17.20 miles, 2.5mph avg moving, 1.8mph avg overall, 6h:53m moving, 2h:25m stopped, 9h:18m total time, max elevation 1992ft, total ascent (not recorded), FLT M19,M20
Total trail miles completed to-date: 58.4 (10.5%)
Tim was ready to try another hike and this time he wanted to push and go further. The terrain on my previous hike had been rugged and I warned him it might be a difficult hike, but he was ready to try. I mapped out a 16.4 mile hike beginning at the eastern trailhead on Carson Road and turning around in Blodgett Mills.
Authors Note: I am writing this hike in April 2018. Many memories of the hike have faded. Full GPX details were also not saved, so there are no distance and time notations.
We arrived at our destination around 9 am. Fog draped the hills around the trail and the first greens of spring peaked out from tree limbs and ground cover. The trailhead was located on our left as I drove up the road. I turned around and pulled my car over to the edge of the road a short distance beyond the trailhead where the shoulder was a bit wider.
We pulled on our boots, shouldered our backpacks, and made the short walk down the road to the trailhead. The trail began to climb up along a field before turning to the right and then back left again. In less than one-half mile we had climbed over 200 feet to reach the top of the hill.
After passing over the top of the hill we started our way down. The trail descended 500 feet over the next mile as it wound its way along down into Woodchuck Hollow. We followed the trail as it turned to the right and began its climb up through the hollow. After climbing up out of the hollow the trail continued on for a little over a mile and 370 feet of climb before it arrived at Cortland 9 Road.
Cortland 9 Road was a single-lane dirt-track with wide grassy shoulders bordered by tall trees. A few tufts of grass attempted to grow in the middle of the road between the tracks. The trail we had just exited from had passed through a tall pine forest. On the opposite side of the road it climbed up through a wet and water-logged area.
We picked our way up through the wet area as we continued our climb. The trail wound its way around before turning to the left and climbing straight up to the top of Snyder Hill. Soon after passing over the top of the hill we came out into an open area and another dirt-track road, Pipeline Road.
The open area was large, it extended back about 150 feet and across about 80 feet. It looked like it might have been a gravel or shale pit at one time. The pit now appeared to be a party spot and make-shift shooting range. We found dozens of shotgun casings, lots of broken glass and garbage, and the remnants of a bonfire. We looked around a for a few moments and then crossed over Pipeline Road and continued our descent.
The trail quickly descended and a short distance later we arrived at Snyder Hill Road, another small single-lane dirt-track road. Unlike Cortland 9 Road no wide grassy shoulders bordered this road, in fact there were no shoulders at all. The road carved its way through the woods several inches below the level of the surrounding area.
A short distance off Snyder Hill Road the trail turned to the left to parallel the road. The trail ran alongside the road for a short distance and then it began to curve slowly away to the right. We continued to descend and crossed over a small stream before coming to a small field. At the field we stopped to take a few pictures. Mist still hung in the air and clouds still obscured the sun.
We followed along the edge of the field and came upon an old piece of farm equipment. All that remained was rusted metal and big spoke-y wheels. Nearby sat the rusted out hull of an old car. A few patches of blue paint, darkened by time, still remained.
The stream we had crossed earlier had dug a deep gully as it tumbled down the hill. The trail continued down the hill beside the stream. A short distance beyond the rusting mementos of the past we heard, and then saw, a waterfall. We carefully picked our way down to the stream and walked up to the waterfall to take a few pictures. After taking our pictures we climbed back up to the trail and continued on our way down to West River Road.
As we made our way down the hill we found ourselves at the backyard of a house. We could see the white blazes continued on down the edge of the yard. I knew that the trail would not go through a place without permission, but it felt a little strange and disconcerting walking through someone’s yard.
Nobody appeared to be around, so we made our way quickly down the edge of the yard and back into the woods. A short distance later the trail made a steep descent. Just before reaching West River Road we came upon a wooden sign showing the long road-walk through Blodgett Mills and beyond to Hoxie Gorge. We stepped out onto the road. The waterfall lay 1.2 miles behind us and we had descended around 700 feet.
West River Road was a dirt road like the others before, but it was much wider and more traveled. We turned left and began our long road-walk to Blodgett Mills. The road climbed up through a wooded area and a field opened to our left. Beyond the field Stafford Road climbed up the hill away from West River Road. The fields to our left ended and we passed back into a wooded section of the road.
A few houses were scattered along the road. As we passed by one house sitting below the road to the right a dog came up to greet us. We heard some voices from the house below and told the dog to “go home”. The dog had other ideas; he must have thought where we were going was more interesting because he continued to follow along with us as we walked down the road.
As we passed houses he would veer off and explore before coming back to join us. After nosing around in the neighbors’ yard he would come trotting backing down to the road to follow along with us once again. When a car came down the road he continued trotting in the middle of the road without a care in the world before finally moving to the side. We thought once we got far enough he would stop following us and go back, but he continued to trot along with us.
“Go home”, we told him. “Get out of that yard”, we yelled. “Watch out for that car”, we shouted. He continued to ignore us no matter what. His complete indifference and lack of concern caused us to call him “dumbass”.
After walking for a long time we came to an intersection with Clute Road. West River Road joined this road at a wide angle and we made the slight turn to the right to continue on. There were more houses on this road and we could tell we were coming into the small town of Blodgett Mills. The dog continued to roam around and run into the yards of the houses along the road.
We arrived at the four-way intersection of Main Street in Blodgett Mills. Sidewalks bordered both sides of the road to our right. We crossed to the other side of the street and turned right, walking along the sidewalk with our backpacks and walking sticks. The dog continued to roam around as we walked down the sidewalk.
Ahead of us a railroad track cut across the road. We crossed over and the Blodgett Mills Post Office stood to our right. Ahead a bridge spanned across the little Tioughnioga River. We had arrived at our turn-around point.
Since it was Sunday the parking lot of the Post Office was empty and there were no people around. Tim and I sat down on some large logs placed between the parking lot and the railroad track. We decided to stop here for lunch and to take a good break before heading back.
It was warm, but clouds still blocked the sun as we ate our lunch. A few cars passed by on the road. At one point “dumbass” ran right in front of a pickup truck and we cringed expecting him to get hit. We yelled at him to get out of the way, but he seemed completely oblivious, reinforcing the name we had anointed him with. After finishing our lunches we pulled our packs back on and started back through the town and the long road-walk. The dog continued to follow along with us.
A large house that had been converted into apartments stood to our left. The main door stood open and the dog once again veered off to investigate. We continued our walk down the street to the four-way intersection, expecting him to reappear at any moment. He must have gotten bored with us or found something more interesting because he never came back to join us. At the four-way intersection we turned left onto Clute Road without our canine companion.
We took the slight left onto West River Road and continued on along the gentle climb up the road. Not far after turning onto West River Road we came upon a mailbox that had been “fixed” with duct tape. Tim and I both burst out laughing. Duct tape completely wrapped the mailbox post. It also wrapped over and around the mailbox. Who says duct tape can’t fix everything?!?
Finally we arrived back at the trailhead tired from the long road-walk. The walk from Blodgett Mills had been nearly 3 miles. We still had many miles of trail to hike before we were done. The trail climbed steeply from West River Road, so we stopped to rest and prepare ourselves. After resting we started the long slog up the hill, back through the yard by the house and past the waterfall.
We continued our way up Snyder Hill, crossing over Snyder Hill Road and then up to Pipeline Road. Finally we crossed the top of Snyder Hill and began our descent back down. The trail carried us across Cortland 9 Road on down through Woodchuck Hollow. We turned left and began our final climb of the hike.
After crossing the top of the final hill we started our descent down to Carson Road. Both of us tired and sore, our feet and legs hurting. The trail curved to the right and the field that bordered Carson Road became visible through the trees ahead; we were almost there. A final short descent and we arrived at Carson Road.
The sky had finally started to clear and we could see patches of blue. We walked the short distance to my car, dropped our packs in the backseat, and exchanged our boots for sandals. The hike was done, and it was about a mile longer than I had mapped. The short walk down Carson Road and the side trip to the waterfall had added a little extra along with some meandering of the track.
I eased myself into the driver’s seat, pushed the clutch in, and turned the ignition – nothing. My car was getting old and the clutch did not always catch on the first attempt. I was used to this, but Tim was not. I told him not to worry, it would start, but I think he had fears of being stuck out and having to wait for someone to come get us. After three more tries the engine caught and the car started. I pulled forward onto Carson Road and headed home.
The trail has since been re-routed and turns right on River Road instead of left. It no longer goes through Blodgett Mills, but instead heads south to join NY 392 and cross over the Tioughnioga River. There is still a walk along NY 11, but it is much shorter. It took me three tries to complete the new trail section from NY 11 to where it joined with the trail near Hoxie Gorge Road.