I got the most amazing welcome in United States of America – a beautiful hike with localites at a state park in upstate NY coupled with pleasant weather.
It had been two days of juggling around since my arrival in Ithaca. Although I didn’t know what to expect, I was looking forward to visit a state park. It had been four-and-a-half months since my last trek (owing to a leg injury). I had learnt about the hike a couple of months ago (back in India), courtesy meetup.com, and RSVP’d immediately. I consider meetups an easy way to go on trips and meet people at a new place.
The hike planned was at Robert H Treman State Park. The park is located around 4.5 miles to the south West of Ithaca. Since I was new to the place and didn’t want to walk all the way there I contacted Michelle, who organized the meet-up, for help reaching there. She happily agreed and offered a ride to and fro. We all reached the parking lot and after brief instructions started our hike. The group was very friendly and welcomed me with warm smile. Few in the group were surprised about me being there since I had been in Ithaca for less than half a week. I felt that upstate New York was more or less like Western Ghats (in India) – full of greenery, with streams making their way through the hills.
I learnt that the hiking trails in such state parks are usually a loop around a short length of river with numerous cute waterfalls along the way. We started with Gorge trail. Everyone hiked at their own pace. From the start we walked through thick jungle with tall trees towering over us. Greenery was abundant and I loved every bit of it. Some parts of the trail were just flat paths through the woods and some had railings to cover the steep descent. The trail went beside waters and beautiful gorges with small waterfalls adding beauty to it. I really enjoyed seeing people of all ages hiking the trail – children and oldies included. The weather added to the charm – the sun peeking in the jungle occasionally and giving us the much needed warmth in the usually cold region.
We shifted to Red Pine trail which had a steep ascent to reach the top of the state park (half-way). It was here where I realized that Americans have really taken care to maintain such trails and parks. There was abundant place for picnicking, with grills to cook on and benches to rest. There was an old wheat flour mill, built in late 18th century, which belonged to Treman family. They donated this piece of land to NY state (and hence the name of the park). It was quite an experience seeing multistoried old mill with huge gears and containers.
After a small break, we carried on to the Rim trail. Soon we had a view on the biggest waterfalls of the park which was nestled in a gorge. Then after around 2.5 mile of downhill hike we came back near the other side of the parking lot. There were cabins, swim area below a small fall, children’s play area, and huge landscape of lawn to make it a perfect place for a weekend getaway. I was left awed at the cleanliness, greenery and peace in the park. I agree that I haven’t done justice in using the right words in explaining the features of a state park and the beauty. Will try to get better with more hikes.
I am glad I went to the hike with total strangers even though I was only 3 days old in an entirely different continent. I thank Michelle for being an enthusiastic host and all others for a friendly welcome to the United States of America.
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