Hiking the North Country Trail/Finger Lakes Trail on the Onondaga Trail section.
NoKey came home from work Friday morning and announced he’d like to go backpacking over the weekend. We have started keeping all our backpacking gear in two tubs in the attic so it would be easy to grab and go - seriously, we can have our bags sorted, assembled, and packed in less than half an hour. We looked on our new favorite website, CNYhiking.com, for a close and pretty trip and quickly decided on the Onondaga Trail. This trail makes up a small part of the 590-mile Finger Lakes Trail, which runs concurrent with the North Country Trail here in Central New York. Our hike would only be 24 miles round trip, but it could have been a 30-mile loop using three separate state parks and natural areas in four counties.
We started our hike at NY-13 at a DEC parking area and began with a road walk (OUR FAVORITE!) Today we walked past an active dairy farm, up the side of the farm, and into the woods in Morgan State Forest. We walked mostly on a mix of state forest and private lands, sort of skirting and weaving into and out of the two. At one point, we even walked on an ATV trail, which is the handicapped hunting access to some private lands. After approximately 8 miles, we came to Tinker Falls, which is a huge falls with a teeny amount of water. This was pretty much the only place on the trail we saw any other hikers. We continued 3 miles past the falls to Spruce Pond to camp for the night.
I had read online that Spruce Pond is a popular weekend spot and therefore was the only place on this loop that required reservations. Of course, in true New York style, they don’t tell you how to get reservations. We took the chance and guess what? We were the only people at the campsite. This probably was due to the cruddy weather - high of 55, low in the 40s, and threat of rain/mud all day Saturday. We enjoyed having a quiet night and sadly couldn’t get a fire going not only due to the lack of wood at the popular site, but also due to the fact that it had rained every single day the past five days and everything we did find was soaked.
The next morning we headed back out the way we came and saw a few more hikers, all of whom were in love with Gracie the Adventure Dog and her doggie backpack.
The Onondaga Trail is a great hike with several strenuous climbs and good scenery - so many beautiful water features. It was tough enough to make our dog tired the next day and that’s all we can ask for!
The photos above: Ferns on a sunny Sunday, some pretty (and probably deadly!) mushrooms, a scene from the road walk back to our car, Tinker Falls from above (looking much smaller than it is!), a hang gliding meadow just before Labrador Unique Area, and a small waterfall where we ate our lunch on day 1.