Our friend Stella joined us for Thanksgiving and a post-Thanksgiving recovery hike at Sweedler Preserve in Ithaca. The weather was brisk if our pace was not.
The Cornell Botanic Gardens is one of the many great gems in our area. We joined a few other folks for a splendid walk through parts of the F. R. Newman Arboretum led by “Garden Guide” Dr. Peter Davies, a retired Cornell professor (46 1/2 years!) and expert on plant physiology.
We learned about fall colors, the dominance of green chlorophyll pigment which breaks down in the fall to reveal the yellow and orange carotenoids, and the anthocyanins generated by some species to create the vivid reds and bronzes, notably red maples here in the northeast.
We also learned of the effects of, and losing battle against, invasive species and the homogenization of the biosphere throughout the world. We also learned of Ithaca’s four seasons: pre-Winter, Winter, post-Winter, and Construction season.
It was a comprehensively entertaining and interesting stroll on a beautiful Fall day. The Arboretum is a wonderful and ever-changing place to visit any time of year–highly recommended.
We spent a week in Maine, mostly in Acadia National Park, and mostly canoeing and hiking when we weren’t relaxing in a very comfy, quiet, and roomy rental home. Our friend Stella joined us. We all had a great time in an extraordinary part of the country with ideal weather most of the time. We avoided the worst of the summer crowds jamming the place by visiting after Labor Day.
We hiked the rim trail circuit around Taughannock Falls State Park yesterday. It’s a reminder of how fortunate we are on several fronts:
- We’re retired and can do things like this during the week on short notice. We usually only see a few other geezers and geezettes (if any) unlike on the weekends and holidays.
- We’re healthy and fit enough to enjoy things like this. (Although this hike is easy, it’s daunting or out of the question for some of our friends and neighbors.)
- We live within a few minutes drive of a wealth of parks, preserves, and trails here in this part of the Finger Lakes.
Looking at Taughannock Falls, it’s mind-boggling to know the walls are carved from deposits made over 300+ million years. The carving itself started with the retreat of the last ice age glacier around 10,000 years ago and continues to this day as each year the waterfall retreats a few more inches, extending the gorge away from Cayuga Lake. Water, freezing, and thawing continue their inexorable excavation. I look forward to seeing what the place looks like in another 10,000 years.
Lori and I took advantage of a beautiful spring weekday to take a walk in Robert H. Treman State Park, one of the gems within a few minutes drive from home. The wet cool spring has been very good for lush vegetation and robust waterfalls.
Autumn 2018 colors in our neighborhood have been notably subdued, more of a stumble than a Fall. We’re on the brink of perma-brown taking over as rain and winds wash away, during the next several days, what little color we had. Today, however, Lori and I were able to enjoy a comfortable sunny walk in Sweedler Preserve, one of the many gems within easy reach of our place.