Tag Archives: State Park

State Parks Are Havens For Trail Runners

One of the greatest things about running is that you can run basically anywhere. You can walk out your door and run. There is not a whole lot that is necessary in order to run. Just put your shoes on and run. You don’t need a ball, a glove, a field, or a team. It’s just you, your feet, and the ground.

However, if you love nature you might also love trail running, and trail running requires one more thing, a trail. At very least you will want some outdoor space where you can run off road. Not all communities are fortunate enough to have areas where they can go out and run on trails very easily.


In my experiences running on the past several years I have learned that there is one great resource that trail runners can take advantage of and that is your state parks. One thing that almost all state parks have in common is that they have trails. If you want to get out and enjoy some trails you need to check out your closest state park if you haven’t done so yet.

The Finger Lakes Region of New York is fortunate to be home to no fewer than 17 state parks. These state parks are areas where the people have decided nature is important and should be preserved and protected and that is one of the things that draws people to trail running. The opportunity to be out in nature and enjoy two things that go great together, running and nature, is irresistible.

In the Finger Lakes region there are multiple state parks where running clubs are able to put on great races. The Ithaca Running club has been putting on trail races or years and some of their races feature our great state parks. The Tortoise and Hare trail race is run in Buttermilk Falls State Park. The Monster marathon and half marathon, also put on by Finger Lakes Running Club, is held in Robert Treman State Park.  Forge the Gorgeous trail race is held at Filmore Glen State Park by the Finger Lakes Running Club. Red Newt Racing holds their Cayuga Trails race which encompasses to state parks, both Robert Treman and Buttermilk Falls. Lucifer’s Crossing trail race is held at Robert Treman State Park by Red Newt Racing. The race itself is named for one of the most prominent features of the state park, Lucifer’s Falls where the runners will be climbing the gorge along the falls.

Lucifer's Crossing_August 20, 2017_25

Soon we may have even more races to look forward to at state parks in the Finger Lakes region. The Southern Tier Running Club is planning to bring race to our area at Newtown Battlefield State Park and Pinnacle State Park. The proposed race at Newtown Battlefield would be a trail half marathon. The race at Pinnacle would have options for a 3 and 7 mile course.

Running races is one great reason to go for a trail run at a state park but there are more reasons. Most state parks offer multiple trails and not all of them will be covered by races. Not all trails are appropriate for races but all trails are appropriate for exploring. So take this great opportunity to explore. Go take a run down a trail you may not be familiar with. Just see where it goes and enjoy it. Relax, take your time even. Stop and soak in that nature. Exploration and connection are the best things about getting out there in nature on a run. See something new. Get out there and connect with nature.

State parks also might have trails that connect with other trails. Trails that go a much longer distance than you might otherwise expect. You can start on one trail in a state park and take a turn off onto another trail and go on an adventure. Who knows you could start in a state park and end up running across the state on the Finger Lakes Trail if you want to. You can pick up the Finger Lakes trail in Watkins Glen State Park and Robert Treman State Park for example.  You never know where the adventure might lead you. Be open to the adventure.

Another great aspect of state parks aside from opportunities to camp and hike or run trails is the opportunity to find solitude. Sometimes even running alone in the city you never really feel that solitude. There are always cars and street lights and other pedestrians and barking dogs. There are so many distractions to take you out of the moment. Too many other things to pay attention to that take you out of that moment. Get out on a lesser used trail at a state park and you might not see anyone for miles. No cars to worry about. No barking dogs to contend with. You can become fully immersed in the moment and just enjoy the run with no other concerns. Just drink in the nature and experience real solitude.

Gather your friends and meet up at a state park and start your adventure today.

Dam Good Trail Race_August 13, 2017_25

Exploring Ithaca, NY

So apparently 6 months ago I started writing this post and never got back to it. Distractions, procrastination, just plain forgot. You name it. It happens to the best of us. I added all these photos to a draft and then never came back to it. I have no idea why.

I went to Ithaca, NY. One of my favorite places and I just wanted to explore the area a little more in depth than I had in the past.

Robert Treman State Park_April 25, 2017_82

I went to my favorite locations, but I tried to focus on different things. Sometimes the little things. Sometimes things that are just a little askew. I wanted to look at things from different angles. Use my different tools that I had at my disposal. This included several different cameras and lenses all with their own set of capabilities.

Buttermilk Falls State Park_April 25, 2017_79

Sometimes you are lucky and nature simply grants you the perfect set up for interesting photographs. I love waterfalls and I love Buttermilk Falls State Park, but seriously can you beat to huge trees jammed up in a waterfall and one of them is at an angle so you can show it coming right at you. That was one of the advantages of my different camera set up on this trip. I would not likely have been able to capture that image with my traditional waterfall shooting set up.

The Cayuga Trail_April 25, 2017_76

Sometimes you just need to get close to the subject. This photo was taken at the perfect angle to allow me to focus on the flower blooming inside the leaves an blur out the rest of the irrelevant detail in the image.

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And when you are walking around the Cornell Botanical Gardens there is an abundance of oportunities. And something just catches your eye and you see a tree with surrounding flowers and you just know that this is the image you want to capture. It just makes sense. You get the correct camera and lens combination and you create an image that matches your vision.

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I used my macro lens to get p close and personal with these flowers growing low to the ground. My lens is only 60mm so I was likely in some kind of strangely contorted posture taking this photo. I was either hunched over, crouched, on my hands and knees, or lying down. The things one will do for a photo.

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I loved this little grouping of flowers. I was very happy I was able to capture three of them in focus together with another flower out of focus in the background. The little twig adds another element in the photo from the time of year when flowers are blooming and pushing up through the dead debris of the past.

Taughannock Falls State Park_April 25, 2017_35

Really this photo does not require much commentary for me. If you are familiar with our part of the Finger Lakes at all you know what this is a photo of. This is Taughannock Falls State Park. This photo is from the upper look out area near the visitor center. It is quite a majestic view. This is a place that must be experienced.

Taughannock Falls State Park_April 25, 2017_51

This photo is from along the lower portion of Taughannock Falls State Park as the water runs away from where the falls pours down it creates this stream and nice rock formation through the gorge.


Fall visit to Letchworth

Today I visited Letchworth State Park for the second time. This visit was better in many ways than my first visit. The two most important ways in which it was better is that I was able to share in the experience with members of my family and some of our dogs were also able to join in.

Letchworth State Park_October 25, 2015_286

On this visit to the park my wife, my dad, and my cousin were all able to come along. My wife and I brought our dog Brynn and my cousin brought her two dogs Hiro and Rylie. It makes the joy of experiencing some great outdoors time that much better when you can share it with family and dogs. I always enjoy spending time with family and dogs. It simply makes everything better.

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The Genesee River, which flowers through the gorge creating this amazing parks feature gorge and waterfalls was raging full of water. There was significantly more water than during my first visit earlier this year. There was so much water that all the falls had a significant amount of mist flying up into the the air to land on those of us visiting the park if we dared come near the falls. The mist flying is cool to see but it makes photographing the falls a bit challenging at times, especially if you want to keep your gear dry. There was one great moment where the sun peaked out after having been cloudy the whole time we had been there and the sunlight shown right down into the mist creating a rainbow.

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During my last visit to Letchworth it was overcast and gloomy the entire day. But, today after a few hours of complete cloud cover and sprinkles the clouds began to break up and eventually we had a sunny sky with a few clouds. It was so great. It makes the whole experience better. Especially for a photographer. Now I could take take photos and compose them with sky featured int he image whereas before I composed the photos specifically to avoid the gray smudge that was the sky. The sun streaming down ont he remaining fall foliage with accompanying blue skies simply makes for some stunning views. I hope you enjoy the photos but don’t take my word for it go check this park out it is great.

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