Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cascadilla Gorge

Generally, I don't make New Year's resolutions. The beginning of winter is not really the time I feel inspired to undergo changes or try new things. But springtime is a different story. In spring, the earth comes alive, and with it my desire to explore, to walk, to get out and do something out of the ordinary.

This past weekend Rob and I took Cedar and a friend of his on a hike up Cascadilla Gorge. The gorge has long been one of my favorites. When I lived downtown I would hike it regularly, or oftentimes hang out and read at the bottom of the falls where there is a small grassy park. For a while, I nannied a little girl who lived near there, and I'd often put her in the baby backpack and carry her up the creek, where we'd both enjoy the rush of water.

The hike begins (or ends) at the edge of Fall Creek neighborhood right in the heart of downtown Ithaca. Not too long ago, the trail was a crumbling rock pathway, originally built in the 1920's. Over the past five years, the Cornell Plantations spent $2.8 million to repair the unsafe conditions. The project was completed last fall, and though the trail was closed for the winter, it was recently reopened.

The sun was out the day we hiked. But still the temp was only 50 degrees. Rob and I climbed the stone steps slowly, while Cedar and Aden ran ahead, finding rocks to throw into the water. The ground, the trees, even the rocks were brown. Everything still held that winter coat of drabness.

The trail climbs a half mile as it rises 400 feet in elevation away from town, and ends on Cornell's campus. It is not one continuous falls. Rather, the gorge offers alternating stretches of flat, then a huge falls and many steps.

When we got to the top we crossed the bridge on Stewart Ave. and headed back down the hill via the City of Ithaca Cemetery. The boys ran around, while Rob and I rested in the sun on a grassy knoll. Overall, it was a perfect spring hike.

As such, it brought an idea to mind. I've been in most of the gorges around Ithaca, and I love them all. But it's been ages since I hiked them. Hearing the sound of the water, getting the heart rate up as we walked between high rock walls, noticing the beauty of these gorges we live near... Maybe it's time to make a concerted effort to explore these astounding geological formations again.

What if we visit and hike each of the gorges around Ithaca this spring and summer? Rob was game. And so a resolution was born.

Find the original proposal to develop Cascadilla Creek Gorge here
And general info about the gorge here.

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