“Wanna go out for a cup of coffee?”
So I perk a pot and pour it into the thermos. You scrounge around in the cupboards and refrigerator but all you can find is a hunk of venison summer sausage. We throw the coffee, the sausage, a bottle of water, and some extra socks and mittens (just in case) into day packs. And dog biscuits, of course. We pull on our snow pants and boots and slip into our jackets. Hats. Mittens. Let’s go!
While trying to shuffle the vehicles, I get the car stuck in the driveway. Twice. Finally, dogs behind the seat and whining with excitement over the anticipated adventure, you throw the truck into gear and we are on our way to Allegany State Park. Oh wait… we need gas. We buy a couple of granola bars, too, to supplement the sausage.
On the way to the park, we discuss possible hiking trails… A loop would be nice, but most are so steep and Mo just can’t do steep anymore. We decide to hike out and back on a section of the North Country Trail that starts with a brief steep part, but then levels off.
Alas, we find the snow much deeper than we anticipated and the old dog struggles mightily. Luckily, at the top of the steep part, we hit the snowmobile trail: wide and well-packed, and – at least for now – completely uninhabited by machines.
It’s such a pretty day. The fast-moving, variable-thickness clouds paint the wintery scene with ever-changing lighting schemes.
As we walk the easy, level trail, our eyes scan the edges for the perfect log. We opt to drink at the Hemlock Grove Cafe:
After coffee, as long as we’re here, we follow the snowmobile trail to the intersection of Black Snake Mountain trailhead. Someone has skiied here and packed the snow, so we give it a try. Wait, what’s that? I’ve walked this trail a couple of times before and never noticed that…
We continue on, crossing the creek, watching Lolli sniff the weasel tracks… until the level trail hits the steep, and then we turn back. What a pretty trail… Note to self: must come back in May for the wildflowers.
A little more distance on the snowmobile trail, and then we turn back. It seems snowmobilers rise later than we. We dodged none on the first part of our hike, but several on the return.
We parked on the south side of ASP 3 where the Finger Lakes / North Country Trail crosses. We headed south on the FLT/NCT – a short, steep uphill climb to the snowmobile trail where we turned left (east). At the Black Snake Mountain trail, we took a detour up the creek a ways, then back down. We hiked east a little more – probably almost to Science Lake, though we didn’t realize at the time how close we were.