!*^% Snowshoes and Sunshine

What a beautiful weekend in Western New York!  The weather was warm and the sun was shining on all creation!  I was lucky enough to have both Saturday and Sunday planned for hiking!

Saturday morning I met my best friend, Linda and we drove to Bear Creek State Forest.

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Finger Lakes/North Country Trail

 

It is in or near Machias, New York.  We were meeting our Buffalo Day Hike Group and the Foothills Trail Club for a joint club snowshoe hike.  I’ve been on snowshoes maybe three times before and always had a good experience so I was excited.

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The snow is about a foot deep here.

 

As we were putting on our snowshoes, Linda noticed that one of her shoes was completely broken.  She wouldn’t be able to wear them.  We checked with the leaders, Chuck and Marty and they agreed that if she wore micro spikes and walked behind the group, she could participate.  Phew! It was a long drive to the trail head to not be able to hike!

Of course the hike started up a hill.  Hills are a challenge for me!  I have no stamina and I get out of breath quickly.  Now, add in that I am wearing snowshoes!  Yikes.  Well, we went slowly and stopped often as the rest of the group quickly hiked out of sight.  Determined to continue I pushed myself further than I thought I would.  The leader of Foothills Club, Marty, hiked back to check on us.  Linda made a point of telling Marty that I was training to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Marty looked at me cross eyed.  I can only imagine what he was thinking of my goal.  While he hiked with us for a little while, I told Marty I was thinking of joining the Cross County hike this summer.  He was very nice and told me to join the half-hike group.  It breaks the 96 miles into shorter hikes. I agreed that it would be a good place for me to start.  Our slow pace was now a crawl and we convinced Marty to go on ahead.

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I do not look happy.

Linda and I pushed up the hill (it felt like a mountain) and I tried to maintain a positive attitude.  About a half hour later, Marty joined us again he said it was only another half mile before the turn around point.  Right then and there I said we would turn around now.  Marty went ahead again and Linda and I were on our own going back down the hill.  We had walked up hill a mile and a quarter, now we had to go back down!  Our moods were elevated knowing that we were headed back to the car!  I just couldn’t wait to get my snowshoes off!  We were in the homestretch when Linda took a huge fall and twisted her ankle.  When she fell I was in front, I turned around and saw her looking like a human sled.

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Ooph! Poor Linda! I told her not to move until I got this picture!

Linda was a trooper and slowly started downhill again.  Suddenly she shouted that she heard voices coming.  I’d be damned if the group caught up to us!!  We high-tailed it the rest of the way and finally made it to the car.  On our way home, we, of course, stopped to find a geocache.  It was super cute!

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There’s a geocache hidden in this little outhouse!

Linda had x-rays on her ankle and it’s a bad sprain, but nothing is broken!

Sunday was another beautiful day for a hike.  It took everything I had to get out of bed. My legs were sore from using muscles snowshoeing that I don’t normally use hiking. The only thing that motivated me was knowing it would be a flat hike and there would be very little snow at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island.

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Short loop trail that had a great viewing area for bird watching.

Chuck was again my leader for this hike and he razzed me a little about dropping out of yesterday’s hike.  I told him I wouldn’t abandon him this time!

We walked around Beaver Island State Park for 4.5 miles and some of the trail was icy and/or flooded.  My Keen boots kept my feet dry and warm!

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So much happier on this hike!

This hike didn’t have any falls, steep hills or snowshoes.  Woohoo!

I know I have to continue to challenge myself on my hikes and my endurance needs to grow to successfully hike the Appalachian Trail. I’ll get there.

Next step, register for the Finger Lakes Trail Cross County Half-hikes.

 

 

 

Weather – Whether it be nice weather or bad weather, it’s nice to be out in the weather.

Oh man, I kind of got carried away with the title of this post.  The weather in Western New York is so strange!  First it’s several feet of snow, then it melts and causes flooding, then it freezes and more snow falls!  It is wonderful to live in an area of the world that you can feel and experience all four seasons, sometimes all in the same week.

My adventures in training for my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail continues. Recently my friend Shelly (livingonthedirt.com) and I hiked in Hunter’s Creek Park. It’s a favorite park of mine and I have written about it a few times now.  There is a Northern section of the park that I have never visited and on this occasion, Shelly and I decided to discover it!

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Shelly aka livingonthedirt.com and some out of shape hiker trying to catch up!
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Started out wearing my puffy coat. After about a quarter mile I stowed it away.
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Ice and snow on the boardwalk trail made for slippery conditions.

It was a warmer day and there was a lot of snowmelt which made for some sloppy trails.  I wore my trusty micro spikes as the some of the trail was also snow or ice covered.  When the trail wasn’t icy it was muddy and the mud accumulated in my spikes and made my feet weigh 5 pounds each.  We hiked some orange trail and a blue loop then back to the orange.  Since we didn’t have a map, Shelly had the foresight and experience to know to take a picture of the map at the trail head.  We consulted the picture a couple times, more to just ease my mind that we were going in the right direction.  I’m still practicing my sense of direction.

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The Conservation Trail.  We can go to Canada or Pennsylvania on this trail!

The orange trail is also called the Conservation Trail.  The Conservation Trail is a footpath which begins at the Pennsylvania border in Allegany State Park and extends northward about 177 miles to meet the Bruce Trail in Canada.  I totally just ripped that last sentence off from the website.  Check it out at:  http://www.foothillstrailclub.org/trail.html.

Another nearby trail I visit frequently is the Joe Panza Trail in the Alden Town Park. On my most recent visit I was joined by my bff, Linda, my son – Carl and his girlfriend, Amanda.  It was a beautiful, warm winter’s day and we all decided to take a walk before dusk on the trail.  The warm weather caused the recent snowfall to melt and the creek along the trail was completed flooded.  Places we walked in the summer were impassable.  What a neat sight to see.

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Excellent hiking companions!
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This used to be a little creek!
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We did some geocaching!
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And we did some bushwhacking aka peeing in the woods.

I visited Canton, Ohio in early February.  It was Super Bowl weekend and it’s an annual tradition to meet at our friend’s house and party all weekend!  There’s a bunch of us that attend and this year was a blast.  The weather was unseasonably warm, so, of course I had to go outside!  I found a pretty park in nearby Hartville, Ohio called Quail Hollow State Park.  There were very nice nature trails here.  The trail I chose on Saturday morning was only about 1 mile or so.  My friends came with me, so it was a nice leisurely pace.

The teenager was lured to hike with the promise of Starbucks!
The teenager was lured to hike with the promise of Starbucks!
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I love the light at the end of the tunnel!

I ventured out again to the same park on Saturday afternoon with my husband.  His back had been hurting him, so we didn’t walk long.  Dave and I did go to another walking path Sunday morning.  This path was paved and meandered through the woods along a subdivision.  Not my ideal nature walk, but it was nice.  My feet did not like walking on the paved trail and began to hurt.  I also think the fact that I did A LOT of drinking the night before made me dehydrated and my feet were swollen!  If you want to play, you have to pay!   It was still great to be outdoors.

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I love this sign!
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Oooo, my legs look so long and skinny! I was trying to take a picture of the ice on the trail.

This weekend I have two hikes planned, one in a new park and the other is in a park I used to go to all the time to bird watch.  I also have to make a big decision on whether or not to participate in a 100 mile hike on the Finger Lakes Trail.  It’s broken up into 8 long hikes or 16 short hikes.  I’d like to do the longer hikes, but I am so nervous about hiking 10 or MORE miles in one day!  Hard to imagine when you sit on your butt all day at work!  We shall see!  Stay tuned!