Ithaca is Gorges: Robert B. Treman State Park Gorge

Ithaca surprised us. Our expectations were that it would be a pretty place, but likely full of black flies during the first week of June; the reality was that it was beautiful – as in beyond pretty – and we enjoyed very pleasant hiking conditions the three days we were there.

After doing a bit of comparing I decided to book us a campsite at Robert B. Treman State Park, located close to a) lots of waterfalls and b) multiple breweries. We arrived mid-afternoon and set off within an hour from the campground on the Rim Trail, which would take us to the Upper Falls where it would connect with the Gorge Trail. The 2 mile hike through the forest was really quite lovey, neither hot nor buggy, and we found ourselves really enjoying being out in the woods again after so long. What the trail did have was a lot of stairs – over 200 just to ascend to the level above the upper falls – which made perfect sense seeing as how we were hiking paralleling a gorge with multiple waterfalls. I can assure you that this did not make those 200+ sequential stairs at the end any easier, particularly since my back was still very much recovering from a couple weeks earlier. Abby naturally rubbed salt in the wound by practically prancing up all those stairs and then staring impatiently and obnoxiously from the top.

Of course it was worth it though: even the first glimpse of the falls from across the gorge was extremely impressive. Amazingly it got better after we started walking through the fractured rock on the Gorge Trail – the angular, blocky steps of shale and siltstone form an incredible channel for the rushing waters. Watching the creek being funneling them through the narrow walls of Enfield Glen was exhilarating, and the waterfalls themselves were amazing, especially the huge,115-foot multi-pitch plunge of Lucifer Falls. All this made me positively giddy as we descended the stone steps ingeniously cut into the gorge.

Below the drama of the upper falls the gorge walls come down, the canyon feels more open, and the creek flows more sedately over the layered rock, gurgling and swooshing quietly as it makes its way to Cayuga Lake. This section of the trail too was nice, and terminated in the veil of water that is the lower falls. Unfortunately the sun was right behind the lower falls as we were returning to our campsite and I wasn’t able to get any decent photos, but trust me, it’s nice.

All this walking earned us a beer and after doing a quick shoe change we drove into town to Liquid State Brewing which offered me a very tasty Sonic! IPA (and Tom a Yard Lion Hefe) to go with our take out Thai food.

Finally, I found it difficult between the lighting and the scale of the gorges we were in to capture the essence in still photos, so apologies for the 3 videos included in the post. I don’t know if many people watch, or like watching, the videos I started posting last year to complement the photos, but I’ve found them really useful to make up for my lack of photography skills in certain scenarios, and as a way to capture atmosphere at other times.