I had mentioned to Karen a couple discoveries from yesterday's century. The first of which was what appeared to be a development of a trailhead along Conesus Lake that I had not seen in past rides in the area. Another was a Nature Conservancy property, with marked trails, that I'm certain did not exist the last time I had been on Bald Hill many years ago. Looking for an excuse to chill out and recover gracefully from yesterday's hammerfest, I suggested to Karen we could grab our fat bikes and explore a little and maybe do a "little hiking" as well. Karen was totally up for that. I wondered what I just got myself into.
We headed up to Purcell Hill Road and got to the trailhead of the Canadice Haul Road along the west side of Canadice Lake. Canadice Lake, along with Hemlock Lake, way up in the hills south of Rochester, are the primary water reservoirs for the city. That means the shorelines are undeveloped unlike all the other Finger Lakes, and are surrounded by protected State Forest lands. And they are stunningly beautiful and pristine. The Conesus Haul Road is gated to prevent motorized vehicles, but hikers and bicyclists can easily traverse the 4.2 mile route along the west side of the lake … which we did.
That was sweet … easy flat cruising along the side of the lake and in the woods was too serene. But then we packed the bikes back in the car and headed up to "Rob's Trail". I discovered this yesterday.
The Conesus/Hemlock state forest has a gap of land between the two lakes that got "connected" by the Nature Conservancy. The land creates a bridge between the two lakes enabling hiking shoreline-to-shoreline. So we parked at the trailhead on Bald Hill (NY Route 15A) and initially started hiking Rob's Trail down toward Hemlock Lake because of a trail note about a waterfall along the trail. We saw that NO water was flowing in the gorge, so we reversed course toward Canadice Lake. Gorgeous.
These are steep hills between the lakes … great for biking but for hiking as well!
We plan to return to finish the section going to the Hemlock shoreline, most likely in a future springtime when the water will be flowing. So, 8 miles biking, 4.2 miles hiking, and I expect to sleep well tonight. Maybe tomorrow is a REAL rest day?