Birthday Outing 2016

This year my birthday happened to fall on a Saturday. So to celebrate Luke,  his parents, and I took a very long day trip.

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We picked up the ornaments made earlier in the week from the glass studio in Corning. For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2013/12/28/a-corning-christmas-present/

Then we headed to Watkins Glen State Park to hike the George Trail.

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Being a very warm Saturday, the trail was crowded but as always worth it. We have had a very dry summer so far, and light winter, so the falls were not as full as normal, but still it is a beautiful place.

 

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After our morning hike we drove up to Ithaca to the farmer’s market for a late lunch. Diana was happy to find more than 6 stalls selling organic produce and was surprised to find a pre-made completely organic lunch of samosas and salad. For more on the Farmer’s Market see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2014/06/12/playing-tourists-with-the-grandparents/

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We picked up a few groceries, then roamed to see what options were available for lunch. At the table was a variety of food from a Sri Lankan curry to Momos all with local organic strawberries for dessert. We went back through one last time after lunch to pick up some goodies. Diana and John picked up some local maple syrup, cheese, and wine.

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With full stomaches we got back in the car and headed to Cornell university. There we stopped at the botanical gardens welcome center and explored the gardens. After a nice walk through the rohdi’s and sitting in the shade we decided we were ready for dessert. We climbed up the hill from the garden parking lot and over to Cornell’s dairy bar. We discovered all of this on our camping trip in Ithaca a few years ago for more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2014/07/06/our-first-camping-trip-part-two/

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The ice cream was just as good as ever, creamy, and just enough flavor and sugar. After enjoying our afternoon treat, we got back in the car and drove the Corning Plantations Arboretum drive passing ponds, orchards, and the student farm. Taking a break to look out over the plantations, we decided to take a short walk to a suspension bridge over looking some of the falls on campus. When we did we discovered even in the low water many people were out swimming in the heat.

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Getting back in the car we headed down to greenstar a local natural and organic food store to get Diana dinner and a few groceries for their trip ahead. We then went to get Chinese food for the rest of us to go.

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With our to-go meals in hand we drove to Buttermilk falls on the outskirts of town. We found a picnic bench to sit and enjoy our dinner at while watching the falls. With how dry the year has been there was little to  water flowing over the rock but it was still a pleasant view. For more on buttermilk falls see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2013/06/27/an-ithaca-birthday-adventure/

A long last outing of our touring behind us, we drove back toward home. It was great day and I was happy to be able to spend it with family.

Kira update: adult puppy

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Our puppy Kira is 11 months old; an adult puppy. She has not lost her puppy coat and she has times of crazy energy but she knows the rules and routine and follows them (most of the time) without stubbornness.

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Since our last update we have done a genetic test on our furry family member to discover she is not a lab at all! She is mostly American foxhound, American Stafford Terrier, and a little Chow.

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We had guessed she could be part chow because some siblings are very fluffy, plus she has spots on the bottom of her tongue, typical of Chows. We would not have guessed the other breeds, but with research about personalities and behaviors it makes sense. She is all nose, can track anything, but she is also all muscle, very agile, and alert. So we have a tracking/hunting dog also with guarding instincts.

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With all the yard work we have been doing (more to come). It has been a task keeping  her from eating the fertilizer, plant food, weed killer,  (even gravel) that we have been laying down. It’s like she is a two year old with shiny objects.

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We just recently went back to Stony Brook and were able to do the full trail both ways! In the past Kira’s attention span meant that we only would make it part way. This time the park was crowded but she did not jump on a single person, something we have been working on. For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2016/01/13/winter-walk-stonybrook-park/

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Even though she is almost an adult, Kira still has many new experiences. At the park she was curious but afraid of balloons and strollers both items she has not seen before.

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This past week Kira had another new experience, the groomers.  In the past she has been scared of brushes, not a huge fan of baths, and requires treats  to  cut her nails. With this in mind, I stayed for the appointment.

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I was shocked and impressed at how well she did. The groomer was able to not only clip Kira’s nails and give her a bath but also trim down her winter coat with an electric shaver, something I thought she would be completely scared of. But the groomer was great with her and Kira is adaptable.

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It’s hard to believe we have had Kira in our home for nine months. She has challenged and frustrated us, but also impressed and surprised us. We are glad to have her.

 

Lessons Learned: Round 2

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Last weekend we reserved a campsite at a state park down the road from us in Dansville: stony brook park. We had been watching the weather reports closely and were not sure how much rain we would get but decided to go anyways. After, all we both have lived in the northwest.

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Thursday and most of Friday I spent buying supplies, prepping, and packing.  We left and got set up Friday night. We enjoyed our beautiful view of the brook from our campsite, set up the tent, and table, and got a fire and hot dogs going. Everything was going well.

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We had a good night sleep and next morning made a large camp stove breakfast with strong coffee. After a few hours enjoying the campsite, reading and relaxing, we decided to walk the gorge and rim trail. I got my sunscreen and bug spray on and was ready to go.

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We got less then a quarter mile in when we heard claps of thunder. I thought we had brought our thin rain coats with us to the trail head; but we  ended up driving back to the campsite. When we got back we decided to wait out the weather. Luke took a nap while I read. I stayed sunny the whole time.

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When Luke woke up the rain hit, and it hit hard. Luke had some work to do so we decided to go home for a few hours while it rained then go out to dinner. When we came back to our campsite it was still wet and raining.

We decided to get a fire going anyways and to make ourselves some berry cobbler over the fire in foil (which turned out very yummy). But when we got ready to go to the tent for the evening we discovered our sleeping bags were wet. There was water dripping in at the center of the tent.

Lesson Learned: If you are going to be adventurous and go camping in the rain make sure your tent has recently been waterproofed.

We  cleaned it up, put a towel down where it was dripping, and moved our sleeping bags and clothes away from walls and the center. We tried to settle into our sleeping bags for the night, but it was humid and the water that came into the tent caused everything to be a little damp. I knew I would get damp and as the temperature dropped after the storm passed, if it passed, I would get cold. We tried to stick it out.

Lesson Learned: If you want to be adventurous when camping, no matter the weather, do not go camping near your home. It is too much of a temptation to know you are 10 minutes from a warm dry bed.

By midnight we were back at home. When we returned to our campsite the next day we decided we needed to tear down camp. The rain was not letting up and we found our tent site was turning into a puddle. Because it was pouring we had to pack the dry items, then put towels down, then the wet items. When we got home we hung all wet items including sleeping bags, tents, picnic tablecloths etc. in the laundry room to dry.

It was still an enjoyable day and a half outdoor, we had a lot of laughs, and spent the rest of the weekend together, as we had planned, (mostly) away from technology. On the plus side also items on the house to-do list left on the list for months finally got accomplished.

Here comes the sun!: Stony Brook Park

Well it’s taken much longer than anyone wanted for us to get sunshine, but it’s finally here. It amazes me how it can be snowing Easter morning and the next weekend we are basking in 65 degree weather!

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We took advantage of the perfect spring this past Sunday by driving to Dansville after church with the sunroof open. We grabbed some taco bell for lunch and watched a few planes take off at the airport.

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Then we drove over to Stony Brook Park, our closest state park which is only 10 minutes from our house for a picnic.

The park has been closed since we moved out here. It’s still too early for the trails along the water, but the picnic area as well as the playground were well used by local families and their dogs enjoying the blue sky and first signs of green grass.

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We ate our fast-food picnic then wandered around. The park has tennis and basketball courts, a baseball diamond, and a summer-time natural swimming pool.

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We drove around then went to the southern entrance were there is a camp ground. This entrance was closed off so we moved on.

We know we will return later in the year. Looks like a great place to get out in nature without a long drive and maybe take a family dog to walk around (more on the dog topic to come).

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What are your first favorite spring activities?

Our First Camping Trip: Part Three

This is the las piece of our First Camping trip: for more see our First Camping Trip: part one and two.

Monday was our last full-day of camping so we wanted to savor it and take it slow. We started the morning with a super still and quiet campsite, coffee, and a big breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon. We planned to make this a water day; so we packed up our swimsuits and covered ourselves in sunscreen and headed to the state park marina.

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The Tauhannock Falls Marnia is right across the stress from the falls gorge trail. The water from the gorge river/creek flow directly into the lake through walkable inlets. Luke grabbed a book and I took a journal and we found a perfect resting place along the Cayuga lake waterfront at the Marina to peacefully read on the picnic quilt.

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After an hour or so we checked out their rental kayaks and found only one tandem. We decided instead of heading out into the large lake’s open waters alongside the many larger fishing and power boats to drive into Ithaca. We drove back into town and found Puddledockers; a kayak and paddleboard rental and retailer found close to the farmers market. For under 40 bucks Luke and I were able to rent a tandem kayak for two hours. After discovering we had our own lifejackets and had obviously been kayaking before they gave us our paddles and a laminated map of the inlets and waterways around Ithaca and out towards the lake.

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We took off around 2:30pm; a time that is after the most sun and wind but still early enough to not get dark or cold. We explored the marinas around Ithaca and paddled past the Farmer’s Market at Steamboat Landing. We enjoyed touring the many sail and power boats on our way out toward the State Park Marina. We enjoyed sharing the waterways with many goslings of geese as well.

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Although it was a Monday we were not alone on the waterways; other kayakers who had rented from the same location also toured the area as well as several groups from both Ithaca College and Cornell’s rowing crew; we passed both of their rowing centers along the marina.  We turned back around before we hit the more open waters of the lake then backtracked down along the canals that go under roadway bridges that parallel downtown Ithaca.

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We came back to the dock at Puddledockers at 4:10 after a relaxing paddle around. We had enjoyed some beautiful views of the cities parks, Marinas, as well as some great views of Cornell and Ithaca College up on the hills.  Before heading back up to our campsite we stopped for an afternoon treat at Yogurtland.

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Then we went back to our spot along the Cayuga river at the State Park Marina for another hour or two of journaling, reading, and relaxing; this time we were joined by Geese and some shore side fishermen. As we got closer to dinner time the BBQ summer dinner crowd came in and we headed back to our campsite for our own dinner: tacos. That night we enjoyed the last of our firewood and our last quiet night of camping.

The next morning we were happy to see that although it had rained during the night our tent was dry. We got up and moving with coffee and a quick breakfast and took down camp. We were on the road and back to reality (after a stop for some extra coffee) and got home before 1pm ready to unpack and regroup for the rest of the busy week.

Our First Camping Trip: part one

Although Luke and I have been together for more than 3 years we have never been camping just the two of us. So this summer we are staying local and enjoying some of the amazing sites here in upstate New York.

Luke took off work June 20th-June 24th and we reserved a camping spot at Tauhannock Falls State Park outside of Ithaca. After several trips to Walmart for supplies, we packed up and left after Luke got off work on June 19th. We found our site, ate dinner and set up camp just before it got dark then enjoyed some hot cocoa and looking at the stars.

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Saturday we enjoyed coffee from the percolator and decided what our day of  exploring would look like. With more coffee in to-go cups, we started the morning with a drive up the West side of Cayuga lake, it was a beautiful day as we passed by small towns wineries, cideries, and farms. We picked up some free firewood along the roadside then made a plan to head back down towards Ithaca to explore Alan Tremen State Park.

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By having a campsite at one of the state parks entrance into the other parks for the duration of camping was free. I’d looked into the local waterfalls and gorges we had yet to explore in the area and found Alan Tremen State Park. When we arrived we parked the car and explored the welcome center and historic Old Mill.  Because of the waterways in the 1800’s a large Mill was made here using the water to power to mill’s grinders for production of flour and buckwheat. Luke and I enjoyed exploring the three story workings of this old mill with a back porch view to a beautiful waterfall. We set up a snack lunch along the water in prep for our hike along the gorge trail.

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We got a small way down the gorge trail path before realizing that it was going to dead-end because of repairs and construction. We decided instead to take the North rim trail to where we could see an outlook over Lucifer Falls; although it was not a clear shot it gave us a better ideas of the gorge trail. We walked back to the car deciding this was definitely a place to return to once repairs were done.

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our glimpse of Lucifer Falls

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We then drove back up to Tauhannock State Park and up the hill to a outlook for the Tauhannock Falls. This gave us a almost bird-eye view of the tremendous thundering falls. It is here the the north rim trail of the fall gorge area ends.

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Afterwards we drove back to our campsite to regroup then walked down to the trail for the Tauhannock Falls gorge. Unlike most of the gorge trails in the area this one stays open year round; the pathway is wide and flat so people were bringing strollers and wheelchairs down the path easily. Many people wore swimsuits stopped somewhere along the trail to dip their feet (or more) into the river as we headed upstream towards the falls.

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At the end of the path you turn a corner and there is Tauhannock Falls; crossing a bridge over the roaring river you come to a picture/spot and standing area. The falls are so large that you don’t have to get too close to the edge of the viewing area to get covered in a rain like mist. Fortunately we came near the end of the day so taking picture without mass amounts of people was easy.

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After the walk back to the campsite we were ready to settle in for the night. We finished off our first full day of camping with some pre-made shrimp pasta, games of cribbage, and a campfire with s’mores for dessert.

Stayed tuned for Part Two of our Camping trip

Walkins Glen State Park=Gorge-ous

This past weekend we decided to take advantage of these days of amazing weather and get outdoors. As I mentioned last week (see Racefever and local BBQ) Walkins Glen is well known for it’s racetrack. But it also the base for Seneca Lake and many natural waterfalls, most of which are found in Walkins Glen State Park.

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We have driven through town and past the state park many times but hadn’t taken the time to explore it. For eight bucks we parked our car in the bottom lot and walked toward the entrance to the Gorge Trail.

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Unlike other state parks trails I’ve explored, the beauty and photo worthy views start at the very beginning. Out of the side of the mountain you can see the first of 19 waterfalls flowing down under a walking bridge. To enter the Gorge Trail you climb a set of stairs through the rock wall and across the bridge. The tourist buses actually drive to the south or upper entrance and then guide guests down to the lower entrance, this way the tourist get some of the best views last.

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The following path is a slow incline of several step-ups and sets of stairs. The concrete and stone paths are wet and muddy in places as waterfalls flow from both the left rock path and the right gorge view.

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Only so many words can describe the many breathtaking views. The further up we went the less congested it became until we reached the suspension bridge which crosses the gorge over to the aouth entrance where there is a lodge, restaurant, snack bar, and public swimming pool.

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We chose to finish the Gorge Trail.  As we ascended, we reached a set of rail road tracks set high above the gorge. A historical sign indicated it used to have a steel reinforced beam centered in the Gorge’s waterway but it was destroyed in a 1930’s flood. The bridge is now reinforced on either side of the Gorge instead.  We came to the upper entrance by late afternoon. Taking a break to get water, we looked around. Probably the smallest of entrances, it boasts only a bathroom, snack bar with outdoor picnic tables, and playground.

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When we were ready, we decided to take the Indian trail (one of the two rim trails) back down. I am sure this trail would be beautiful to walk again during the fall foilage. We traced the gorge and water down hill on the right, passing hill sides full of trees on the left.

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We cut back to the Gorge Trail for the last .25 mile and got one last chance to take a few pictures of the beautiful waterfalls without the foot traffic  (the tour /shuttle buses had stopped running).

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In all it was a beautiful afternoon outing and we left right before the sun began to set.

What did you do last weekend?