June 9-11th 2017
Immediately following my staff day at work I rushed home to meet up with the husband for a weekend camping in Ithaca NY.
We had reserved a cabin in the Buttermilk park and took the 1 hour plus drive south to the Finger Lakes area with the dogs in tow. Rush hour traffic and a shedding dog made for a long uncomfortable ride. (There was dog hair everywhere.) but once we arrived it was all worth it.
We were to spend the next 48 hours in cabin #2. These no frill cabins were just what I needed. By the looks of them they had been survivors of years past. Nothing like those caramel colored cabins/kabins set in the woods of places like the KOA or Jellystone. These cabins were made for "real" outdoors-men.More like a shack with electricity, But I simply loved it.
This was actually larger then some of those cabins we stayed in at those KOAs and Jellystones. We don't really need those types of campgrounds anymore...sadly now that the kids are older, we don't actually need to seek out a jumpy pillow or banana bikes.
This place was perfect for two "older" adults and two dogs ready for the outdoors.
Inside there were four metal twin beds, three bookshelves and a refrigerator. Everything we needed. I pushed two of the twins together (we did not bring the proper bedding for solo sleeping.)
Set up went pretty quickly, In addition to the shelter, the area has a metal grill, a campfire ring with the fold over grate (The reason why Speghettos were a part of my earlier camping days. A pot or the can works well over those grates for cooking.)
and a picnic table. No awning necessary as the trees sheltered well enough,
Once unpacked we scoped out the campgrounds.
We greeted many of the neighbors with a smile and a wave. Several people commented on the dogs. Made our way to the center where the restrooms and bath house are located and I spotted resting in the woods. This lovely.
The campgrounds were pretty quiet overall. Several tents scattered the area and there was one trailer, a small pull behind. I would imagine it would be difficult to get anything to big up here, We saw many of those one person tents. They look more like a sleeping bag with a stick in the middle to hold it up. This is definitely a campground for the outdoors-men. "Granola lovers" per Mark. I say there is nothing wrong with that.
We also saw about a dozen of these newly built cabins. Although they looked lovely but I felt they looked out of place standing along side the trees and green leaves. From what we could see peering through the window, there are three builtin bunks and a full bed inside.
(Definitely not what I would have expected to see in this park. We never did find out anything about these new builds and they were not open for this season. I'm sure they will be full soon.)
Saturday morning we were up early. Mark made a run into Ithaca, (which is not to far from the park) for coffee, With a little coffee and the morning sun, we made our way down to the Park's main gate and started hike #1 for the day. A trip along the Buttermilk falls Gorge,
Just adjacent to the parks check in booth is a pleasant area at the base of the falls. This is the only falls that you can see the waterfalls before you begin any trail.
The gorge and the rim (the trail we returned on) were labeled to be 3/4th of a mile. We also hike the Bear trail and back (noted to be 3/4th of a mile each way.) Perhaps not many miles...but there are definitely many stairs and lots of up hill climbing, It is a little intimidating,
Without the telephoto lens I could only get a long distant shot of these two ducks enjoying the creek. One male and one female. They were enjoying the morning sun.
After a return back on the Bear trail we stopped at the upper area of Buttermilk park for a bathroom break and water for the pups. We only saw a few people on any of the trails. We decided it must be the early hours because later that day the parking area was filled and people were everywhere.We returned on the rim trail. Which was not nearly as exciting as the gorge trail, but nice and peaceful.
It was still early, but we all needed a break and decided to return to camp refresh and take on the other park after some lunch.
The afternoon was a trip to Robert Treman State Park. Our camping pass offered admission to all of the local area parks. I also have a park pass, but it was not on the truck. I am not sure if you can pay admission to one and go to all, but it was nice that we did not have to pay the $8- admission fee.
Robert Treman State park is just a mile or so from Buttermilk heading away from Ithaca. This park also offers camping, swimming and a ton of trails. Based upon the parking lot and the people, this appears to be the preferred park of the two. There is also a large camping area which seemed it can accommodate RV's. I did not investigate on the subject but there were a few in the camping area and tons upon tons of tents spread out on the grassy field. (I personally do not prefer camping like this.) If I wanted to camp in an open field area then I could easily pop my tent in my back yard. To me the whole idea of camping is being IN THE WOODS. There also are cabins.
I was not sure what park had this roadway that went over the creek, but I was thrilled to locate it at RT park. When I was a child I remembered thinking this was the coolest thing ever. If I recall I had come for some picnic my parents were involved with and spent most of my time playing in this area searching for salamanders and wading in the cool waters. NO WADING NO SWIMMING signs planked the road. I wonder what kids do now a days?
Mark and I took turns on the trail ahead getting a glimpse at the NO PET area before turning around.
Although neither Mark or I had planned on swimming, it would have been a nice option had we wanted to. Having the pups made that choice impossible. The water did look refreshing. Instead we headed back towards the entrance and found the trail routes for some decision making. The park hosts several trails. Both the main trails from the lower park stretched for about 2 miles. We decided that it may make better sense to drive to the upper park as I wanted to view Lucifer Falls, but neither of us were looking to hike over five miles to do so. (the trail up-the falls loop-and the return trail.)
Instead we took the truck up to the upper park and worked our way along the cliff overlook trails. (a much shorter distance.)
Riley took the opportunity to wade in the cool waters and get a drink. It had become quite hot as the afternoon had unfolded.
Mark and Riley had pushed upward ahead of Peanut and I and as I huffed up each step...I found myself (Talking more to myself) ..."Come on Peanut were almost there.." He was quite the trooper. Each step he had to nearly throw his body upward. Even though I was feeling the burn he truly had the most work to do...Then FINALLY....
We followed the trail out to the front of the park where there are restrooms in the old mill. We took in one last glance at a smaller falls and provided both ourselves and the dogs a much needed water break.
Once back at our campsite. I continued to be motionless. Mark started a camp fire and I was content to simply sit...and sit and sit. That was until I saw what looked like an animal in the tree to the left of us a bit. YEP...it was an animal. A cute mamma raccoon and as we continued to watch her we noted three babies.
Mark and I watched this little family for some time. Mamma eventually crawled out of her tree and found a nice spot on a tree limb to take a nap. We watched them until it got dark and we could no longer see. Please note although these pictures do look close... we were several feet away. There are signs all over the campground reminding people that raccoons bite and they often carry rabies.
My upward view as I relaxed in my chair.
Riley watched as we gained a new neighbor. I can hear him asking our new canine friend. "Come over and play.."
And Peanut was content just to chill. He was feeling much like me....RELAX.