For more area hikes and resources, see the trip summary: Hiking the Finger Lakes Trail
A bear?! Are you kidding me? My first solo hike and I get a bear? Mind you I never saw the bear, but just hearing her was enough to turn a tranquil walk in the woods into an agitated tromp. Instead of quietly hiking, lost in my own thoughts, I was suddenly hyper-aware and exceedingly noisy. Proper bear protocol calls for making noise to warn them off, so every few minutes, I’d yell “Ha! Hey bear! Go away bear!”.
Like a good little solo hiker, I periodically texted my son Jacob so family would know I’d arrived, started hiking, etc. When I typed OMG - I just heard a bear, Jacob instantly replied I’m so jealous, making me realize just how different we are: He wanted to see a bear; I did not.
In truth, I only remained freaked out for a couple miles. It didn’t take long to settle back into the hike and recapture the simple joy of boots on the trail, surrounded by quiet giants.
I was excited to hike this section of the Bristol Hills Trail after running into a hiker last week who raved, proclaiming it one of the prettiest hikes in the area. Since I needed to get 7 miles in, the length was just about perfect; Runkeeper measured my out-and-back at 7.2 miles.
The hike was lovely but without any outstanding features or viewpoints, I wouldn’t rate it a must-see. The only characteristic that stood out were the tree stands. I encountered a variety of dense copses (can’t say exactly what since I’m a loss at tree identification) and one obviously planted stand was particularly striking.
Once again, I was impressed with trail quality. This branch of the Finger Lakes Trail is well-marked and maintained. It’d take serious effort to get lost with the next blaze always in view and sometimes within 20 feet (!). After long sections of muck and mud on our last hike, I was grateful firm ground, facing just one soft spot over the entire 7 miles.
One important note: The trail is off of Hungry Hollow Road, not off Two Rod as the Bristol Hills website indicates. I parked at the corner of Two Rod Road and Dinehart / Hungry Hollow, then walked west on Hungry Hollow about 0.1 miles to pick up the trail on the south side of the road.
This hike was a bit more strenuous than my last two with a total climb of over 1300 feet, much of that racked up in the middle as I dropped down to Mitchellsville Road then turned around and promptly climbed right back up. A nutty little plan, but perfect for a training hike. I need to find an 8-miler next week. Perhaps I’ll finally make it down to the Finger Lakes Trail; it’s definitely on my hiking horizon.