Monday, July 10, 2017

Finger Lakes: Cayuga

Finger Lakes
July 8th and 9th 2017

 Saturday, Tami and I traveled to the Cayuga Lake area for a hike at Toughannuck Falls State Park with the women of the Outdoor Women's group.

It had rained so hard that morning I was sure that any plans for the outdoors would be smashed. I even thought about NOT going. I am so glad I did.

Toughannuck Falls state park is actually listed as being in Ithaca, but I went an entirely different route then I had to get to Buttermilk Falls and for the conference I had attend a few weeks back. This trip took us along Route 89 and all of those Wineries. (Oh yes) It's was  about an hour and a half drive from my house but a beautiful drive and with such great company the time went quick.

We arrived just at 11 to meet up with these lovely women whom I have come to really enjoy.
The Women Outdoors group is a national organization that is built around women who enjoy doing things outdoors. (thus the name.) Today's event made my fourth time meeting with the group. I have since decided to become a member myself. Here is the link.

The Finger Lakes region is the one I met with.
Up first was a meeting and lunch.

 There was quite the spread of food!!!!! Yum! Pictured below is Sandy, she is the spokes person (leader? I'm not sure what her title is...but she started the Finger Lakes chapter, I think she said in 1999.)

 After lunch there was a raffle. We all won something. I choose a bumper sticker. Tami got a pen.

Some of the ladies getting their prizes. I wish I could remember everyone's name, but this lovely lady lives in the area.
 Several of the women who were in attendance today had camped over the weekend. Anna (pictured below) I believe was one of them. Anna is planning a big big big hike. This one is up to the top of one of the Adirondack high peaks. (Maybe someday...)
 I wish I had planned it better cauz I would have loved to camp all weekend. This place is AMAZING! Just look at the view of the lake from where we had our meeting and lunch and the weather; although it was windy and sprinkled a bit.....was perfect for hiking.

 Lovely Cayuga Lake.
After prizes we prepared for a hike to the Falls. Several of us took the gorge trail and some of the more adventurous took the high trail which takes you to the top of the falls. Tami and I took the gorge trail. (about three miles in total.)

 The views along the gorge were simply stunning.

Almost immediately you walk onto a small falls along the trail. 

The creek bed runs along one side of the trail while the deep green woods is on the other. 

 Only a few steps in and we got a sun shower...I had to quick cover my camera with my poncho.
 The rain came and left just like that and the sun was shining all over again. Isn't this creek bed just awesome?
 Its like a flat roadway. Had I had my water shoes on...I would have danced my way down the gorge to the falls....but back to the trail.

 Nice isn't it?

 Back to the river bed...

 I though this was pretty cool the slate rock above the creek.
 We made it around the corner and the waders were everywhere. Riley (my pup) would have LOVED this. I would have tooo!!! I thought about taking my shoes off and getting my toes wet, but I imagined it was quite slick. I even watched a girl slip and fall. Soooo wish I had my water shoes. Next time for real!!!
 Can you see the slate rocks lined along the bottom of the picture above? This to me was SOOOOO neat. The rocks are so paper thin and there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them along the gorge. I simply had to pick some up to feel how they felt. I wondered how these were formed so thin. Or is that how the sediments settled creating the layers in the first place. I think I will have to brush up on my Earth Science.  Here is a wall(scratch that a mountain) of all those thin rocks....

and a canyon of paper thin rocks.....I was so in awe of this beautiful canyon...I totally missed what was to my left....

 Would YOU look at that!!!! WOW!
 Tami and I tried to do a selfie,
I stole this insert from wiiki

 Taughannock Falls' main cataract is a 215-foot drop (66 m),[12] making it 33 feet (10 m) taller than Niagara Falls. It is the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.[5][13] The waterfall is located along Taughannock Creek, which flows through a long gorge with cliffs up to 400 feet (120 m) high.
 The waterfall and gorge comprise an example of a hanging valley, formed where Taughannock Creek's stream-carved valley meets the deeper glacially carved valley that contains Cayuga Lake. The gorge has continued to retreat westward from Cayuga Lake as easily eroded shale near the fall's base is worn away by the stream, which supports erosion-resistant siltstone and sandstone found in the upper portions of the gorge. Annual freeze and thaw cycles also act upon small faults in the rock, causing large sections to occasionally break away, further expanding the gorge.[14]
The gorge supports a "Shale Cliff and Talus" community of plants, including three regionally rare species classified as threatened in New York State: Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris), birds-eye primrose (Primula mistassinica) and yellow mountain saxifrage (Saxifraga aizoides).[15]

 Well I guess that answers my question.
 I also read that Toughannock roughly translates to "Great Falls in the woods" from the native American people.
 Tami and I admired the falls for some time before we started back towards the trail lead.

 I can't keep typing words like Amazing, Incredible and WOW....but that sums it up!!! WOW!
 Isn't nature Amazing? Stunning, shocking? astonishing? Breath taking?stupendous? Extraordinary?

 On the walk back I found some more pictures to take...(I need to take a photography class.)

 This was the only plaque I noticed along the trail just as we exited this part of the park.
One of the women in the group had suggested the nature center, so after returning to our cars and saying goodbyes to the rest of the women, Tami and I headed to the Cayuga Nature Center to check out the six floor TREE HOUSE!

 The $5- admission fee was a little steep to view taxidermy animals, but Tami asked about the "unemployed" discount (She really is) and her admission was only $1-. Can't hurt to ask...

 There were several exhibits on nature, pollution reduction, plants, animal adaptations..a butterfly garden. (we did not see any) and some live animals as well as several of these cute bears cut out of logs.
 The live animals were having their homes cleaned up and one of the nice young ladies offered information on each of these guys.
Tami thought Ichabod (below)  was "beautiful". I struggled to see this definition, (every time I see vultures I think of that old movie The Red Pony, I saw it when I was very very young....but I still remember the vultures above the pony in the end. ) I have to admit " "Ick" as we were told, was pretty cool when he began to show off his wings for us and dance in a circle on his perch.
 I liked "Daisy" much better. She was born by a fox breeders and sold to a family in one of the western states. Her location of origin is why her coloring is so different from the red fox we might see in the area. We were informed that Daisy like many foxes sold to families as pets was too much for the family after about a year, so she came to the nature center.
 Daisy is, from what we were told very friendly most of the time. She does become difficult to handle as the seasons change. Apparently foxes become very aggressive and territorial during the late fall months and early winter. This we were told is due to the instinct to protect food and self perseverance. Daisy has never been on her own in the wild and would unlikely survive in the wild if she was freed. She does have a few male suitors that will yearn for her outside her pen. She attracts males with her urine (which smells like a skunk and is actually similar in the glands of a skunk) and the "women screaming" like howls she apparently makes.
The owl, (I forgot his name) Tami and I agreed was HANDSOME. I love owls anyways, but he was so sharp and regal and those piercing yellow eyes looked right through you.

Time to find the Tree up the small trail we went into the woods. (There are also trails for hiking too. Tami and I were simply to tired to take any route that was unnecessary) and there we spotted it.

Can I get another "WOW". Is this just about the coolest thing ever?????

 I didn't pick up any information when I entered the building so I do not know the story behind this tree house. (I even tried to google it.) but I do know it was built by the graduating class of 2000 of one of the local high schools. Each wooden plaque along this bridge had their name on it. I also know that it was once featured on the Animal Planet channel in connection with Tree House Masters.

 I also know that I NEED THIS in my own back yard.....Forget that...let me just move right in here. (Although it may get a little chilly in the winter.)

(note to self "at least put some makeup on when I leave the house even if you do plan to hike all day" do I look old.)

But anyways....the tree house.....What can be said? It is just wild!!!
 Well...take a look yourselves.
 Definitely a kids dream. If I was mother would not have been able to pull me away from this place.
 Tami and I joked about renting it out for adult guests with a little wine and dinner. It was so much more then a back yard tree was somehow "classy"/

and this little falls and stream runs right next to it.

Charming....and the trail is cute too. 

I also saw the biggest thistle I have ever seen. Another WOW!

Tami and I left the Cayuga Nature Center and headed back down Rt 89 towards the state park again. We talked about stopping at the upper fall, but decided wine tasting was a much better idea. There are a number of wineries along this stretch of road which borders along Cayuga Lake...(Which is beautiful by the way.) Americana is one we know from previous tours and we both like their wines.

They also have fudge, cheese, wine items and lots of samples to try. Tami tried the 5 tastes on the traditional wines, while I had 3 tastes of the bubbly. (I am driving you know.) Yum! I was sold on the Bubbly Blush. A bottle now sits in my fridge.

A little way down once we were back on  Route 89 we took a stop at the Boatman Beer Garden. The homemade pizzas had been recommended to us by one of the women earlier today. This is an interesting place...There is an indoor flea market area, an antique "old school" store, a bar with room for bands, (Which we were informed one was playing this evening, although we did not stay long enough to hear.) and a lovely lawn area with views of the lake. (I want this chair set.)
The small gourmet pizza's were pricey at $10-$12- per personal sized (they do not sell by the slice). I had a not so out of the box sausage, while Tami had the pesto pizza. (I thought I took a picture but I could not find one on my camera or phone.) It was good, I would have liked less sauce, but it was tasty. Tami absolutely loved hers. We found seats on the lawn and stayed for some time just enjoying the weather, the views and each others company. 
The day winding down and we still had a long trip I had hoped to stop at the outlet mall in Waterloo.
Back on the road...we came up on the Thruway deciding that we had been away from our families long enough, we should head home. So homeward we went having had a GREAT Day...

Mark had suggested that we go to Del Lago casino. Having missed my stop at Waterloo outlet mall on Saturday, I jumped on the opportunity to take another trip out this way.
Mark, my Mother in Law and I made our way back on the thruway to Del Lago resort and casino.
I played a few of the slot games...up a little. lost a little...then up again. We had brunch at the buffet. Deserts win big...but Turning Stone Casino wins for everything else buffet wise. I generally like to keep my money so having more in my pocket then when I came nearly $80- I left the two of them to play and headed out to the Outlet mall. Although I have been to the outlets before, I did not recall just how big it was. I circled the area one whole time before I found a section that had what I was looking for. COACH.
I have wanted my very own coach bag for so long...but they are so expensive. I really just wanted to check it out and get an idea about prices. After all...I can always find one at the second hand store if I want one that bad I thought.
I walked in the store and the staff was SOOOOO friendly...and every item seemed so cheep. (In comparison to most COACH bags) Bags that cost $250-$350 were on sale for $89- I was thrilled. So thrilled in fact I spent over 45 minutes circling four different styles of purse/bags and wallets. The reverable tote bag was great. Big and able to fit all of my work stuff. I have two others at home (Vera Bradley not coach..but nice) The mid-sized purse  I found was a real number in red, but I really didn't want to have a shoulder bag. I like much longer straps. I did however like the idea that I could fit my camera in this bag. The over sized wrist-wallet was a great idea as I am always taking my poka-dot blue and green one (Thirty one bag) out with me and it is getting quite frayed. But I did not like any of the colors they had.  The purple body cross bag was the smallest of the bags...but also the only one that was all leather, and had the long straps. Plus I could pretty much take it anywhere and it would fit just what I needed for the most part, just no way would my camera fit in it.
Ahh...decisions decisions.....I finally went with the cute little purple body cross purse.

I am thrilled with my purchase, and since I won about $80- today this little number cost me about $10- LOVE IT!!!
What a great weekend full of fun in the Finger Lakes. Maybe someday I will make it to the rest of those digits. Is Cayuga the pinkie or the thumb?