For the first time since June 2020, Hannah and I have come to central New York to see our eleven-month identical twin granddaughters, Reese and Charlotte, and their nearly three year-old big brother Brooks. Due to Covid, we have not been able to support in person our son Will and his wife Laurel in caring for their brood.
But this last weekend in April 2021 we have come to Ithaca to be of some modest support. Bringing Hannah’s homemade chili and cornbread and treating them to Mexican take-out with, listen to this, take-out pitchers of margaritas, as well as treating us all to Wegman’s monster subs for lunches, we hope to feed their bodies and souls.
Raising our game, each afternoon we watch the kids while Will and Laurel go for a drive, take a long walk, or shop for garden supplies. Taking Brooks for the morning to the South Hill Elementary School playground and wheeling Reese and Charlotte in their stroller around the neighborhood, we are giving it our best to support them in dealing with the exhaustion of parenting young’uns.
Heading out of town after four nights in Ithaca early Sunday on Will and Laurel’s sixth anniversary, we drive north on route 89 on the westside of Cayuga Lake (pronounced Cue-ga) for the roaring falls trails of Taughannock (pronounced Ta-gon-ick) Falls State Park eight miles from town.
Parking for free before the season starts, we hike the South Rim Trail with few others. Master craftsmen from the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) of the 1930s built the stairs that we take to the upper reaches of the gorge.
With 400’ feet of elevation gain, the South Rim Trail and its sibling the North Rim Trail are high above the flowing gorge river that is wide enough for two to walk the walk and talk the talk.
Crossing over the river above the Upper Falls, we follow the well-marked North Rim trail back to the trailhead. Again, the trail is wide and easy on the feet. The North Rim has the one view of the falls from high above.
Roughly two and half miles later, Hannah and I complete the Rim loop trails in 70 minutes. Fact is, we are just not stop-and-smell-the-rose hikers, we move and we groove.
Upon completion of the Rim trails, we take the level Gorge Trail to the falls that is filled today with hikers ready to break out after their Covid winter of isolation. With a trail wide enough for fifteen people, we easily skirt the masked and unmasked as well as the washed and unwashed.
With more people vaccinated, we abide by the park rule and easily maintain six feet of separation with other hikers. See above.
The falls are roaring like we’ve never experienced before due to the winter run-off and recent heavy rains of spring.
Known for being unable to take a successful selfie, I give it my all at Taughannock Falls. It’s a start. Let’s try to find something positive to say or say nothing at all.
In less than two hours, we crush our 10,000 Fitbit step goal. Do I hear 20K?