The North Country Trail runs 4,600 miles through seven states, stretching from New York to North Dakota. I walked 2.8 miles of it the other day, adding to the legion of dedicated hikers who have walked what is known as the country’s longest National Scenic Trail.
OK, a measly three miles does not make me an official member of this legion of hikers or even a dedicated hiker. But we all need to start somewhere. I do think it is interesting that this trail, which starts in Crown Point, N.Y., is something we can take advantage of here in CNY.
I accessed the Onondaga Section of the trail in the DeRuyter State Forest, off Fairbanks Road. I actually found the trailhead this time, after an epic fail I wrote about a couple years back.
Tucker the New Dog and I passed a serene-looking pond at the trail’s start and quickly found ourselves in what the DEC says is reclaimed forest that includes Norway spruce and red pine planted by Civilian Conservation Corp recruits back in the 1930s.
We zigzagged along a ridge, working our way through trees starting to reclaim their cloaks of green and down to Webber Road, which connects with Fairbanks Road. A quiet stroll up Fairbanks, a seasonal road, led us back to the car. (See the route here. )
It was a perfect day for a walk, temperatures in the low 70s with no humidity and only a few bugs starting to emerge. And, of course, a modicum of exercise needs to be rewarded. I stopped at the Drift In, which is on Route 13 just north of the village of DeRuyter, and sampled a banana shake. Good, but not great. I still am a Gilligan’s shake guy, at least until I visit Troop’s Scoops on Route 20 later this summer.
The Drift In also serves Texas Red Hots, burgers, chicken tenders, and some fried fish baskets. Solid fare from a classic roadside drive-thru.
I was disappointed to see the shuttered Red and White Cafe, in the village itself, that went out of business in November 2011. That had been a great renovation of a general store into a wonderful cafe that anchored a Main Street corner. Sad to be reminded of its closure.