Our group all left from different places but with the same destination, Ithaca NY. The drive was long but we were excited and couldn't even begin to imagine the experience we were about to have.
We used Air BNB for the first time to rent a 3 bedroom ranch that slept 6 called Haven Woods <--- click for house listing
Walking inside to a beautiful, open concept floor plan with an updated kitchen and delicious, fresh black & white cookies waiting for us on the counter was a treat!
We unpacked in our rooms then spent the night with a few beers playing the board games the house owners had provided. There's also table tennis, a hot tub for winter and darts.
They had some of the softest blankets I've ever felt...
... and the mattresses were like sleeping on clouds
It was hard to get out of these super comfy beds in the morning, you could lay there all day.
Kevin and I ran to Collegetown Bagels (415 College Ave, Ithaca NY) about 10 min away to pick up some bagels and coffee at 7:00am since we were the first ones up. The bagels were delicious. We ate them on the enclosed back porch overlooking the 36 acres land and listened to the birds sing. It was like our own little paradise.
After breakfast we headed to Robert H. Treman State Park (105 Enfield Road, Ithaca NY) which was less than 30 minutes from the house. We paid $5.00 per car at the gate and drove straight back to the main lot to park. We walked a path to the first waterfall that has a diving board and life guard. The water was freezing, like 54 degrees freezing, so cold that your bones hurt.
We took the "Gorge Trail" which can be accessed from the main parking lot towards the back.
Hiking up a steep hill proved to us how out of shape we really were because this hill was only the beginning. After walking for a bit we felt like we had gone so far until we looked at the mile marker.
Through the woods, up staircases, down steep hills, along the river and to our first group photo spot.
We traveled into a densely wooded forest, covered in greenery and just had to stop for some pics and to cool off an catch our breath. This part of the hike was very pleasant, the air was about 10 degrees cooler and it was a flat trail.
Approaching our first mini waterfall got us excited and even more motivated. We even saw a water snake!
As we came the split where you can either stay on "Gorge Trail" or take a left to "Rim Trail". We weren't sure if we were ready to take the challenge of continuing up a huge incline on "Gorge Trail" but after speaking to a couple who had just come down, we were convinced to pull ourselves together and take it on.
Once getting to the top, we were speechless. We came upon a waterfall called "Lucifer Falls" streaming thousands of feet to the ground as we walked along the slate gorge.
Our crazy photographer Kevin, decided to take a leap over the barrier to get a better shot of the falls knowing that if he took one wrong step, it would have been lights out for him.
We spent some time here taking in the stunning views and admiring nature at its finest.
Continuing along the trail to some manmade cutouts in the rock which were nothing short of a work of art.
We scaled down the wall to explore under the bridge until a brown recluse made an appearance and we decided it was time to get back on the path.
After crossing the bridge and walking a bit further we reached the bathrooms that we all needed desperately. We realized we had to hike all the way back and we were all starving and exhausted. Note: if you take this trail, bring sandwiches and plenty of water.
We took the "Rim Trail" to head back to the parking lot. There was one nice spot that overlooked "Lucifer Falls" but other than that, it was mostly woods.
I would have walked back along "Gorge Trail" if I knew how much excitement this trail lacked. We talked about how tired and hungry we were and made plans to go to Buffalo Wild Wings in Ithaca afterwards. The thought of chicken wings and drinks pulled us through to the end. We stopped at the swimming waterfall area to put our feet in and relax for a couple minutes.
We arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings and opted to sit outside because it was so nice out. We started sweating from direct sunlight, were bombarded by wasps trying to take our food and the service was the slowest service I've ever experienced. We still had a great meal before heading to the liquor store and then back to our Air BNB home.
Everyone changed into their bathingsuites and took full advantage of the giant above ground heated pool and pool toys.
We started up a fire & watched the sun go down.
Drank our cold drinks & listening to the enchanting howls of the coyotes.
The night was perfect.
The morning came and half the group left but the other half stayed to go see the historic Ithaca Falls just 10 minutes from the house. We parked in the school parking lot just before the bridge (300 Lake Street, Ithaca NY), took a 3 minute walk down the trail and the trees opened up to a raging 175 foot waterfall.
We came equipped with a dress and a camera and had to get some awesome shots!
We really wanted to head to the top so we walked back to the car and opened google maps. We got to a bridge and drove around trying to find parking, even debating parking at a frat house. We wound up parking on the road the frat house was on and walking onto the bridge where we discovered another trail! We walked into the trail and to another suspending bridge. On the way back we walked down a steep path to the river line. There was a small but insanely beautiful waterfall just beyond the walking path so we hopped over and walked past the scary warning sign that was telling us 4 people have died there already.
Obviously that means it's a good idea to keep going so we did. We were able to actually stand in this waterfall semi-safely but we do not recommend anyone else do it.
We dragged ourselves back up the hill and to the car and headed home. This weekend was an adventure I will never forget and we hope that you will take time to experience yourself.
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