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M19-20 hike

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  • Terry R McConnell
    What better way to end the calendar year than with a hike on the FLT? Earlier in hunting season I had knocked off the long road walk of M20 along Route 11
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1 9:27 AM

      What better way to end the calendar year than with a hike on the FLT? Earlier in hunting season I had "knocked off" the long road walk of M20 along Route 11 and W. River Road, and in early October I had hiked the eastern half of M19, returning to my car on Babcock Hollow Road along the orange blazed "Dabes diversion". That left the mostly-trail segment from River Road to the top of Virgil Mt still to be done. Together with the return trip, the leg would fall neatly into my 15-20 mile sweet spot, so I slung on my day pack and headed west and uphill from my car on River Road. The unusual opportunity for "a little something to sustain us" at the Gatherings Restaurant bar made the plan seem all the more attractive. Ba la brea a bheith ar an gCosan Lochanna Meire!

       

      From River Road the trail heads steeply uphill along the scenic rim of a small river gorge, quickly to emerge smack in the back yard of somebody's house. "Sure hope they're members," I thought as I gingerly crept by within 5 feet of a picture window, trying my best to look like a normal part of the scenery. Further along I snapped a quick cell phone pic looking upstream at the Tenkate bridge (attached), my shaky hands conspiring with the laws of optics to produce an interesting effect I never could have gotten with forethought.

       

      Trail conditions can be summarized in one word: slippery! Above 1600 ft. there was a uniform 1-2 inch layer of slushy snow that required a kind of stiff-legged strut to navigate any grade steeper than 5%, and which made side hill traverses dicey and dangerous. On downhill stretches through Tuller Hill SF I worked to perfect a primitive form of 'skiing' on hiking boots made possible by this slick layer. The speed gained thereby partially made up for the slow-going, but nevertheless I emerged on Carson Road a good hour behind schedule.

       

      A main feature of the Tuller Hill section is the lovely Woodchuck Hollow and its eponymous lean-to. I stopped in there for a quick breather and found it to be stocked with a number of unofficial accoutrements left there by altruistic predecessors - candles, tins containing matches and such, shelf fungi (decorative?), and a half rusted-out wood stove propped helpfully in front of the opening. A half-full bottle of good Irish whiskey would have been welcome, but a quick search turned up nothing of this more interesting nature.

       

      Carson Road is steeply downhill (in this direction) and features a breathtaking view of the Virgil Mt ridge and Greek Peak ski area. The owners of Greek Peak, in defiance of global warming, had managed to amass enough artificial snow to open one or two of the main trails, and I could easily pick out small dots effortlessly zigzagging down slopes I would shortly have to slog to the top of. A quick turn at the bottom of Carson Rd puts you on Tone Rd, a dead end dirt lane that provides access to some of the more remote Greek Peak lift lines and, ultimately, the trailhead for the climb up Virgil Mt.

       

      About halfway up the hill you encounter a rather interesting "whatsit" (photo attached.) The trail map identifies this relic as an abandoned steam tractor boiler. The obvious question is "how did it get here?" Based on the dead feeling in my legs at this point I could believe that it simply up and died on this very spot. More likely, it was dragged here to be used in some old-time maple syrup operation.

       

      The same slippery conditions mentioned earlier made the climb particularly arduous and I arrived at the power line on top of the ridge even further behind schedule. The return trip down the hill, however, was lightning fast, made possible by my (now perfected) skiing technique, and I got back to the Gatherings with enough time to spare for that special little something ... But alas! The Gatherings was closed! A sign on the door said that the establishment was closed for the weekend due to the holidays. (Who ever heard of a restaurant/bar being closed on New Year's Eve? Grumble.)

       

      Being by now rather tired and discouraged (not to mention thirsty) I elected to skip the trail and return on Carson and Snyder Hill Roads. I can recommend this route to anybody looking to put together a loop hike in Tuller Hill. The view looking East at distant I81 on the far side of the Tioughnioga River valley is quite spectacular. Along the way I counted no fewer than 3 wooly bear caterpillars crossing the road. The sight of wooly bears crossing the road is not at all unusual - but on December 31!?

       

      Happy Hiking in the New Year,

      Terry

       

    • Joan Young
      Terry- may I use some of your post and a picture on North Country Trail News? Good stuff. Joan ... in hunting season I had knocked off the long road walk of
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 1 10:36 AM
        Terry- may I use some of your post and a picture on North Country Trail News?
        Good stuff.

        Joan


        >What better way to end the calendar year than with a hike on the FLT? Earli>er
        in hunting season I had "knocked off" the long road walk of M20 along Ro>ute
        11 and W. River Road, and in early October I had hiked the eastern half> of
        M19, returning to my car on Babcock Hollow Road along the orange blazed> "Dabes
        diversion". That left the mostly-trail segment from River Road to t>he top of
        Virgil Mt still to be done. Together with the return trip, the le>g would fall
        neatly into my 15-20 mile sweet spot, so I slung on my day pac>k and headed
        west and uphill from my car on River Road. The unusual opportu>nity for "a little
        something to sustain us" at the Gatherings Restaurant ba>r made the plan seem
        all the more attractive. Ba la brea a bheith ar an gCo>san Lochanna Meire!
        >
        >>From River Road the trail heads steeply uphill along the scenic rim of a sm>all
        river gorge, quickly to emerge smack in the back yard of somebody's hou>se.
        "Sure hope they're members," I thought as I gingerly crept by within 5 >feet
        of a picture window, trying my best to look like a normal part of the >scenery.
        Further along I snapped a quick cell phone pic looking upstream at> the Tenkate
        bridge (attached), my shaky hands conspiring with the laws of >optics to produce
        an interesting effect I never could have gotten with fore>thought.
        >
        >Trail conditions can be summarized in one word: slippery! Above 1600 ft. th>ere
        was a uniform 1-2 inch layer of slushy snow that required a kind of sti>ff-legged
        strut to navigate any grade steeper than 5%, and which made side >hill traverses
        dicey and dangerous. On downhill stretches through Tuller Hi>ll SF I worked
        to perfect a primitive form of 'skiing' on hiking boots made> possible by this
        slick layer. The speed gained thereby partially made up f>or the slow-going,
        but nevertheless I emerged on Carson Road a good hour be>hind schedule.
        >
        >A main feature of the Tuller Hill section is the lovely Woodchuck Hollow an>d
        its eponymous lean-to. I stopped in there for a quick breather and found >it
        to be stocked with a number of unofficial accoutrements left there by al>truistic
        predecessors - candles, tins containing matches and such, shelf fu>ngi (decorative?),
        and a half rusted-out wood stove propped helpfully in fr>ont of the opening.
        A half-full bottle of good Irish whiskey would have bee>n welcome, but a quick
        search turned up nothing of this more interesting na>ture.
        >
        >Carson Road is steeply downhill (in this direction) and features a breathta>king
        view of the Virgil Mt ridge and Greek Peak ski area. The owners of Gre>ek Peak,
        in defiance of global warming, had managed to amass enough artific>ial snow
        to open one or two of the main trails, and I could easily pick out> small dots
        effortlessly zigzagging down slopes I would shortly have to slo>g to the top
        of. A quick turn at the bottom of Carson Rd puts you on Tone R>d, a dead end
        dirt lane that provides access to some of the more remote Gre>ek Peak lift lines
        and, ultimately, the trailhead for the climb up Virgil M>t.
        >
        >About halfway up the hill you encounter a rather interesting "whatsit" (pho>to
        attached.) The trail map identifies this relic as an abandoned steam tra>ctor
        boiler. The obvious question is "how did it get here?" Based on the de>ad feeling
        in my legs at this point I could believe that it simply up and d>ied on this
        very spot. More likely, it was dragged here to be used in some >old-time maple
        syrup operation.
        >
        >The same slippery conditions mentioned earlier made the climb particularly
        >arduous and I arrived at the power line on top of the ridge even further be>hind
        schedule. The return trip down the hill, however, was lightning fast, >made
        possible by my (now perfected) skiing technique, and I got back to the> Gatherings
        with enough time to spare for that special little something ...> But alas! The
        Gatherings was closed! A sign on the door said that the esta>blishment was closed
        for the weekend due to the holidays. (Who ever heard o>f a restaurant/bar being
        closed on New Year's Eve? Grumble.)
        >
        >Being by now rather tired and discouraged (not to mention thirsty) I electe>d
        to skip the trail and return on Carson and Snyder Hill Roads. I can recom>mend
        this route to anybody looking to put together a loop hike in Tuller Hi>ll. The
        view looking East at distant I81 on the far side of the Tioughnioga> River valley
        is quite spectacular. Along the way I counted no fewer than 3> wooly bear caterpillars
        crossing the road. The sight of wooly bears crossi>ng the road is not at all
        unusual - but on December 31!?
        >
        >Happy Hiking in the New Year,
        >Terry
        >
        >
        >
        Attachment: tenkatebridge.jpgAttachment: boiler.jpg>
        >

        - - - - - -

        Joan H. Young
        see about.me/joan_h_young to learn what I am up to!
        adventurer - writer - speaker
        Sent from the T-One web based email system at http://mail.t-one.net
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