It has been many months since I last posted a blog entry. I thought of writing something, many times, but as we all settled into our day to day Pandemic mode, I talked myself out of it each time. I am not complaining. But being mostly confined to the house, inspiration was lacking. I just felt that my life, while maybe not exactly boring, was not quite worthy of sharing. But, two days ago (Monday), Debi and I set out for our first excursion beyond Long Island, since March. I hope you find our trip worth sharing.
We made an unhurried and relaxed exit from Long Island, and both felt a slight sense of accomplishment as we drove across the Whitestone Bridge and headed north and west. The drive was more than pleasant, as the late fall foliage was wonderfully highlighted by bright sunshine. With, no real traffic to speak of, we made it to Ithaca in about four and a half hours.
You don’t even get into the parking lot, before you are met with the stunning beauty of Buttermilk Falls! The first thing you see is “the Falls” itself. We quickly changed our shoes, got a map and began the very steep trek along the east side of the Gorge. We worked up a sweat, as we pushed through all the way to Lake Treman, before beginning our descent via the “Gorge Trail” along the west side edge of the “Gorge”. This portion of the hike was most spectacular with photograph worthy spots, seemingly every twenty yards. Each time we stopped, we were taken by the water cascading over slabs of rock into swirling pools below.
Having spent more time (and energy) than planned, we decided to modify our agenda and head for our Hotel in Geneva. I made sure to navigate us past Montour Falls, which is on the way. This was the second time I had been there. In the spring of 2019 the water was flowing much heavier. While it was barely more than a trickle, this time, it is still an impressive sight, that really jumps out on you as you drive very close by it. We continued driving north along the western shores of Lake Seneca. As we reached Geneva, we picked up food and some local brew, for dinner in the hotel. We both felt some apprehension about the hotel, but that was overcome by our hunger and fatigue.
Yesterday, I woke early for a coffee run downstairs and to check out the “Covid Continental” Breakfast, which was bad (like all things Covid). So we picked up breakfast at McDonalds, before heading back down the west side of the Lake toward Watkins Glen State Park. This was another beautiful State Park and another pretty grueling hike. Though we were somewhat disappointed that the “Gorge Trail” was closed for the season, we still enjoyed the gorgeous setting and more wonderful weather.
After a light lunch of Beef Jerky and Protein Bars, we travelled north and east toward the south western shore of Cayuga Lake, which is home to Trumansburg and Taughannock Falls State Park. We were pleased to encounter a much less difficult trail following along the south side of a wider, more gentle river that flows east toward the lake. Though less taxing, it was equally impressive, especially “The Falls” itself at the western edge of the park, All day we basked in the natural splendor off these state parks, treated to unseasonably warm temperatures, brilliant sunshine and intermittent showers of falling leaves.
Having hiked over five miles for the second consecutive day, we began to meander back in the general direction of Geneva, stopping along the way at Lucas Vineyards, the War Horse Brewery (for liquid refreshments) and finally Wegmans (always a favorite for food). After an in room feast, we were satisfyingly exhausted, similar to how you feel after a good day of skiing (is there such a thing as a bad day of skiing?).
By the way, twice we have driven past the athletic fields at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and seen the Men”s Lacrosse Team out there practicing, and the lights were on at 6am, yesterday. I have not stopped or made my way over there, but I have been tempted. I really miss lacrosse – I watched the Stony Brook Women”s Team play an Intra Squad Game on Twitter (on my phone) last week, so yes, I miss it, a lot!