It was hard to leave Watkins Glen after such a brief stay, but I know my window of opportunity for autumn color is narrow, and there is still so much of this corner of the country I want to see before weather necessitates my hasty return to the south.
Ithaca was only a bit farther east at the base of another of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake. As I travel I try to research the areas I’m heading towards. I know I can’t “see it all”, but I don’t want to get hundreds of miles down the highway and have someone say to me, “You were there, and you didn’t see THAT?” While researching the Ithaca area I found more natural wonders to explore.
Right up the road from where I camped was one of the tallest falls east of the Rockies. Taughannock Falls drops an impressive 215 feet, and is part of yet another beautiful New York State Park (by the same name.) As you view the falls of this area in my posts, keep in mind that these were taken at the end of an unusually dry summer. I can’t help but wonder how amazing they must be in the spring!!
On the one sunny morning I had in Ithaca I took the girls with me for a hike in Robert H. Treman State Park. It was reminiscent of Watkins Glen in many ways. Both are deep, narrow gorges cut through a magnificent landscape. Both are pristine and completely natural with the exception of the man-made stone steps and bridges, and those are so beautifully done they only add to the elegance. The hike along Enfield Creek was enchanting at every turn. It would not have surprised me to see pixies and fairies along the way, as it is surely the kind of place from which fairy tales come! It tickled me to wonder if the presence of my dogs might have frightened them away.
Just down the road from the park this old barn, surrounded by the early colors of autumn, was worth a hike back up the road. As I’ve mentioned before, my eye is always drawn to old, antiquated buildings. There’s a sense of history in them that almost transports me back to an era gone by.
While in Ithaca I also visited Cornell University, which sits high on a hill overlooking the town and Cayuga Lake. I’m sure on a clear day you could see much more of the Finger Lakes region. I studied at the University of Washington, and still think it’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever seen, but Cornell’s grand old ivy covered buildings and stunning view are at least a close runner up.
And down the hill from Cornell is the town’s namesake, Ithaca Falls. It is quite impressive, and very accessible, making it a popular place for visitors to the area. During the three hours I spent hiking the gorge in Robert Treman State Park I encountered only four other people, but here at Ithaca Falls there were literally hundreds. Waiting for an opportunity to get a clean shot (no one in it) of the falls took much longer than the hike to get there.
The journey continues eastward, and with each new day the colors of autumn are more enhanced, and around every bend in the road another perfect painting is revealed.
Note- My 2013 Journey in Focus Calendars are in! I have to brag a bit here, and say they are beautiful! Please contact me directly if you’re interested in purchasing.