Trail Running With Friends | FLT Shindagin | New York
I love to explore new places. Especially on trails. One exploration project I have undertaken over the years has been to try and explore as much of the Finger Lakes Trail as I can.
I would love to see the entire Finger Lakes Trail eventually. And that is my goal. To slowly but surely set foot on every part of the Finger Lakes Trail. I started on the trails nearest where I live, which seems to be pretty much in the middle of the trail, and explore east and west of me.
I have undertaken these explorations a few miles at a time and in large chunks of 30 miles at a time. Exploring these trails by foot, either hiking or running. Some explorations are solo adventures and some adventures I have company.
Some of the best times I have experienced have been exploring the Finger Lakes Trail with my friends. And this was another day to add to that list of fun times.
9 new trail miles
On this trip we knocked off almost 9 miles of newly explored Finger Lakes Trail. This was the first time I have gotten out and explored a new section of the Finger Lakes Trail in a while. I was really hoping that I had accurately remembered the location of the trail head where I stopped on my last exploration. When we met up at the trail head where we would start I was relieved to see exactly what I remembered.
We drove to the trail head where we planned to end to drop off a vehicle. Then it was decision time. It was a cold morning. Not exactly freezing, but still cold. And windy. But by the time we were half way through our run the forcast was for it to be relatively mild. I could wear my warmer coat to start and stow lighter gear to change into in theback of my pack for later. Or I could just start off wearing the lighter weight gear and not have to worry about changing and carying extra clothes. When I had to finally make the call I opted for the lighter clothes at the start. I just took a buff to wear under my hat in case it was cold. A buff I ended up wearing almost the entire time. But other than that my choice of clothing worked out almost perfectly.
FLT Shindagin Hollow
We set off on the trail. Enjoying the first little section of perfectly straight, perfectly flat trail. And then that came to an abrupt end. The next section was the first and really only tough climb of the day. It was long and pretty steep. But nce we got up and over that hump the trail rewarded us with so much beautiful and fun trail to run on that we could forgive that first climb.
There was a good mix of elevation gain and descent but nothing too challenging. Climbing could las t a little while but it was never at a steep enough grade that it felt really taxing. And the descending sections were just the right angle to be perfect for running a nice comfortable downhill pace.
It was so fun to be exploring this section of the FLT as it traveled through Shindagin Hollow State Forest. Not only was it a section of the FLT I had never set foot on, but it was also a state forest I had never set foot in before. So it was a lot of new scenery that I was trying to soak in as much as I could.
This section of the Finger Lakes Trail is now one of my favorite sections of trails to run on. Not only was it a great trail running experience in the purely physical sense, but it was also a beautiful trail to experience. The scenery was so nice. Trails through the woods. Nice views at the top of climbs. A long section of trail running along a ridgeline that provided a great view of the countryside. Several different types of wild flowers growing along the trails. There were a few small stream crossings and a small waterfall. And I even ate one of our local edible wild plants. Mmmm. Tastes like onion.
As we approached our predetermined end point and our cars awaited we were running on the best most beautiful section of trail all day long. It was one of the most runnable sections. And it was one of the sections that had more vegetation springing to life than any of the others. It was a great way to close out the run.
But when we got to the car we were a little over 8 miles and we had planned for 10 miles. It felt like we had some unfinished business. We decided we could keep going on the FLT for another mile and then turn back and run to the car. That would give us our ten. Ha. Great idea that was. This ended up being the most challenging section of trail the entire day. Up a steep hillside. Then back down the other side. The downslope was essentially a wet soggy ditch from the run off pouring down the hillside. It bummed us out after the beautiful section we had just been on. We turned around short of the mile we needed and returned to our car. It was so muddy that on the climb back up and over my foot sunk in deep and my foot pulled right out of my shoe. This section was where I was extra thankfull to have my trail gaiters on over my shoes. We got back to the cars and we ran a little extra on the roads to get to 10 miles. Ha. Still got tot ten damn it.