Ithaca, I am blown away by your presence. A town full of culture, local food, farms, open-hearts AND the most serene views in nature. I am surprised I did not make it here sooner than the age of 27.
My first stop was Robert Treman Park to view effervescent waterfalls. I made it there 5 minutes before the camp office closed and quickly set up my tent before a down pour cried from the sky. Using my new REI Flash sleeping bag, I was a warm bean in a pod (: Reading, journaling, tuning inward– I found solitude in the comfort of my own company. It resides within us all. You don’t know your true self until you can sit quietly with.. yourself. Our brains always want to chime in, when it is our heart that we should be listening to. The heart is our power center. It’s what keeps us alive and we don’t even have to ask it to. It just does. It just is. Us.
I awoke to the sound of a rushing creek after all the rain fell through the night. I remember softly waking into consciousness.. deeply listening to the sound and felt as if my life force/energy/prana/chi was swirling through my belly up to my heart and head. My spirit felt renewed. My heart was happy to wake up peacefully in nature. Early it was, I hit the trail to catch sight of one of the waterfalls. I hiked the Rim Trail 2.25 miles to the awe-inspiring waterfall. I breathed, I sat, to take in as much of its glory that I could. My imagination saw myself as a mermaid that could swim & lounge under the falls.
I was astonished at the steep-sided troughs that were created by the movement of a giant glacier. In the last 10,000 years, the glacier receded north and water filled the troughs, creating the 11 Finger Lakes in NY. Since then, a creek has poured down the steep hillside and is cutting away the soft sedimentary rock. This is how the gorge and waterfalls were formed. I was looking at a very ancient piece of history and felt thankful to have witnessed it’s place in nature!
I am free amongst the trees, in the wind. They come together and form this beautiful dance. Movement creates the sound of leaves rustling as the wind whistles.
Music to my ears.
As I came across this little guy, I thought a child dropped a toy lizard & actually laughed out loud about it. Then I came closer and saw that he was alive! He (or she!) is actually an Eastern (red spotted) newt & is native to NY. Because he is hanging out on land (not in the water) means he is a youngin’ a.k.a an “eft.”
Spending most of my life in an urban area, I so deeply appreciate the expansive views of rural landscapes. For me, when there is space inhabited solely by nature, my mind naturally has more space to be present and calm.
A Prayer offering for the Waters
swaying flowing rippling
thank you for life
you are magic
connecting our worlds together
you are the carrier
i am the messenger
sending an intention of LOVE
in my body you make me whole
i love you
i pray for you
Waterfalls are quite majestic when you are in their presence. They offer a primitive place to tap into your senses of sight, touch, hear, smell.. taste (with proper water filtration). Ahhhmazing! I happily skipped downhill making my way back to camp. The forest floor was soft and home to many living beings.
After soaking up the healing vibes of these beautiful falls, I headed to another state park about 45 minutes away. On my way, I was passing through downtown Ithaca. I visited Greenstar Co-op for a diva cup (the 1 thing I forgot to pack!), delicious organic fruits and seed butters while making my way to see a friend that lived in the area.
Amber, my best friend’s sister, graduated from Ithaca University as an Environmental Studies major. We have had great conversations about plants and gardening in the past so I knew it would be lovely to see her again! I was curious what she was up to in this wonderful city!
So, I made a stop at Six Mile Creek Winery to visit her at work in the winery/distillery. It was so cool! She gave me a tour and an understanding of how to make wine and other types of alcohol. I was also gifted a wine tasting! It was super sweet to see Amber and that she is doing really well. Also, she connected me with a local farm that I could take a tour of while I was in town. AwesOme!
I moved camp to Taughannock Falls State Park. Lake, waterfalls, trails and gorges. I watched the sunset over Cayuga Lake and saw the sweetest sight. A mom & dad canoeing with 2 little ones between them. I could feel the love resonating all around this sunset. (:
The next morning I headed over to Silver Queen Farm, about 20 minutes from the campground. My friend Amber connected me with Madison there. She helps run the farmer’s market and is in charge of the social media/web development. Madison was so lovely and showed me all around the farm!
I even saw my first potato bugs!! You wouldn’t want these guys in your garden so it’s important to know how to identify them.
Here are ways to naturally deter this pest from your potato bed:
- Soil should be well drained and rich in nutrients. Always make sure to give back nutrients to the soil by adding organic matter, like compost. This will ensure strong, healthy plants that will survive some damage from the beetle.
- Mulch a thick layer of straw around the plants. This will confuse beetles as they come out of the ground to find plants to eat.
- Grow an early variety of potatoes (less than 80 days to harvest). You may avoid the second generation of beetles that come out in the summer.
- Use floating row covers, which can lie on the plants or put up hoops to hold it in place. The most important part is to make sure the edges are buried or weighted tightly, so no beetles can mosey on in. If you had beetles the season before, they are most likely already in the soil so this method wouldn’t help much.
- Scout and hand pick them off and their larvae.
At the back edge of the farm is a beautiful blueberry patch enclosed by a log gate, so deer cannot enter. We found some perfectly ripe blueberries & snacked on some during our walk and brought some back for another farm worker, Emily.
I loved how they allow plots for wild grasses and flowers to thrive next to vegetable beds. It’s important to have diversity and to see what naturally thrives in the soil, when you don’t mow the grass. So many living beings are attracted to these native areas. I’ve always found it enjoyable to observe bunnies, deer, bees, beetles, worms, birds and such in my yard and garden. We are all pieces to the puzzle.
They also have this really sweet barn, shown below. It is an open farm stand during the day, has U-PICK activities and is available to rent for events of all kinds. It is quite charming!
We made our way back to the barn so I could meet Emily and we shared great conversation about our yoga practices and love for the environment. It was so nice to connect with like-minded ladies who are destined to make a difference in our world! It fills my heart with so much joy to know there are other young people who want to live sustainably, connected to the Earth. I am so grateful to have met them and they even gifted me some free veggies ❤
Kohlrabi && Garlic Scapes
If you’ve never tried these I suggest you do! Kohlrabi tastes like broccoli and garlic scapes… you guessed it! They taste like garlic, just a more mild version. I added these to stir fry noodles for dinner that evening. Mmmm!
View of Taughannock Creek flowing into Cayuga Lake. I hiked the North and South Rim trails, 3 miles round trip. I saw some stellar views, shared wild blackberries with strangers, frolicked down the soft path and meditated. I LOVE being in nature!
I see a heart in the waterfall, can you find it? (:
Sending so much love to Amber and all the places and faces I met. Ithaca has so much to offer and the community does a lot to keep nature well preserved.
"Your heart must become
A sea of love.
Your mind must become
A river of detachment."