FLTC

Day 12 - Finger Lakes Trail

We got another early start from Bucks Brook, mostly because we knew it was going to rain and we needed to get into DeRuyter for our resupply.  We had lots and lots of muddy walking this morning, through fields and private land, but it was mostly level without too much in the way of steep hills this morning.  Early on, we passed the Link Trail.  This is the trail system designed to connect the Adirondacks and the North Country Trail to the FLT.  It also runs up to the Erie Canal system.  We joked that we could just walk to the Erie Canal and walk home that way!  After crossing the first road, we began to get rained on again.  We didn't mind much as this now seems to be the norm for us!  We walked through more mud and slop for a while, up and down some rolling Central NY hills, before finally coming to the road we could walk to get into DeRuyter to pick up our resupply box. 

Where the Adirondacks can meet the FLT. 

Where the Adirondacks can meet the FLT. 

We tried to hitch the entire time we were walking, but had absolutely no luck.  We were lucky, however, to get into DeRuyter 10 minutes before the post office closed for lunch!  At least we had that luck on our side!  We repacked our food bags and got out the new maps before we realized we honestly didn't even need the resupply because with all the road walking we would be doing the next few days we would be home in less than 2, instead of the full three we had planned.  Somehow, now NoKey had six days' worth of food! Yikes!

We stopped at Sal's Pizzeria on the way out of town - NoKey got two slices and I got a pepperoni roll.  Sal said we could recharge our phones while we ate, so we did.  We hiked back out of town, again trying to hitch back to no avail.  From here, we had a hot, but thankfully not sunny, road walk pretty much to near where we were camping for the night.  We passed an Elk Farm and had pretty much no traffic the entire time, so that was nice.  When we finally reached the top of Cuyler Hill Road to turn back into the woods, we took a break and checked our phones.  I had a message from the President of the FLTC apologizing for the rude behavior I experienced a week ago when I called the office for help on map 28.  I really appreciated him following up with me, even though I wasn't the person who called!  Donna, the kind woman who called me back when we were out of Downsville, had called and lodged a complaint on my behalf for being treated so poorly by the office worker on the phone.  He assured me they were taking steps to make sure this would never happen again and encouraged us to give him a call when we got into his part of the trail.  Thank you, Pat!

The beautiful rolling hills at the top of Cuyler Hill Road and Stony Brook Road. 

The beautiful rolling hills at the top of Cuyler Hill Road and Stony Brook Road. 

From here, we climbed up to our first 2000 foot hill we've seen in a while before coming downhill for a few miles into our campsite at Wiltsey Glen.  With all the rain, the whole area was pretty washed out again, but our campsite was pretty dry with the leaf and pine needle coverage.  We set up camp at 6 p.m. and were shocked that we had done nearly 25 miles for the day with all the road walking to our box in DeRuyter.  Even though road walking is hard on us, it does get you pretty far pretty quickly!  Tomorrow we are hoping to get into McGraw, NY and find a way to get home for the weekend.  I've lost a lot of motivation, probably due to the weather, and am ready to get home and take a break.  

Day 5 - a zero in Downsville

We woke up early, around 6:15, and decided that a zero day was in order.  After having wet feet for four days and both of us in new shoes our feet have taken a pounding and we both had some pretty bad looking feet.  We made a great decision because we ran into a big problem.  We picked up our drop at the post office at 9 am after a huge breakfast at the Downsville Diner. We hit the market next door for some zero day provisions and then headed back to the hotel for some relaxation.

The cute and tiny post office  

The cute and tiny post office  

We sat down and sorted our box and I started making a game plan for tomorrow's hike.  Here is where I hit the snag.  If you're heading west out of Downsville there is a horse camp about 5 miles outside town.  The map goes on for 12 miles to the next map, which is 25.2 miles.  The only campsite for 35 miles is the one just outside of town.  The entire map that is 25.2 miles is all land owned by New York City.  There is absolutely no camping and they have their own environmental police to bust you for camping (the DEP).  Their headquarters is also at the start of this 25.2 mile map.  Now we have to figure out where to go.  I called a car spotter and he recommended I call a place.  That place recommended I drive 11 miles to a campground and didn't quite understand I was on foot and driving isn't possible.  I called the Finger Lakes Trail Conference for an idea of what to do next.

The FLTC office turned out to be a dead end and a pretty bad experience.  In fact, the woman who answered the phone, when I asked what they tell thru hikers to do in this long section, told me I should have planned weeks in advance and lined up my shuttles to hotels.  I asked her if there was a town between Downsville and Bainbridge that I maybe couldn't see on their maps and she told me no in a very firm tone.  She told me she couldn't help me and hung up.  I was shocked at the treatment I received from the FLTC and I'm really upset that I called asking for help planning our day and they flat out told me they couldn't help me. We again walked back to the hotel.

We decided to blow off steam by taking some kayaks out onto the river.  The Downsville Motel is right in the East Branch of the Delaware River and we took some kayaks out on the very small stream coming from the NYC-owned reservoir where you're actually allowed to boat.  We had a beautiful view of the covered bridge and even saw a bald eagle flying around.  It was a great way to end our long and frustrating day.

Screw it, let's kayak! 

Screw it, let's kayak! 

I won't tell you guys where or what we'll be doing tomorrow.  I will say that this trail, so far, hasn't been the norm for us.  We normally run into people who are full of information and very helpful.  We've been lost, soaking wet, and now told to fend for ourselves.  After nearly 3000 long-distance hiking miles to say we finally have hit a big snag is pretty impressive.  I would like to say thank you to the people we talked to today who DID take the time to help us out on the phone - Richard, Tina, and Jim.  Thank you!  And also a big thanks goes out to Al and his employee at the sports shop/motel who sat down with us and looked at the map and tried to help out.  

It's gorgeous on the Delaware River! 

It's gorgeous on the Delaware River!