting bad I found a stand of pine trees for the night. Cover from snow and a bit of wind protection. We'll see how tomorrow turns out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

FLT Day 12: Dry Brook leanto, 13.3 miles

Today was almost entirely woods walking, which was nice. I think either the snow I getting deeper, or I am just in an area that hasn't melted yet.

It wasn't anywhere near the level that I started off at, but the snow was still deep enough to mess up my stride.

Chenango left early this morning and then I went back to bed, since I knew I had a relatively short day to go. Once I got up and got moving it was a pretty good day. The sun even came out a bit at times, so everything warmed up a bit.

Tonights shelter is another eagle scout project, from 1999. It seems like a lot if the trail improvements are from various projects over the years. A couple of the shelters have been Eagle Scout projects, and a bunch of the bridges have been as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

FLT Day 11: Getter Hill leanto: 12.6 miles

After a nice breakfast at Chenango's he drove me back to Bainbridge so I could start hiking. Since he was going to be meeting me that afternoon I was even able to slackpack the 10 miles of roadwalk through to Masonville.

After Masonville Chenango joined me for the last mile and a half of the day to get to the leanto. We arrived with several hours of daylight still, so we set about making a nice fire to ward off the cold. The forecast is for 15 degrees tonight, so we'll see how cold it actually gets.

Friday, March 15, 2013

FLT Day 10: Bainbridge 10.3 miles

This morning I dealt with the worst possible combination: wet socks and a frozen boot. Almost immediately after putting the boot on I could feel the sock freezing to the boot, and not moving with my skin anymore. Fortunately it melted quickly. I also knew I was in for a shorter day, which made it

Even though I was only going about ten miles I still managed to posthole into frozen water a few times. It was also starting to snow a bit more, with wet snow that sticks to everything.

By the time I got to Bainbridge I was ready to call it quits. Fortunately I had arranged a meeting with Chenango, so I just had to email him and a bit later he came to my rescue and brought me to his house for the night.

A nice warm shower, clean laundry, and rest. We even ended up going out for Italian food, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't live up to the hiker hunger expectations. There was still a bit of food on my plate when we left. My excuse is that I had filled up on junk food in Bainbridge waiting for Chenango.

The weather forecast for the next couple of days is supposed to be pretty cold, but I'm going to be taking advantage of several leantos in the area, which helps.

We also figured out a way for Chenango to hike a bit with me, so that will be nice for both of us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

FLT Day 9: Wiley Brook camp, 15.5 miles

Last night was probably the coldest night so far. It was forecast to be around 16 degrees overnight, with a high of 27 today.

When I woke up everything was completely frozen. It took a while longer to pack up, mainly just because I was moving slower.

Once I got moving it wasn't so bad, most of the water had frozen over. Probably the worst part was breaking through the ice into freezing cold water past my ankles a couple times.

There were a few nice waterfalls along the way, but mainly just a few feet at a time.

Tomorrow I will be heading in to Bainbridge for resupply and touch base with Chenango again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FLT Day 8: Ludlow leanto 15.4 miles

Today I woke to a nice shining sun and actually got my first glimpse of trail. The rain had melted quite a bit of snow, and in places the path was actually showing through.

It was also the first day that I felt like I was actually hiking, rather than just trudging. The trail is pretty wet in a lot of places, so I am still getting soaked.

Probably the best part of the day through was Chenango showing up at one of the road crossings. I had sent him my rough schedule, since I knew he lived in the area. Apparently he had been trying to track me down, but ket missing, either being too late, or from me taking alternate routes. But today we finally connected. He brought some assorted goodies for trail magic and we were able to catch up a bit from the past year and a half since I met him on the Florida trail.

I think we spent a bit too long talking, since I ended up getting caught in a snowstorm at the end of the day.

I ended up at Ludlow leanto, which is a very nice spot overlooking a river. A relatively recent leanto, but I can imagine it being a great summer spot for swimming in the river.

Apparently tomorrow I have several waterfalls to look forward to as well.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FLT Day 7: Plymouth leanto 0 miles

I woke up this morning to the forecasted rain, and decided to wait it out for a bit. Well, it never let up, so I just stayed in the shelter and read for most of the day. Freezing rain is not something I want to deal with if I can avoid it.
The good news is that the rain is continuing to melt the snow. It seems like in most places it is about ankle deep now, but really wet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

FLT Day 6: Plymouth leanto, 9 miles

Another shorter, relatively warm day. The snow is melting nicely. On the steeper south facing slopes the ground is already poking through in a bunch of places. Pretty soon I might even be able to see the trail.

I had stopped for lunch during a roadwalk, since the guardrails make nice places to sit without getting soaked. Almost right after my lunch break a cop car pulls up along side of me and asks me if I had just been down at the intersection. Apparently during my lunch break someone had called me in as a suspicious person. I guess a backpacker, with a backpack on, on a backpacking trail, is now considered suspicious.

It turns out that there was a recent homicide in the area that had put locals on edge. The cops were nice about it, but still took my info just in case. At least one of the cops actually knew about the trail, and there were two FLT signs within sight that I could point out to the other one.

The same thing had happened to me during the Alabama roadwalk between the Florida trail and Flagg mt. I was with Needles at the time, and he was having van support from Gatorade Gordon. It was a bit tougher to convince those cops that we were on a hiking trail to Canada, when all we were carrying was day packs. Apparently at that time the cops were more concerned about Gordon in the big white van parked at the corner, even though it had "all trails lead to God" written on the side of it.

Tonights leanto isn't quite as nice as the last one. This one has been around since 1933, and has been used as a local party place based on the register. Still a dry place to set my tent up, and a convenient place to camp.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

FLT Day 5: Perkins Pond leanto 10.7 miles

Today was a shorter day that actually felt like one.

The weather was even warmer, so the melting continues, and the walking gets easier. I still get soaking wet from the ankles down though, and it's taking a toll on my feet.

Since I was stopping early today I got a chance to make a good fire at the leanto. Fire makes everything better. A chance to dry out socks, a chance at a warm meal, and entertainment.

My sock system over the past few days is to wear one pair and have one drying on the back of my back. They don't get all the way dry in a day, so I put the dryer pair in a stuff sack in my sleeping bag at night. That way they aren't frozen the next morning and I can put my feet in them. The other pair gets hung on my back the next day. Then you have to factor in that my boots have been freezing overnight, so the first five minutes in the morning are slow going until they thaw out. The. I can actually tie the laces and move a bit quicker. Ah, the joys of a winter hike.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

FLT Day 4: Bucks Brook camp, 10.5 miles

Slightly shorter day today, but it was still a full day of hiking.

Today I saw the first signs of other hikers, mainly in footprints that were probably more than a week old, based on the registers. For about a quarter mile a father and son pair had tried to go for a hike, but then had turned around because it was too much work. I can't say I blame them.

The day was relatively warm, forecasted in mid 40s. At one point I was hiking through knee deep snow in a T-shirt. When the wind set in through it felt colder, so I put a jacket back on. For the most part I have been wearing long underwear, zip off pants, a wicking T-shirt, a hat, and a driclime windshirt.

With the coming temperature the snow is definitely starting to melt as well as compact, so I am starting to posthole less frequently and less deeply. Definitely good tidings for the next couple of days. Tomorrow is supposed to be low 50s, so the melting should continue.

Tonight I am basically camped on the side of a gravel road, so there is some traffic, but it's in the state forest in a stand of pine trees, which is always nice.

Friday, March 8, 2013

FLT Day 3: Paradise leanto 14.8 miles

Another repeat of yesterday's postholing. I was awakened by two hunters walking by wondering why there was a tent in the campground. Not sure of the logic there, but that's what they were saying.

After postholing again for the entire morning I hit a bit of roadwalk. Never have I been so thankful for roadwalk before.

I did talk with one local who knew about the leanto I was headed to, and he told me I'd be there in 45 minutes, even through I still had 1 mile of roadwalk left and 1 mile of trudging through snow. It ended up taking me about 1:30 hours to get there, and I was dead by then.

Got a small fire going, enough to cook dinner with, but most of the wood was wet and frozen.

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid 40s so I am hoping for some of the snow to melt, and hopefully compact the rest so I can walk on top of it instead of through it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

FLT Day 2: Chiningo Day use area 15.3 miles

Well, I spent the morning wishing I were Legolas, and the afternoon thinking about how to make snowshoes out of various things in my backpack.

The snow has definitely deepened, up to my knees in places. The top layer is powdery, but then 6 inches down is an icy layer. It seems like this layer isn't enough to support me, so I keep breaking through. Sometimes it holds my weight, which actually makes it worse. Basically the entire day was step, kathunk, step, kathunk. I probably look like a drunken sailor with a peg leg.

Fortunately the last several miles were parallel to a snowmobile route, so I stepped over to that and was able to make some distance. The rest of the day I was probably only going about 1 mile an hour. Hopefully the snow starts melting soon, it was supposed to warm up this weekend a bit.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

FLT Day 1: Blodgett Mills to Hoxie Gorge leanto 3.8 miles

First day back on the trail. Through a combination of buses I arrived in Blodgett Mills, NY in the middle of the afternoon. That left me with maybe 3 miles of roadwalk to get to the trail, and then about a mile or so on the trail to get to Hoxie Gorge leanto for the night.

The predicted foot of snow isn't here, but I an still postholeing through several inches of icy snow, which is slowing me down quite a bit.

The shelter is nice, with a good supply of firewood. I ended up making a small fire to cook dinner with, and then turned in for the night.