This is the fourth article in a series about The Roadster’s travels to New York’s Finger Lakes Region.
After visiting Niagara Falls, NY, we enjoyed all that Watkins Glen has to offer, including a stay at Watkins Glen State Park, an incredible visit to The Gorge, and a lovely afternoon at Seneca Lake’s waterfront. The fourth day of our Finger Lakes Journey found us departing from Chateau LaFayette Reneau Winery, our gorgeous Harvest Host destination, and headed over rolling country roads toward Cayuga Lake, the longest of the eleven Finger Lakes in New York.
Robert E. Treman State Park
Our first stop was at Robert E Treman State Park to experience the fabulous 70 ft. cascading waterfall that is the crown jewel in a small swimming lake. It serves as the backdrop to the diving board area, and swimmers are allowed to hang out at the waterfall… if they can make it there.
Because of the strong current, approaching the waterfall was a bit of a challenge. My son’s first attempt to get to the waterfall was from the diving area. It was entertaining to watch him furiously kick his legs trying to swim through the current produced by the falls, but alas, only resulted in him swimming in place.
My fear of heights prevented me from jumping off the high-ish diving board to help him get to the waterfall, so we decided to swim around the large diving area and approach the falls from the far left side. It was a pretty far distance against the strong current, made even more complicated by the fact that I was holding my GoPro camera in my right hand and my daughter was holding my right shoulder for support when she grew tired from the long swim. My left hand was pulling me through the water and giving my son extra boosts as he began to fight the current from the waterfall. Whew!
When we finally made it to the waterfall, we jockeyed for position along a ledge that sits under the water, which allowed us to stand under the falls. It wasn’t easy to get to the ledge. We climbed onto the slippery rocks (this used to be a lot easier when I was younger!) and scooted under the falls as the water beat down, knocking us off-balance. But it was so worth it. The water was warmed by the sun as it glided over the rocks and pounded onto my shoulders and back, which felt like nature’s perfect massage after so many days behind the wheel.
Leaving the waterfall was a walk in the park. The current carried us through the longest part of the swim and we had no problem getting to the depth that my kids could stand. It was a great experience that I would definitely recommend if you are visiting this part of the Finger Lakes.
Taughannock Falls State Park
From Robert E. Treman, we motored 14 miles north on Rt 89 to Taughannock Falls State Park, where we set up camp WITHOUT MOVING for two luxurious days in a row. Aaahhhh! As it turned out, finding sites with power at New York State Parks was not easy. At Taughannock Falls, the electric sites were small and very crowded. There were many more choices for those who are willing to boondock. We were fortunate to find a wonderful non-electric site. This made my husband happy, as he is constantly trying to talk me into boondocking, even when there are nice electric campsites available. I think it has something to do with testosterone and roughing it, like Robert Redford in “Jerimiah Johnson.”
To me, boondocking means no air conditioning. It also means that we had to rely on the generator, which is kind of obnoxious. I have a love/hate relationship with the generator. It charges all the batteries, cools my RV, and provides power to my plugs, but I always feel bad using it when people are within ear-shot, even when it’s not quiet time. It sounds like a loud lawnmower.
Our camp site at Taughannock Falls State Park was lovely, shaded and quiet (when we weren’t running the generator). The area just behind our site dropped down a hill, creating the illusion of being perched up on a hilltop with the perfect view of the surrounding forest. Fellow campers were scattered around us with plenty of space between our sites. I craved the solitude and slower pace. Four days of constant movement was kind of getting to me. I felt like I was in motion, even when I was sitting still.
According to Wikipedia, Taughannock Falls features a 215-foot drop, making it 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls. It is the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. We were eager to see this beautiful natural phenomenon so we followed the hiking path through the campground, which ended up being longer and steeper than I anticipated. For those visitors who are lucky enough to have a car, there is a parking lot at the entrance to the viewing area. Once we arrived, we were wowed by the view of the beautiful waterfall, which was further enhanced by eagles soaring all around us. It was a powerful combination to behold. We soaked in the sights and headed back to our campsite, which was easy-peasy. All downhill, all the way. My kind of hiking!
Enjoy Our Video Journal on Taughannock Falls and Robert E. Treman State Parks
The End Of A Great Week
On the sixth day of our Finger Lakes Extravaganza, we packed up our site and made the six-hour trek home to Ohio. The GPS took us through some crazy back roads. But Bessie the RV successfully climbed the hills and handled the demands safely. Being challenged with different road conditions helps to build confidence as an RV driver, but it can be more than a little nerve-wracking at the time. We should have looked at a map and took 14 South to 86 instead of letting the GPS take us via county roads. But it sure was pretty. And hilly.
Have you visited the Finger Lakes Region? Tell us about your experiences.