I went walking at Robert H. Treman State Park today. It's a few miles from my house, as the crow flies, although it's a bit further by car due to the idiosyncracies of the roads in the southern part of Ithaca. I parked at the southern end of the park.
Like Buttermilk Falls State Park, which is also near my house, the main draw is the waterfalls and the swimming hole. It's about 2 miles from the lower parking lot to the upper parking lot. You can get there on either the Gorge Trail or the Rim Trail*, or do a loop. I walked up the Gorge Trail and back on the Rim Trail.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Hmm, four miles is not that far." This is not some nice flat midwestern trail, or even like the nice rolling hills in the Santa Cruz mountains. Nope. There are waterfalls, big ones, and that means lots of steep climbs interspersed with flat areas. As was the case at Buttermilk Falls, many of the steep areas had either stone stairs or stairlike areas with wood beams in the trail. Even though I climb a lot of stairs in my treks to, from and around the chem department, there were parts where I was out of breath. However, it was worth it. The Gorge Trail is the more scenic of the two, and follows the creek. There are many waterfalls. At the southern end, the area beneath the waterfall has been converted into a swimming hole. There are lifeguards, a diving board, showers, picnic areas, etc. When I was a little kid, I dreamed of places like this, but they're hard to find in California.
As you walk north along the Gorge Trail, there are lots of other waterfalls and pools. It's pretty easy to climb down into most of the pools, so there were people swimming and relaxing. At the first area, there is what my brother would call a "butt slide" where people were sliding down. I didn't have my bathing suit on, and my Tevas were in the car, but it looked very fun.
As I continued walking up the trail, I passed more pools and waterfalls. Some of the pools were totally deserted and looked like a great place to swim or relax. I also saw what I thought were wild roses, but they were actually some very big raspberries with pink flowers.
At the end I went to my car, changed into my Tevas, and walked over to the swimming hole. I wasn't dressed for swimming but it felt really good to sit and dangle my feet in the water.
Next time I'll bring a picnic lunch, a swim suit, and go hang out by one of the quieter pools, and then I'll come back and swim in the main pool. That diving board is calling my name.
* All the parks I've been to have a Gorge Trail and a Rim Trail. Inevitable, the Gorge Trail is more scenic.