A proper snowstorm visited us, blanketing our neighborhood in about 16 inches of snow. It’s pretty but it can be too much of a good thing sometimes: the Binghamton area in our neighboring county got a record 41 inches and nearby Newark Valley got 44. They probably don’t think it’s so nice.
Our most recent stroll in the park was in the lovely Buttermilk Falls State Park. This time of the year changes the character of hiking in both good and bad ways. In the Fall and Winter, parks and trails are less traveled, there are no bugs to contend with, and cooler temperatures can make for more comfortable strenuous hikes.
On the other hand, hunters are in the woods Although the overwhelming majority behave in a safe and responsible manner, it’s the occasional oddball or inexperienced hunter that gives one pause. Also, especially in the state parks, many trails are closed for the season due to hazardous conditions. (Slippery icy conditions on steep or treacherous trails, fallen or unstable rocks from freezing and thawing stresses, and unprepared or inexperienced hikers are probably the main factors.)
Although we have more limited options, it’s worth getting out anyway–it can be quite beautiful with the changing light and snowy conditions. Our recent brief hike was a good mental health elixir. We’re eager for the coming snow to give us some opportunity to get out snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Yeah, that’s it, that’s our story.
We’re very fortunate to live close to Taughannoock Falls on the West side of Cayuga Lake. It’s a wonderful place to walk or contemplate a few million years of geologic history. A brisk early Winter day in the middle of the week, in the midst of the pandemic, means we had the place nearly to ourselves.
Our intent to walk the loop around the rim trail was thwarted by trail closures due to hazardous conditions but we walked the gorge trail and part of the North rim trail that wasn’t closed. What a treat.