Finger Lakes Exploration

August 1, 2015 – It was a gorgeous western NY Saturday, and we wanted to take full advantage of the nice weather.  First up was Watkins Glen.  We got there around noon and had a nice picnic lunch in the car – the picnic areas were already packed, and there was a triathlon in town causing some serious traffic congestion (fortunately we were driving opposite traffic).

We found a break in the crowds to take this photo.
We found a break in the crowds to take this photo.

We started off with a hike through the gorge.  It’s beautiful, unique, and very pretty.  The downside is it’s also often very crowded, with lots of slow moving people.  By the time we got towards the end, though, the crowds had cleared.  We made our way back to the car via the much less crowded Indian Trail.

Canyons like this are more common in the Western US, and a very nice surprise out East.
Canyons like this are more common in the Western US, and a very nice surprise out East.

Next up was a visit to Cornell University’s Sapsucker Woods.  We had half an hour before the visitor center closed, and we spent it wandering around the building, admiring the bird murals that were being painted on the wall, and watching a short video about the woods.  Once the visitor center closed we took a loop hike around the area, venturing over several board walks and swatting at mosquitoes by the pond.  We didn’t see many birds, but the woods were very pretty.

Boardwalk stroll? Sign me up.
Boardwalk stroll? Sign me up.

We took the long way back to the Thruway to see Taughannock Falls.  You can easily drive in and take a few stairs down to a viewpoint of the falls, which are an impressive 215 feet high. Dinner was pizza and good draft beer at Uno Chicago Grill outside of Rochester, followed by a gorgeous view of the sunset on the drive home.

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