Today I parked on Firetower Road at mile point 16.6 on map M18 and hiked back East to where I left off on 31 October 2004 - mile point 17.8 at NY 79.  It was 18°F when I started.  The ground was frozen.  Between where I parked and NY79, there is a length of woods road, and I saw one pickup parked on the side - probably a hunter.  I had on my school bus yellow parka so I wasn't worried.  And my stumbling along makes lots of noise. On the way back up the hill I saw this little water fall that was half frozen and half liquid.

Back at the car, I donned my daypack and hiking sticks.  This started out down Firetower Road for probably a mile.  I met 6 girls looking for NY79 - they were on the last day of a 4 day wilderness experience, with Ithaca College.  They were very friendly, and, I think, happy to be getting picked up in a little while.  Across Blackman Hill Road and heading up Potato Hill into the State Forest, I met another 6 young people from Ithaca College hiking along.  I hiked and hiked.  It was sunny and cold.  The ground and ground water were frozen enough that I walked on top without getting too muddy.  All of a sudden I was hiking along and I looked up, and I almost missed this incongruous garden of stones surrounded by a ring of cedars:  I went in for a closer look, because I just couldn't believe I was finding this in the middle of forest:

There is one large pillar, that someone took a lot of time to build.  And there are 3 smaller stacks.  Pretty weird, as I am reading Angels and Demons and listened to a couple hours of it as the hero searches through Rome for the Altars of Science marked by the Illuminati and their ancient obelisks.  I decided it wasn't up to me to build anymore, but I did think of laying one more stone on each pillar.  But I didn't do it.

Then I came across the brand new Shindagin lean-to - what a nice place! There is a picnic table on the side, and another table in the back, a fire ring in front, with two benches, and a very nice lean-to.  Then a little farther on the trail is another fire ring with benches all around it.  I hiked the additional 0.4 miles out to tag the Shindagin Hollow Road to mark the end of my trek, and then went back to the lean-to for lunch.

I got there at 12:45, having left the car about 9:15.  I decided 15 minutes was all I could afford.  I took off my (brand new) boots and changed socks.   Then I wolfed down most of the lunch I had brought with me.  In 15 minutes I had gotten pretty cold, so I bundled my parka up and headed back East.  By the time I got up Potato Hill again, I was plenty warm, so I took my parka off and tied it to my day pack, and hiked along in shirtsleeves and vest.  It was just right - if I kept moving I would be just warm enough.

By 3:30 I was back onto Firetower road, and the sun was dipping below the horizon, and the wind was blasting, and I was getting pretty cold.  I didn't feel like stopping to put on my coat, though.  I just put my hands in my pockets and hiked up the hill.  I got back to the car around 4 and drove home.  17 miles in 8 hours.  The GPS said I was only moving 7 hours, but I only sat down for 15 minutes.  The other time must have been taking snapshots, etc.  A good long day hike.

2004 November 14  FLT