Ithaca

I was only in Nova Scotia a couple of days before I was off on my way back to America, this time for work, but first I was taking a few days off in upstate New York. I had visited the area way back in 2005 and there were some really nice waterfalls in the area so it seemed rude not to visit them again if I was going to be so close. My trip to Ithaca was not the smoothest trip I’ve ever had. I was the closest I’ve ever been to being turned back at US immigration – they weren’t entirely happy about the purpose of my trip and whether it crossed from meeting (allowed) to work (not allowed). And then at Newark we sat on the ground for a while while United tried to work out what to do about the fact that no one had told another crew they were meant to be deadheading on our flight – in the end we left without them.

By the time I got to Ithaca I only really had time to find some food, some beer and head to my campsite. I’d decided that while I’d still visit the really well known waterfalls in the area again I’d also try and see some of the more out of the way places. So next day I headed of to Chimney Bluffs State Park. This was on the shores of Lake Ontario and contained some rather interesting rock – well almost mud – coastal formations. I hiked along the top of the cliff before trying to come back along the shore line – something recommended in the hiking book I had for the area. I suspect there had been quite a few fallen trees since the book was written as going back along the sure was hard work – I gave up for the last bit and scrambled up the, by that point, very low but very muddy cliff to follow the path again. Photos are here. I next headed to Sterling Nature Centre where I had a nice hike amongst the wetlands. The highlight has to have been seeing quite a few nesting herons although they were quite far off and I didn’t have a big enough lens to get great photos.

Next day saw me heading to Carpenter Falls. The main falls were reasonably close to the road and semi-popular despite their relative isolation and lack of signage. The position of the sun made getting decent photos a little difficult although I did take rather a lot in an attempt to get some. I then followed the river downstream to another falls and eventually to a lake. This part was rather quieter although other than the falls and the lake there wasn’t a whole lot to see. After that I headed to Tinker Falls. This was a nice little falls which you could get behind – indeed a path even went behind and climbed up to the top on the other side. So of course I did that! Once up the top I headed to a nice overlook – apparently a hand glider launch point although there were none there when I was there. Once back at my car I walked round a broadwalk which was in the same area. Although by this time it was getting a little late I still decided to head to Green Lakes State Park as I’d originally planned although I ended up doing a shorter hike. At first it was a little disappointing and I was unsure where the “Green Lakes” name came from but as I got further round the lake it became more obvious. Tinker Falls photos are here and Green Lakes here.

The next day was Sunday and my last touristy day before working for the rest of the week. This was the day when I hit the more touristy, bigger, waterfalls I’d seen before. First up were the falls at the state park where I’d been camping – Taughannock Falls State Park. Thankfully I was up early enough to avoid the crowds when I walked down the gorge to see the falls. After spending some time taking photos I walked the trail around the top of the gorge which included seeing another small waterfall. I next headed to Buttermilk Falls State Park which, while not having a single such spectacular falls, had a gorge with a lot of smaller ones. I walked up the main gorge before deciding to turn round and head back to the car and take that to the upper bit to save time. Can’t remember exactly why I ended up deciding I was glad I hadn’t walked to the upper bit but I know I definitely did decide that! Anyway there are lots of photos again.

Work started the next day and it was a very productive week. There is a gorge that runs between Cornell University and downtown Ithaca and I ended up hiking it twice on the last work day – once in the morning on the way as I wanted to take some photos and then again in the evening when I joined every one else in walking downtown to get food – the later hadn’t been planned as otherwise I doubt I’d have done it in the morning as well! That means some of these photos are from the morning and some from the evening.

My travel adventures weren’t limited to getting to Ithaca as I had fun getting back as well. There was an aborted landing at Newark as the pilots couldn’t see the runway despite getting down to within a couple of hundred feet of it. The fog was pretty bad – I hadn’t even been aware we’d got that close to the ground until the pilot told us! So we diverted to a small airport in Pennsylvania where they offloaded us and we sat in the airport for a couple of hours. While we were there they rebooked those of us with missed connections, which included me, onto later flights. After what I think was an hour and a half or so we were on our way again but I now had some time to kill at Newark. When I eventually arrived at the gate for my flight for Halifax they were looking for volunteers to come off the flight and offering $500 in travel vouchers if you did. I chatted with them about how they would then get me to Halifax – either a connecting though Toronto and arriving in Halifax around midnight or the same flight the next day. As they’d already mucked me around so much that day I decided 500 dollars was too much to turn down so took the Toronto connection option. The nice lady at the gate managed to turn it into 600 dollars and they also gave you 30 dollars in food vouchers. All in all I’d say it was worth arriving even later in Halifax even if it did mean a tired trip home – I’d been at Ithaca airport about 5am!

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