November 13, 2016

Gorge & North Rim Trails, Fillmore Glen

I had thought I might take Frankie further afield locally this year, to explore more of the many beautiful New York State Parks in our region.  However, many of these parks feature gorges and waterfalls, and we had a drought this summer.  The waterfalls we did visit were practically dry and, as such, underwhelming.  Therefore, I never bothered making the longer drives to take him to see more dry/drippy rock faces.  The autumn finally brought some rain, and while the groundwater may not be fully recharged yet, the surface waters are flowing again at least.

Fillmore Glen State Park is the closest of the Ithaca-area gorge parks, and I decided we'd take advantage of the mild weather to make the trip down.  I hadn't been there since before Frankie was born, and was excited to re-visit this special place.  I drummed up some excitement (waterfalls! bridges!) and asked Frankie to check the weather forecast for the weekend and decide which day we should hike. 

We planned on hiking the Gorge Trail out, then returning via the North Rim Trail.  I had forgotten the short spur trail to Cow Shed Falls, and there are no maps posted at the trail head.  After taking the requisite pictures, I had to pull up the map on my phone to remind myself that the Gorge Trail crosses the bridge before the falls and ascends up the stone staircase, not splitting from the South Rim Trail until the top of the stairs.  The rest of the hike is pretty straightforward.  The loop is approximately 3 miles round trip, and is really, really nice.     

Since Fillmore Glen allows bow-hunting, we wore some orange, just in case.  The park isn't very big, though, and it gets a lot of use.  I can't imagine the hunting is very good, except perhaps at dawn; otherwise, too many people.  We saw many other visitors on this beautiful day.  Frankie was very excited to discover a playground by the parking lot, so of course I let him play for a good long time after we got back.  Kids is kids.  

Cow Shed Falls

starting the climb up out of the gorge

numerous switchbacks ease the grade
Pikachu rode in Frankie's "adventure pack"

after descending back to the trail head

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