Hiking the Inman Gulf Loop – Good Prep for SOTA

Been a while since my last post.  Work has been crazy and I have had to travel to Minnesota, DC, and Milan over the past few weeks.  So I was so excited when my son and his girlfriend agreed to go on a snowshoe hike with me to a nearby trail called the Inman Gulf Loop.

The full Inman Gulf Loop is an easy 6.9 mile hike that is a combination of trail along the ridge of the Inman Gulf that includes a walk along William’s Road.

We chose a slightly shorter version of the loop because we were going to have to snowshoe the entire hike.  Me being a first time snowshoer, my son and his girlfriend felt it would be better to take a shorter hike.  It just so happens that it was a good call because we started late and almost ran out of daylight.  Another reason that it was a good call was because I wanted to carry a 35lbs backpack with me to help me prepare for my plans to start activating the ADK Fire Towers with SOTA.  The typical Fire Tower is about a 5 mile in and out trail and I will probably have between 30 and 40lbs on in my pack.  As it turns out, we snowshoed  5.1 miles in moderate snow.

The scenery is really beautiful.  The gorge has is made up of sedimentary rock and over time the river has carve into the rock and created a mini Grand Canyon!  You can see all of the various layers and we agreed that sometime in the near future, we will try to find a way to the bottom of the gorge so we can better examine the lower land and look for fossils.

For those who get vertigo, this may not be the trail for you.  We had a few technical areas with the snowshoes where if you lost your footing, you could end up falling a long way down into the gorge.  But overall the views were spectacular.

One characteristic of the area is that the land is not flat.  My GPX file does not show the topographic lines clearly enough but much of the trail is up and down, which really gave me a workout.

After following Oak Rim for quite a ways we came across the John Young Trail.  Since the day was starting to move along, we wanted to get back to the car before we lost daylight.

Although, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, we happened to come across a snowmobile trail which made our hike quite easy and a blast to walk.  I became mesmerized by the sound of our snowshoes crunching through the snow.  It was a very peaceful walk.

After about a mile on the John Young, we came to the end of the trail.  We had a good laugh at the condition of the trail sign, which has definitely seen better days!!

You could argue that this sign has more than its fair share of character!  We are thinking that maybe this summer we will come out for a day to help build some signs and make the trail a little easier to follow.

Overall this was a great hike.  It was my first snowshoe hike and I am already disappointed that winter is coming to a quick end and I may have to wait until next year before I can snowshoe again.  I was very pleased that all the walking I have been doing helped me handle this trail.  So I think I am ready for the physical aspect of the hiking that will be required for SOTA.

The biggest benefit from this hike??  Getting to spend time with one of my boys and his girlfriend.  My son Cooper got accepted into the University of Buffalo and will be heading off before I know it so it was great to spend a fantastic Saturday hiking in the woods with them.  Hope to a lot more of this when I kick in high gear in the spring for the ADK Fire Tower Challenge and SOTA.