Waterfall hiking near Ithaca, NY.

We headed down to two state parks over the weekend, Taughannock Falls State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park, for some easy and scenic hiking.  We started off at Taughannock and hiked all the trails in this park, which only amounted to about 5 miles in length.  We started off at the parking area with the amazing view of this 215-foot waterfall and hiked counterclockwise on the Rim Trails, which gave us an amazing view of the creek and the gorge more than 200 feet below. These trails were pretty level other than the steep descent to the gorge and then the steep ascent back out, but these did include some beautiful stone steps so it wasn’t too difficult.  We also walked the nature trail back into the gorge to get a view of the waterfall below. 

After having a lunch next to a beautiful small cascade, we headed over to Buttermilk Falls State Park, only about 10 miles away.  Again, this park didn’t have a lot of hiking area, but it definitely made up for the lack of distance in the amount of scenery!   We parked at the lower end and hiked up the Rim Trail and gained about 450 feet in elevation in less than a mile.  Then we stopped at the upper parking area to check out the site of an old flour mill and then hiked up the Bear Trail to Lake Treman.  From here, we wound our way back down to the parking area and down the Gorge Trail, which followed Buttermilk Creek all the way back down the gorge to the parking area.  The Gorge Trail was practically brand new and very traveled.  We passed more people on this trail than we had seen all day.  

These state parks were in great shape and due to the waterfalls they were much more crowded than any of the other state parks we’ve been to in New York!  I can’t wait to get back down to Ithaca to hike more gorges and see more waterfalls.  We may have visited two parks over the weekend, but the area has more than 20 parks with just as much beauty.  

The photos above are: Taughannock Falls, the small cascade about 3/4 mile down past the falls where we ate lunch, me on a rock outcropping, Buttermilk Falls, and a beautiful (one of many!) cascade on Buttermilk Creek.

Confessions of Hiker Trash

This morning I threw on my grubby old trail runners, leashed up my dog, and hopped in the car to head to Camillus Unique Area, a state forest near my  house.  What was supposed to a short and easy hike turned into adventure in true Sprinkles style.  While there are technically only 5 trails in this park, apparently there are some older, maintained but still rough, trails with ancient blazes that looked too enticing for me to resist.  The hike turned into me and Grace stumbling on to and into the Erie Canal and a beautiful waterfall, and me without my camera!

We tried to head back to our car the same way, just following the old trails, but they became less and less walkable and we ended up retracing our steps and going the long way, which included thick grass, thorny shrubbery, and lots of mud!  After taking a break in the parking lot for water and a little rest in the shade, we hopped into the car to head home which is where I usually do my reflecting on my hike.  So now, confessions of hiker trash: 

I realized today I feel more beautiful in a pair of grubby and muddy trail runners than I do in high heels. 

I’d rather be sweaty and sticky from a day of hiking than comfortable from a day relaxing on the couch. 

I’d rather spend a day outside than a day at the spa (although that would be nice too!)

A day with my dog in the woods is 100 times better than the best day ever at the office. 

I never really knew what life was until I strapped 25 pounds on my back and lived in the woods for five and a half months. 

I’d rather sleep in a tent than a 5-star hotel. 

There are so many other things I could say about how much more at home I feel in the woods than I do back in civilization, but I’ll spare you the rest.  I’m just so happy it’s finally springtime here so I can get outside and enjoy it!