If you attended the Springwater Trails Annual Meeting in March, you heard all about the plans to complete the Empire State Trail. On April 14, I received an update from the NYS Office of Parks.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to create the 750-mile Empire State Trail was approved in the 2017-18 State Budget. The state will develop 350 miles of new trail to complete the Erie Canalway and the Hudson River Valley Greenway trails to create the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. The statewide pathway for hiking and biking will help visitors and tourists explore scenic vistas and charming, historic communities. The Empire State Trail would span from the New York Harbor up through the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian border – and from the shores of Lake Erie along the historic Erie Canal to the heart of the Capital Region.
For the last hike in February we were greeted with a light snow cover across the landscape. Thirteen hikers came out for a 30 degree hike, which followed last weekend’s 70° hikes. Fortunately, we had a number of hills to climb, which kept us warm.
After an hour hiking through the woods protected from the wind, the Climbers made it to the potato fields at the tops of the hills for views in all directions. The wind definitely picked up in the open field, but the sun was out and as many times as I have seen this view, I still enjoy it.
Douglas was taking pictures and noticed two coyotes crossing the field to the north. Making sure that Duffy stayed close by, we headed across the field and found the tracks first headed west, and then headed back east to the woods, after several shots from a hunter. Duffy sniffed and barked at the footprints, but decided not to follow the tracks.
Meanwhile, the Tourtalists (Pati’s new name for the Naturalist/Tourist combo group) walked south along the valley to the old ski hill, where the climbers met them before heading up to the top.
On the return hike, Linda led the Tourtalists along the woods and across the rock bridge to our upper field. Pati found a brave fern standing tall above the snow, for a beautiful image of the hike.
Following the hike, everyone enjoyed deviled eggs, goat cheese with pulled pork sandwiches and potatoes. And, as is our tradition, we had fruit and cakes for desert – many hikers splurged and had helpings of each of the deserts!
Rob’s Trail is located near the top of Bald Hill between Springwater and Hemlock NY. There are two parking lots, one on the west side of Rt 15A just north of Old Bald Hill Rd South. The other is on the east side of 15A (actually off of Old Bald Hill South). There is a connecting trail between the two parking lots – please watch for traffic while crossing 15A.
From Springwater: Take Rt 15A north. In 6.1 miles, the parking lot is on the left just after the north end of Old Bald Hill Rd South.
From Hemlock: Take Rt 15A south. At 4.7 miles south of the 20A/15A intersection south of Hemlock, the parking lot is on the right.