Finger Lakes Trail: First 3 Days
I apologize for the giant gap in time from my last post to this one. I don’t really have an excuse —just life, I guess — but I wanted to finish up writing about the FLT because the trail will catch someone else’s eye and maybe this will add a little more insight to posts that are far and few between.
If you recall from my last post, I got a late start at the trailhead, so after the 1.1 miles or whatever it was to get to the New York border from where I got on the trail Pennsylvania, I started officially on the Finger Lakes Trail at 7:43pm. I got in some miles to finish at Wolf Run. Someone had signed the register at the trailhead and said they’d be there as well, but the campsite was empty. The map suggested there might be another campground a mile down another trail that was drivable, but it was dark by the time I got there and I wasn’t about to hike another mile to find a campsite that may or may not exist with other hikers who may or may not exist. First night on the trail = first night camping alone. I chucked a couple sticks into the woods and out of my way before setting up my tarp on the flattest spot I could find and tried to fall asleep, but I didn’t expect to get much shut eye.
A lot happened. I don’t know how I feel about the trail yet … I’m definitely not a fan of all the road walking. I hit a bunch of closures for hunting and was caught in a thunderstorm at the end of them. Allegheny had some good trail, but it was still early in the season and there were lots of blowdowns. The FLT goes wherever they get permission to put that trail, so I walked through a state park, power line roads, paved roads and railroad track that was converted to a trail. Oh, and a dirt road.
I took the detour up Bucktooth Run Road to 4th St to catch the trail. It’s a little odd hiking on a trail that is not very popular. Some people are aware of the trail and will chat, some people ask me if I’m lost or need help (probably, but not in a way like I’m running from a serial killer or something), but most people I’m near are in cars driving by on one of my roadwalks, and so they could be thinking any of the above and I wouldn’t know.
It’s muggy, too, which for me is good for sleeping temperature. I legitimately enjoy being hot while I sleep, but I think my bag had lost some loft so if I didn’t have the water particles in the air to keep me warm, I’d be SOL. Feet are wet and wrecked. Definitely some blisters.
Woke up in the rain next to a rail-to-trail section. Everything was really damp and I had to fling off slugs from my tarp, my shoes, my pack, and my bag. My feet were hurting, and I found some blisters. The first part of the day was pretty standard and I went through two ski resorts: Holiday and Holimont. Then came the mother of all roadwalks because of hunting (I don’t even know what people hunt in May). Ellicottville is a cute ski town so that wasn’t a bad walk, just long, and there was a Tim Hortons along the way. I didn’t care for even half a second it was my third day on the trail, I charged my phone, got some food and called my sister. And I downloaded a bunch of podcasts, including half a semester of Human A&P lectures and lots of TED Talks. I listened to this one at least three times on the trail. I live about 45 minutes away from Ellicottville, so I’m familiar with that road walk and knew that section would be fine. I also hit it in the middle of a sunny day — definite bonus. Where it turns left onto 240 was my primary concern and my first reaction to that part of the walk was, “Hell no, I’m not walking on that road.”
It’s twisty-gurney, zero shoulder, and in the shadow of two hills, so there isn’t even sunlight on that road any time of the day. Needless to say, it would have been a risky move. There was an abandoned railroad that went parallel to 240 though, so I decided to walk on that instead. It went great for half a mile and then I found a train parked on it that had to be a mile long. It was quiet and safe, though, so I took my time to climb around it. After much longer than a mile usually takes me, I made it to Fancy Tract and I read and read and read maps and updates, and followed the trail into the woods. It was clearly blazed, but the trail at times was not there. Like no human had used that as a pathway for travel in years, and looked like random blazes in a forest. After a little while of picking my way around the woods, I made it back on a decently established trail and then back out onto a road. Entering that section from the road in that direction, however, a notification said the section was closed for hiking. *insert frustrated sigh here*
Oh well, I made it to the other side, didn’t get shot at, and ended at Boyce Shelter for the night. It was my first shelter and I didn’t know it existed until about six miles before I got there. I wasn’t in the habit of looking for shelters, but it was lucky because I woke up to a thunderstorm at about one thirty in the morning.
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