Finger Lakes road trip

Finger Lakes road trip

Haeleigh Bayle, Reporter

Over the summer, my family and I decided to take a trip to New York to visit the Finger Lakes. We hiked all over, visited many different natural wonders, and swam a lot. Overall, the trip was very enjoyable because we were able to enjoy being together in the outdoors all the while feeling like our lives were normal. (Even though we were in the midst of a pandemic.)

The first campground we were staying at was very enjoyable, with lots of paths to walk on and explore, and great running trails (for an avid runner like myself). The day consisted of: my mom and I waking up early and heading out for a quick run, coming back to the camper to get ready for the day, heading out to visit waterfalls, hiking trails (and other outdoor adventures), and finally, getting back to the camper worn out and hungry at dark. The waterfalls we visited were absolutely breathtaking! Some soared a hundred feet in the air, while others were just small trickling streams but still mesmerizing. Being out on the trails gave me a sense of relief from everything that was going on this summer because everyone who was out on the trails was out to accomplish the same thing: escape reality. The trees would stretch way high above us and act as a blanket of shade as we walked below. My mom took enough pictures to last a lifetime, and we all enjoyed ourselves greatly. At some points, we were so high above the waterfalls themselves that we could see the immense height it sat at. We all took in the sight and at one point watched as a hawk soared even higher above us, letting the freedom of the air fill its lungs.

The next campground we stayed at (as we had to continually move around to see the finger lakes) was also very nice. There, we were welcomed with many other hiking trails and adventures. We even decided to hike alongside the Niagara River. That was one of the most amazing hikes I have ever been on. (And trust me, my family does a lot of hiking.) The water was a clear turquoise that beckoned for us to go swimming, but deep below we could see the churning of the water that would suck someone down in an instant. There were small whirlpools everywhere, and the flat rocks allowed us to walk right beside the river. The further you looked out the more and more different the shades of blue would get. At points it was a deep, dark blue, then it would be as light as a cloudless sky, and then it would be a light shade of green, and at one point it looked just like the Caribbean Sea. We ate our lunch on the rocks and savored each breathtaking view.

The third campground we stayed at was a small campground tucked deep in the woods. There, it had a swimming pool, huge blow-up water slides (even though I’m no longer a 5 year-old I still enjoyed it very much…and so did all of the parents who went down it). That campground, I have to say, was my favorite. At that campground we were able to just relax and swim in the pool when we wanted to, play the different games, go hiking close by, and countless other activities. One memorable place that we hiked to, however, was to a waterfall that had a diving board/swimming area right beside the waterfall. We had to park in one area and made our way through a winding path that led to a big open area with a waterfall, roped off areas for swimming, a diving board, and of course a life-guard. I am not exactly a big fan of cold water, so when I stuck my feet into the zero-degree water (for real) I was not exactly apt to jumping into it. However, after thinking to myself how disappointed I would be if I opted out of such a cool experience, I hopped in line to jump off the diving board and into the water. When I reached the end of the diving board, I took a deep breath and launched myself into the water. Immediately upon hitting the water, my body froze up and all of me went numb. My teeth were chattering, but it really was an extraordinary experience. My mom waved for my sister (10), my brother (13), and I to all swim and sit right under the water fall. It was funny trying to sit up straight when the water was pummeling my back, but my mom ended up with a few good pictures. We then left that swimming hole and headed back to the campground.

The following days were just that of relaxing and soaking up some sunshine before we headed back to PA, but it was a highly enjoyable time that I would love to go back and tour again! This trip showed us that even though we were in a pandemic, we were still able to find fun and safe ways to enjoy the outdoors and tour a different state.