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Finger Lakes Trail


Our 2010 Hikes - March 28

Exploring the Finger Lakes Trail
Bucks Brook State Forest


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Date:  March 28, 2010

Mileage hiked:  1.1 miles to ruins & campsite (2.3 miles round trip)

Location:  Bucks Brook State Forest near Otselic, NY

Trailhead:  Along the east side of Ridge Road

Trailhead Coordinates:  N42 42.418 W75 47.159

Name of Trail:  Finger Lakes Trail

Hike Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate.

Elevation Gain:  131 feet to / 173 feet back

Trail Conditions:  Well marked, easy to follow. 

Features:  Old foundation ruins, old walls, scenic streams and a camping area.

Links:  Finger Lakes Trail - Bucks Brook State Forest

My car said it was 45 degrees when we left Liverpool around 11:30am.  I was happy I decided to wear some under armor under my fleece pullover when we arrived at Bucks Brook State Forest around 12:30pm.  My car said it was a balmy 37 degrees and the wind made it feel, you know, COLD.  I had gloves in my backpack (always even in the summer), but didn't need them.  I did put on my knit hat on during the hike back.

We started our hike heading east along the Finger Lakes Trail off Ridge Road.  There was still snow along the side of the road and we saw "fresh" snow as we hiked.  Our plan today was to head to the old foundation ruins as well as the old stone walls near a small stream that makes for a nice campsite along the FLT.  It's a pleasant hike of 1.1 miles to reach our destination.  Follow the white blazes.

Crossing Bucks Brook on a footbridge

Almost immediately you reach an area along the trail near the road that is marked as a bivouac area on the official FLT map.  As you gently descend you'll soon see Bucks Brook and cross it on a footbridge.  Scrappy jumped in and we were both surprised on the depth or at least I was.  She loves to jump into water.  From the brook the trail gently ascends past the first of many old logging roads in the state forest. 

Soon your crossing over an old stone wall that spans on each side of the trail.  If you look closely on your left, you may notice what looks like an opening in the wall for a rifle.  I'm guessing this was made by a hunter.  Looks like a great place to sit and wait for hikers, I mean deer to walk by.  The trail crosses through some tall pines, which looked really cool when the wind picked up and we saw the upper parts of the trees swaying back n forth.  You'll reach another old logging road where the FLT turns right following the old road briefly.  There are enough white blazes where you shouldn't miss this turn.

The remains of an old foundation along the FLT.

After a level walk, the trail begins a 150 foot descent in the last 0.3 miles to the small stream.  As you descend you'll travel past an old foundation on your left.  Soon you'll reach close to the small stream, however the trail never crosses the stream.  The trail turns right toward a couple of old stone walls and an old jeep trail.  You may notice the FLT is following along the boundary of the state forest with the yellow boundary paint and no trespassing signs that are present.

You may also notice a few big rocks in front of the first old stone wall.  This looks to be a makeshift campsite and the end of our hike.  This area looks to be a great camping spot for those thru hiking the Finger Lakes Trail.  The official FLT maps show this location as a bivouac area for camping.  We relaxed on the rocks, snacked and then made our way back to the car. 

You can go further along the FLT if you wish.  The trail continues nearly another two miles to Bucks Brook Road.  You can check out the five mile Bucks Brook State Forest Loop.  Be sure to use the link above for more information on this section of the Finger Lakes Trail.  There is a video and map below of this hike.  This part of the Finger Lakes Trail is located in Chenango County. 

When we drove to Bucks Brook State Forest we noticed someone parked along Crumb Hill Road at the Mariposa State Forest trailhead for the Link Trail, near its southern terminus with the Finger Lakes Trail.

Are you planning a backpacking trip?  Check out any of these books to help you prepare:

Directions:  From DeRuyter, take Crumb Hill Road aka County Route 58 to Ridge Road.  Look for the yellow Finger Lakes Trail sign soon after entering the state forest.  Also look for white blazes.  From Otselic take NY 26 south to Bucks Brook Road and then right onto Ridge Road to the trailhead.

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