My grandfather’s lake house in New York is quite close to the Finger Lakes Trail. I’d only been on it once before, briefly, and decided it was time for another visit. This time, I had my sister Kelly and my nephews with me. I’d just given the boys each an REI Tarn 12 Pack, a Buff, and their very own Nalgenes so we had to test them out.
We drove to the Maple Lane trailhead in Sugar Hill State Forest and started hiking east. The trail in this area is a little boring but I picked a spot with a lean-to about a mile away so we’d have a destination. We also spent plenty of time looking at rocks, slugs, and red efts along the way.
Not to mention learning how to follow blazes.
We got to the Parks Hollow Lean-to and had our lunch at the picnic table there. The boys were less interested in the shelter than I thought they’d be, but they did love peeing outside.
Some of the trail was a little muddier and rockier than they would have liked but they made it through just fine. The little ones were dragging a bit on the way back but they perked up when we got in the car and drove to check out a nearby firetower.
I’ve thought about thru hiking the Finger Lakes Trail in the past, admittedly without any research other than seeing how long it is (560 miles). Once we got home, I did some research and found that the consensus is it’s kind of a boring trail. No particular summits, no particular views, just lots of standard forest and farm roads, and almost no other hikers. But the North Country Trail follows the Finger Lakes Trail, and that extends to the New York side of Lake Champlain. There has recently been talk of extending it into Vermont to connect with the Long Trail, and that would mean I could hike from my house to my grandfather’s lake house. So maybe some day…