August 30, 2018 Ithaca, NY (Day 3)

The temps this morning were cooler after the cold front came through last night and brought rain.  The skies were mostly cloudy, but the sun peeked through the clouds now and then.  We got ourselves going around 10:00 as we headed south along the lake to Taughannock Falls State Park.  We stopped along the way, so Bob could check out the grapes on the vine up close.  We couldn’t see the grapes from the road and wondered what they looked like.  They were green and tart, not close to being ripe yet, but the bunches were tightly packed and heavy on the vine.
We continued on our short drive to the park entrance where we paid $8/vehicle for parking. That would get us into any New York State Park all day for free with the pass.
We parked at the Visitor’s Center and took the short walk to the Overlook.  What a sight to see!
Taughannock Falls is the tallest single drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.
At 215 ft., this cascade is 3 stories taller than Niagara Falls.  From the Overlook we could see the Gorge Trail below.

We walked the 3/4 mile Gorge Trail to the base of the falls.  From that close up, we could feel the mist from the waterfall on our faces.
It was breathtaking!  What a way to start the day on our quest for waterfalls.  We left there and headed for the town of Ithaca–home of Cornell University and Ithaca Falls.  Ithaca Falls is near downtown in the residential area.  
We parked the truck and took the short walk to the falls.  
Ithaca Falls is amazing and all I could say was “Wow!” over and over again.  Bob added some rocks to this hoodoo along the river.
It is Falls Creek’s final plunge into Cayuga Lake and is considered the region’s most powerful falls.  Further down the river, we searched out Cascadilla Falls between the town of Ithaca and the University in the heart of town.  

We started at the lower trailhead and walked up, level after level, until reaching the top–almost. This secluded cascade was a jewel!


From there, we followed University Avenue onto the Cornell University campus.

We ended up in a traffic jam of students and cars.  We hit it right at the time the students were changing classes and it was a zoo!  
We did get to see some of the old stately buildings on campus and hear the carrillon bells toll the hour from the bell tower.  

We made a beeline out of town as best as we could.  We made our way toward Robert H. Treman State Park.  This would be the last of our stops today.  We used our $8 parking pass to get in free at the Ranger Station.  The road there would take us down to Enfield Falls.  

This is waterfall swimming at its best.  This powerful multi-plume plunge empties into a large swimming hole.
The water in the swimming hole is a cool 72 degrees, but there were quite a few people enjoying the “refreshing” water.
I’m sure yesterday, when it was 95 degrees outside, the place was probably jam-packed with people.  Today only the heartier souls dove in.
There are lifeguards at the swimming hole and the diving board is regulated so only one person can be on the diving board at a time for safety.  It was another awesome falls!
Our last stop was Lucifer Falls at the upper park entrance.  
I had seen a picture of the falls in a brochure, but I didn’t expect to see another breathtaking gorge.  The trail was listed as a strenuous 1/2 mile, but we started out on a very flat, easy walking path—until we turned the corner.  There, carved out of the limestone, was the very narrow shale and sandstone gorge.
It was beautiful as we walked along the solid wall cliffs.  
Once we crossed the stone bridge, the trail took on a different look.  It was composed of gray shale stairs that descended lower and lower alongside the falls.
The roaring of the falls became louder and louder the closer we got.  Bob’s legs were starting to bother him, so I continued on until I came to the final drop of the falls.  It was definitely worth the added steps it took to see the entire multiple cascade waterfall.
The stone stairs and walkway reminded me of the Great Wall of China at first glance.
What a feat of workmanship that was!  Lucifer Falls is the upper portion of the falls that connects to the Enfield Falls swimming area. It was spectacular!  This picture doesn’t do it justice.
Looking at the Gorge walls,  you could see the layers of shale and sandstone, and where pieces of rock had fallen off and landed in the water below.  
Walking back was somewhat uphill to where the water originated from and some might consider it strenuous, but it was so worth the walk.  What a way to end our “day of waterfalls”.  
We stopped for gas and liquor in Ithaca before taking the highway back to the campground. From up on the bluff, as we made our way north on the highway, we could see that the lake had whitecaps with the added wind today.  
Auggie was glad to see us when we got back to the campsite, so we spent some time with him outside before dinner.  When the clouds didn’t hide the sun, it was warm sitting in the sun.  Covered by clouds, it was cool enough to wear my fleece, but the sun felt good.  The temp had stayed cool all day around 74 degrees.  We had dinner and talked about our departure to Lake George tomorrow for Labor Day weekend.  We are looking forward to exploring the area in the Adirondeck Mountains.  Auggie got his walk as the evening cooled down quite a bit.  It will be good sleeping weather tonight without the AC on.  

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