Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taughannock Falls State Park

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

A busy and lovely day at Taughannock State Park! We drove down to the main area of the park, right on Cayuga Lake, and found an rv-sized parking spot next to the boat launch.  There was even a little bit of shade! Then we headed up the Gorge Trail to Taughannock Falls with Roxy (always so nice when dogs are allowed to join their people!) The path was very easy—no elevation, wide and shady. The final cascade of the Taughannock Creek is right near the road, so we stopped to admire it.

Lower Taughannock Falls
Continuing along the path, it was obvious that the creek was pretty low at this time of year. A lot of the creek bed was dry, and the temptation to walk alongside or even in the water was irresistible to most of the folks following the trail.  We too went into the creek, where Roxy had a drink. 

After a bit, we opted for the shadier path, and got out of the creek channel. The views were still lovely, and it was fun watching the families with small children making their way up through the water. What a great hike for little kids! 

We finally arrived at the base of Taughannock Falls, which we’d seen from the upper overlook yesterday. It is really awesome and beautiful! We walked across the wooden bridge to the other side of the river (Roxy did NOT like the bridge but followed when I led the way and we encouraged her) and spent about 20 minutes just taking photos and looking up at the rock walls. There are interpretive panels all along the river and we enjoyed reading those too.

Close-up: Top of Falls
We finally headed back—the walk back to the RV was a lot quicker than the walk to the falls, because we didn’t  stop for as many photos and panels (plus we stayed out of the water!) We got back to Samantha at 1:00, just in time for lunch.

After eating, relaxing and reading for a little while, it was time for the next big attraction of the park, Cayuga Lake itself. We pumped up our inflatable kayak and walked over to the boat launch which was just a few yards away. How easy! We were out on the lake for about 90 minutes. The park has a beach for swimming, and several launch areas. Folks were also fishing, and we got a kick out of one guy with two black dogs (part lab, both of them.) They were on a jetty fishing, but then he literally picked them both up and tossed them into the water, jumping in after them himself! A few minutes later they all scrambled out onto the rocks and were back on the jetty shaking themselves off. So cute! It is nice to be in a dog-friendly place.

Pointing our kayak toward Cayuga Lake
We were not very energetic, although we paddled all up and down the shore of near our launch site. We also paddled up the river to where it became quite shallow—we could see the base of the falls (the ones near the road, that is) before we turned around. Cayuga Lake was very calm and quiet—there was no wind, and when we didn’t paddle, we just floated right in place quietly. It was VERY relaxing!

We got back to Samantha at about 4:30, and although I was tempted to swim after that (I was hot!), Joey wasn’t in the mood. So instead we decided to head up the road to our next destination, Sampson State park. We stopped at Cayuga Lake Creamery (our ice cream destination yesterday) for a reprise of our respective chocolate ice creams. Roxy got lucky too—I noticed today that they sell a “Doggie Sundae”!  For years Joey has occasionally bought a small vanilla cup for his dogs, and a special sundae topped with a dog biscuit was too cute to resist. Roxy loved the ice cream, but we were not that surprised when she had no interest in the biscuit…. She is simply not a dog-biscuit fan!

From there, it was a short trip to Sampson State Park, on Seneca Lake. The park is quite large, occupying the site of a World War II naval training station. There is a big campground, a marina, a military museum, and of course the lake with trails and bike rentals.  No waterfalls this time, so we are on the shore of the lake, and fairly flat for a change. The shower facilities are nicer than the one at Watkins Glen, and we both took long hot showers tonight, which was lovely. We had a delish steak and salad for dinner.  The campground also has electrical hookups, which is a nice change—we can use real lights instead of flashlights and we don’t have to conserve our power. In fact, I am recharging everything to the max! So we are feeling pretty pampered right now. We will hang around here tomorrow and play a little bit, and decide where to go next. I have no idea yet.

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