Spring at Letchworth

We burst the bonds of pandemic lockdown once we were fully vaccinated by spending a couple days exploring NYS’s Letchworth State Park. We stayed in Mt. Morris at the wonderful BrickInn B&B (very comfortable with great breakfasts) and moseyed into the park each day for some trail exploring.

Neither of us had previously been to Letchworth despite its proximity. The Genesee River gorge is impressive and parts are scenic, particularly in the vicinity of the 3 large waterfalls along the southern part of the park. We benefited from the late-April early-season visit in midweek with lousy weather–it meant we often had miles of trails to ourselves. It sounds like the park and surrounding towns gets jammed with crowds during regular season. That would certainly change the character of a visit entirely. Those darned tourists.

A Good Winter

Our Winter, unlike in past years and other locations, has been top shelf. We’ve had a few major storms but mostly we’ve had many days of fresh coatings of light snow and ideal temperatures. A periodic refresh of the Winter canvas has revealed the daily wildlife activity and charmed us with idyllic Winter vistas. Lori loves Winter too. She just doesn’t always realize it. But she’s always up for a walk in the woods in any case.

Frequent Deer Browsing

Lately we’ve seen quite an up-tick in the local deer population’s visits to our yard. Each morning we see fresh new tracks and removed snow cover spots as they browse for food. Garden plants are being nibbled as well. They’re getting bold hanging around the house. In a few days they’ll likely move on to other neighborhood dining spots, we hope. Yelling “Get off my lawn you kids!” hasn’t helped so far.

Winter Season Kickoff

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.

Reduced Fall Hiking Options

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.

Early Winter at Taughannock Falls

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.