We left the Finger Lakes Trail in Dryden six days ago. Since then I'm still not feeling 100% with this chest cold that seems to never end. Neither of us have health insurance, but despite this I took myself down to the local walk-in clinic to see if anything could be done. After spending $110 to be seen I was told I had acute sinusitis and that really nothing could be done as I wasn't showing signs of active infection (all my mucus is clear, not discolored). I was given a prescription for an antibiotic if it got worse, but was told to treat symptomatically until the symptoms went away. Five days later I'm still not showing signs of infection and I'm still not any better. Meanwhile, the rain has continued to fall. We have been following the trail conditions very closely as the area we are about to hike in is full of gorges and waterfalls. We are seeing updates like this:
"The timber bridge at mile 1.75 on map M16 (eastern-most of the two large timber trail bridges on the FLT in Cayuta Gulf) has been totally washed away by recent severe weather activity." "Please be aware that some white-blazing on either side of this creek crossing is also missing as some trees have also washed away from the area, however the trail tread itself is clear of debris and readily apparent." "Because of recent heavy rain events, it is currently not advisable to ford Fish Kill on the Finger Lakes Trail (mile 17.1) in upper Treman State Park. Also, the blue-blazed high water detour route is impassable because of severe storm damage to the bridge just east of the Old Mill, making it impossible to cross the lower section of Fish Kill. DO NOT FORD THE CREEK AT THIS TIME, AND DO NOT TAKE THE BLUE-BLAZED HIGH WATER DETOUR ROUTE AT THIS TIME." and finally, my favorite: "The Flash flood that occurred last week has impacted the FLT section that runs from Sweedler Preserve/LickBrook to Treman State Park. The field section near the RR track was probably under about 2-3 feet of water."
These updates for us just mean more detours and more road walking. Since I'm not getting much better and we've already taken ten days away from the trail, we have decided to give the FLT some time to dry up. Instead of heading back to the trail, we are going to take a road trip through NY, PA, OH, WV, KY, and TN taking some scenic byways. On the way back to NY, we will be driving the Blue Ridge Parkway through NC and VA, possibly taking a detour to ride on the C&O Canal Trail through the MD and WV region. We have some business to take care of in TN and VA anyway so we feel this is really the best option. We will come back to NY in a few weeks and hop back onto the FLT to complete our end-to-end hike. Then, northward to Vermont to hike the Long Trail. We will still finish our hikes, just not the way we planned!
This decision didn't come lightly for NoKey or me. I feel like I'm letting down all of my blog readers and, more importantly, I feel like I've really let myself down. I know that getting sick can't be helped, but it's really hard to tell a long-distance hiker that you can't do things until you get 100% better. This chest cold has a tight grip on me and if I can't breathe then I know I can't hike. I know all of these things and I'm still disappointed in myself. We will be posting updates from our road trip with hiking, biking, maybe even some canoeing and cave exploring. Even though our plans have changed slightly, we are still going to have an adventure!